Let me start off by saying welcome to the first blog post! Since BenzForce has been around about a year now, I think it is fitting that I explain who I am, what BenzForce is, how it’s different, and what I think the future roadmap looks like.
Who am I? My name is Rodney and I am the typical average Joe living in a suburb of Austin, TX. I am married and have two sons. Back in 2012, I started a small consulting practice which took off like wildfire. The business supplied technical services to Oracle Gold Partners specializing in Product Lifecycle Management. Our services were resold (private label) through most of the larger consulting companies specializing in the niche product line. I was making more money than I ever had but I spent my days on the phone or in front of the keyboard easily averaging over 80 hours a week. Even though I had a couple of DBAs, it was one of those specializations that required constant babysitting. I was missing out on life and realized that chasing the cash just wasn't fulfilling anymore. As a result, I asked my best and biggest customer for a job with reasonable work hours. I am still with the company and overall have been very blessed with my career. I am not rich by any means but I am thankful to live a comfortable life at this time.
What is BenzForce? It’s simple. At this time, BenzForce exists to supply the Mercedes enthusiast with the replacement or performance parts they need. Nothing more, nothing less. Admittedly it is geared towards a product line that interests me but I will always be happy to research parts for other models of cars or vendors if there is a demand.
So how is BenzForce different? I don’t have overhead like a full shop. I don’t have financed inventory. I am not a slave to squeezing every ounce of profit out of a customer because I don’t know when the next sale is coming. You see, at this time, BenzForce is run from a home office. In fact a lot of my inventory sits on a pair of bookshelves next to my rack of computer servers. For expertise, like pump building, I will rely on an expert in that field because the customer deserves it to be done right. My job is to find the qualified shop that won’t screw people on price and supply them with the element kits from Dieselmeken. I am in full control of what I sell, what I manufacture, and what my price points are.
Another key differentiator is that I don’t claim to know everything about everything. Some vendors show tons of videos boasting about how great they are, acting like they can do anything. That is not me! If I do not have personal expertise in something I am usually very quick to tell the customer that I do not know and refer them to some forums to get help. I would like them to do their own research and feel comfortable with what they are selecting, than to hear a sales pitch centered on products I can get my hands on as I do not want my suggestion to result in a customer spending a lot of money on a set of products that won’t meet their goals.
With BenzForce I am also trying to bring suppliers together. The European companies are coming on board but domestically it hasn’t gone so well. An example of small manufacturers in the USA are those for the driveshaft adapters and oil fittings. One wouldn’t return my emails or phone calls and the other started his dialog by saying how his customers complain about price – not a good way to start the dialog. I am trying to get reasonably priced, quality products to the market, so I elected to just have my own manufactured for significantly less and forego the headache of negative negotiation. If there is no proprietary or intellectual property and there is opportunity for a wider market to benefit from a product I can supply for less, I will entertain the thought of having it manufactured but a rising tide raises all ships: I would rather work with suppliers where possible.
To sum up how we are different (why it matters), it comes down to existing to bring the Mercedes community together, supplying it with the best products, at the best prices, and treating people how I would want to be treated. Novel concept to just do something because you enjoy it, right? It's not, and has never been, about the money.
Where am I going with BenzForce? My hope is to get into the fabrication side of things building a couple project cars a year or doing smaller task oriented work. The MR300D project car has been a good experience but building as a business is another ballgame. Like everything else, I would want the shop and all equipment fully funded before I would consider it, so that debt doesn’t dictate customer cost and I wont have to cut corners to get more projects in.
With respect to the online BenzForce identity, I would like to see that grow to include adapters for domestic transmissions and rear ends, newer engine performance parts, suspension products, and possibly body kits. I am also interested in gas performance parts.
You made it through the first blog post, congratulations! Your constructive criticism is always welcome so please let me know your thoughts!