Mold remediation company: from startup to success in 2 years
Elizabeth Ponce started a mold remediation company, a one-person business also specialized in asbestos and lead abatement, demolition and plumbing in 2004. It was a runaway success, going from billing $40,000 in its first year to $900,000 in the second. And according to Ponce, it was all done through the Hispanic Contractors’ Association of Dallas-Fort Worth (HCADFW).
She had worked for some time in the same industry – remediation of asbestos-containing buildings and mold remediation – but the contractor was in financial difficulties. Wanting to change jobs, Ponce went to several HCADFW members for advice. “The people at HCADFW were all very supportive and helpful,” she says. “They believed I was knowledgeable and experienced enough and encouraged me to start my own asbestos and mold remediation company.”
It was a big decision, but three months later she launched Ponce Contractors.
“I kept going to courses available through the association,” says Ponce, ”and learned more about how to grow a construction business, read plans and put together business proposals.” She also attended an HCADFW-sponsored course called “Project Management.”
Ponce retained a lawyer and a CPA through recommendations of the HCADFW and used her contacts at the association to market her new mold remediation company.
“Being in the association introduced me to key people in the city and at the airport,” says Ponce. “I was always at the contractor meetings and then they suggested I run for the HCADFW Board. I was elected and that really strengthened the relationships I’d built. They taught me a lot and many of those early contacts have become major contractors.”
A key opportunity came in February 2005 when Frank Cortez, also a member of HCADFW, who was in charge of minority contracting for Dallas Area Rapid Transit, encouraged Ponce to bid on a contract. It was a $4.2-million job, but it was let in small portions over the next five years.
“That one project sustained us in the early years,” she says. “In fact, I owe it all to that one contract.”
And the stability guaranteed the mold remediation company’s future. In 2011, Ponce Contractors will bill $7 million.
“HCADFW played a key role because it gave us credibility with contractors, local agencies, the Chamber of Commerce, and even with national organizations,” says Ponce.
Now a major contractor in her own right with offices in Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston, Ponce is widely recognized for her achievements and has won many business awards. And she always gives HCADFW credit for its role in her success.