Garden State Woman recently sat down with Jack Speece to disucss how Ambrose Employer Group can assist small business owners.
Explain to Garden State Woman readers what your firm does and the types of organizations you target to work with.
Jack: Ambrose provides an integrated, outsourced HR solution as well as a dedicated service team, full suite of benefits, and technology platform for employee and manager self-service. Ambrose's service helps high end, white-collar companies focus on their core business by freeing them from having to manage key HR functions. As a result, clients improve operating efficiencies, reduce their compliance risk, and offer their employees top quality benefits. Ambrose provides clients with a full suite of benefits (medical, dental, vision, STD, LTD, Group Life, 401k, etc) at prices otherwise only achieved through economies of scale. This significantly reduces costs of providing employee benefits. Ambrose also offers the members/partners of LLCs or partnerships access to our benefits. The typical client size ranges from 1-250 employees but the service adds exceptional value to companies of 5-50 employees. We invite those interested to visit www.ambrose.com for more information.
How do your client companies benefit from working with you?
Jack: On the cost side, companies save money by consolidating numerous HR functions, employee services and products with one vendor (HR Administration, payroll, benefits, 401k, Group Life, LTD, etc). Clients also take advantage of the economies of scale we provide in insurance pricing. Equally important, those companies save time by having a dedicated HR Associate handle all the administrative tasks that normally take time away from the client's core business.
If companies sign up to work with your firm what type of commitment do they make? What is your basic fee structure and how long of a contract do you require?
Jack: Unlike many of our peers, we don't have a minimum contract – we simply require 30 days notice for administrative reasons. We only want clients to stay with us because they're happy with our service, not because they're locked in to a contract. Also unique among our peers, we have a set administration fee per employee per month that is based on the number of employees. This covers the cost of all of our services (i.e. no added cost for each additional service used) and it often results in a cost base less than the combined costs of the client's separate service providers (payroll, benefits, 401k, etc).
What is the compelling reason that companies sign up to work with your firm? What is the compelling bang for the buck?
Jack: Most of our clients would tell you it's our turnkey solution that includes the dedicated HR Associate - our key differentiator in the market - and that's what we focus on. However, while we don't promote it, the real "bang for the buck" is often the substantial overall annual savings we provide for our clients when they eliminate numerous other service providers and the pooled pricing they obtain for insurance.
You have competitors. What is your competitive edge?
Jack: We have the highest level of service out there from the dedicated HR Associate (main point of contact for everyone from summer intern to CEO) to the quality of our medical/dental/vision plans to our entire organization's focus on excellent customer service. Everything about Ambrose is tailored improve the client's business. It is our responsive and client centric focus. Any high end, white collar organization that truly values its employees will be hard pressed to find a better solution than Ambrose.
What are the key challenges you have to deal with when trying to close a new account? Your service seems logical and important. Why would target potential clients say "no."
Jack: Honestly the biggest challenge we face is one that everyone in our industy faces – the issue of co-employment. Ambrose and similar organizations use a legal arrangement called co-employment where we become the administrative employer of record and file all payroll taxes under our Federal Tax ID – this is what allows us the pooling mechanism for medical/dental/vision plan pricing. Many people have the misperception that they lose their employees to us when, in reality, it is a co-employment relationship for administrative purposes. The other big challenge is that our monthly administrative fee initially appears high, so the challenge is to help companies realize the costs they would avoid with Ambrose when eliminating other service providers and also the medical/dental/vision plan savings. Nine times out of ten, adoption of our service results in a net savings for our clients.
Give us some history on your organization. When did it start? How many states do you cover? How many client organizations do you have in the metro NY, NJ, Connecticut area?
Jack: Founded in 1997 in NYC, Ambrose has grown significantly but maintains an exclusive focus on serving white collar companies. In the early years, our main industry vertical was financial services, but we now also serve numerous other white collar industries (law, accounting, consulting, technology, life sciences, cleantech, etc). Ambrose currently has a staff of 78 employees of which most are HR Associates and supporting specialists (benefits, 401k, legal specialists, etc). Many of our clients are concentrated in the tri-state area, but we have client companies located across the US as well. Ambrose currently has over 500 client companies equating to over 7,800 serviced employees.
Any final comments for business owners and leaders?
Jack: If the costs of providing quality benefits to your employees are getting out of hand or you're tired of wearing multiple hats, it's worth your time to talk to someone from Ambrose to see how we can help. At Ambrose we take a diagnostic approach to meeting with new prospective clients, so I guarantee we can help – if we're not the right solution for your business based on your needs, we'll help you figure out what is the optimal one for you and can provide guidance for that solution.
Our viewers like to have a feel for the good people we introduce them to. So, tell us just a bit about you personally.
"I’m originally a farm boy from Ohio that wanted to get out and see the world. West Point provided this opportunity, in addition to a top-notch education, and offered me some amazing experiences during my time in the Army. I achieved the rank of Captain and realized that for the next 10 years or so my Army time would consist of staff positions rather than the operational side I enjoyed. As such, I decided to get out and, while I was good at shooting things and blowing things up, those skills aren’t overly applicable to corporate America. I was fortunate to get my MBA from Harvard and went to work on Wall St. as a trader. Following that, I had a few interesting roles before joining Ambrose – I ran a Home Depot, worked at a startup, and was VP of Operations for a global call center company. I’ve truly enjoyed Ambrose as it not only allows me to help business owners but also the quality of life it provides are phenomenal. I have a 1 year old little girl and enjoy spending as much time as possible with her and my wife. We’re very active and our daughter loves the outdoors so we’re usually out walking, biking, or hiking whenever we can."