Utility-locating service Blood Hound grows quickly

September 26, 2009

Blood Hound

Address: 750 Patricks Place, Suite B, Brownsburg

Phone: (888) 858-9830 

E-mail: mmason@bloodhoundunderground.com

Web site: www.bhug.com

Founded: 1999

Founder: Mark and Robert Mason

Owner: Mark Mason

Service/product: subservice utility consultation

Employees: 30

Revenue (past 12 months): $3.42 million

Date of first profile: May 2005

More than 10 years after he helped found Blood Hound Inc., Mark Mason still sees his company as the little project he started to keep himself busy.

But in a year where his business may earn a record profit and was one of the 50 recipients of the “Indiana Companies to Watch” Award, even Mason recognizes that he is now running a far larger operation.

“Sometimes, I feel like I’m on the outside looking in,” Mason said. “And this is all a dream.”

Since 2005, the underground-utility-locating service has quadrupled its revenue—to a projected $3.7 million this year—and tripled its staff—to 30. Blood Hound, headquartered in Brownsburg, also added an office in Cincinnati in 2006 and expanded its territory by taking projects outside the Midwest.

Most recently, the company has taken jobs in Tennessee, Florida, Louisiana and New York. Mason said the company will also add offices next year. Chicago is likely to be the next location.

It’s a big undertaking for Mason, who founded the business in 1999 with his father, Robert Mason, who retired in 2007.

“I will not grow if it sacrifices quality,” Mason said. “That’s what I’ve learned in the past. If you try to grow too fast, before you know it your quality slips and you end up kicking yourself for it.”

So Blood Hound, which uses ground-penetrating radar services to find underground utilities, is trying to expand efficiently.

The company installed global-positioning system units in its trucks so dispatchers could assign the closest employee in the field to a job.

“We’ve found in the past that we’ve sent two guys passing each other to get to work,” Mason said. “By the scheduling department being able to pull up the real-time location of employees, we can get a technician out to a job quicker.”

In order to get the job done faster and more efficiently, Mason has yielded some of his responsibilities to his growing staff. In the past two years, he has hired a vice president of finance and two vice presidents of operations.

“I realized I was holding all the hats,” Mason said. “I realized I needed to let go of some responsibility and bring some talent in to the company to help me manage certain things.”__________

Every month, IBJ is catching up with a small business that we profiled in the past. Fax suggestions to IBJ Small Business Update, 263-5406, or e-mail tparent@ibj.com.


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