Invested in Success
Spray Foam Magazine – Starting any new business can be a logistical nightmare. However, logistics can sometimes play to an owner’s advantage. The Spray Foam Magazine Team (SFMT) spoke with one company owner whose logistics have kept competition from his front door.
Abaco Spray Foam Insulation is owned and run by Tyler Survance, who was born and raised in the Abaco Islands of the Bahamas. The Abaco Islands lie in the northern Bahamas, with the main islands being Great Abaco and Little Abaco. There are also several smaller barrier cays dotted around the larger islands with many of the smaller islands being uninhabited and some of the inhabited islands not having a barge crossing. The Islands comprise of limestone with some elevation and are protected on the ocean side by the third-largest barrier reef in the world.
Tyler left the Abaco’s to get his college education in the United States and started a yacht management business. He always had plans to return to the islands but after hurricane Dorian destroyed the place he calls “home,” he knew he had to return to help with the reconstruction of the area. To this day, the islands are still under construction and have many more years of rebuilding left, three and a half years after Dorian. Initially, Tyler spent roughly three months helping to clean up the Abaco Islands, after which Tyler went back to the U.S. to try and salvage what was left of his yacht management company after a long time away. There, he soon realized his need to move back to the Abaco’s. His father has a roofing company in Marsh Harbour, Abaco, which has been running for over 25 years. When Tyler heard there was no local spray foam companies in the area and the closest one was in Nassau, 90 miles away, he saw a great opportunity to start a business, especially following a major hurricane as everything needed to be rebuilt.
Tyler really did not know much about the spray foam business, so after some research he made the decision to go to Georgia and attend Profoam Corporation’s renowned training courses to get the skills he needed to proceed. He then trained his crew who all had various skills in construction including electrical and plumbing. These abilities help greatly when maintaining the equipment. “We also have a spray foam prayer we say, to get everything working again,” laughs Tyler. Now having his first rig, he hit the ground running. He soon realized that only one rig was not going to work. It was not the cost of an extra rig that was the issue, it was down to the logistics.
Having just the one rig was causing the company to miss out on business. A project may happen on one island, everything gets shipped out to that island on the scheduled date and other trades may be behind on their work and the rig ends up sitting there. “Everything on the islands works slower, the electrician or plumber may run over and reschedule. What tended to happen was the rig was there and my guys would be sitting around waiting,” said Tyler.
TOP: The Abaco Spray Foam Insulation crew (from left to right): Cody Albury, Scott Albury, Tyler Survance, and Jakelin Darius with the third small rig, which is used on the cays where the roads are very small; BOTTOM: Spray foam material is shipped to Abaco Spray Foam Insulation from the U.S. mainland via freight boat and the team then needs to use barges to transport their rigs to the outer cays.
Due to there being several islands, the Abaco Spray Foam crew must be extremely organized with shipping their rigs and equipment out on barges to the relevant job sites. Tyler emphasized, “I needed to keep a steady flow of work for the crew, so I purchased a second 16ft rig which was a little smaller than the first 18ft rig originally purchased. We also realized that working on the islands where the roads are small and narrow, we needed something even smaller, so I then purchased a 12ft rig, which is now our Cay (meaning small island) rig. Having three rigs is the key number to keeping everyone busy, and clients happy. We can now break off into groups to get the work done on different islands.”
At the Heeley Project, old open-cell foam, which was once wet, was removed before Scott Albury from the Abaco Spray Foam insulation crew installed new foam to the interior walls and ceiling.
The Abaco Spray Foam rigs are shipped on either a flat barge from the mainland to the cays, or the local inter-island freight boat. The shipping and duty rates on spray foam material and parts can be upwards of an additional 60%-80% of the cost of equipment/material once landed in the Bahamas.
Tyler’s three rigs are each pulled by pick-up trucks to be able to service the mainland and cays. He also has boats that are used for transporting materials and transporting crews to jobsites on the outer cays.
The crews’ logistical skills were proven on a larger job in Bakers Bay. Bakers Bay is a very high-end golf/marina resort, located in Great Guana Cay, Abaco, Bahamas. The house, called the Heeley Project, is made up of four separate buildings built on the beach. The house even has its own full size tubular water slide, which was being replaced while the Abaco crew were spraying. The reason for spraying the structure was to not only insulate the 9,000 sq ft of roof space, but to add as much strength to the structure as possible. Hurricane Dorian caused major damage to the house so, the goal with the remodel was to make the house as strong as possible in the event of another major hurricane.
The five-man crew first prepped the job by laying 1.5 mil poly on all floor areas as well as covering all windows with poly. They used an 18ft V-nose trailer, PMC PH-2, drum pumps, PMC hose and Graco pro connect gun. They applied nine sets of Carlisle’s 2.0lb closed-cell foam at four inches throughout the underside of the roof, which consisted of plywood and two-by-six-inch rafters. The entire project took seven days including prep, spray, clean up.
The logistical obstacles of moving from island to island may have deterred other SPF companies from attempting to set up operations between the islands. These challenges have therefore been a benefit to Abaco Spray Foam, keeping the competition low. With three rigs, five trucks and two work boats to coordinate the company’s daily operations, which includes transporting crew and materials, the company heavily invested in its success.
Tyler took the initiative when identified a niche in the market and after two and a half years, his spray foam business is thriving. He concluded by saying, “The success of Abaco Spray Foam, wouldn’t be possible without my reliable team.”
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