Family Matters: The Story of Ultra-Bag
June 18, 2018
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Insulation wasn’t exactly a part of Carl Harris’ career plan.
“Before this all started, we were a consulting firm. For the last ten years, we’ve worked with manufacturers, distributors, and other key players in a variety of fields and industries.”
Carl’s firm helped clients with all the ins and outs of their business, from top to bottom.
“We were helping them with business processes, leadership, development, sales, marketing, IT, human resources, and so forth. Really anything they needed, we could provide.”
One of Carl’s clients was an HVAC company specializing in insulation. They were having some problems with efficiencies, which gave him an idea.
There was a weakness in the market as it related to the products that had waste removal bags and suits. What was out there was an inferior product that was low-quality and overpriced.
“We identified the fact that there was a weakness in the market as it related to the products that had waste removal bags and suits. What was out there was an inferior product that was low-quality and overpriced.”
This piqued Carl’s interest so much that he decided to make a change.
“Because we worked in consulting for so long, we were able to easily identify the problem and see where solutions needed to be driven. It was because of those parameters that we knew we’d be able to successfully add something new to the market.”
With a decade of experience behind him, Carl set off on a new adventure: insulation waste removal bags.
Out with the Old
So, Carl set out to work.
“We were able to identify efficiencies in the development of a product. Then, within the product, we were able to create greater service points that would allow us to capture business that was seen as ancillary.”
Nobody seemed to give much thought to the bag that holds insulation waste, or the suits worn to remove it. They were created out of necessity, and no one seemed to care much about their quality. That was Carl’s opportunity.
Nobody seemed to give much thought to the bag that holds insulation waste, or the suits worn to remove it. They were created out of necessity, and no one seemed to care much about their quality.
“Nobody using these products really knew what good quality looked like. So, we created a waste removal bag that was better than any of the bags in the market, and we did it at a price that was reasonable, as opposed to what the market was providing.”
Carl’s bags and suits were head and shoulders above the competition. So far, that they called them “Ultra.”
“We decided to base our entire business on this often-forgotten product and it’s worked, it’s worked for us.”
But, a great product isn’t all that Ultra-Bag provides. As a small business, they offer a personal touch that the big guys can’t.
Service capability is a major part of our business. We had to think about how we could perform above and beyond what the competition was offering.
“We don’t leave our customers in the dark. We make sure that problems are solved expediently, and our product is there when they need it. Service capability is a major part of our business. We had to think about how we could perform above and beyond what the competition was offering. That’s what we brought to the table.”
For Carl to run his business the way he wanted, he needed a team he could trust to work hard, and share his vision.
Thankfully, his recruiting process only took him to the living room.
A Family Affair
Carl didn’t have to look far for employees.
Ultra-Bag works with independent contractors and distributors, but Carl’s core team is his family.
“We’re a family-owned business. We have a large family, so that helps. My wife, and four sons help out with the business.”
Large might be a bit of an understatement. Carl and his wife have eight children in total, which you’d think would spell some tension around the house.
But, Carl wouldn’t have it any other way. To him, this model has helped Ultra-Bag develop and grow into what it is today.
When people find out that we’re family-owned and operated, many of them would rather give us a try than the big guy.
“We’re synergized in our vision, our objectives, and our goals. We’re completely aligned with each other on our approach.”
Plus, Carl says, Ultra-Bag’s customers love it.
“It helps stave-off the competition. Our direct competitor is a large, corporate-owned entity, and do their job really well. But, when people find out that we’re family-owned and operated, many of them would rather give us a try than the big guy.”
Ultra-Bag doesn’t just talk the talk.
“We had a contractor call us in a panic, saying that he needed bags delivered to a job site two hours away from us at 5AM. To his surprise, we said absolutely, and were there right on time. Our competitors don’t do that. Without my family and our values, we couldn’t offer that type of service.”
That’s the personal touch of small business. Contractors gravitate to Ultra-Bag not only for their high-quality products, but because they care.
Carl seeks out the type of service he offers. So, when paying his suppliers in China with Wells Fargo, he constantly searched for a better, more personal way.
That’s when he found Veem.
A Helping Hand
Like many small business owners, Carl manufactures his products overseas.
“We purchase product out of several different places, and one of those is China. We’ve worked with several manufacturers, and needed to pay them for the great service they provide us.”
Carl was having a ton of trouble sending payments internationally.
“We needed to make sure our wires were being appropriately received by the manufacturer in China. We needed to ensure we were communicating properly, and that procedures were done correctly. Our previous bank couldn’t guarantee that. We’ve had delayed orders, lost revenue, and time from this awful process.”
Time and time again, Carl’s payments were mishandled. He was fed up.
“My son started doing some research and came across Veem. When you’re dealing with money, you’re dealing with high risk. But, when we found that the backing was reliable, and decided to give it a try.”
We needed to make sure our wires were being appropriately received by the manufacturer in China. We needed to ensure we were communicating properly, and that procedures were done correctly. Our previous bank couldn’t guarantee that.
From that point, Carl was hooked.
“We were incredibly impressed from the get go. Veem’s representatives in China made contact with our manufacturer’s CFO, and actually put the deal together as it needed to be. They answered all their questions, and even helped with some manual entry. The experience was just fabulous.”
Carl found the personal touch he was looking for, where he least expected to find it.
“I had a need, and was stuck in a difficult situation. I couldn’t communicate with the big corporation that was my previous bank to make sure that everything ran smoothly. Veem was able to connect the dots for us, and give individualized service. They care about the little guy. That’s an iconic value that we share.”
“Because of that, I’ll never go anywhere else. I’ll stay with Veem as long as they’ll have me.”
Ultra-Bag is a family. They care about each other like they care about their customers.
Connection and community are at the heart of Ultra-Bag. Carl and his family are shining examples of these values, and represent what we love about small business.
All that from insulation bags. Who would’ve thought?