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Willey & Co’s Story
Larry Willey created the concept of Willey & Co back in 1970. Larry was working a day job at DuPont and decided that he did not want to work his entire life in a factory type job while working for someone else. Larry wanted to put to work his excellent business sense and his desire to make a difference in people’s lives.
Because of demand the septic industry had to expand with increasing growth in Delaware. Larry took a major risk when he decided to purchase a used backhoe. The intent of this purchase was to install septic systems on his days off, nights, and weekends. Having a client list of zero is definitely an uphill road to climb. This incredibly hard task of finding work helped mold his core business principles.
Whenever someone asked Larry to install a septic system for them, he made their job his own. He was genuinely interested in any customer’s story. He enjoyed meeting people. He began to develop the motto that we still uphold today. His interest in his customers lives, compassionate pricing, and attention to detail began to start a small buzz in the community. After a couple of years of installing septic systems on the side, he was developing a client base that he could not keep up with. He decided to leave DuPont to pursue the septic industry full time.
This was a tremendous leap of faith. His desire to make every customer happy and establish friendships was helping his business succeed. Slowly L.E. Willey & Co evolved into a successful business. His effort to create happy customers was having a much more dramatic effect on his customer base than he realized. As the years went by, Larry received calls from previous customers’ children and family members. This was the ultimate success in his business. He realized that his customers were so happy with him, they were going out in the community and recommending family and friends to use him for all their septic needs.
Larry grew the business to accommodate the growing demand that word-of-mouth advertising was creating. In the early 80’s Larry began working for several home builders. With new homes being built, Larry realized water wells and systems were a tremendous compliment to the business he had developed. He embraced the idea and started offering the well/hookup service. This was a very successful idea because his home builder clients had one less person to call, and Larry was able to offer a very reasonable price on the whole deal. Before long, second generations were calling from previous customers.
My father had me on the job, running the machines, and learning the business as soon as I could walk. My father instilled the principles for his success in my character. He did this simply by telling me about all of his experiences. As I got older, I began working on the job whenever I was not in school. I was earning extra money, learning the job, and helping my father manage the workload. I was mainly focused on the physical work that needed to be done, but I was constantly being told about all of the keys for success. As soon as I turned eighteen, I was obtaining licenses and creating a background in the business. I was working full time on the job while going to college.
For several years I continued this. I was starting to see how all the principles my father taught me through the years were coming to life. I went away to finish college. When I came home I decided to get more involved with the business. It was what I knew and was natural for me. I knew where I was supposed to be in life.
The transition took a couple of years. In 2005 my father stepped back and I took over. I restructured the company into Willey & Co Inc. We enjoyed a couple of good years after I took over. Those were good years for our economy. In late 2007 we got our first test in a bad economy. We saw our industry collapse around us. We saw horror stories happen to very respected clients and people in the industry. My leadership skills were put to the test. We made big decisions in this time era. We decided to do the opposite of our economy and expanded our services. Our entire company pulled together and did incredible things to get us through the worst economy in a long time. Our decisions paid off. Our expanded services helped us dramatically weather the economic storm.
2009 was a big year for Willey & Co. Willey & Co expanded its services by buying out Morris Well Drilling. This was a big move for us as it expanded our client list, enhanced our fleet, and grew our staff. Little did we know, this move was a great move. Willey & Co acquired some key staff members and equipment. It also required Willey & Co to need an office staff due to an expanded paper work demand.
In 2010 we started seeing our economy recover, some. It was amazing to see how the smart decisions we made to weather the storm are paying big dividends now. When you put together a great staff with good principles the results will be positive even if it’s not always clear.
As of 2012, our business has continued to grow. We started to see a rebound out of the recession. It was a great feeling to see the economy start growing again. The recession is something we will look back at for decades. Willey & Co is making plans to acquire a new home in Laurel. Willey & Co has always been a home business for the most part. We have stored materials and fleet at different locations throughout our history, but we are looking at building one property to finally call home.
2013 brought Willey & Co a new address, 11588 Commercial Lane. Our new Home. We even refined our image and marketing for the new place. We are honored and blessed to be able to have a central place to call our home. We have a indoor facility for our fleet and all staff members. 2013 also was another excellent year in growth. Growing pains come with growth, but we push forward.
Our goal is and always will be to satisfy our clients needs to the point where they are satisfied enough to be more than comfortable referring us to others. In fact we want them to go out of their way to refer us to others. That takes a lot of satisfaction and that’s how we aim to leave all clients.
I believe this philosophy will honor my father’s intention for this company, and we aim for our future to be based on the principles of the past!