Chris Rickerson went from refinancing his van so he could pay for child care to having one of the fastest-growing companies in Wichita.
In 2013, Rickerson lost his job at another staffing company in Wichita and vowed to start a better one, Elite Staffing Solutions.
“I had three boys to raise,” he said. “I maxed out my credit card, sold a paid-off car and refinanced my 2003 Windstar to pay for day care so I could work.”
Apparently, he wasn’t crazy. By 2016, he said, the company had $2.9 million in yearly revenue, and is now debt-free.
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The company provides construction, administrative and professional temps. He also offers direct hire and temp-to-permanent placements.
Sixty percent of his work is general labor. When his office opens at 5:15 a.m., there are usually about 20 people waiting, he said.
“I tried something new: I tell them bring boots, a good attitude and be here at 5:15, and we’ll put you to work,” he said. “We vet them as they go. We see who works and how they behave.”
Q: Best business advice you have received:
A: Not advice, but an experience: He opened an office in Indianapolis with a partner. He no longer has the office or the partner. “I learned more from that than I would have in college, and it was a lot cheaper.”
Q: Best business advice you wish you’d taken:
A: Again, an experience: “I wish I’d been able to have mentors to get valuable advice.”
Q: What sets your company apart?
A: “I’m building people up instead of holding them down in an industry that can be oppressive.”
Q: Why do you prefer to run your own business as opposed to working for someone else?
A: “I always wanted to be successful. I could never have had the opportunity in life if I continued to work for somebody else.”
Q: What’s your company’s next goal?
A: “I’m hoping to do $3.5 (million) this year; that is a very attainable goal. And I would like to open another location — and it won’t be halfway across the country.”
Name of business: Elite Staffing Solutions
Year founded: 2013
Owner: Chris Rickerson
Address: 2601 E. Central, Suite 3