– Sometimes the greatest things in life are unexpected. In business, sometimes the best clients are unexpected –

           In the summer of 2012, David Brewington was busy working on his family business. Brewington’s Towing wasn’t recession-proof. Like many businesses in 2012, keeping your head above water & surviving is all that mattered. To make matters worse, Brewington’s workers compensation insurance was being cancelled. Towing can be a risky business, and a few unlucky claims can be enough to put you in a bind.
When an insurance agent can’t find a standard market option they can try a Professional Employer Organization (PEO). When Brewington’s Towing came across my desk it was LATE in the game and they had less than 10 days until their work comp coverage was gone. We submitted their account to markets willing to write towing. After several declines we got a proposal, and negotiating wasn’t an option.
During the presentation David seemed to like the proposal. I explained he would no longer need to worry about work comp audits. Because the PEO handles payroll and work comp, his premiums are paid weekly and to the penny per employee. Wait a minute, “I don’t want them doing my payroll” he said. That’s a problem because PEO’s don’t issue workers compensation policies. Clients operate under the PEO’s master policy, and their processing a client’s payroll is mandatory. Mr. Brewington gave me a stare. He knew what I was offering was somewhat of a last resort. He reluctantly agreed, but not before he told me “I don’t like this one bit. I’m doing this because I don’t have a choice, but as soon as possible I’m going back to a regular insurance policy & doing my own payroll”. I was happy to collect his signature and get the heck out of his office! About 6 months later I decided to pay a visit to Brewington’s Towing. I fully expected to walk in and be told they were actively seeking insurance options.
David had been adamant that their stay with a PEO would be short. I delicately walked into his office and said hello. I reluctantly asked “how’s it going” and braced for the adjectives to start flowing. What he said was indeed firm. He said “Bill, I’ll be honest, I wish I had done this 10 years ago.” Wow! Not what I was expecting, but certainly something I wanted to hear more about.
As it turns out, Brewington’s Towing was like most small businesses in America. They were spending too much time doing unproductive administrative tasks. Shortly after transitioning into the PEO, the office staff (including ownership), had MORE TIME to focus on the core of their business. It’s been 8 years since Brewington’s Towing became another satisfied customer of Hughes Business Consultants.
During those 8 years, they haven’t had 1 workers comp audit, never sat in on an unemployment hearing with the state, haven’t had to update their Employee Handbook, haven’t signed 1 payroll check, haven’t worried about year-end payroll taxes, W2’s, or any admin task associated with having employees. Several of their employees have won a monthly ‘Risk Management Bingo’ game that earns them $100, and if they have a question they call & talk to a human being. Customer service is such a simple but powerful service.
Here’s the wrap-up: had Brewington’s Towing not been up against cancellation it’s highly unlikely they would have ever considered moving into a PEO. They did so out of necessity and it turned out to be one of the best ‘decisions’ they ever made. Don’t be afraid of change. The next time a sales rep calls to tell you about a product that might improve your business, take the call. Listen and keep an open mind. Most importantly don’t be a DITWAD and end up missing out on a better future.


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