Today, GMS celebrates a huge milestone with the signing of our 1,000th client.
When GMS was started, Bill Clinton was in office, a gallon of gas cost $1.22 and Michael Jordan had won his fourth NBA title. Twenty years later, in 2016, we have another Clinton running for office, gas prices have doubled and the Cavs are the reigning champs. A lot can change in 20 years, and a lot has changed at GMS.
In 1996, Mike Kahoe started GMS as a one-man show. Prior to that, he had worked for a temp agency for construction workers. Kahoe began to notice a trend in companies relying on a workforce made up of temps alone to avoid having to deal with workers’ comp, payroll and benefits. Not being familiar with the Professional Employer Organization industry, he floated the idea to start his own company to handle these functions of a small business.
“I just woke up one morning and decided to start calling people out of the yellow pages,” Kahoe said. He eventually got in contact with a local tree service company and signed his first deal. After his first successful pitch, Kahoe wanted to keep the ball rolling.
“I just went back and started calling,” Kahoe said. “I started calling construction, trucking and roofing companies.”
As more clients signed, additional employees were hired, and GMS began to grow. Investments in the company and resources continued as the company expanded. It wasn’t until 2013 that GMS became profitable, with Kahoe admitting that all revenue was being reinvested into the business for the first 17 years. “If you’re not green and growing, you’re ripe and dying,” Kahoe said.
The journey certainly had its bumps along the way. After the stock market crash, GMS had continued to grow its customer base, while its customers were forced to shrink. “I knew that we had added 20 percent more customers but we were doing 20 percent less in revenue,” Kahoe said. Clients had to cut down on their workforce and needed HR help in keeping up with new regulations. “It’s more and more challenging every day to be a small business owner because of the government, but I think that we make it a little bit easier,” Kahoe said.
Today GMS has over 200 employees across seven states – and the growth continues. GMS started its development beyond Richfield, OH in 2007 with an office in Columbus, with a Cincinnati location opening the following year. Now GMS has offices in McClean, VA, Charlotte, NC, Atlanta, GA, Houston, TX, Philadelphia, PA and Las Vegas, NV with plans for expansion into Detroit, MI, Dallas, TX, Nashville, TN, Indianapolis, IN and Pittsburgh, PA.
This growth has put GMS in the position to celebrate its 1000th client. Adam Scudiere is the man responsible for the milestone sale. He originally met with the milestone client five years ago, shortly after joining GMS. Unfortunately, the timing wasn’t right for the company to make a change, but Scudiere kept in touch and built a relationship. “We would grab lunch every once in a while and it became more of a friendly process,” Scudiere said. “When you are ready we are here for you.”
Now five years later, the client was expanding into new states, trying to handle HR issues and get a concrete handbook in place. They saw the benefit we could provide and decided it was time to partner with GMS.
Scudiere has seen significant growth in his time at GMS and believes upcoming certification by the IRS will only further the advance of GMS and the PEO industry as a whole. “The Small Business Efficiency Act is going to open up the door much wider,” Scudiere said. “It’s going to give a lot more stock in what we do.”
Kahoe shares the enthusiasm saying, “I am tremendously optimistic for the future of our industry and this company.”