ACT Environmental Services: 8 SBA loans in 10 years
When Walt Singer started ACT Environmental Services in 2000, he was one of three employees working half days on Tuesdays and Thursdays transporting hazardous chemicals. In 15 years, ACT has become a full-service, nationally recognized leader in environmental management and recycling, expanding to 250 employees and 110 trucks servicing over a dozen U.S. states and Mexico. Multiple SBA 504 loans from TMC Financing helped ACT grow.
“We attribute our growth to the quality of our people,” Singer said. “We look for the best and brightest, pay them well above market and expect premium performance. We have a very high quality of service and a broad product offering. We’re like a drug,” he joked. “Our clients keep on coming back.”
As ACT’s business grew from simply transporting hazardous waste to a full range of environmental management services, the company utilized an SBA 504 loan to build the company headquarters in Sunnyvale, California, in 2005. Since then, ACT has accessed SBA 504 financing from TMC seven more times as it added facilities. Most recently, ACT purchased buildings in Albuquerque and Chaparral, New Mexico, with TMC SBA 504 loans.
“Our business requires a large investment in infrastructure that just wouldn’t be feasible if we were leasing,” Singer said. “It doesn’t make sense to make long-term investments in someone else’s property. It just wouldn’t pay off.” Singer noted that the permitting and risk aspects of waste management would be impossible with a landlord. “We really need to own our own facilities,” he said. “Property ownership is the way to go, long-term.”
ACT is a single-source supplier for all hazardous and biological waste management, recycling, disposal, treatment, health, safety and compliance needs. The employee-owned company has more than 500 clients, large and small, across a diverse realm of industries. ACT clients, on average, recycle more than 87 percent of their waste shipments.
Mutliple SBA loans fuel success
“Without the SBA 504 loan program, we’d be 30 percent less successful,” Singer said. “We’re in a high-growth business with a great demand for cash. If we had to come up with a much higher down payment, we’d have that much less to put into our business.”
Singer said that beyond economic sense, owning its own facilities gives ACT stability. “It gives us security to have building assets to support 250 employees,” he said, “and in our business, it’s been a great selling point to our clients that we’re in it for the long-term.”