Becoming more of a one-stop shop is a good way to grow along with your best customers

When you head out to a remote energy exploration or mining site to perform a service, are you doing so with blinders on? Are you so focused on the task at hand that you don’t look around and open your eyes to the possibility of other opportunities for revenue from an established customer?

Let’s say you’re hauling water into a natural gas rig in a sparsely populated region in Canada. Your trucks repeat the route over and over again, delivering the natural resource required to keep the project moving along. Have you paused to look around the work site? Do you notice the same workers every day, and think about all the products and services they require to live and work in that remote environment?

With this issue of Gas, Oil & Mining Contractor, we want to help you step back and think about the vast array of mobile services needed at these rugged worker camps. We hope that in several related features this month, you’ll see a piece of equipment or hear about a worker camp service that will prompt you to diversify your own offerings.

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The Bundling Strategy

After all, most contractors will tell you that one of the best ways to grow revenues is to bundle services to the same customer. First of all, this strategy capitalizes on quality, established business relationships you have with energy and mining customers. Secondly, your cost of delivering new services is lowered when you’re already visiting the work site on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

Moving toward being considered a one-stop shop by your customers is a strategy for success in these busy times when companies are looking for ways to streamline workflow. If the foreman at an oilrig can deal with one less service provider today, he’s going to be a happier camper. If the accountant back at the main office has to process fewer invoices to fewer companies, he’ll be happier, too. This seems to be the way of the future in support services – so long as the mix of services matches the abilities, equipment and expertise of the contractor providing them.

So that brings us to our stories about mobile site services in this month’s issue. We hope these features give you food for thought in your quest to build revenues for 2011:

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They Provide “Mobile Hotels”

In just five years, Utah’s Lone Tree Remote Camps has grown into a thriving provider of camp facilities for energy exploration and pipeline construction. Featured in our contractor profile (Home Away From Home, by Paul Holley), Lone Tree’s Richard Nuffer explains their strategy of providing customers with turnkey housing services that include on-site chefs preparing every meal for the workers.

Nuffer explains how encouraging new exploration technologies on the North Dakota and Pennsylvania shale formations have lead to an uptick in work. While the company has smaller camps in both states, they are also moving out of the country, where camps in South America figure to need as many as 2,000 workers on location.

“Oil and gas is coming out of a slow cycle,” Nuffer says. “Historically, the industry runs in almost perfect seven-year cycles – six (years) up and one down. We anticipate an upturn to last at least five years if not longer.”

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Restroom and shower trailers

Customer expectations for portable sanitation products and services have risen in recent years, particularly where long-term site services is considered. Companies asking workers to move to remote locations for energy exploration, for example, now see that providing better camp facilities is a boon to both attracting top-notch workers and retaining an experienced crew.

To that end, trailer manufacturers have continuously improved the ruggedness and comfort features of their products used in gas, oil and mining industries. In our trailer roundup story (Going Mobile, by Ken Wysocky) we showcase some of the latest offerings from manufacturers to get contractors thinking about the potential for providing portable sanitation services.

Communications is key

Setting up a worker camp is an impressive feat, and it’s amazing to see crews doing important work in the harsh environments of these remote outposts. But along with the living quarters and power generation equipment, you need a reliable way to communicate with the rest of the world in order to get anything done and maintain a decent quality of life.

About the only way to do that at remote worker camps is through a mobile satellite system, which literally becomes the lifeline between workers, their bosses at the corporate headquarters, and their families and friends back home. For some contractors, these systems seem to run in the background; out of sight equals out of mind. But they remain absolutely critical to the success of your customers.

So it was interesting to read this month’s Tech Perspectives story (The Dish on Satellite, by Peter Kenter) and learn how mobile satellite rigs can be quickly dispatched to get remote workers online and productive, saving customers lost time on the job.

The story provides a primer contractors can follow to efficiently start providing this service. Among the tips found in the article are how to determine a client’s needs for data capacity, shopping for the right Internet Service Provider (or ISP) and helping contractors choose the right equipment for the job.

How are we doing?

This is our third issue of GOMC and I’d like to know what you think. Are we providing helpful information to build your business? Is the equipment you see in these pages a good reflection of what you see in your inventory of moneymaking machines? We value your feedback, and what you tell us will help us make this a better business tool for contractors in the growing gas, oil and mining sectors. Please take a moment to send your comments, questions or story suggestions to me at

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