SBA 7(a) Loans Provide Spark for Lovell Business Owner

By: Jordan Belser, Public Affairs Specialist, Wyoming District Office  

LOVELL, WY – Ben Snyder, a Wyoming native, got his start working as an installer for a phone company in Lovell. He performed run-of-the-mill installations, dabbled in IT and spent some time in the sales department. 

It was a job Ben says he was happy to have, but it wasn’t exactly his calling in life. As he continued working, he noticed some potential avenues of revenue the phone company couldn’t or wasn’t willing to pursue.

“We got approached a few times about wiring houses, which wasn’t something the phone company generally did,” Snyder said. “So, a buddy and I decided that’s what we’d do on the weekends, and that is when I started thinking about my own business.”

Snyder said he started performing his own work in 2005. By 2008 he was a full-time entrepreneur and busy getting his new company Home Technology Solutions off the ground.

“I was fortunate to have received my low-voltage license from the phone company, and that license stays with the technician,” Snyder explained. “From day one I was able to work as a master low-voltage technician, which was great.”

Not surprisingly, HTS is a low-voltage electrical company. They perform home wiring, automation and entertainment services. They’ve also installed wiring, public address systems, smart boards, projectors and more for schools across the state.

Snyder said he was happy to run his own company but was always looking for ways to grow. In 2017, that opportunity presented itself in the form of a camera wiring job for an entire school district.

“We went in and did the wiring and testing for all of the new cameras in the district, including some intercom systems,” Snyder said. “It was roughly a $120,000 job, but the school board wasn’t going to pay us that amount up-front. We needed some capital for the materials, and that’s where the SBA (U.S. Small Business Administration) came in.”

By taking advantage of the SBA’s 7(a) loan program, Snyder was able to get the initial capital needed to complete the job. The 7(a) Program allows small business owners to receive loan amounts – up to $5 million – to fund startup costs, buy equipment and more. The loans can also be used to purchase new land, repair existing capital, purchase or expand an existing business, refinance existing debt and purchase machinery, supplies or materials.

After successfully performing the camera wiring project, HTS received some more good news.

“We’d done sub-contracted work for school boards in the past, but it would always be for one or two things, like the camera wiring or an audio system for a football field,” Snyder said. “Then, one day we won the low-voltage contract for an entire school.”

Faced with the largest project of his career, Snyder again turned to the 7(a) program for a line of credit.

“We wouldn’t be where we are today without the SBA and their staff,” Snyder said. “I’ve been able to hire quality personnel, purchase quality equipment and move into a suitable office space. It’s been great.”

Performing high-tech electrical installations in rural Wyoming doesn’t come without challenges, though.

“Without a doubt, our biggest hurdle has been finding customers,” Snyder said. “Wyoming is sparsely populated, but we overcome that by travelling across the state to perform work. We take pride in what we do, whether we’re installing a complete home automation system or just mounting a TV, and I think our customers see that.”

Snyder is a member of the Lovell Chamber of Commerce and says he hasn’t considered moving his business to a more populated area.

“I love it here,” Snyder added. “I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”

Company Name: 
Home Technology Solutions
Location: 
Lovell, WY
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