After over thirty years of working in law enforcement, Ken Kramer retired, but he wasn’t quite ready to stop working yet. Having served as Chief Investigator for the Solano County District Attorney’s Office, he wanted to continue working with the law enforcement community. He founded The Gumshoe Group in February 2019 to provide pre-employment background screening services for public safety agencies.
Most firms that do this work are one-person operations, but Ken steadily grew his business to employ 10 part-time investigators. With that extra capacity, Ken’s business doubled every year and continued to grow. Recently, The Gumshoe Group won a major contract with the state, in addition to three other major contracts with local jurisdictions. This situation signified a rapid expansion that would require working capital and funds for training and hiring new employees.
Ken worked with Tom Camerato at the Solano-Napa Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to put together the business financials and projections to plan for this business expansion. He credits the SBDC for providing this support–all at no cost–which proved to be crucial for his business. Ken reckons, “if I had to hire an accountant to do all this, I don’t know if I’d have been able to afford it.” Looking at the numbers, it became clear that The Gumshoe Group needed a loan to achieve this next level of business growth.
“I was calling banks and various options, but the banks weren’t interested in small business. We weren’t a multimillion dollar business, and we didn’t have the history for them to even consider talking to us,” Ken says. He also felt that the financing options he was finding would have set him up for failure with terms and rates that didn’t meet the needs of his small business. When discussing other options for financing with Tom at the SBDC, Ken connected to Main Street Launch. “Main Street came up as a nonprofit that does a lot of work with the local community, so they seemed good as a trusted partner.”
Darius Mahajer, SVP – Senior Relationship Manager, worked with Ken on his loan package. “Dealing with Darius was amazing; he was great throughout the process,” Ken reflects. Despite a unique challenge with the IRS, Darius continued working and troubleshooting with Ken over several months to get the loan approved as soon as possible. Ultimately, The Gumshoe Group received a $350,000 loan from Main Street Launch to support business expansion with working capital, including funding for hiring and training new staff to handle the increase in business.
“The loan allowed me to stay ahead of the growth curve,” Ken says. Contracting with public agencies means that Ken and his team have to complete the scope of work before they can invoice for the services rendered. “The financial demand increases rapidly before the revenues, so the loan is filling that gap,” Ken explains. The loan provided the business with the working capital necessary to cover increased payroll and overhead costs of business expansion. Ken now employs over 30 investigators at The Gumshoe Group and is confident in the business’s trajectory for growth.