We were lucky to catch up with Rod Sweis recently and have shared our conversation below.
Rod, looking forward to hearing all of your stories today. We’d love for you to start by sharing your thoughts about the pros and cons of family businesses.
They say you shouldn’t work with friends and family. People tend to act differently when with friends and family than they do with strangers. So I suppose the problem with working family is that they just tell you like it is. The fact that you’re all invested in this together means you all have a personal stake in the success or failure of the business. The problem with working with family is we’re all so stubborn and we all have our own ideas on business affairs. So we argue and ultimately end up just trying them all. Do we put the sign on the roof or the fence? Yes. Do we put out chocolate chip cookies, or sugar cookies? Yes. Do we all do our part but sometimes argue? Yes. Do I get to bring my dog to work? Yes. And everyone seems to want to pet her too. I guess the real problem with family business is there isn’t enough of them.
Great, appreciate you sharing that with us. Before we ask you to share more of your insights, can you take a moment to introduce yourself and how you got to where you are today to our readers
My name is Rod. Born in Pasadena, California and moved with the family to San Diego when I was young and been here since then. I was in college and not really sure what I wanted to do with my life. My retired father was in the automotive repair industry for years and wanted to start a similar business. So I transferred to a technical college for automotive repair. It’s been fun and I’ve also got to pursue other interests, such as Android programming with online classes between customers. Being decently technically savvy, I also managed our online presence on social media. Using my dogs face of course. I think what set’s us apart is that we care too much. To a fault really. While we only have a handful of services, we make sure every customer has a complete understanding of the goings on here at Cali v Smog.
We’ve recently added registration services to help people avoid the DMV. Basically a one stop shop.
What do you think helped you build your reputation within your market?
Family business means that everyone is treated like family. Every customer that walks in tends to feel at home here. because it is a home here. Sometimes business are lacking when it comes to customer relations and people know when they’re being taken advantage of. It’s not just about building rapport, it’s about establishing a relationship with people so they feel accepted and comfortable enough that they wouldn’t even consider another business that’s not just like home.
Where do you think you get most of your clients from?
The problem with advertising on Google and Yelp is people become desensitized to ads and basically ignore them no matter how relevant they are to the search. As we were advertising, we’d ask people where the heard of us, and while there was plenty that came from yelp or google, a substation amount came from word of mouth. I remember one customer who told us his neighbor referred him as they were talking over their fence. That struck home because it was like home. And pretty soon we realized the best way to get new customers is by treating them all with respect, like a family.
- Website: https://www.prestosmogo.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/calivsmog/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CaliVSmog/
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rod-sweis-b3a10246
- Other: The main app I worked on while at Cali v Smog: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=app.d.senddogs&hl=en_US&gl=US