The “Family” Business – The Godfather’s Business or the Automotive Repair Shop?

When somebody mentions “the Family Business” I think of a well dressed, old and skinny Italian man with a scratchy voice and has a name like Tony or Sammy. My Grandfather, who I’ve mentioned in some of my other articles, definitely fits the bill. With just one glass of a good Chianti wine, you might find him in our garden patio, rocking back and forth, singing Italian love songs for hours. He was indeed a short, skinny guy, who talked in a voice very similar to the Godfather and at the age of 80 he still had a full head of gray hair. Give him a mandolin and it was almost like being in an old Italian movie.Well let me get back to what “Family” means to me in a Family Business (beyond that old Italian theme). It doesn’t matter whether it’s an automotive service business, like Sandy and I operate, or a cleaning business, a landscaping business, or even a street sweeping business. You see, when Grandpa owned businesses in his younger days, it was his name, his word, and his values that he was offering. He wasn’t fixing transmissions, brakes, or air conditioning like we do. Grandpa was painting murals on grocery store windows. But like us, he knew if he didn’t deliver good quality work for his customers, his name would be ruined and he might have a hard time finding work – especially in a tight nit New England town. That’s why I like working with businesses here in Austin that are family owned. Businesses that are family owned are much more likely to stand behind what they do because they’re offering far more than a product, their offering the meaning of their word and their reputation.In the automotive business, a family owned business is more than just an automotive repair facility. A family owner, and his hand picked team, can be “trusted” advisors of what you “don’t” need to do as well as what you might want to do now to avoid bigger problems down the road. They’ll get to know you and your car so they remember what was worked on last time and how the problems you may have experienced before fit with what’s happening now (or not). It doesn’t matter whether you’re fixing transmissions, brakes, or air conditioning, or your fixing a dishwasher. Family owners tend to care and so many are so very trustworthy.Family owned automotive repair is much like a family doctor and his trusted nurse practitioner and small administrative staff. In a big hospital conglomerate where Dr’s might be overworked and see you once or twice in an emergency room, they aren’t going to care about you as much as Dr. Mulligan who will be with you for years as your family doctor and knows you and your family’s names and watched your kids grow. In addition, although the hospital doctor might ask you a few questions about what happened to you in the past, he’s really not going to put it together the same as Dr. Mulligan who was there treating your family’s health issues with you.I guess that kind of sums it up for how I feel about family businesses. Many small businesses are indeed family businesses, so when you hear somebody say they are a small business, you may very well be hearing somebody offering the luxury of a family business. More than likely, it will be a business from which you’ll enjoy years of great service.

Early Automotive History – Henry Ford’s Legacy

Henry Ford’s legacyBorn in 1863 on a family farm in Michigan, Henry Ford showed great talent for machinery repairs early on in his life. Mainly attempting to make daily farm life easier for his family, he studied every possible mechanical angle of farm machines and tools. At the age of 16, Henry started working as an apprentice machinist studying how to operate and repair steam engines for the next three years.While nurturing his natural abilities and developing engineering skill, Henry Ford supported his family by running a sawmill. Soon enough, Edison Illuminating Company spotted the young talented man and offered him a job as an engineer. It proved a wise decision on their behalf, since he became Chief Engineer shortly after and gave a new impulse to the entire company. At that time Henry Ford had sufficient money and security to follow his dreams and explore internal combustion engines.Most of the vehicles of the era were handcrafted, expensive and unreliable. As a result, the majority of the people relied on traditional horse and carriage methods of transportation. After spending years of studying latest trends, Henry Ford finally started in 1903 the Ford Motor Company. The future giant of American automotive industry began producing cheap, efficient and reliable cars which sparked a genuine revolution in transportation. Mass production allowed control over the costs, along with multiplying the production numbers. In 1908 Henry developed Model T, also called Tin Lizzie, a model that stands as a symbol of industrial revolution in automotive industry.Edsel FordHenry Ford wasn’t alone in his efforts to create something unique. Many great minds of the time tried to match his accomplishment, but only one could be the market leader. The truth is that as the competition grew, people began looking for more than just efficient cars. They began to look for style and early automotive industry adapted to the trend. Here another Ford came into the picture, a natural successor of Henry – his son Edsel Bryant Ford.Edsel grew up tinkering on cars, watching his father assembling, testing and approving engines. He understood the vehicle mechanics and made his own prototype sketches. At the University School Detroit, young Edsel wrote numerous essays about cars. Taking charge for sales, purchasing, advertising and other business aspects of the Ford Motor company, he learned the importance of styling and marketing.Different visions often led to conflicts in the Ford family, but love for each other always prevailed. Edsel managed to create his vision in Lincoln Continental, one of the most beautiful classic cars ever built. The model was sold in around 5,000 units with many innovations at the time.Strong foundations live onIt is hard to imagine a life without cars. Ford Motor Company grew at a tremendous rate in the early few years, as demand greatly exceeded supply. Father and son managed to combine their ideas in a way that allowed the company to keep sound principles of affordable cars for every market segment. There are many who also deserve a reputable place in the Ford Motor company history. Time has brought many changes since, but Henry and Edsel will remain forever remembered as the pioneers and founders of early American automotive industry.

An Introduction on Automotive Floor Jacks

Types of Floor Jacks
A floor jack can mean different things depending on where you use it. The jack used in most car repair shops or garages to lift cars and make repairs conveniently under the car or a tire is called an automotive floor jack. However, another jack is utilized to raise bigger ‘things’ like buildings or houses that needs its beams to be replaced because they are sagging. The last type of jack is used for phone connections. It got its name because it is typically installed on the floor and wall intersection. Notice how all equipment are called floorjacks but have entirely different meanings and purposes.While there are a lot of different jacks available, this article would only focus on the first type of floorjack mentioned: automotive floor jacks. The other two types of jacks will be reserved for a different article.Automotive Jacks
It is common for people to always associate the term ‘floor jacks’ with automotive floor jacks as this had always been the first floorjacks produced. This one uses a pump arm, hydraulics or air compression to raise vehicles and access the undercarriage easily. The automotive floorjack makes changing tires or doing a brake job easier to accomplish. These are handy tools that can be found in car hoods, garages, farms and other places where there are vehicles that may need to be repaired. Automotive jacks have made a lot of repairs easier for the common do-it-yourself mechanics and vehicle owners.On the other hand, this automotive jack should not be confused with hydraulic lifts which are used in most auto repair shops.A more stable ground is required for automotive floorjacks to eliminate improper balance. The ground should not shift as it could seriously harm the vehicle. A lip can be connected to the automobile and raise it gently by pumping the arm, hydraulic system or air compressor.Automotive jacks have different ratings depending on the weight that they can lift without sacrificing security. These automotive floorjacks are very powerful that they can up to 20 tons. For your personal use, you can purchase a 2 or 3-ton jack especially if you’re going on long road trips so you can easily change your tire whenever needed. Obviously, the bigger your vehicle, the stronger is the jack required to do the job. Farm equipment, on the other hand, may necessitate a 10-ton automotive jack.