Nearly a year ago, The Rabco Corp. celebrated its 20th anniversary. Not only was it a time for reflection, but also a chance to look forward to the next 20 years. With rising material costs and an increase in competition, Rabco stands above the crowd with years of experience, emerging technology and old-fashioned customer service.
Owners Ron Rabou and Larry Cox started Rabco in 1987, after working for a supplier of self-storage and greenhouse buildings, and realized the potential in the emerging self-storage industry. Today, Rabco is one of the industry’s largest manufacturers and suppliers of self-storage buildings.
The company offers a full range of metal buildings, primarily for self-storage, but also boat/RV, flex space and rigid-frame distribution. Rabco’s staff includes designers, detailers, engineers, a full-service sales and estimating team, project managers and associated staff to keep projects in budget and on time.
A key to the Rabco’s long-term success is simply being the best in the self-storage industry. “What we sell here at Rabco is knowledge,” says Buster Owens, president of the Winter Garden, Fla.-based company. “That’s one of the big attractors, especially to the new developer. We’re very familiar with the whole process, not just the building process.”
That includes completing all design work in-house. Plus, each salesperson has a project manager/inside sales coordinator, who serves as an in-house contact person following the project from beginning to end. From site planning to building layout to managing the property, the Rabco team helps owners build a business—not just a facility.
In addition to experience, the company has also embraced technology as a way to differentiate itself in the market. The Rabco website underwent a dramatic overhaul last summer to create a more user-friendly site and add new features, including a builders’ tracking log. Owners can now log onto the website and, using a customer ID, pin and job number, access owner-dedicated space.
“They can complete their job information sheets online, transmit directions to the jobsite and, most important, it will have a delivery schedule for the materials,” Owens says. “No matter where you are, if you have access to the Internet, you’ll be able to see what has been delivered to your site and when the balance of the materials is scheduled to be delivered.”
The added online features are a direct response to customers’ needs, Owens says. For example, the ability to access certain information online—such as color charts or contact information—will eliminate job delays. “If they can complete it and submit it online, it saves time,” says Owens, adding that it also streamlines work in the office.
The company also purchased new job-cost accounting software with plug-and-play modules. “It can generate a lot of financial information that makes the company run more efficiently,” Owens says.
The addition of twin 42-inch plasma screens in the conference room enables the company to have interactive meetings with clients. “We can make redlines for revisions and, at the conclusion of the meeting, we’re able to forward them to our drafting department, the customer’s home or business, or an architect,” Owens explains. “Everyone gets a copy of the same changes at the same time. It eliminates confusion and any discrepancies.”
Another tech feature on the horizon is a database of drawings. “The drafting department would be able to pull up like-kind buildings and similar projects,” Owens says. A drawing database would enable Rabco to send building details electronically to an owner’s home or architect. “This helps make the shop drawings coordinate with the architectural drawings and eliminates discrepancies in the field,” Owens explains. “It’s a pretty nice tool for our internal use, as well as for owners, designers and architects.”
Expansion in the West
Another significant change for the company in ’08 was the addition of Jimmy Anderson to the Rabco team. Anderson, an industry veteran, will be a key player in Rabco’s quest to expand its current operations in the West. Anderson, who lives in Texas, is the executive vice president of Rabco, overseeing operations west of the Mississippi.
“His experience in all aspects of the self-storage construction industry, his core values of integrity and customer service, and his ability to help customers achieve their goals is something that will be beneficial to our company,” Owens says.
“Becoming a part of Rabco was a very easy decision for me to make,” Anderson adds. “Having known the Rabco team for many years, both as a supplier and a competitor, I knew that our values of customer service and support were aligned. By opening a support office in Texas, we will be able to better serve our customers west of the Mississippi. I am extremely excited about our growth opportunities.”
For more information, call 800.989.0220; visit www.rabco.com.