For former Ferris State football players Jordan Jones and Ian Hall, what started as a favor has now turned into a full-fledged business.
The two college roommates and co-founders of “Dock Dawgs” have spent the last two years running a dock and lift installation and removal service for local lake houses around the area. Who was their first client? Their own head coach Tony Annese.
“Coach Annese lives out on Whitefish Lake and every year, we go over to his place to put his dock in and take it out,” Hall said. “Basically, I told him to let us know if you or any of your neighbors need any work and we can do it. From there, we made a flyer and his wife posted it on their Facebook group page. We ended up getting a bunch of calls from his neighbors and it kind of blew up after that.”
Along with dock work, the guys decided to expand their business by adding moving services, painting, and yard cleaning to their array of labor offerings. According to Jones, that decision sparked a large growth in clientele that continues to increase every day from all parts of the state.
“We created a Facebook page and started advertising ourselves on there,” Jones said. “We've been able to reach areas beyond Big Rapids, like Chippewa Lake, Howard City, Indian Lakes, Allendale, and Rockford. We’ve also got a couple of customers in Houghton Lake and Traverse City.”
Last year, the group had 83 different customers throughout the entire year. This year, they have already reached 80 customers through the end of May.
Not only were Hall and Jones serving these customers during the school year, but they also played significant roles on Ferris’ back-to-back National Championship football team. The defensive lineman duo would run their company operations outside of classes, practices, workouts, and even games on the weekends.
“There would be times after game days we'd come back home and have work lined up,” Jones said. “We’d get up at 6 A.M. on a Sunday morning and go take out docks until about 1 or 2 P.M. and then go to football workouts. We would always stay working and it was great also having teammates wanting to come work with us.”
When asking both guys about their vision for the business moving forward, the duo are hoping to purchase property between Cedar Springs and Big Rapids to set up a storage facility and business hub. They also are currently looking to invest in official company trucks for their year-round services.
But what about the bigger picture? What is their company vision? Simple: give back to Ferris football by providing a working opportunity for the players.
“The first year we did it was tough,” Hall said. “But we looked at it as another workout. We get to work in the water and work with our brothers on the team. We crack jokes and we like to have fun with it. There’s not much work where you have the opportunity to do that and we want to keep (that dynamic) within the team.”
For more information on the Dock Dawgs, visit their “Dock Dawgs” Facebook page or email DockDawgsServices@outlook.com.