Come recession or high water, it’s best to be prepared

Michael Borden, owner of Las Vegas company Sandbags, sells them for construction work and emergency situations Thursday, Dec. 26, 2013.

Sandbags Company Profile

Michael Borden, owner of Las Vegas company Sandbags, sells them for construction work and emergency situations Thursday, Dec. 26, 2013. Launch slideshow »

Name of business: (Sandbags LLC)

Address: 5920 S. Rainbow Blvd., Suite 11, Las Vegas, NV 89118

Phone: 724-9999

Email: [email protected]


Hours of operation: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Headquartered in Las Vegas with a national footprint. On call 24/7.

Owned by: Michael Borden

In business since: 2012

Describe your business. is a high-speed mobile bagging operation servicing the continental United States and Canada.

As a construction services supply company, we fill sandbags for pipeline construction, the traffic control industry and disaster response. We also collaborate with a research and development affiliate company.

How did you come up with the idea for this type of business?

I learned about this opportunity through an individual who I had business dealings with. I was asked to help vet an opportunity. Once I got through the discovery process, I realized an intrinsic opportunity to offer a new level of technology and service in an industry dominated by “mom and pops.” There were still no high-speed automated bagging machines. Amazingly, companies were still putting sand in a bag by hand, the same system used since Roman times. I just knew there had to be a better way.

How do you make the sandbags?

We realized there were not a lot of machines out there. So we took it upon ourselves to design a high-speed bagging machine that can fill 2,400 bags per hour.

We rent skytracks and loaders at locations where the sand is. We bring a mobile sandbag factory, with two supervisors who can run the operation, and offer training for temporary labor. We have two different mobile platforms.

How much do the sandbags cost?

We are at $1.95 per sandbag nationwide with discounts depending on volume and market penetration.

Why should the average person have sandbags ready to go?

You need to evaluate the geographical location where you reside. Residents of river deltas and sea coast communities should have a ready supply of prefilled bags. The problem has been that sandbags are everywhere but no one wants to fill them. When they do need them, it’s too late to fill them. They are necessary in many situations, including emergencies and natural disasters.

Who are your customers?

The pipeline industry, construction services, federal agencies, Fortune 500 companies and Fortune 50s.

What makes your business unique?

Our high-speed mobile bagging process. We are a green company with biodegradable bags.

What is your business philosophy?

To deliver customer excellence. To be the best in class and best in price. Anytime you’re selling against an incumbent, you want to ensure that you have the best product at the lowest price and that you can deliver it faster.

Our corporate culture is focused on excellence.

What’s the most important part of your job?

Helping Americans become energy-independent. We are part of the solution in the pipeline construction industry rebuilding America’s pipeline infrastructure, therefore helping Americans to become energy-independent.

Also, once the company gets large enough, we will be able to change the face of how Americans help each other with disaster responses.

What is the hardest part about doing business in Las Vegas?

Right now, due to issues in our industry, no local manufacturers are capable of delivering the products, parts and assemblies we need, so we have to outsource to companies in other states. As a Nevada company, our preference would be to source locally.

What is the best part about doing business in Las Vegas?

The state tax structure makes it enticing to continue to do business here. And obviously the weather is much better than in Wisconsin!

What obstacles has your business overcome?

It’s been an uphill battle the entire time. The biggest hurdle was to understand what the industry and market look like to sustain a viable business, and traveling across the country to find a qualified manufacturer. Finding qualified staff and personnel has been easy.

Living in Las Vegas and having a national company is great; however, working on the other side of the country has provided some difficulties.

How can Nevada improve its business climate?

Continuing to focus on business sectors besides hotel and gaming will make this community stronger. Nevada can continue to focus on building a well-rounded commercial business. Focusing on education and real-world commerce will round out the business wheel for Nevada.

What have you learned from the recession?

The recession was serious and did not discriminate. It hurt a lot of people from all sectors of life in this country. Now we have those people wanting to start providing for themselves and their families and we are giving them a chance to make that happen.

We were fortunate to be in the right place at the right time. And we were lucky enough to be in one of the few sectors that didn’t get hurt by the economy.

My advice is to always be prepared. You have to be understanding and be willing to give people a second chance. Don’t be afraid to get up, brush yourself off and try it again.

And stop chasing every shiny object that comes your way. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

Tags: Business