T&T Spray Foam – Insulating West Nipissing with savings
Armed with a spray foam gun, T & T Spray Foam is helping clients save money on their utility bills by reducing unwanted heat loss.
Brothers Nikolas and Sebastien Toulouse come from a family that's been in the construction business for several generations. When the ambitious, hard-working young men from Sturgeon Falls, Ontario decided to strike out on their own in 2016, they ran into difficulty trying to secure a loan from traditional lending institutions. That's when the pair turned to Economic Partners Sudbury East/West Nipissing Inc. for help with establishing their spray foam insulation company.
"We're in the business of economic development, job creation and economic diversification," stated Neil Fox, General Manager, Economic Partners Sudbury East/West Nipissing Inc. "The two young lads had some skin in the game and came from a family that's renowned in this area for its work ethic. As a Community Futures Development Corporation, we can take risk based on character and our knowledge of the people and the region we serve. I like to view it as investing in opportunities. And we're very pleased with their results to date, I might add."
A not-for-profit, business-focused organization, Economic Partners Sudbury East/West Nipissing Inc. is one of 24 Northern Ontario Community Futures Development Corporations funded by FedNor. Its mandate is to support community economic planning and development, offer free business counselling, and provide small businesses with access to commercial financing.
With a loan in hand in April 2016, the brothers purchased a trailer equipped with a big diesel generator, compressor and a spray foam machine, and launched T&T Spray Foam. Initially, the pair did some advertising to raise awareness about their services and drum up business. Now, they rely primarily on Kijiji, an online classified advertising service, as well as word-of-mouth to generate sales inquiries. Working primarily in the West Nipissing area, demand for their services continues to grow.
"I have had some customers call me back to tell me that spray foam insulation has helped them cut their heating bills by as much as 40 percent," revealed Sebastien Toulouse, Co-owner, T&T Spray Foam, "and of course, they're telling their friends and family about it. After the first 8-10 months, we were able to buy a second trailer along with equipment for blown-in insulation that has allowed us to focus on attics and cathedral ceilings as well."
The majority of T&T's clients are contractors, with homeowners making up the difference. Sebastien says the hardest part about starting a new business is having to do everything themselves – from answering the phone, meeting with clients, and preparing estimates to doing the actual insulation work and taking care of the administrative end of things. There, too, he says Economic Partners has been extremely helpful.
Portable equipment is enabling T&T Spray Foam to cover client needs in the North Bay and Sturgeon Falls area.
"We seek opportunities for small businesses to succeed," explained Fox. "We introduce them to bookkeepers. We also use our in-house expertise to discuss contingency planning, insurance options, marketing and a myriad of other issues. Nothing is more important than a plan, so we coach, share and guide."
To date, Economic Partners has invested more than $20 million dollars to help entrepreneurs like Sebastien and Nikolas succeed. In the last fiscal year alone (2016), it invested approximately $800,000 in support of eight separate initiatives which leveraged another $1.1 million from other sources. Fox says there is tremendous satisfaction in watching ideas turn into reality and seeing businesses flourish.
As for Sebastien's dreams, he's hoping that within the next five years, he and his brother can double their equipment and hire a couple of employees full-time.
To find out more about realizing your business dream, contact Economic Partners Sudbury East/West Nipissing Inc. at 705-753-5450 or your local Community Futures Development Corporation.
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