Mission possible: With the SBDC
David Ramsey’s 3 Guys Transport is a business driven by a mission. David already knew the needs in Southwest Virginia and started his business to meet them. He already knew the medical transport business; he had worked as a driver for five years. “I saw a lot of people who had terrible health problems and didn’t have any way to get to medical appointments,” he says. “I knew the needs out there.”
David also knew those needs were about to grow. “After the first of next year, we’ll have 400,000 more people on Medicaid in Virginia,” he notes. “I expect at least 200,000 of them will come out of Southwest Virginia.”
David, along with Bo Tackett, Brandon O-Quinn, and Ronnie Deel, decided it was a good time to start a transport company. David’s first stop was the Mt. Empire SBDC. “Tim Blankenbecler walked us through everything,” David says. “The state had so many things we had to do that I wrote out a list.” First, the SBDC assisted David with DMV requirements and with acquiring appropriate licenses. Then Tim helped David develop a business plan. “Tim really helped us out on the business side,” David says. “One of the first things we needed to do was decide on a central location.”
An office in the Pioneer Center Business Incubator in Duffield became the company headquarters. This location also allowed 3 Guys to obtain a low-interest loan of $25,000 from the Scott County Economic Development Authority Loan Program. Using the loan money as matching funds, they applied for a $10,000 Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) Seed Capital Matching grant. “The SBDC really helped us get the EDA loan and VCEDA grant,” David notes. With the loan and grant funds, plus $34,000 in owner investment for a total of $69,000, 3 Guys has been able to increase its fleet of vehicles from four to ten.
David says each vehicle in the fleet translates into another job for a new driver and the ability to serve more clients. The company currently employees eight people.
David continues to consult the SBDC on a regular basis. “Every two or three weeks, I’ll call Tim and throw some ideas off him,” David comments. “Generally he’ll tell me, ‘Here’s the positive, and here’s the negative on that.’ It’s nice to have someone you can call on, who will give you an honest point of view.”
“Tim and I talked about future plans.” David adds, “We’re actually ahead of our projections.” David hopes to add more drivers and vehicles every year, eventually employing 21 drivers. “It’s not a 9 to 5 job,” David says. It is, in fact, more of a mission. “Whatever it takes to get the job done, we’ll do it,” he says. “We feel blessed to be able to help others in their time of need.”
“I always tell others, be smart about what you do,” he concludes. “Going to the SBDC is smart; it’s the best resource you’ve got to learn the nuts and bolts of business.”