by Sam Beiler | Last Updated on 05.25.2021
Need something new to listen to? Check out the podcast Small Business, Big Growth to listen to our conversation with Aaron Beiler, now available on ApplePodcasts
Have you ever wondered what it takes to become a leading innovator in your industry? We sat down with Aaron Beiler who, in addition to being father to Boostpoint’s Sam Beiler, is the Founder and President of Equipter, a company that’s changing the way the construction industry approaches debris management.
Aaron’s first foray into business ownership started when he was 23 years old. Having just left the Amish religious community he was raised in, he was forced to find a new career and so began working as an independent roofing contractor. Eventually he hired a few friends to help him out and, from there, the business grew steadily for the next 16 years.
Then, in the early 2000s, Aaron had an idea that would ultimately change the trajectory of his entire career. He envisioned a drivable trailer with a large container that could be positioned under the eaves of a roof to catch debris. It would save his crews time and labor and minimize mess and damage to customers’ yards. Although it took several years to turn Equipter from dream to reality, and several more before the business would see the rapid growth that brought it where it is today, it was this journey that Aaron credits with changing him from a ‘business owner’ to a ‘businessman.’
Here are 3 valuable lessons he learned during that time:
Although there were days where the struggle to get from prototype to product line seemed like it might get the best of him, ultimately, Aaron never stopped believing that his idea would work. “The biggest thing for me was this like, in my mind, I know this is the solution that I’m looking for, and there is no other solution as good as what I have.” This confidence in his own vision was the most critical element in overcoming setbacks, he explained. “If you have planning and strategy without vision, you’re going to come up against situations, and you’re going to quit.” It was vision that kept Aaron going.
Aaron admits that having family (2 sons and 2 son-in-laws) working with him at the start of Equipter’s journey was a real advantage when it came to setting the tone for the company. “We all had the same heartbeat,” he said. “So we were able to establish the culture from that. And then, as it grew, we just had to look for ways to maintain [it].”
Maintaining that culture of trust allowed Aaron to delegate, something he hadn’t done in his roofing company. “Looking back now,” he said, “I was doing the estimates, I was working with my guys on the roof, I was going to the landfill. Even though I was enjoying it and doing well, I was not going to be able to grow in my business because my daily routine was pretty much I was doing everything.”
Aaron attributes much of Equipter’s success to this new choice to delegate and let his employees play to their strengths. “It’s the team. Somebody else is good at doing what I’m not good at.” Aaron said. He also encouraged his team to explore new interests within the company, like when Sam and his younger brother, Josh, expressed their desire to take on Equipter’s marketing efforts.
“You jumped right on,” Aaron recalled during his interview with Sam, “ Looking for ways that we can market our product that may not have been done five years ago.” The brothers’ creative digital marketing strategy ended up leading to the fastest period of growth in Equipter’s history and, later on, to each founding their own marketing-related businesses: Sam started Boostpoint and Josh a full-service marketing agency named True Co. Aaron’s trust in his team allowed them the opportunity to discover new talents and experiment with new ideas, which paid off for the company in the end.
While down-to-earth perfection may seem like a contradiction in terms, it’s actually a pretty perfect description for the approach of a man who started out a solo roofing contractor and now owns the multi-million dollar company responsible for, what roofing giant Ken Hendricks once described as, “the third greatest invention in the roofing industry.”
“I’m a simple man,” Aaron said, “but one of the things that I strove for is a stroke of perfection. Whether it was marketing or whether it was equipment. I felt like, we’re going to do this right. We’re going to do this with perfection.” But in the pursuit of that perfection, he explained, it’s important to stay down-to-earth and committed to the relationships you valued at the start. “Stay down to earth, but in your down to earth mentality, do everything with perfection.”