In the Spring of 2007, a young couple started scheming how to start their own business. They had lofty visions of freedom, money in the bank, and a better life.
Talking with a brother in-law, the subject of spray foam insulation came up. It sure sounded like a wonderful business to get into! Boehs Construction (Cory’s employer and family) had several projects coming up with this amazing foam specced out.
So, Cory starts researching online and talking to the banker. Money is borrowed for equipment and a trailer, and life is good.
What should they name this new venture? Something that makes people think of the state they will be in once they use this wonderful stuff! Cool Foam was the first choice, but the email email@example.com was taken, so changing the name to Kool Foam was decided. A tagline was based off of “Got Milk?”, and Alfalfa County’s newest business was up and running.
A supplier is found that is local, best in the business, will help set up the foam rig. Equipment is priced, ordered, and eagerly waited for. A used trailer is purchased, and when the big boxes with the equipment starts showing up, plans are made for the supplier to come help install equipment and get training done.
The First Job
Cory by then has sold the first job! Boehs Construction had a ready to move home heading for Greensburg, Kansas, that was being constructed on the lot in Helena.
The morning that the supplier is showing up, Cory is up early, getting the house ready to spray. Masking windows, making sure that everything is clean and prepped. The supplier finally calls apologizing that he is running late. At 3:00 in the afternoon, he finally arrives. Equipment is installed in trailer (more like thrown in the back), and they are ready to spray by 8:00 that night. Somewhere in there, the supplier mentions that he has places that he needs to be the next day. So, while Sue takes Brooklyn and Casey home to bed, Cory gets a whopping 2 hours of training!
The next morning, Cory is on the job, looking with apprehension at all of the blue paint that he has purchased. After hunting a while, the On switches are located, and he’s ready to spray. He puts on the white suits that were recommended, started up the supplied air respirator that he purchased on Ebay for a bargain, and started spraying the walls. Hmmmm…. The foam did not seem to be smoothing out as nice as he had seen it sprayed before, and it sure was hot! By 9:00 that morning, the temps were approaching 100 degrees. After lunch was when the education really started. The amazing, best in the industry $2000 spray gun clogged up. Cory looked at it with consternation, and called the supplier. Phone went straight to voicemail, so he started digging in to the gun. No more foam was sprayed that day. Finally the next day, he managed to get the gun working enough to keep spraying, until the next time it clogged up.
What should have been an easy 1 day job ended up taking 3. Cory still says someone could have bought a foam business for cheap that day! After the job was completed, Cory seen the homeowner coming down out of the house in a hurry, and making fast tracks toward him. He groaned inside, and headed to meet him. As he got closer, Cory realized the customer had a huge grin on his face! The customer was very happy with the job, and was impressed with how the foam had sealed the house up.
Somewhere during the stress of finishing up the house, another customer had called and wanted a cold room in a flower shop sprayed. So, the next morning, Sue and Cory head up to Alva to start their next job. That day, and the next day no foam was sprayed. The spray gun refused to cooperate. Tucking their tails between their legs, the entrepreneurial couple heads home. Not sure what to do next, Cory calls an experienced foam contractor, and asks if they can get some help.
The next morning found Kool Foam heading South for help. 2 days are spent with Joe Kanneday, with some real training being done. Suggestions are made for the trailer, tips for cleaning the gun, and techniques for spraying foam are given. The job in Alva is finished up, and Kool Foam is in business!
The next 2 years were spent with Sue helping as she could, or Cory going to do jobs by himself. Cory kept his job at Boehs Construction, with them being nice enough to give him time off when there was foaming to be done.
In February of 2009, the little trailer that Cory had labored so hard to build was too small. A new 28′ gooseneck with larger equipment was ordered. Talk about nice! There were a few tense moments after that, as the spring work was slow.
In the summer of 2009, a shop was built on the yard to store chemical and the trailer. Boehs Construction had been kind enough to let Kool Foam use part of their shop until that point.
After that, the number of jobs were steadily climbing. Temporary help was hired, and Cory thought he had it made! Cory still did the spraying, but had an extra set of hands for masking off and cleanup.
Adding To The Team
In January of 2010, Travis Jantz called and asked to join Kool Foam. Cory took a deep breath, and hired Kool Foam’s first foam applicator. He wasn’t sure that there was enough work to support a full time employee. Cory and Travis had many candid conversations about how to make this work. With Travis spraying, Cory could concentrate more on selling, which turned out to be amazing. Travis had a foam rig of his own, that he sold to Kool Foam that fall, which brought the rig count to 2.
More employees were hired to help with cleanup and prep work. Cory and Travis continued spraying, and having a great time. Jobs were plentiful, and the volume of business kept expanding.
In early 2012, a pipeline company called asking Kool Foam to spray some trench breakers. The crew was in Canadian Texas spraying a shop, and went and sprayed the breakers on the way back. After seeing the need for foam trench breakers, and how to construct them, Kool Foam started to actively pursue the market. A breaker truck was purchased in May, and the work started to come in. More applicators were hired, the shop was built on to, and life was good! Cory was mainly selling and overseeing the operations of the business, and not spraying much by then.
In September, a large pipeline project contract was awarded, and another breaker truck was set up. By this time, Cory knew he was way over his head! Cory and Sue started attending business coaching classes, and their eyes were opened to systems, working ON the business instead of for it, and a multitude of other life changing ideas. Based on this, they approached Roger Unruh and retained him as General Manager. They had talked about this before, but it just wouldn’t happen. Cory still thinks Roger could hear the desperation in his voice, but the final outcome was that Roger came onboard.
The end of 2012 and the start of 2013 brought several changes. Ryan Madrid came on as an applicator. Travis moved on to a position as an electrician at a different company. Kenwood Holdeman came on as an applicator. Logan Kuepfer came on as an applicator. Both interior rigs were upgraded with new trailers. More scissor lifts were bought to deal with the increased demand.
In April, Kool Foam acquired Alva Building and Insulation, which also increased their customer base. ABS’ foam rig was wrapped to match the other rigs, and Kool Foam’s capacity was increased again.
With a manager, business started to really come together. Systems were built for every aspect of business. The accounting was getting done. Paperwork was moved to electronic submissions from the field to the office with tablets. Invoices and quotes were sent out in a timely manner. Once again, Kool Foam’s revenue and work load were climbing the charts!
So that brings us to today. Kool Foam is no longer only Cory and Sue’s dream. We are a team of families with a common dream of advancing the company to greater heights. We have several new industries that we are working at getting into. Customer satisfaction is at an all-time high.