All Cen Tex- An Interview with Robert Negrete

Can you tell us the backstory about your personal history and how you got into the septic business? Say a little bit about your journey into this company.
Well, I’m originally from California, and I went into the Army as a young man. Then I got station in Fort Hood in 1977, which is obviously in Texas, halfway between Austin and Waco. I completely fell in love with Texas, the people, the food, just about everything. In 1983, I got a job cleaning septic tanks and I didn’t even know what it was at the time. In October it’s our 30 year anniversary of being in business. We’re just a little pumping company in Texas that just keeps pumping away.

How is your business model set up? When you were putting your company into action, how did that all fall into place?
The only business model I’ve ever really had is to be the best pumping service available. I didn’t have any plans for multiple employees or tricks to get customers, but I’ve learned people will pay for quality service. That was my model more than anything. Be the best and let everything else just take care of itself.

What kind of industry research have you done to make aspects of your business successful?
When I first started out I looked around at other companies to see what they offer. I wanted the best locational trucks around so when it was time to look for them, I really paid attention to top notch vehicles. The reputation for heavy duty trucks, I plugged away saving for a long time to be able to get what I needed. Finally I bought Mack Trucks and it’s paid off over twenty years.

What are the main types of services you offer?
Some of the different services we offer include septic tank maintenance, septic tank treatment, pumping, grease traps, lint traps, mud pits, waste water treatment for plant sludge, and we also are on standby for utility contracts for different municipalities around here. Septic pumps and industrial non-hazard pumping mainly.

What are some of the qualities of All Cen Tex that make you different from others in your industry and area?
It all goes back to being in the industry and coming from the Army my motto is “first in service second to none” I modified that from the old combat slogan. So it’s really all about having great equipment and keeping an exceptional office staff to service our clients. We have customers that see our trucks and are impressed with how kept up they are. That’s a big part of why we are different.

What do you aim for as a growth percentage rate, and what are some difficulties along the way that you tackle?
It’s hard to put it into specific percentages, but we just go at it and see where the chips fall along the way. We set ourselves apart and get new customers that believe in us to show that what they are paying for is well worth it. They see the difference in a quality company with great technicians and what it can do for them in the long run.

Who works at the company along with you as the owner?
We have two office ladies and they do a great job of being informative and answering questions when our customers call in. We also have two lead technicians and they each have a helper on the truck working with them at all times. We don’t charge extra for the additional labor, it just helps us to be more efficient on the job, so that we can take an extra job or two a day.

How do you boost your workers’ skills and morale?
The best thing we do is to have the helpers, Peter and Jason. They have their own system down on how to do the job well. They work really well together. Our technicians and helpers are all licensed. They aren’t just diggin holes, they are all learning while out there to do a better job.

So you’re mainly a septic pumping company as far as your equipment and trucks go?
Pumping service trucks are what we mainly use as a premier pumping company. We have tried installation, but we are just a pumping company that focuses on the best pumping services with quality work and fair price for our customers.

Tell us a little about your client base?
Being in business for 30 years we have a solid customer base. All of all clients are the biggest and the best, from small to large. We have government contacts, local city, and we do some University of Texas work. Every base is covered around here.

What are the most challenging hurdles you encounter in your industry?
At first building vendor relationships is a process. Afterall, they help you be successful in any line of work. If you don’t have good vendors it’s going to be tough to survive. We value them very much. As far as rules and regulations go, you have to adapt to changes in the industry or you’ll be left behind. Don’t complain. Just make the changes you need to make and evolve and adapt to the current climate. That may be customer based changes, but you have to cater to whatever is going on.

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