If you go through my posts it’s easy to see that over the years my journey has included many trucks. Having been in the construction business it was necessary. I have over the years spent many a day washing and waxing my truck. I can remember the first new truck in 1982. It was a very stripped down F150 Ford. It was a stick shift, on the floor, and it was a three speed. The engine was a straight six cylinder. The truck was red and it had a red interior with a vinyl bench seat. It had a radio. I can’t remember if it was just AM, or if it was AM/FM. There wasn’t any cruise control or power anything. The windows were crank up, and the floor was a heavy plastic. I used to hose out the floor and there were drainage holes in the corners for the purpose. To protect the truck bed I had a sheet of 3/4″ exterior plywood that stayed in the bed of the truck.
It isn’t work when you enjoy the effort!
I kept that truck clean and enjoyed the work cleaning and waxing it. I still keep my truck clean. It’s a bit harder for me now though. I need a nap afterwards.
Way back in 1996 I was running a business. We were in the tile, marble, and flooring business doing commercial projects throughout the Eastern United States. There was a lot of traveling involved. Some months my American Express Card was up $10,000.00 for miscellaneous supplies and for hotel costs. We had a lot of guys with us. We were mostly installing floors for a company called May Department Stores. We did a lot of stores each year for the little company that we were.
Anyway, I ended up buying a new truck that year. It was a 1996 Ford F250 XLT Regular Cab with a 351 cu.in. W block V8. It had two fuel tanks with a switch over from one to the other tank. The mileage was awful – about 10-12 miles to the gallon. It was jet black with a brushed chrome cover on the tailgate. It had a front chrome bumper and grille. I installed a chrome diamond plate saddle box made by Weatherguard in the eight foot box behind the rear window. The tires were tall and I think they were 10 ply and built to support a heavy load. They had a sort of spinner design full hubcaps on the wheels. There were heavy duty suspensions parts too, but other than stiff springs and shocks I don’t know what was added.
I just loved that truck. It wasn’t super comfortable over washboard roads, but you really felt solid while driving it. The engine was torquey and powerful. I thought the truck looked great.
I really miss having the independent vent windows this truck had. It was the last time any of my trucks had vent windows. There was nothing better on a warm summer night than having the windows open and the vent windows breaking the rush of air and allowing just the right amount of air flow into the cab. Dropping these was a mistake.
Because there was always extra materials leftover from the jobs that the customer was throwing away, I was renting trailers that we filled with the overruns. I should mention that we didn’t buy this carpet and materials. The customer bought it and we installed it. So these rolls of carpet were simply free to us. Ultimately, I purchased a Hallmark Motorcycle Trailer that was big enough to take those extra rolls of carpet and that we used to bring our job boxes and tools to the projects. That trailer was matched to my 1996 F250. It was black with diamond plate rock guards and fenders. When hitched to the truck they were a black and chrome, diamond plated, vision. They were also well matched mechanically and pulled well. The trailer had electrical brakes and was good with the heavy weights we were towing.
Ultimately we ended up putting over a quarter million miles on that truck. It had several minor accidents. Once a boat being towed ahead of our truck had the boat windshield fly off and dropped onto the hood of the truck at freeway speeds. It put several punctures into the hood, which we fixed. Another time a woman came along and tore off the driver side door in a parking lot. There were other accidents as well. That truck took a beating, but was ready to work all the time.
In the end I had the truck repainted and had the dents and dings knocked out. I gave it to my son and he drove it for several more years.
Hurricane Michael got us. We were hit pretty hard. My wife and I evacuated a day before the storm with our truck and camping trailer, so we were safe.
While the photos show the effect of the hurricane on our home we are grateful that the damage wasn’t worse. We do indeed have tarps on the roof at the moment, just like most of our neighbors. Almost no one was spared damage in our little town on the Florida Panhandle.
The scene throughout the area is shocking. Hundreds of thousands of trees are broken, tilting over, uprooted, or just snapped in half. Trucks to haul away the debris, heavy equipment for loading, and the sounds of chainsaws, demolition crews, roofers, and sirens have filled the air here since October 10th when the hurricane came through. It’s much calmer now, but a lot remains to be done. Reconstruction is only beginning now. We ourselves hope to start soon at our place.
We think that we are doing fine, but it’s interesting how our minds and emotions work. There are up days mostly, but we both have emotional crashes, and then there are the days where the emotional exhaustion takes over and we have to veg for a day.
The positives are there. We’re insured. We didn’t get hurt. We still have a home and we can live in it. Uncertainty and a sensation of not being in control grip us though. It’s a new sensation. Also, what about next year?
While anyone can publish online to a website, a small business, with a customer base that’s local, and that’s often not looking for that businesses story details activity; this sort of business would be wasting time and money with only an online presence.
So then, how do we reach the customers?
Press releases through the local newspaper. Have an event and promote the event, but include a large dollop of background about the business, the people who work there, perhaps the unique location and the historical significance of the building. Any information and background that will catch the readers eye, giving them a greater appreciation for the business itself. Don’t forget to include the values and reasons for the existence of your business; anything that matters, and that will help to create a bond with the customers. A press release costs only some time to create. If published, it may reach a significant percentage of your community, your customer base.
Sales Flyers. Go ahead and promote the products and services that you wish to present to the community, but reserve a half page to say something about your values, what your business aspires to provide or solve for the greater good, that sort of thing. Only speak the truth. What drives you? Where is your passion, your reason for being? Give the customer a strong sense of who you are, and why they ought to do business with you.
Window Display. Why not? If you have a window, clean it, and post a welcome sign with a paragraph or two about the business and its people.
Business Cards that direct attention to a website with information that matters to your customers. This could be technical information. Maps or directions. PDF files that help the customer to use your products. Details about government regulations perhaps. Include your story on the website, include a PDF with a long version of the story if there is one. Include pictures – lots of them if possible.