In 2010, Martin and Amy Moe opened Greenworks of Washington, a septic repair and pumping company. Why? When the opportunity came, they jumped in with both feet. As consummate entrepreneurs who had worked for a septic company and owned a roofing company for 20 years, they had the skills and saw what needed to be done differently in the industry. Then, when they needed a line of credit and a loan to buy a truck, they were referred to Business Impact NW (then Community Capital Development) from a friend at a bank. Getting a loan was “enlightening but difficult,” says co-owner Amy Moe. Being an entrepreneur “is enlightening but it’s also stressful. It doesn’t stop. It begins and ends with you.”
When they started out, they had an idea of how long it would take to get a solid customer base, and they invested in marketing strategies to get the message out about their services. They began by offering service in Pierce & Snohomish County, and then started growing into King County – Martin with his brother, and Amy in the office. Demand kept increasing, and a high level of customer communication and flexibility along with their high standards of service drove their success.
In 2017, Amy and Martin have about 100 clients with maintenance contracts, and more single-job customers. They are looking to employ more people – one per year for a couple of years. “Focused on being the right company and doing the right thing” keeps the company just the right size, allowing for a work-life balance between the business and their charitable interests.
Amy and Martin are Rotary members, with Martin also teaching classes to homeowners to help them learn how to take care of their septic tanks. The work that they do also protects the environment; through maintenance, “you’re preventing damage to the water you drink,” says Amy. In addition, “low income households who usually can’t afford to have their septic tanks pumped or repaired go to [Greenworks of Washington]” due to their reasonable pricing and service.
As co-owners of the company, Amy and Martin work together and “balance each other out.” Amy loves “when a client calls back and says that they never knew how important septic tanks are, and they’re grateful to now know.” Martin loves “teaching customers what’s important, and what they have in the ground,” keeping a jovial spirit about the physical labor of pumping or repairing, calling it his “free gym membership.”
Throughout their success, they have developed and watched their family grow as well. Two out of their three children have the “entrepreneurial bug,” as Amy calls it. And her one piece of advice for all entrepreneurs is: “any amount of money you have, set it aside for your business. You need three times more than that. You also need community resources to help you out.” Drawing on that advice and Business Impact NW for lending support, Amy and Martin took the counsel to heart. Now, they pride themselves in giving back to the community through their work, their classes, and their civic service.