By nearly every measure imaginable, 2020 was a “once in this lifetime” kind of year. The dual OPEC and COVID-19 crises pushed the oil and gas industry to the brink. Remote working became the new normal, whether we were ready for it or not. But as any industry veteran will tell you, this industry knows how to weather booms and busts. At Grizzly, the rebuilding on the horizon for 2021 reminds us a lot of the market situation when we first launched our company.
Back then, we were three guys, each making our mark on the oil and gas industry in our own way. Jason was building successful companies. John was excelling at sales and business development in the frac space. Kirk was a field guy, a first-rate mechanic who knew the ins and outs of frac equipment better than anyone. When we got together, we knew we had the recipe for a successful business: finance, sales and operations. All we needed was the right opportunity—and we saw a major one in the frac equipment space.
Warming up a cool market
It’s no secret that the frac industry grew out of a huge boom. But with the boom came a lack of financial oversight. Budgets went through the roof. Million-dollar contracts consisted of a mere paragraph that offered few details, if any, about the work being performed. Yet despite the lack of transparency, dotted lines were signed without much scrutiny. The few companies that were restoring frac equipment around that time weren’t doing it well.
As the market started to cool down, we knew there was a need for a new player in the frac equipment space: a company that reflected what our market would look like when it wasn’t in boom times. Kirk knew frac equipment restoration and rehab inside and out. John had experienced the shortcomings of current companies firsthand. And Jason knew finance, business building and how to seize an opportunity. Instead of talking about the need for a more transparent frac equipment company, we decided to create it.
It might sound a bit gutsy to start a frac equipment shop in a cooling market. But there’s no better market to grow in than one that’s receding. We knew that then, and we know that today as the industry looks to rebuild after a turbulent 2020.
Putting transparency first
The market needed a transparent oilfield equipment solutions company; the customers had told us, and so had our own experiences. As we launched Grizzly, we infused this ethos every step of the way. Rather than single-paragraph contracts, we drafted comprehensive proposals—the kind that clearly outline all the hours, equipment and fees needed to get the job done. We also implemented online software so that clients could log in and track maintenance work in real time. This might not sound revolutionary. But in a market where companies refuse to change and love to hide specifics, this perspective immediately separated us from the competition.
When we heard through industry contacts that a major oilfield services company needed some work done, we didn’t hesitate. Kirk jumped in his truck that afternoon, driving the 478 miles from Houston to Midland as Jason completed our presentation. The next morning, Kirk met with the client and shared our approach. Then, he called us with the news. We had secured our first client—one that’s still working with Grizzly to this day.
Growing the Grizzly way
Our team was quickly gaining customers, who were impressed with our commitment to service, our affordability and our lightning-fast turnaround times. Our competitors would take 8 to 12 weeks to get a frac pump out. We’d do the job in 4 to 5 weeks. After starting out with frac pumps, we expanded into blenders, data vans, specialty fabrications and welding. Today, we can handle restoration on an entire frac fleet—all with the same commitment to speed and transparency.
As we’ve grown, we’ve used our agility and creativity to help our customers with more than just refurbs. In one case, a client needed equipment done but was coming fresh off a layoff and couldn’t rehire its team. We used our staffing model to help them get the job done. We also work with our clients’ financial institutions to find creative solutions for how and when they pay. This flexibility helps our clients get their equipment back into the field, where it belongs. We can’t read minds. But if you tell us about your problem and give us a seat at the table, we will find a solution.
If founding Grizzly taught us one thing, it’s that a cooled-down market is ripe for growth. As we leave the tumult of 2020 behind, we’re ready to help our clients do the same. Do you need to get your cold stack primed for peak performance? Tell us what you’re trying to achieve and we’ll help you make it happen—transparently, quickly and with your success in mind.