Calibration Company Goes From Near Bankruptcy To Landing Panama Canal Job
Raising the rates on his calibration service business by 30 percent scared Marshall Doyle to death. But he had to do something.Despite having plenty of work and an 80-hour work week, Doyle’s business, Cal-Cert Company in Milwaukie, was upside down and its future looked bleak.
“I thought we might have to declare bankruptcy,” Doyle says.
He’d been meeting with counselors at the Small Business Development Center at Clackamas Community College, and their immediate recommendation was a rate increase.
Doyle decided to go for it, raising rates overnight. “I thought, worst-case scenario, I’d lose half my customers, and I only lost eight,” he says. “That advice helped us get over the hump, and get a recovery plan in place.”
Doyle, an Air Force veteran, bought Cal-Cert Company in 1999. He’d learned how to calibrate testing equipment in the military, working as a mechanic for F-15 jet fighters.
He trained with the previous company owner before taking over the business and thought he was up for the challenge.
“I was a great calibrator, I did great field work, and I thought that experience would carry over, but it didn’t prepare me to run my own business,” Doyle says.
He credits the SBDC with giving him the confidence to raise his rates, hire more workers and step back and run his business instead of letting it run him.
Cal-Cert Company has quadrupled in size, acquiring several small calibration companies around the U.S., a process Doyle says the SBDC helped guide him through.
Business has continued to thrive for Cal-Cert Company.
In fact, it received the contract to do calibration services for the Panama Canal expansion, one of the largest and most ambitious construction projects in the world.