By KIM ESTES
Four Points News
Steiner Ranch resident, Billy Leavings, has earned recognition from the Austin Business Journal and the University of Houston, respectively, for owning QualTech Automotive — one of the fastest growing companies in Austin and one of the fastest growing businesses owned or led statewide by a Cougar alumni.
“Even with the growth we have had, I feel like we have many opportunities to improve. I don’t feel successful; I feel blessed to have the opportunity to create this company with such a great team of employees,” said Leavings, who opened QualTech in 2010 with his wife Cindy at 10815 RM 620 N. In 2014, they opened their second shop in Bee Cave at 13925 W Hwy 71.
Leavings knew when they opened their first shop that it would be profitable. “You have to believe that to take the risk and go out on your own and take on the bigger companies,” he said.
In August, ABJ reported that QualTech ranked 24th among 25 fast growing Austin businesses in the small company category. Another Four Points business, Square Cow, also captured 25th place among small companies (Look for coverage of that in next week’s edition.)
To qualify, companies must submit financial data that is verified by a third party and then ranked according to compounded revenue growth, said ABJ.
In the ABJ categories, small companies are defined as those with $500,000 to $9,999,999 in revenue. Large companies are those with revenue greater than $10 million. In each category, 25 companies are recognized for a combined inventory of what the ABJ calls the Austin Fast 50.
From 2013-2015, QualTech had an annual compound growth rate of 35 percent, increasing its net revenue from $1.7 million to over $3 million. In 2013, QualTech also made the Austin Fast 50, achieving 15th place with a 63.71 percent growth in revenue.
More recently, in November, UH published a supplement in both the Houston Business Journal and ABJ ranking QualTech 25th out of 100 fast growing companies statewide led or owned by Cougar alumnus. These rankings are based on two years of revenue growth.
The secret of QualTech’s success, though, is not primarily in the financial data. “It all starts with great employees,” said Leavings, a 2001 UH graduate with a degree in economics.
In fact, Leavings said QualTech has retained its entire original office staff and lost only one mechanic and four oil change crew members in six years of operation. The employee roster numbers 21.
“We are extremely selective about who we bring into the company to work for us. It is hard to get hired with QualTech,” said Leavings.
QualTech offers employees a competitive compensation package. “Because we are family owned, we do not have the overhead a franchise or chain does, and it allows us to pay our employees more. We also treat our employees well,” he said.
It is a culture that extends into customer service, which then translates into business referrals. “We strive to deliver an amazing customer experience to each customer who walks in. By going above and beyond for each customer, they, in turn, become champions for our business. Word of mouth referrals have led the way for us,” Leavings said.
For Leavings, it is his view of staff members and customers as “family” that drives the future of QualTech.
“We would love to grow a little bit more in the Austin area, but I do not want to get to a size where we lose that down-home feeling that is missing in practically all of our competitors,” he said.
For more information, go to www.qualtechauto.com.