Small Business Stories - PML
Meet Aspiring Entreprenuers and listen to their small business success story. In this episode: learn more about PML.
Ivy Hartman: We’re here at the CIMA show 2007 in Las Vegas and sbtv.com is covering it. And with me is David Tolin, who is the founder and president of PML Inc. And you guys—you’ve created a product and manufactured these and talk about this award winning piece here.
David Tolin: This year we came out with a new small block valve cover. It’s a sandcast product that we designed and built all the tooling here in Southern California. The reason that we came out with another small block valve covers is that I didn’t like the designs that were out there. A lot of my competition continued to use the four bolts. We came up with a design that only uses two bolts. We cast in baffles and we put in some support walls and make the product stiff enough so it won’t leak. It’s using two bolts. We have a breathing system that opens up to the intake manifold side. We can place a hole here or here, according to what your engine needs. And we’re kind of excited about it because we’ve got to Corvette logo. It eliminates the use of an adapter for some of the other valve covers. We have the Corvette logo and the Chevrolet logo in this design. All of this is licensed with GM.
Ivy Hartman: And you won the National Media—Global Media.
David Tolin: The Global Media award here, yesterday.
Ivy Hartman: For new product. Congratulations. PML started as an engineering—
David Tolin: Service Company.
Ivy Hartman: Okay.
David Tolin: Over 20 years ago, we did a lot of work with a lot of American manufacturers. The article inspections, building tooling, prototype and production for sandcasting and investment casting, drop hammer tooling. But as things change, the global marketplace, we found our competition to be offshore. I have a lot of equipment, I’ve got a lot of years to left to work. So we came up with our own product line about seven or eight years ago. Then we’ve been exhibiting here at CIMA for the last seven years and business continues to grow.
Ivy Hartman: I notice that the emphasis on how you said we’re manufacturing it right here in California.
David Tolin: We’re pretty adamant about that. As a matter of fact we have domains of Corvette and Chevrolet, but inside of our product we display our address and our phone number, Made in the USA. I guess most of the cars that we deal with our product line is basically mainly towards American vehicles, you know, trucks and cars. We service the Hotrod market and the diesel truck market and American consumer cars, they are our marketplace. So far we sell in to Mexico and Canada and Australia and New Zealand but that’s our marketplace. So we tried to make everything for American market for American people.
Ivy Hartman: It seems like a smart marketing idea, you targeted your audience, that’s perfect. But also by putting in inside that that vehicle changes hand in any works being done or when you need to replace the part, they know exactly where to find you.
David Tolin: Our parts come with a lifetime manufacturing warranty, so if there’s any problem, they can call us.
Ivy Hartman: So then you’ll be replacing a part, is that what you’re saying?
David Tolin: No—yeah, yeah. No, these are pretty sturdy, if you want to feel it.
Ivy Hartman: And you know what, it doesn’t look—it’s not as heavy as it looks which I like about, which is good because that helps the performance. You’ve started the business PML, a one man show you we’re—you have a lot of small business and entrepreneurs, you’ve work your fulltime job while you were starting your small business. Talk about how you’ve grown in that time?
David Tolin: Well, I don’t know. I got a rid off the fulltime job. But we’re still working all the time. When you’re self employed, it’s always been something that I like to do, so you could say, “For the last 20 years I’ve been working real hard to build a business” or you can say, “I retired 20 years ago.” I guess the money to keep things, keep chasing my dreams. And with that, you know, there’s a lot of things you can do in life and I just want to make sure I get them all done.
And there’s a lot of people in this industry we’d like to work with. And with that our product line, one of our goals was to work with people who want to works with us. And so a lot of them are on the mom and pops and top shops and the smaller people that work on people’s cars or builders, you know, that’s our main source for selling our product. We have a one step pricing structure, our stuff isn’t founded in a major warehouse distributors. Mainly, when we we’re small they don’t want to talk to us. As things progress, we do not want to talk to them.
Ivy Hartman: What do you mean when you say that, you mean these bigger—
David Tolin: The bigger warehouses.
Ivy Hartman: You want to be very loyal to people—
David Tolin: Our dealers now, over 300 in this country and I can’t turn my back on them. They’re the one’s that helped me build my business and we want to offer products that they can make money on and we can make money on. And if there’s any problem, they can call us directly and we can figure it out. And it’s been a very good relationship for the last—
Ivy Hartman: And the neat thing I like about your product is too, there’s not a lot of training involved when you give it to—you know, a part they’re familiar with and they already know.
David Tolin: Yeah, the emphasis of on our designs is that both or our valve covers and transmission pans are differential covers. We want just to take the stock cover off and you should be able put ours and bolt it right up. There are no special tools, we do provide new hardware for as far as mounting hardware and our tranipans and differential covers, we provide a magnetic drain plug. And put a drain plug in there, there are a lot of differentials and transmission pans from the factory, you can put a drain plug. And as a person works on my own car, that is very inconvenient. It makes a big mess. So it’s a whole lot easier to service.
Ivy Hartman: And just make sure and your shaking your head and go, “What, well I see a market.”
David Tolin: You know, I just got tired of getting in the garage and get dirty. So it’s kind of to be peace at home.
Ivy Hartman: And I’m sure you saved a lot of marriages. When you build your business, looking back do you have any tips for other small business owners, things that you had to overcome or looking back that you would have done differently?
David Tolin: Looking back I say wow. If I would’ve known, I wouldn’t done this, but the only thing I can really say if you’re really interested in starting your own business, it’s just have to do something that you like, because if you’re in for the money, you’ll be sorry. And because for me, it’s 24/7 job, I mean when everybody is sleeping and you wake up at night and thinking, “Oh man, I forgot this or I need to do this or did this shipped or—” you can’t turn it off. If you’re not prepared or if you’re really not committed to your business, it won’t just happen.
As an owner, you don’t have to pay yourself overtime. So a lot of times when everybody else goes home, you’re the one getting it done. So the buck always stops when the owner. That’s my only advice is. And a lot of people that I know have been very successful in business. It was never about the money, it was about they had a goal and they wanted to get something done.
Ivy Hartman: Earlier now, you talk about how you serve the smaller shops and mom and pops and you are a small business owner also. The industry itself, the after market automobile industry seems like it’s really comprised of a lot of small businesses.
David Tolin: Yes it is, and a lot of them the smaller shops. Everything is so competitive that they would offer a product that will want to help the consumer and also help the person installing it. It enhanced the performance of the vehicle by lowering the temperatures like a new transmission differential cover or the styling. It’s a win-win situation for everybody and everybody walks away happy and it’s hard. But in the another hand, it’s nice when you go to a car show and when you see your stuff on a vehicle or you see a costumer that calls you, he just want a new vehicle, he wants a whole new set of tranipan and differential covers because the last one gone on to a 150,000 miles or 200,000 miles, that just helps and that just makes your day.
Ivy Hartman: It’s very rewarding, I can’t imagine. It’s just like hearing a song on the radio that you sang on the road to be able to see your stuff on here just like this show CIMA. If for more information so we can hear your products, how can we get to your website?
David Tolin: Our website is real simple, it’s www.yourcovers.com and you go our site and we have a ton of information, you can order online if you like. There’s also a list of dealers by state, you can click on your state and the dealers will pop up in your area. And you can call them and you can go direct.
Ivy Hartman: Sounds like you’re using good electronic marketing in using website wisely.
David Tolin: Exactly.
Ivy Hartman: David thanks for being here with us today.
David Tolin: I enjoy it.
Ivy Hartman: And keep it here on sbtv.com for our continued complete coverage of CIMA show 2007.
Small Business Stories - PML
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