David Wells and Ryan Tolmich

A Most Interesting Person

This edition of AMIP takes us Washington state where we met a partnership that’s really cool. These guys make it work and have a lot of fun in the process. Readers meet David Wells and Ryan Tolmich and they own a company called Sunco Window Cleaning.

AWC- How long have you guys been in the industry?

Dave- since 2000. 

Ryan- since 2002.  

AWC- You haven't always been together as partners so what reasoning was there behind bringing the two companies together?

Dave- We both shared the same vision for having an actual "company" and not just a "job" cleaning windows.  Merging our businesses was a way to get there quicker.  More resources, more customers, synergy, and taking the best from both businesses all played into our hope for the future.  We also both wanted to move our businesses out of our homes. (LOL) 

AWC- What services do you currently offer?

Dave- We offer window cleaning, gutter & roof cleaning, moss removal and treatment, pressure washing, and window screen repair and replacement (in house).  All for both residential and commercial customers.

AWC- What area do you service?

Dave-The Greater Puget Sound Area.  Primarily South King and North Pierce counties.  From Seattle/Bellevue south to Olympia, west to Gig Harbor and east to Enumclaw.

AWC- They say that partnerships are a bad idea, what made you guys think that you could defy the odds of that statement?  

Ryan-We both already owned "successful" businesses in the industry that we had each built from the ground up.  We were self-taught technicians in the trade.  We considered the perceived strengths and weaknesses of each other.  Of course, business partnerships are like a marriage and people really learn a lot more about each other when they "move in" together.  We are both married so we kind of knew to expect that.  We really felt that our shared vision would be strong enough to carry us through a lot of tough times, and it has so far.

Small Business Success Story

AWC- How do you define your roles?

Dave- I watch the money and the numbers more closely.  I am in charge of Sunco's online presence and marketing. 

Ryan- I am more hands on with the day-to-day operations (employees, equipment, customer contact, invoicing, A/R), and I do most of our face-to-face networking.  Like everything else, our roles have evolved as we have grown.

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AWC-Which one of you is the worst at not staying in his role?  LOL

Ryan- Definitely Dave is worst at not staying in his role.  He tends to have his hands in everything, even the stuff that he doesn't like dealing with.  Some people might call him a "control freak".  He has a sign hanging outside his office door that reminds him (attached). To his credit, he has gotten a little better over the last 5 years. LOL...

AWC-Have you heeded the advice given to partnerships to plan for the divorce cause it’s going to happen?

Dave- Not really...So much work (you have no idea unless you have done it) went into creating Sunco and blending two different companies into one, we probably let that one get buried beneath it all.  Didn't want to let it scare us out of doing what we have done.

AWC-What frustrates you the most in business?

Dave-Trying to find good employees. 

Ryan-the change in seasons is really frustrating.

AWC- What is your greatest pride in what you have accomplished?

Dave and Ryan- To think that 5 years ago we were sitting in our nice brand new offices with no money in the bank and in the middle of the slow season talking (dreaming) about where we wanted to be at the end of our 5 year lease, and we are right there now.  We are at the revenues that we were talking about back then, with no debt.  Our consistent growth as a company and as individuals is a source of pride.  Also, we are very proud of providing jobs that pay a living wage to employees with families to support, and the working environment that Sunco provides for them.  

Dave and Ryan co-owners of SunCo
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