Subject: Jerry Williams/Queen City Recovery – Buffalo, NY, USA
Late in August, 2010 the Global Network for Entrepreneurs with Disabilities (GNED) was presented with its first call for assistance by an entrepreneur with a disability. Jerry Williams, the owner of Queen City Recovery, a Buffalo, New York based towing and vehicle recovery business was approached by a local restaurant and banquet facility named Templeton Landing to present a business proposal for snow removal services for the winter season. Mr. Williams has a learning disability (dyslexia) and is unable to formulate a written proposal. His search for mentorship led him to VESID, the Office of Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities, a state funded agency. VESID supports job seekers and students with no provision for entrepreneurs. They located GNED on an internet search and referred Jerry to us.
Being close to the Canada border, the winter season lasts 5 months and snow may arrive as early as October 1. That left Jerry with just about 4 weeks as a deadline to deliver the proposal. Templeton Landing had an ongoing problem with service delivery with prior snow removal contractors as well as the valet service and landscaping. Jerry had recently established a working relationship with Templeton Landing as a towing service to remove unauthorized vehicles from the parking lot. He had proven to be reliable and built a great rapport with the General Manager. The GM intimated that this could grow beyond snow removal to a complete external facility maintenance contract.
Linda Fitzpatrick, one of GNED’s founding members, also resides in NY State and volunteered to conduct a phone interview with Mr. Williams to get more of the back story, assess his needs and the viability of the contract and make a recommendation to the group to take on the project. Once agreed, an ad hoc team was formed to start work with Jerry, not for Jerry. Ed Larsen (also a founding member) and Linda Fitzpatrick were designated to the project. We arranged a phone conference with Jerry to discuss what was needed, to set tasks for intelligence gathering and to agree on deadlines for phases of the project.
It was decided that we would compile a professional proposal for a complete external facility maintenance contract. Separate quotations would be calculated for snow removal, seasonal planting, spring and fall cleanups, lawn maintenance and valet parking service. Templeton Landing would have the option of selecting all or any combination of services to start with.
Linda took on a Project Manager role, setting phone conferences, coordinating information, keeping Jerry to task and on time and continually asking probing questions to make sure we could trust the information we were getting.
Jerry was charged with a good deal of the local legwork and frequently met with the General Manager to fine tune their needs, discuss payment terms, get historical data including who they work with and what they pay, and ascertain the sensitive points to focus on for a winning proposal.
Ed conducted research and interviewed successful business owners of snow removal, retail facility maintenance and landscaping companies (not local competitors) for insight on optimal pricing structures that would be competitive yet allow for an acceptable profit margin. Ed was in charge of writing the proposal to present Queen City as a total solution, a one-stop resource so that the restaurant management can focus their efforts on the customer experience once they enter the door. A graphics package was utilized to give the proposal a clean, attractive and cohesive feel.
The proposal was completed on time and the finished product was beyond anything Jerry Williams imagined. He proudly delivered and presented the proposal in person to the Templeton Landing management and forwarded an additional original to the chain’s corporate office in California. He now has a template to use for bidding on future contracts.