Case Study: Ben's Contractor Center and BlueTarp

Established in 1965, Ben’s Contractor Center is a family-owned business with three locations in Michigan’s tri-county region. Its business spans lumber and building materials, outdoor sporting equipment, groceries and more. Before starting with BlueTarp in 2010, Ben’s was enjoying good growth and managing their credit program in-house. According to Jim Zyrowski, Ben’s President, CEO and second-generation owner, it was that growth that led them to BlueTarp.

"BlueTarp eliminates the uncertainty and allows us to make better decisions."

-Jim Zyrowski, Owner

photo of Jim Zyrowski, Owner of Ben's

BlueTarp helps ensure success for Ben’s next generation:

  • Predictable cash flow creates stability
  • Staff can focus on growth rather than A/R
  • Credit program is a competitive advantage

Third-generation store manager Jim Zyrowski Jr. sees BlueTarp as a necessity to ensure future growth for Ben’s Contractor Center and to help protect the company from the pitfalls of running an in-house credit program. In his words, “BlueTarp eliminates all the uncertainty. We know when we’re going to get paid, we know what our cash flow is going to be— it allows us to make better decisions.”

photo of 2 customers walking through Ben's retail store

“As our contractor base grew, so did our receivables— and along with that came lots of time spent chasing receivables and handling legal requirements like notices of furnishings and waivers of liens,” remembers Jim. “We had also just acquired a new store, so I knew we either had to grow our in-house credit capabilities or find a partner to help us.” 

Time to focus on what's important

“We were spending more of our time on A/R management and I could see it was starting to drain not only me, but some of our top sales guys,” notes Jim. “BlueTarp has given us more time to focus on growing our business—accounts receivable no longer occupy me or the staff. It has also removed those questions that wake you up in the middle of the night —like when’s this contractor going to pay me? With BlueTarp, we know that our accounts receivable are in good hands.” It also eliminates the need to hire more credit staff to support Ben’s growth.

Positioned for growth and the next generation

Jim credits BlueTarp with creating stability and sustainability for the company and future generations of the family. The partnership has allowed him to focus on maximizing sales at each location while continuing to look at new expansion opportunities in the tri-county area.

Predictable cash flow is a big part of the stability that BlueTarp has provided Ben’s Contractor Center. Jim notes that knowing exactly how much money is coming in from BlueTarp for each store and when has enabled him to invest more confidently in the business. He also values BlueTarp’s expertise around credit decisions and the ability to work with them on extending bigger credit lines and longer terms for good customers.

“I’d definitely recommend the BlueTarp program to independent retailers like us who are looking to grow a family business and create stability and sustainability for the future,” adds Jim. “The program requires minimal oversight and has given us peace of mind and the ability to focus more time and attention on growing the business.”

Making credit a competitive advantage

The ability to offer larger lines and longer terms means Ben’s can be on equal footing with the bigbox finance programs. And Jim and his customers appreciate BlueTarp’s professional customer service team that treats Ben’s customers “like we’d want to be treated.”

“Contractors expect you to have a credit program, and BlueTarp does more than finance purchases, it’s a program that they can use to help manage their business,” says Jim. “The web tools make it easy for contractors to go online whenever they want to review their accounts, invoice jobs, look at their margins—there are a lot of functions they can use to make running their business easier.” 

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