For John McCarty, a cluttered garage is like a blank canvas for an artist. With his Overland Park company, Organized Storage Systems Inc., McCarty can create a masterpiece organizing the space for both fun and function.
Q. What does Organized Storage Systems do?
“We provide storage and organization systems for the garage, closet and pantry and we also install epoxy garage floors,” McCarty said. “We can do a complete overhaul — paint, trim, cabinets, storage systems and epoxy floors. … What we are doing is making the garage a functional extension of your home.”
McCarty began the business in 2000 and it has evolved over time.
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Organized Storage Systems can do a little or a lot to a garage. The cabinetry it installs is custom made for each job. The company can build overhead lofts and hanging wall systems to maximize storage space.
McCarty said his company has pioneered what he calls a signature garage with a variety of components, including ceiling fans, LED lighting and more.
“We try to understand what the clients want to do … and for $3,000, you can do a lot to help yourself,” McCarty said.
A top of the line remodel has epoxy floor, cabinets, lockers for kids, custom built-in sink, hose reel, heater, television, kegerator, running about $35,000.
Epoxying floors has been the bread and butter for Organized Storage Systems, McCarty said. For a three-car garage, the cost for an epoxy floor runs about $3,000.
“It looks cool and it’s easy to clean and it protects the floor from all the chemicals,” he said.
Q: How did you get into this business?
McCarty worked in the food brokerage business with his father after college, but he always had an entrepreneurial spirit. It was during a golf outing in Scottsdale, Ariz., that McCarty learned about garage renovation.
“The garage market out there was going like crazy,” he said. “I researched it, looked at some franchises doing it but, in the end, decided I wanted to do it my way.”
McCarty had already started a residential deck cleaning service using his own financing.
“We were looking for a menu to add to this because it was so seasonal,” he said. “When I saw this I thought we could use our existing customers base to build on.… Within five years it grew so much that I sold the deck business to focus solely on this.”
In the early years, McCarty did much of the work himself.
Today, McCarty has four employees who do most of the installation and remodeling work.
Q: There are a number of franchises that provide this service. What sets your company apart?
“We pioneered this market in Kansas City, and experience speaks volumes,” McCarty said. Because his company is independent, “we are not dictated to what kind of epoxy we buy or what cabinets we have to install,” he said. “We provide a lot more personal service and flexibility.”
Q: How do you get customers?
“Ninety percent of what I do is referral,” McCarty said. “I have an awesome client base and they keep them coming.”
McCarty also has a select group of homebuilders that his company services.
“Occasionally we will do an open house event and invite neighbors to see what we do,” he said.
Q: What about expansion in the future?
At one point, McCarty started to expand the company into the Dallas area. That’s when the 2008 recession hit, and he retrenched.
“The epoxy side of the business kept us going,” he said.
McCarty said he is interested in exploring franchising.
“I would see possibly establishing regional dealers under our name that would be independently owned and operated taking the carpentry/construction side out of it but doing more the sales — and subcontract out the labor,” he said.