I Buy Converters Too, LLC
Dan Miller started his business I Buy Converters Too, LLC located in Joliet, Ill. with a truck, a storage unit and a strong will to succeed. Miller turned it into a profitable business by buying converters from muffler shops and selling them to metal smelters. By 2008, it was successful enough to require Miller to hire a staff. That's when manager Jesse Vilchis came aboard.
"It was fast-paced," admitted Vilchis. "We were a mom-and-pop business that was growing quickly."
In 2010, Mark Sasko and Randy Hess, owners of Legend Smelting & Recycling, Inc. (LegendSmeltingRecycling.com), a global buyer of catalytic converters and metal alloys, offered to buy I Buy Converters Too. Miller accepted; Vilchis stayed on to manage under the new ownership.
"We essentially went from a storage unit to a warehouse with five trucks," said Vilchis. "It was like going from a mom-and-pop shop to a Walmart."
A New Plan
The business model changed with the new owners. In addition to purchasing metal from muffler shops, I Buy Converters Too started buying from auto recyclers, allowing it to acquire more material.
I Buy Converters Too, along with its parent company Legend Smelting & Recycling with headquarters in Hebron, Ohio, buys the converters to extract the platinum, palladium and rhodium. The company also purchases aluminum wheels, radiators and electrical components such as starters and alternators for the copper content.
"We can accommodate someone selling 50 converters or 10,000 converters," declared Vilchis. "That's the strength of [being a] larger company."
I Buy Converters Too considers its grading system another asset. It grades the converters' worth with a more detailed system according to Vilchis. Plus it tests all of the converters from an in-house laboratory.
"We break down our product list by how much precious metal is in a specific product," explained Vilchis. "Not every catalytic converter has the same amount; not even converters coming off the same model vehicle are equal. While other companies might lump all Chevrolet converters together, we separate them into different categories. Where some companies may have five categories, we have 20. More categories translate to more money."
The staff at I Buy Converters Too works to educate customers about the prices they should receive.
"We create awareness about what they can get," said Vilchis. "We also keep the customer informed about where the market is today and where we think it is heading."
Early To Work
I Buy Converters Too runs truck routes throughout Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin. Drivers often start the workday early.
"We start some days at 3 a.m. so we can get to Iowa by 8 a.m.," explained Vilchis. "That way we can visit eight auto recycling facilities as opposed to three or four."
I Buy Converters Too advertises in the Yellow Pages, in The Locator publications and sponsors golf tournaments. Vilchis noted word-of-mouth business contributes to the company as well.
"We get referrals from customers," he said. "They say, 'You've got to go see my buddy, Joe' so we go over and talk to him."
Vilchis believes I Buy Converters Too is successful because of how customers are treated.
"There are companies in our industry that go to new accounts and offer to buy the product at a higher price just to get the business, but then lower the price," he said. "We treat everybody the same. It's an honest company and we take pride in our work."
Owners: Mark Sasko & Randy Hess
Location: Joliet, Ill.
Years In Business: 11