Denver’s own Dingman group allows professional athletes, coaches and entire NFL franchises like the Chargers and Raiders to move smoothly
Getting around the country is complicated. There is a house to pack and maybe sell, a new house to find, furniture to transport, cars to maintain and the list goes on.
By multiplying these steps by a few hundred people and adding trucks full of fitness and medical equipment, the value of computers and other technological equipment from a head office gives insight into what is happening in the relocation. of an entire professional football franchise.
Something so complicated can seem like a nightmare. For CEO Chris Dingman and the staff of his Denver-based company the Dingman group it’s just another day at the office. They helped move the Chargers to Los Angeles and the Raiders to Las Vegas.
“We are no different from an entrepreneur,” Dingman said. “If you’re building a house, you hire a general contractor. They hire roofers, electricians.
The difference is that Dingman and his team of 10, operating out of a trio of offices in the Civica building in Cherry Creek, have a list of proven real estate brokers in major markets, movers, vehicle carriers and others. sellers in their digital Rolodexes.
“The corporate world has been building relocation management companies for years and years,” said Dingman. “We are that, but we didn’t want to sell and play in the corporate space. I wanted to play in my space for which I had a great passion and that is the world of sport.
It was a slow build for Dingman. When he founded the company almost 15 years ago – shortly after being fired from his job at Taco Bell Corporate – he was routinely turned down at the rim when he featured athletes, coaches, teams and their advisers on what he could do. He racked up unemployment for two years and sold two cars to pay his rent in those early days.
One of his first big breaks was working with then-star Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith, who straddled Dingman during his varsity football career at Santa Monica College. Dingman called his former coach at school to connect with Smith shortly after Smith signed a new contract. The Job: Helping Smith buy a new house for his mother.
“It has always been a dream for him to move his mother out of the environment he grew up in,” said Dingman. “It was very special.”
Flash forward a dozen years and today the Dingman Group regularly processes checks with the logos of professional sports franchises like the Phoenix Suns and Cleveland Browns.
The company’s growth accelerated shortly after Dingman moved the company from its home state of California to the more central, lower-taxed reaches of Colorado in 2016.
Dingman was already talking to the Chargers to help with the logistics of their move at that point, but officially made the deal soon after arriving in Denver. Since 2017, revenues have increased by 2,300%, he said. The company handles over 1,000 individual relocation services per year with “special projects” such as NFL moves and helps Major League Soccer expand into new markets, which generates a good chunk of it.
The key, Dingman said, is to focus on service, not the star power of customers.
The Dingman group builds its margin in quotations. It is able to keep its prices competitive compared to simply going directly to service providers because it has established supplier relationships and has purchasing power based on volume, Dingman said. Beyond that, these relationships have allowed Dingman to offer its customers an additional layer of quality control. When something goes wrong with a move, as it sometimes does, the client can relax – Dingman and his team will take care of it.
When Denver Nuggets assistant coach Jordi Fernández was hired in 2016, the team put him in touch with the Dingman squad to facilitate the move of him and his now-wife from Cleveland. Not only did the company arrange for the couple’s furniture and cars, but Dingman personally picked up Fernández from his hotel and drove him around town, helping him find a home in Washington Park where the couple lived for three years.
“In our business, getting a service done really well and without having to think about it is really important, and he’s really on top of it all,” said Fernández. “We became very good friends from there and he ended up coming to our wedding in Spain.”
Sometimes a unique clientele comes with unique needs. Dingman mentioned knowing who to call when a chandelier needs to be packed and shipped across the country. For senior moving consultant Tony Carollo, taking care of sneaker collections has become an important piece of the puzzle. When vintage Air Jordans can be valued by the thousands, special attention is required.
“Some of these guys have walls full of sneakers,” Carollo said.
Carollo joined the Dingman Group after working with a high volume corporate relocation firm. The world of sport offered him a new challenge. As of Monday, he was monitoring more than 100 active accounts.
“There is a lot of growth and a lot of opportunity,” Carollo said. “I had lost some of that excitement on the corporate side.”
Dingman is thinking about the next phase of his business, which he calls Dingman Group 3.0.
On the one hand, the COVID-19 pandemic has led the company to create contactless online platforms and portals to generate deals and interact with customers, amenities that Dingman hopes will generate new business.
Thanks to the relationships they established during their relocations, the Dingman Group now provides trucking and game day logistics to the Chargers, Raiders and most of their opponents. This means picking up and delivering helmets, jerseys and other gear to SoFi and Allegiant stadiums. This is a service that Dingman wants to expand into other markets.
The CEO sees a lot of potential with major college athletic departments. Not only do schools have multiple sports with coaches, but they also have athletic directors, coaches and more. Having worked with athletes who are alumni of several of the nation’s top athletic schools, Dingman said he’s already getting some traction.
“We just have a lot of places where we can make inroads quickly,” he said.
The most ambitious goal is to break into development. Dingman has always had a passion for real estate and he plans to potentially develop two to three projects over the next three years.
“We’re thinking of mixed-use residential, potentially partnering with some of our customers,” he said. “Bringing us to a point where we own the asset,” an athlete or team office might move into.
There is plenty to keep the Dingman group busy in the short term. The Major League Baseball trade deadline is July 30. Who knows who will need their Lamborghini loaded onto a platform by then.