A Day In The Life of the Co-founder and President of Scrap-It
Co-founder and President, Scrap-It
As the Co-founder and President of Scrap-It, Dom drives the sales efforts, operations and technology facets of the business. Dom works alongside his brother, Scrap-It’s other Co-founder & CFO, who is responsible for managing accounting, creating pricing models and driving long term strategies. Dom also works diligently to establish and maintain exceptional client-and-team relations along with fostering a culture of appreciation.
Based out of Dallas, Texas, Scrap-It is a waste management company focused on removing debris generated during a commercial and residential build process; delivering sweeps, various cleans (frame, drywall, brick, garage, rough/final) and providing dumpsters to working sites. Scrap-It’s unique business model also leverages technology to ensure quality customer service and transparency in an industry that’s typically slower to adopt such feats—think of their proprietary technology as the Uber or Seamless for construction projects.
The name “Scrap-It” evolved from a playful, yet accurate, depiction of the company’s main deliverable. Accompanying the accurate title is the team’s infamous mascot, the goat because what better animal to get rid of debris then well… a goat! The Greatest Of All Time 😉
Dom woke up and jumped into his morning workout.
To put it simply, Dom feels he is a better person when he works out, especially to start the day. The chances of him exercising after work are slim and an elevated heart rate first thing sets a productive tone for his schedule ahead. He rotates his routine with a gym session or joining a Barry’s Boot-camp class.
Dom spent time with his wife and nine–year–old daughter before grabbing breakfast for the road and making the quick drive to work.
Dom and his older brother operate Scrap-It as the Co-founders, alongside a team of seven employees working in admin, accounting, operations/sales and tech. Dom firmly believes in cross-functional roles to ensure consistent client services are delivered by each department, showcasing unity in the Scrap-It reputation and to foster loyal relations.
When he first hired the team, Dom focused on recruiting personality.
“I always aim to hire for hospitality and culture. Certain aspects of the job can be taught, but these qualities are the foundation of growing a business while lifting each other up in the process.”
Dom’s team shares the “work hard, play hard,” mentality and a lightheartedness tone circles the Scrap-It atmosphere. What makes this energy feasible is each team member’s unified passion for creating and delivering exceptional experiences to their clients on a consistent basis. Scrap-It routinely asks for feedback and works diligently to improve upon processes, communications, and adaptations of technology to best suit the needs of clients.
An example of an improvement from direct client feedback was the recently added a re-booking process to the Scrap-It technology. This update simplified how recurring clients requested new jobs.
Sometimes, Dom shared, service is evaluated based on transparent communication while other times, no news is considered good news in construction! In an operation–based business, client frustrations are inevitable. Hearing out the concerns and offering valuable solutions, without excuses, usually takes care of the issues.
Dom sent recognition and praise to the team and clients.
“Everyone wants recognition in one way or another; people need to hear that they are appreciated.”
While in the corporate world, Dom’s former team implemented various systems of recognition to foster a culture of valuing people. He was fortunate enough to gain exposure to the positive repercussions of this practice and as a result, incorporates the same behaviors on a daily basis at Scrap-It. He believes the tone of a company can be felt internally and externally, with the attitudes of employees directly mirroring the experience of clients.
“If an employee starts the day with a “thank you” email, the clients that follow will be taken care of.”
After gathering a list of tasks needing immediate attention, Dom worked through admin responsibilities like making calls, sending emails and mapping out future strategies.
Like most thriving businesses, there is never a dull moment or shortage of tasks to work through at Scrap-It. Dom finds the mornings to be a valuable time to knock out operational responsibilities, like responding to messages or pulling decks for a presentation, in order to free the remainder of the day for client affairs or unforeseen business needs.
It could be easy for someone in Dom’s role to get sidetracked with the specifics of running a business. That’s why Dom schedules his day the way he does. But, what about tasks working towards the overall vision or mission of the company? When it comes to strategizing and thinking big-picture, Dom’s advice is to first and foremost give the process ample time and thought to unfold.
“Strategy is not as much a destination as it is a journey.”
Especially for a startup, Dom views strategy to be a long-term effort detailing visions of growth one to three years out. Anything set to be accomplished within a year evolves through operational systems set in place and executed daily to work towards the given goal.
Dom also recognizes time to be a catalyst for evolution within a startup, as he reflected on the differences of Scrap-It’s vision ten months ago to where the company stands to date.
Here’s an example to explain this: when the company first launched, the team’s primary focuses were sweeps and cleans for residential projects using technology to support its execution. Today, the use of technology by Scrap-It remained consistent, but the team’s expansion towards big-dollar commercial and industrial clients evolved toward an almost 50/50 residential-commercial business model. Unexpected at the beginning… and incredible now!
In the early afternoon, Dom joined a Zoom call with a client for a virtual meeting.
Covid-19 brought about shifts in the traditional business of construction, even for an industry mostly deemed essential during the pandemic. Scrap-It initially prepared P&Ls to accommodate hosting and entertaining prospective clients with dinner or a round of golf. But busy schedules, along with the current state of the world, made the Scrap-It leadership to revaluate. As the needs and comfort levels of clients changed, Dom and his team remained flexible, learning the “brave new world.”
Scrap-It works in any environment convenient for the client; at the office, job site, local Starbucks or virtually.
During meetings, Dom’s focus is on two things:
- How can Scrap-It benefit this particular client in order to acquire the opportunity?
- How can Scrap-It benefit this particular client’s clients to acquire beyond this initial opportunity?
At the end of the day, the vision is growth, in some way or another. As an evolving business, Dom looks to offer clients premium services of incredibly high quality to not only gain immediate loyalty, but expand into a further reach.
Dom had a quick chat with Scrap-It’s investors to discuss a lead on a potential client.
Networking through connections is a strategy in itself to establish new business and also catch the attention of valuable investors. Sometimes, for better or for worse, it’s all about who you know. Dom and his brother were fortunate to have cousins overseas who had invested in the biggest waste provider of the UK, leveraging the technology Scrap-It had in mind to incorporate into their own business. The app is available for subcontractors right now on both iOS and Android app stores.
The two Co-founders licensed the technology from their cousins and, in exchange, provided equity of Scrap-It. This relationship is vital and serves as a stable force behind Scrap-It’s success. The implementation of this technology allows for real-time status updates, arrival/completion logs and pre/post pictures to document the job details along with an ability for clients to rate service; convenient and efficient! A client contacts Scrap-It of a project they need assistance with. The Scrap-It team book mostly subcontractors for the service as the middleman while also giving clients the assurance of observation and oversight.
Scrap-It acquires clients from a few different avenues. The team favors referrals, as each is a testament to a job well done and furthers the development of a strong reputation for the evolving company. Outside of referrals, Scrap-It’s support system of investors leveraging networking and their relationships on the back end to lead clients through the doors.
For those slightly daunted by the thought of establishing investor relations, Dom advises first establishing a team of individuals who are passionate about the business and focused on innovation with growth top of mind. Coming to a table of investors with merely a company or idea isn’t enough, but with the right team, anything is possible. Investors tend to bank on people with great ideas and infrastructure.
To stand out in a sea of competition, expanding upon brand awareness is necessary. Paid marketing efforts drive this concept, but Dom suggests nailing down service standards before pouring funds into advertising. Often, startups aim for rapid growth, but can’t deliver quality work from expanding too quickly. For Scrap-It, the focus is consistent customer service, with marketing strategies to follow once the team feels stable in the foundation. Investors love to see this!
“We said very early on to our inventors, we’re not taking your money to spend it on marketing… we’re taking your money to build a service based business that leverages tech to execute better than anyone else out there.”
Dom ended the day visiting a nearby job site to check in with another client about project details.
To blend in and avoid causing too much of a distraction, Dom and his team adhere to the pants-preferred and closed-toed shoe policy while on-site (in spite of the 100-degree Texas heat!) Hard hats and glasses routinely accompany the attire of an industrial site, while residential properties tend to require less specificity on dress codes.
Arriving at on-site meetings with prior knowledge of the job, strategies of execution and background information of the client are prerequisites for Scrap-It’s team. This preparation exemplifies passion and commitment while showcasing the company’s promise to deliver exceptional service from start to finish.
When it comes to the timeline of a project, things tend to vary depending on the job details. Some residential projects can range from 120 to 160 days to complete, while a commercial or luxury build could take up to two years. During this time, Scrap-It provides dumpsters and numerous sweeps/cleans depending on the stage of the build. Cleans during the lifeline of a project include frame, dry wall, brick, garage, rough and final. Oftentimes, different styles of cleans require specialists, which Scrap-It manages through delegation to subcontractors. Remaining adaptable and providing quick solutions for clients is key with the varying needs of the construction space.
During an active project, Dom gets his hands dirty whenever possible. First and foremost, he enjoys the work but the involvement also sets a “one team” tone for his employees. Along with his involvement, he offers support, guidance and direction to those working on-site as well as remaining present for the clients. This component includes distinguishing any fires and mitigating project complications by acting quickly, remaining transparent and communicating relevant information—the good and bad—to foster trust with clients.
If Dom’s not attending a business dinner or happy hour, which is rare these days given Covid-19, he tries to spend time with his family at night after work. They like to be outdoors together and often strike up a little friendly competition through a round of golf or a run. His daughter normally heads to bed by 8:00 PM and after she’s settled, he jumps back into work to outline his schedule for the next day.
Dom prefers to remain ‘on’ most nights although enjoying his work enough to feel unbothered by this habit. He is responsive and attentive with clients, but still remains balanced by knowing when to check out with a workout, vacation or a bit of quality family time. His self-awareness allows him to disconnect, recharge and return to his team fully focused. A successful day for Scrap-It ends with happy clients, business growth and task execution from the team.
“The plan for the immediate future at Scrap-It is to keep our heads down, stay focused, remain humble and keep growing. We try not to chase every shiny penny, but rather stay true to who we are.”
As Scrap-It continues to evolve, Dom also plans to expand the company reach beyond the current home base of Texas. As he likes to say, “we go wherever the clients go!”
Dom graduated from Southern Methodist University with a Business degree. He spent the next 13 years in the corporate world, growing in his role at Brinker International to Vice President. It was during this time Dom recognized the importance of developing a clear culture within a company and fostering an environment of praise and appreciation. With these learnings under his belt, Dom became passionate about instilling the same values within the teams he would lead in the future.
Dom eventually made the challenging decision to leave the comfortable and stable working world he established to follow his entrepreneurial spirit and pursue his interest of owning his own business. This process was challenging but with an already semi-established infrastructure in place to mitigate risk, Dom moved forward with trust and determination. Scrap-It was born in October of 2019. Over the past ten months, Dom, as President, his brother as the CFO, and the remarkable team of investors and employees have been focused on building long term growth.
What is your number one piece of advice to an aspiring entrepreneur?
Dom produces success by combining skill with a fearless attitude and strong work ethic. He believes in adaptability, flexibility and thoughtful planning to be the essential qualities of an entrepreneur. His primary piece of advice to those alike is to stay willing to put in the work. With the right mindset, success will follow.
What would you say to startups looking for early steps towards becoming profitable?
Dom offers two perspectives for those startups feeling the pressure of becoming profitable quickly.
Short term: build clients and focus on the bottom line.
Long term: nail down an exceptional business model and set of service standards to allow the quality of work to drive the company, form relationships and propel sustainable growth.
When financial gain is the only focus, it can be easy to get trapped into short term decision making. Most, if not all, startups won’t make money right from the start. This isn’t to suggest accumulating debt hand over fist, but thinking big picture will serve healthier long term growth than narrowing in on immediate gains. Dom advocates for examining margins, modeling strategies and acting with high standards.
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About the Author
Construction, Dallas, Real Estate, Scrap-It, entrepreneurship, industrial builds, residential builds, subcontractors, waste management