A Message From Our Company Owner, Allen Pangburn
Planning the Details
Opening a board up company has a very low overhead startup cost. All you need is a truck, saw, drill, 9/16 wrench, a few sheets of plywood, a license, insurance, a business name, and a business card. Of course, you also need a whole lot of hustle.
With that said, Board up Doctor was born in 1994. That same year, I also registered the company with the City of Los Angeles as a sole proprietor. I thought that “Board up Doctor” was a genius name that flowed well. In many ways, it also represented the trade with its various challenges. The dedication and flexibility needed to complete each job are similar to what a surgeon demonstrates while operating on a patient.
Hitting Some Roadblocks
On top of that, all my friends said I was crazy and fed me negativity about starting Board up Doctors. They couldn’t see the demand for board ups, even though I explained my brother’s success in the 80s. I didn’t listen to them, and I wanted to prove that I could step up to the challenge.
Since I had some doubts about the success of Board up Doctor, I decided to hold off on trading in my car for a truck. I opted to advertise the business first to see if I would get any calls. After opening the yellow pages, I looked up all the glass companies that had big ads. I cold called them to make my introduction and set up meetings to discuss board ups.
My first meeting was with a large glass and mirror company. (At that time, I didn’t know that they owned the business of one of my competitors. They didn’t tell me about it either.) The company owner said he would be more than happy to provide Board up Doctor with board ups at $185.00 per job. He even said that this was the rate I should charge all the other glass companies if I wanted them to call me for jobs.
I felt relieved that I had closed my first account and knew how much to charge for my services. For the next 5 months, I went on about 50 meetings with other glass companies quoting this rate. They all said that they would call, but no one did. I started getting depressed and feeling my friends’ doubts. Although I was frustrated, I had to figure out what exactly I was doing wrong.
A Twist of Fate
Feeling beat, I went to my brother for some advice. He asked me if I had contacted a large insurance company. According to him, that company insured franchise storefronts and always kept him busy throughout the 80s. I looked them up and got their number the next day.
As I conversed with the insurance company’s owner, he said he was looking for a new board up service. Apparently, their current one was overcharging him. I said that I’d charge him $50.00 per opening. He said, “Wonderful! Do you have insurance?” I lied and said yes. He said, “Great! I will come by your place in two days on Wednesday to see your operation.”
Aside from not having insurance, I didn’t have a truck or any wooden boards. Worst of all, I had no money to get any of these. I had to act quickly. After calling my dad to explain my situation, he said he had an old, broken-down van that didn’t run but could be used for appearances. We drove to all the local glass shops that night and picked up all their used board up material. I went to my mom’s house the next day to ask for a small loan to purchase business insurance. She gave me $800.00.
Wednesday came, and I had 30 sheets of plywood, a broken-down van, and liability insurance. Thankfully, the meeting with the insurance company owner went well. I told him that I planned to get a fax machine to fax invoices and a cell phone to answer calls directly. In response, he said to me that his company liked helping new businesses get off to a good start. He promised me 10 board ups a week. Finally, Board up Doctor closed a real account, a real big one.
Getting Back on Track
Today, I am proud to say that my company is the best board up service in Southern California. In addition to 24-hour board up services for commercial and residential accounts, my team and I do roof tarping, shrink wrapping, and more.