Even though Travis Gemmel had exceptional credit and money saved up, he was having a frustrating experience trying to get financing for his new excavating business, Walnut Grove Excavating. Banks were turning him away simply because his company didn’t have an extensive track record yet. But Travis knew the business was going to thrive, if only he could get access to the equipment it would take to grow.
And that’s where Team Financial Group enters the picture, but let’s go back to Travis’s story.
Leaving the Corporate World for Entrepreneurship
Travis had a solid job with a fantastic West MI-based company. The problem was, he found that the higher he climbed the corporate ladder, the less he was able to do what he really loves – working with customers. As he was wrestling with this, Travis and his wife bought an old farmhouse to renovate.
During the renovation process, Travis had a hard time finding someone to take on excavation for their project. Excavation companies simply were not getting back to him, and that made him aware of an opportunity to start a business.
Since owning his own company had been a lifelong dream, this was an exciting prospect. Travis reached out within the industry to find out if it was realistic to start an excavating business that took on jobs the other companies were too busy to handle (or even call back potential customers). Based on his research, it sounded completely viable, and he was one step closer to achieving that dream of being a business owner.
So, in 2017 Travis launched Walnut Grove Excavating, a Lowell-based company that provides services throughout the greater Grand Rapids community.
The Challenges of Finding Financing From Banks
Having a solid business plan, excellent credit, and money saved, unfortunately, isn’t enough for banks to provide financing. When Travis went to traditional lenders, the fact that he simply didn’t have professional excavating experience became a setback.
This is a common experience. While banks are institutional structures that become “too big to fail” and can offer decent rates, they can have stringent requirements that don’t take the big picture into account. And the application process doesn’t enable them to truly understand the individuals and businesses who could become loyal customers.
Fortunately for Travis, and other entrepreneurs and businesses, there are other financing options available. Private lenders, like Team Financial Group, can devote time to listening to customers and understanding their business models and situations. By doing so, we can help finance more companies and give entrepreneurs a better chance at realizing their own dreams.
Partnering and Growing With Team Financial
Before coming to Team Financial, Travis had been renting equipment and it was enabling him to start growing his fledgling company. But he was getting to the point where he needed more, and it was obvious the banks were not going to provide any assistance.
While talking with an equipment supplier about his struggles in getting financing, Travis was recommended to give Team Financial Group a chance to see if we could help him. He took the recommendation, applied for financing, and was able to secure the money he needed to purchase a dump truck for his company.
“That loan was huge for me,” Travis said. “Getting the dump truck allowed us to double our growth. They helped me a lot.”
In addition to the actual financing itself, Travis appreciated the process and how he was treated. He says that it’s great to work with a company that focuses on people and shows how much they care through actions. Travis recalled how, when meeting with Corey Sandner (Team Financial Group’s director of equipment finance services), “the owner came by and checked in. Not as an interrogation – just interested to see how I was doing.”
Walnut Grove Is Thriving!
Since working with Team Financial Group, Travis has been able to finance multiple pieces of equipment. And this has led to him growing Walnut Grove Excavating from a single-person operation in 2017 to a team of eight (so far) in 2022.
Travis’s company is a full-service excavator that mainly focuses on septic system replacement work for residential customers, which is around 80% of his business. Walnut Grove also handles some commercial work as well.
As a one-stop shop, services Travis provides include driveway installs, culverts, new foundations, final grading, septic systems, water lines, sewer hookups, drain field installations, and demolition. If someone else would be a better fit for a customer’s project, though, he’s happy to help them find the person they need. And that aligns with his mission to focus on exceptional customer service.
To learn more about Walnut Grove Excavating, check out their website. And if you live in West Michigan and happen to need excavating services, Travis provides free quotes. If you need excavation and work and would like one, you can connect with him here.