MISSOULA — When you think of unique start-ups, landscape material delivery services don’t usually jump to mind.
But that’s exactly what good-natured Ross Peterson and Doug Shryock created when they opened Little Dumps, an online service for Do It Yourselfers, contractors or anyone else who needs bulk materials delivered to their home or job site in Missoula.
“Our clientele is essentially anyone who has a project in mind but doesn’t want to spend the time getting materials, doesn’t have access to a truck that can carry these materials or those who would rather not risk damaging their own vehicle,” said Peterson.
The two love to get down and dirty, as the clever business appears to be taking off.
“Along with – hopefully – a little chuckle about our name, we provide online ordering/payment/scheduling of landscape material delivery, here in the Missoula area,” Peterson said. “We set out to inject some fun into working on your home and to make it as easy as possible for DIYers to tackle projects on their own.”
He calls Shryock, 36, the Chief Executive Groundskeeper – and the landscape humor keeps coming. Both are long-time Missoula residents.
“Little Dumps” as a business moniker reflects their sense of humor. Prospective customers tease them about it all the time.
“We love it,” said Peterson. “That’s the whole idea. We wanted to create a brand that was light-hearted and approachable but also something that (hopefully) explained the service we offer. Doug came up with the name “Little Dumps,” we both had a good laugh and assumed that the domain name would have long since been registered. When we found it to be available, that was it … Little Dumps was born.”
Paul Gladen, Blackstone LaunchPad director at the University of Montana, guided the two in getting Little Dumps off the ground, starting in 2019.
Blackstone LaunchPad is a campus-based entrepreneurship program. Gladen and staff coach ambitious individuals and provides ideas and support for viable start-ups.
“We’re looking forward to digging in deeper this year and excited to use the data that comes back to influence some upcoming decisions,” said Peterson about the Blackstone LaunchPad guidance.
Peterson is a local web developer who has built web-based solutions for local, regional and national clients for over 20 years.
Shryock owns Wild Rockies Landscaping, a local landscape firm that has been in business since 2007.
But they have been running Little Dumps deliveries since 2017.
“Little Dumps is online-only in that we do not have a brick-and-mortar storefront,” said Peterson. “The business model was designed to work in this way to keep overhead to a minimum and pass those savings along in our pricing. We work with several bulk landscape material vendors here in town to fill customer orders at the time of delivery, after they have been created via our website.”
Meanwhile, Peterson and Shryock continue upgrading the site.
“In addition to on-the-ground plans for 2020, we’re really excited about our new web-based platform that is currently in development,” Peterson said. “This new system offers expanded communication tools that customers expect from delivery services and sets us up to be able to quickly open new markets.”
Originally, Shryock envisioned Little Dumps after he noticed a need within the existing landscape clientele for such a business.
“Doug and I have worked together on both landscape and web-based projects in the past and we thought this sounded like a really fun and interesting problem to try to solve together,” Peterson added. “Personally, I’ve been looking for a project that could weave together some ‘tech’ with something in the ‘real world’ and this was a perfect fit.”
As spring approaches, Peterson anticipates an uptick in business and attention to their unique services. Little Dumps is definitely on the upswing.
“Things have been going great. We’re investing in our third delivery truck this winter and have seen revenue and profits grow with each season,” he added. “We owe a ton to our great employees and the energy they put forth. Doug and I are busy growing the business, but it is our great drivers that really provide the personality and ‘face’ to what we do.”
Depending on demand, Little Dumps employs up to three drivers, but the founders are currently hiring more staff as they expand to other markets.