I recently had a fender bender and needed someone to tow my vehicle and tell me the extent of the damage. I remembered having been introduced to Father & Son Towing at a networking event and was fortunate to still have their card in my purse. With little time to waste, I called the number and Robert L. Hale Sr. was on the line. Shortly thereafter, my car was transported to his shop. When I say the finished product on the bodywork was incredible, I am not stretching the truth. My car looks better than before the accident.
As the name implies, Father & Son Towing has truly been fathers and sons. Until the recent passing of his father, Robert Hale Sr. worked with his father and his son in the family business of towing and custom bodywork.
Carlee M. McCullough, Esq.: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Robert L. Hale Sr.: My name is Mr. Robert L. Hale Sr. and I'm forty-seven years old. I was born and raised in Memphis, Tenn.
CM: How and when did you get involved in the custom painting & bodywork industry?
RLH: I became interested in cars at an early age. I enjoyed everything about the cars from mechanical to bodywork, so I knew this was my calling.
CM: How and why did your business add the tow truck element to the business?
RLH: Early in my custom body shop business, I had purchased a corvette. But not long after I purchased it I had an accident and the car was totaled. When the insurance paid me I took that money and purchased my first tow truck because I used to pay someone to haul cars for me for the custom body repair side of the business. Really, car shops and tow trucks go hand in hand.
CM: Did you create a business plan before starting out?
RLH: No, I didn't create a business plan on paper. The plan was in my head.
CM: What has been your greatest challenge?
RLH: The greatest challenge before my son came on-board was being able to find good reliable workers.
CM: What is the greatest reward in being an entrepreneur?
RLH: The greatest reward in being an entrepreneur for me is being able to make a living at doing what I love.
CM: Your father has been involved in the business, along with your son. What is the experience of having three generations involved?
RLH: The generation experience has been priceless because of my dad's wisdom and common sense approach to life.
CM: Do you notice any new trends in the marketplace? If so, what are they?
RLH: The one main trend in the marketplace that I've noticed is the Internet. We have had to incorporate these things into the business to remain competitive.
CM: What types of marketing do you employ?
RLH: We are listed in the Yellowbook. We have a website. Also, the branding of the name of the business on all of our vehicles, ink pens and key chains is another way of promoting the business.
CM: What are some daily habits that made you successful?
RLH: Being professional. Always being a man of your word. Don't mind working hard.
CM: What books or resources would you recommend for individuals starting out?
RLH: When starting out, an individual should always research their interest through business magazines and/or an internship.
CM: If you could have anything to take your business to the next level, what would it be?
RLH: I could use one or two reliable workers, two more car carriers and two more towing contracts.
CM: What's the next step for you as a business owner?
RLH: My next step as a business owner is to continue to look for additional business and to build my business team with my business attorney and my accountant to take my business even further.
CM: Any closing remarks?
RLH: Thanks Carlee and The Tri-State Defender for the opportunity to share my story.
(For more information, visit www.fathersonautobody.com.)