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Rochester Top 100: Growth opportunities have firm charged up

Rochester Business Journal
December 20, 2013

President Michael DiNardo started the business in 1998. With him is his wife, Gretchen, who is co-owner and vice president of marketing. (Photo by Kimberly McKinzie)

Payment Processing Consultants Inc. expects to more than double employment by the end of next year and double its profits within five years, owner and president Michael DiNardo said.
 
"I've been a salesman my whole life," he said. "I'm more of a hunter than a gatherer. The company, as successful as it's been, is not really in alignment with my personality and my style, which is more like, 'Hey, have you ever thought about using us?'"
 
PPC, founded by DiNardo in 1998, helps businesses process credit card payments. It posted revenues of nearly $3.7 million in 2012.

The Pittsford firm employs six people, but DiNardo plans to add as many as nine more-primarily in sales-in 2014.
 
"Our business is a residual-based business," he said. "We make about $100 per customer per month. Because we set up businesses to accept credit cards, we have a lot of sources that give us leads for that."
 
The sources include Canandaigua National Bank and Trust Co., ESL Federal Credit Union and Reliant Federal Credit Union. If a business owner interested in setting up a credit card payment system contacts a bank or credit union that partners with PPC, the owner will be directed to PPC.
 
"That always represented a big chunk of our business, usually about 10 to 15 percent growth, no matter what," DiNardo said. "But in the last couple of years we've had sales guys doing a lot more knocking on doors and prospecting up and down the street."
 
The change in strategy occurred after DiNardo enlisted Kostas Peters, president and CEO of Fairport management consulting firm Parcus Associates Inc., to search for growth opportunities.
 
"Instead of being complacent with the 10 to 15 percent growth, we started telemarketing and getting leads for the sales guys and having them knock on doors," DiNardo said. "I changed their quotas and changed the way we go about the business, which is to become more aggressive. We go out and find it."
 
Revenues increased 38 percent last year from $2.7 million in 2011.
 
"This is our 16th year in business," DiNardo said. "For a long time, we've reacted. But there's a lot of business in Rochester that we don't capture if we don't get those leads through third-party referrals."
 
Joshua Miles, founder of the Revelry restaurant on University Avenue, contracts with PPC.
 
"In the world of credit card processing, there are some businesses that don't offer anything in terms of offices and people to talk to," Miles said. "Mike's company values its customers, focuses on them and offers unparalleled service. They'll actually pick up the phone when you call."
 
A graduate of St. Bonaventure University with a degree in finance, DiNardo's first job was selling credit card processing equipment and services, originally for JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s Chase Merchant Services unit from 1995 to 1997 and then for Bank of America Corp. for 14 months.
 
"One day I said I should really start my own company," he said. "I had no idea. I thought I knew everything. I knew nothing. I found some salespeople to work for me and, again, be aggressive, knocking on doors."
 
PPC collected 65 customers in its first month. The client base grew to 1,000 as PPC's reputation spread, then by 500 more after DiNardo secured Canandaigua National's processing business.
 
The business started in a bedroom at DiNardo's house.
 
"We really didn't need a physical location, with sales guys knocking on doors," he said. "As it became a serious business, customers wanted to come by and get paper for their machine or they wanted to meet us."
 
In 1999, PPC moved to Route 31F in Perinton. In 2005, it moved to Monroe Avenue in the Pittsford Village Green Office Park. DiNardo bought the building for $1 million and spent $550,000 on upgrades.
 
"I think we can double the size of the company in five years," he said. "That's our goal, not only from sales but from profitability."
 
DiNardo's biggest challenge is convincing customers that paying a processor is worth the expense.
 
"There's a lot of fluff in our industry," he says. "Our job is to look at the fluff that people are getting charged that they shouldn't be charged."

The Rochester Top 100 program is presented by the Rochester Business Alliance Inc. and KPMG LLP. Launched in 1987, it recognizes the fastest-growing private companies in Greater Rochester. Next year's Rochester Top 100 event will be held Nov. 5. For more information, go to rochesterbusinessalliance.com.

Payment Processing Consultants Inc.
Helps businesses process credit card payments
2013 ranking: 71
Founded: 1998
Employees: 6
Top executive: Michael DiNardo, owner and president
Location: Pittsford
Website: www.ppcsales.com

The Rochester Top 100 program is presented by the Rochester Business Alliance Inc. and KPMG LLP. Launched in 1987, it recognizes the fastest-growing private companies in Greater Rochester.


12/20/13 (c) 2013 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email service@rbj.net.


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