— Interview with Teresa Phelps —
R&R: Where are you based and how long has the company been in business?
Teresa Phelps: DENTCO is based in Dewitt, Michigan, and has been in business for 44 years.
R&R: How long have you been with DENTCO?
Phelps: I’ve been with DENTCO for almost 17 years.
R&R: What trades/services do you offer retailers and restaurants?
Phelps: Exterior Services Management (ESM). DENTCO specializes in assisting multi-unit companies, including retailers and restaurants, with consolidating the exterior services at their portfolio of locations. We provide centralization of services and a unified scope of work to reduce costs, as well as a quality assured exterior services program. DENTCO employees perform hands-on ESM philosophies, supported by their quality-management application, allowing facility managers to oversee thousands of sites nationally by simply logging on. DENTCO has qualified long term contractor partners throughout the nation that provide such services as landscaping, snow and ice removal, parking lot maintenance and dark store maintenance.
R&R: Retailers and restaurants had to spin on a dime when COVID-19 hit in the spring. How did your company adapt/pivot?
Phelps: When COVID-19 hit, we adapted immediately. Preparedness is key. Our leadership had the foresight to have disaster plans in place. From the operations in the field to ensure the safety of our contractors, our employees and our customers, to our amazing information technology team ensuring our technology met the needs of the team and the demands of our infrastructure. Most retailers and restaurants pivoted to curbside pickup, and we emphasized the importance of curb appeal to entice customers to continue to visit businesses. We also focused on managing the exteriors of dark stores for retailers and restaurants that closed temporarily or even permanently.
R&R: In what regions of the country do you conduct most of your business, or are you nationwide?
Phelps: DENTCO conducts business nationwide; in fact, we are the first national ESM company in the United States. We have over 10,000 contractor partners and we have quality service managers and inspectors across the U.S.
R&R: What makes your company’s “signature service” stand out in the industry?
Phelps: Facility managers and their teams experience the DENTCO Difference when they work with us. We help them consolidate all their exterior services needs across all their multi-site locations, and we make it easy and simple. We verify services through our DENTCO Verified quality assurance mobile application and we are the “eyes and ears” of all their sites. We communicate with our clients with real-time data about their properties. We work with them through all the seasons — from landscaping in the spring, to year-round parking lot maintenance, to snow removal in the winter. We also handle all the other responsibilities that can pop up and take up a significant amount of time, such as risk management and working with local municipalities to avoid or manage code violations.
R&R: Why should owner/operators choose your company to be their next vendor partner?
Phelps: DENTCO specializes in ESM®. We have been in business over 40 years and know what it takes to manage these services. We become an extension of your team. We provide a single source solution to managing these services so you may focus on your customers and their needs. We provide onsite inspections performed by our own employees to ensure service satisfaction and provide our customers with real-time data and photos. You gain a single point of contact with an entire support team. We maintain a 99% customer retention rate.
R&R: If we can survive 2020…. Where do you see 2021 taking the FM industry? Do you see any positives to come out of 2020 that we can learn from/apply to next year?
Phelps: We are surviving 2020, but it’s been a revolving door of change. We all experienced transformation of communication, events, technology and ways of doing business. Some of our greatest takeaways are to always look for the opportunities, understand what and where the opportunities are and to prepare and adapt. Strong leadership and innovation continue to lead the way. Human contact, connection and flexibility are needed and the key to success. Patience, kindness and generosity are not just words but, in our actions, words to live by.