Allstate Sweeping Inc. President Beth Krueger: ‘It’s great to have women in the marketplace’
During Women’s History Month, RTD is highlighting some of the incredible businesses owned by women that have worked with the agency and made significant contributions to the economic vitality of the Denver metro region. Today, we hear from Beth Krueger, president of Allstate Sweeping Inc.
Tell me about your business. How did it begin, and how has it evolved?
I worked for BFI (Browning-Ferris Industries) for 18 years, then for another small sweeping company for seven years, before going on my own. The smaller company had gone bankrupt. It was really hard. I had hurt my back and was off work, and I was a single mom with two small children when they closed their doors very suddenly. When that happened, I decided to start my own company. I didn’t have much choice. I was either going to starve or figure something out.
I called my friend (Barb Hollis, now the company’s other owner) and asked her to help me get a business license. She was working for another company at the time and eventually came over and joined us. I contacted all my customers and told them what I was doing, and I kind of farmed it out with other companies for their street sweepers until I could get the money through the bank to purchase my first sweeper. I got my first account and used other people for the sweeping, then I went to the bank and showed them what I had, and I used my house for collateral, along with the savings Barb and I had. We officially became a business in 2002, almost 20 years ago now.
How did you come to do work with RTD? What has that relationship meant to you and your business?
I started going to RTD meetings. I really liked the CEO, and I had a really good connection with him. I just kept pushing until they gave us a chance. Our first big job was T-REX (the Transportation Expansion project). We did every part of FasTracks there was. Working on these big projects was scary at first, but once we got established, I was very confident that we would get them all because we did such a good job on T-REX. They knew we were there, and they knew we were dependable. I don’t think anyone would have put their heart into it as we did. We worked very hard.
With each job, our company got a little bit bigger. In the beginning, we had five or six people. Now, I have about 33. We’ve grown quite a bit.
We would not be where we are without RTD. Everything was a learning process, doing all the paperwork and everything that you had to do to get to that point. I made sure that I paid all my people better than anybody else did. We as owners took no pay, or very low pay, in order to accommodate our employees. They worked hard – we all worked hard. We pulled it off and did a good job at it.
What does it mean that your business is led by a woman?
It has helped a lot with the certifications, obviously. It was hard at first, because I was a young lady and no one took me seriously. Over the years, I’ve gained a lot of respect, but it was rough at first. I don’t have any problems now. I’ve been around for a while, and people have changed a lot.
It’s great to have women in the marketplace. When I first started the business, it was very uncommon to have women in the position we were in. I felt a lot of pride in being a woman and being in that position. It’s nice to be the breadwinner in your household.
I do all the sales for our company and go to all the meetings. Barb does all the office management and accounting management.
My kids used to send me Mother’s Day cards and Father’s Day cards. They saw how hard I worked all the time.