By Ryan Waldrep, Assistant Director for Entrepreneur and Small Business Development
Eatonton, Putnam County | Region 6
Who doesn’t love tailgating before the big game? Burgers on the grill, the pre-game show on the TV and a cold beverage sets up the perfect Saturday afternoon in the fall. But as the time for kick-off nears and everyone heads into the stadium, how do you secure everything? You guessed it: Towable Tailgates.
Founders Jason Green and Joshua Daniel decided to create the ultimate tailgate experience and converted two standard cargo trailers into what they considered to be the full tailgating package. One of the exterior walls flips up, exposing a flat screen TV and satellite configuration, sound system and more. Inside, you find storage space for tables and chairs, as well as a kitchenette with a sink, refrigerator and microwave.
A swing-out propane powered grill is mounted at the rear of the trailer. A generator provides electricity, and a slide-out cooler completes the package. Some units even have a portable restroom built-in, eliminating having to stand in line at the Porta-John!
In 2008, Jason and Joshua customized their first two cargo trailers, and they were the center of attention for all around. But even with the buzz generated from that first football season, sales were slow. It took most of the football season to sell those units and orders were not coming in as hoped.
But this didn’t detour the duo. As the original Towable Tailgates sold, the cash generated from the sales was pumped back into the business and allowed for the creation of a better looking website.
In 2009, sales increased from 2 to 10. Even with the growing success of the company, Joshua and Jason maintained their full time jobs. The two fulfilled orders themselves after work and on the weekends, and profits allowed the company to lease a small 3,000 square foot warehouse facility for production.
In 2010, the company hit a major turning point when sales hit 20 units. Joshua and Jason hired their first employee and also devoted themselves full-time to the business. Production hit 30 units in 2011, and the company inched closer to their goal of one unit per week.
As imaginable, the sales of Towable Tailgates are seasonal, with most of the production taking place between May and October, right before the college football season. Most of the company’s sales comes from the website as well as word of mouth.
Customers can be found in nearly every state as well as Canada, and the uses are widespread. Folks in the Northeast typically have their Tailgates decked out in their favorite NFL team colors, while the Southeast is more focused on college football.
Corporations also use them for sweepstakes give-a-ways, cryotherapy units and even electric vehicle charging stations. And College Game Day even brings one along during their annual tour of top college football games!
The company is now in a 9,000 square foot manufacturing space that allows for warehousing and production under roof. Employment averages about five, with additional part-time employees coming on board to help with peak production. Even with the success of the company, Jason and Joshua have had their challenges.
“The first challenge was growing out of building it all ourselves.” –Jason Green, co-founder of Towable Tailgates
The company has grown methodically, and remains debt-free as proceeds are reinvested in the business. The University of Georgia Small Business Development Center has provided marketing and website development assistance to the company, especially in the early years. Towable Tailgates is also an active member of the local chamber, sponsor of local events as well as a member of the University of Georgia’s Bulldog 100 in 2014 and 2016.
The company is firmly focused on the future by expanding their product lines to offer more comfort and convenience features and to accommodate advancements in technology. And as with any entrepreneur, they are very pleased with what the company they have built and what it means. “Freedom and time. That was my main reason to wanting to work for myself,” said Jason.
Joshua added, “One of the largest rewards is watching the business grow from where it was to where it is today.”
Learn more about Towable Tailgates, models and all of their customizable options at www.towabletailgates.com.
Got a Small Business question? Start the conversation! Contact Ryan Waldrep, Assistant Director for Entrepreneur and Small Business Development.