By Stephanie Skernivitz
2016 Greatest Story Never Told Runner-Up: RYBO Inc. Founded
: 1989 Owner
: Darren Ryan and Ed Boggia Location
: Malden, MA
Darren Ryan and Ed Boggia are the co-owners of RYBO Inc.
The blizzard of ’78 made a lasting impression on then teenaged Darren Ryan. The present-day owner of RYBO Inc. in Malden, MA, remembers being asked as a 13-year-old to shovel his handicapped uncle’s apartment complex for the expected storm. His goal: Conquer the blizzard.
“It wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. I kept up all of Monday, but as the storm went throughout the night and continued into Tuesday I started to fall behind,” says Ryan, who is a residential spec-builder during the offseason in New England.
“However, the pride I took in my work would not let me give up,” Ryan adds. “I went back out, made it through the hurricane force winds, and by the end of Tuesday night, with snow in my boots, I shoveled all 33 inches of snow. My uncle rewarded me with a $100 dollar bill,” a mo-ment he says he would never forget.
From that point on, there has never been a storm he has not worked.
The dedication and pride in work displayed throughout that storm are the pillars that RYBO Inc. is built on. Ed Boggia and Ryan, co-owners, formed the company in 1989 with a mission statement that lines every RYBO contract: “To provide complete and constant service through-out and after snow storms, making customer locations clean, accessible, and presentable, no matter the size or duration of the snow or ice event.”
As Ryan recalls, “In our first year of business that mission statement meant loading up our dump truck with sand, having Ed drive, and standing in the dump body with a shovel tossing out the sand. At the time we were happy we only had eight accounts. Back then the guys who had sanders were the ones we looked up to. Gladly the days of manually sanding parking lots are over.” Slow, but steady
Today, his company has grown from a modest eight accounts to nearly 100, covering every-thing from nursing homes, to high schools and shopping centers to apartment complexes, MBTA bus routes, and commercial buildings.
“It’s been a slow and steady growth. Our goal is always to make sure customers are happy, which can lead to referrals. We want to keep customers for a long period and make sure they get their money’s worth,” he says.
Along with the physical growth of the company came maturity of the management. Boggia says, “Some of our goals from when we first started included getting a real sander and assembling a crew. Now our goals are much more complex, involving the development and continual implementation of our Corporate Social Responsibility Initiatives; the constant use of SIMA’s educational resources to further enhance the knowledge of our crew; and always finding new, creative ways to offer unrivaled value to our customers.”
The road for anyone in the snow business, no matter how well planned and executed, can be anything but easy. “The snow business is certainly trying at times. How many hours can you really work? With big blizzards, you’re lucky to get four to six hours of sleep and then get back at it,” Ryan says.
An obvious challenge that accompanies those potentially brutal hours is staffing. “It’s hard to find employees. Finding the right people can be challenging. What do you do when it snows on Christmas Eve? I go plow,” says Ryan, who’s now 51 and notes that others don’t always share that same enthusiasm.
“All I can do is treat people right - whether my clients or employees - and hopefully they continue to hire me or, when it involves employees, they want to do more for the business and possibly develop some intrinsic motivation,” he adds. Loyalty rewards
Recently the business developed loyalty programs as part of its customer relations management, thanks to the initiative of Ryan’s son. “Anyone who refers us to an account and we acquire it will be rewarded with a free treatment service of their choosing,” he says. There’s also a loyalty program for people with seasonal contracts. If, in a given year, snowfall is less than the minimum amount outlined in the seasonal rate (under 30 inches), the company gives those clients money back, per inch. The money is awarded in accordance with the difference between the inches that fell and the minimum number of inches outlined in the contract.
“People get what they pay for,” Ryan says. “If you offer quality work and good service, you can charge a little more and get paid properly.”
At the end of the day, he notes that it’s important that RYBO always “fulfills our mission statement, every storm, every season.”
Special thanks to our Greatest Story Never Told contest sponsor: Stephanie Skernivitz is a freelance writer based in Cleveland.