SCORE Mentors Service West Delivery Express to Success
There was a time when Sandra Lowe, self-described “owner, operator, manager, president, CEO, floor sweeper and toilet cleaner” of Service West Delivery Express just threw up her hands, unsure of what to do next. Just a few years after purchasing her new business, Sandra faced the reality of a rise in gas prices and interest rates, and to her knowledge, the “first-ever truck-driver shortage in the history of the United States.”
After coming out of retirement to purchase Service West about 10 years ago, Sandra, now 65, quickly realized that the delivery industry was more than just picking up, dropping off and driving trucks—all of which she knew how to do. The company’s annual revenue dropped, increased, then dropped again, and Sandra was basically stumped on what to do next. “My biggest mistake was to think I knew what I was doing,” she says.
The economy has certainly taken its toll on Sandra and Service West, but with her crucial blend of energy, business knowledge and dependable employees, they are forging ahead. In fact, Sandra stresses the motivation to provide her loyal employees with an environment where they can continue to be productive and in which she can keep rewarding their loyalty are two of the things that keep her going, day in and day out.
Sandra still works 12-hour days, and hopes to soon take her business to the point where she can either pass it on to her family or sell it. She also still meets with two members of SCORE at least twice a year, and acknowledges with gratitude their guidance and encouragement.
Based on the recommendation of a close friend, Sandra came to the Greater Phoenix SCORE. As so often happens when SCORE becomes involved, the resulting plans and goals have provided invaluable clarity and direction. SCORE immediately set Sandra up with their SMART group, designed to look at every aspect of her business and makes recommendations on what to do next. Soon, seven members from SCORE came in and analyzed everything from Service West’s financial records and marketing to the company’s trucks, and came up with the report that would eventually stabilize them.
With the help of SCORE, Sandra was able to make a number of tough decisions and keep her business intact. She relegated almost all aspects of the courier service to focus more on the other facets of her business. She also now leases trucks instead of owning them, a move that helps to combat the constant cost of maintenance and the associated loss of delivery capability, as well as the loss of customer trust.
“Everybody who asks, I say, ‘You’ve gotta go to SCORE,’” she says.