Owners will partner up for full-service truck shop

Ledom’s Fabrication & Truck Equipment and Performance Plus to join forces after marketing together since 2012

Colorado Springs, Colo.—Larry Ledom and Greg Budwine, who currently operate their own shops, will merge their businesses together at the beginning of next year and become joint owners of Ledom’s Performance Equipment & Diesel Repair, a full-service truck shop. “It seems like every other day we are in each other’s shop for one reason or another anyway, so in 2012 we began discuss joining our two businesses together,” Budwine said. “The plan is to make it official the first part of next year.” Before discussing teaming up, Budwine, who owns Performance Plus, and Ledom, who owns Ledom’s Fabrication & Truck Equipment, had regularly helped each other in “business-friendly” ways. Budwine relied on Ledom’s fabrication expertise to assist his fleet customers with “fix-it” work that he didn’t offer at his diesel service shop, and Ledom referred his clients in need of service and diesel repair to Performance Plus. As their relationship progressed, the two started to see how much more powerful they could be as one unit. So when Budwine decided to purchase a second building, intending to install a dyno and diesel emissions testing station (a plan he eventually dropped) he called Ledom to see if he was interested in filling the space with his fabrication and truck equipment business, and the two starting marketing their operations as one business. “It took us eight months to wire the second building so it could run all Larry’s fabrication equipment,” Budwine said. “We then started marketing the business as a ‘one stop truck stop,’ capable of providing any service or special equipment needed for Class A trucks to medium- and light-duty. The only thing left to do is the paperwork to make it official.” The “business” still operates out of two separate locations, but Ledom said they have plans to buy a facility large enough to bring the entire operation under one roof. “When Greg and I discussed partnering up, I was running my fabrication shop alone. But by marketing our services together, I’ve grown to where I now employ a team of three technicians in the fabrication shop and Greg has six ASE-certified technicians on the diesel service and repair side,” Ledom said. “When we do find a large enough facility, we’ll move everything to one location.” The “business” now earns most of its profits on a 50/50 split between diesel repair and truck equipment sales and fabrication, Ledom said, contrasted with the first three years experimenting with a joint operation, when 85 percent of the profits came from the diesel service and repair side. Simple marketing tactics, such as putting flyers on rearview mirrors and creating a website with a video introducing their joint services, have helped drive business, they said, adding that staying in close communication with each other has also been a key to success. “We don’t want to lose anybody in the shuffle because they wanted a flatbed fabricated for their truck but they called the service center,” Budwine said. “It’s a minor logistical challenge that we overcome by staying in touch with each other and explaining to the customer how we work.” As retail distributors for Cadet truck bodies, RC toolboxes, and Meyer snowplows, Ledom’s stocks $235,000 worth of inventory at its 4,500-square-foot fabrication shop. “On the fabrication and truck equipment side of the business, we have to keep stock on hand because we can’t just pick up the phone and call NAPA and say, ‘I need a nine-foot flatbed today by 3 p.m.,’” Ledom said. “It doesn’t work that way. So becoming a distributor was an important step to following through on our commitment to being our customers’ one-stop truck shop.” In both parts of the business, tools and training are paramount. On the diesel service side, becoming a NAPA Truck & Service Center in 2009 has offered Ledom’s technicians training opportunities, and provided its customers with a two-year/24,000-mile warranty on repairs, Budwine said. He added that the shop regularly sends its technicians to Bosch, NAPA, and OE training seminars. The 9,500-square-foot diesel service shop is equipped with a Snap-on Modis heavy-duty scan tool, and all three OE scan tools for Ford, GM, and Chrylser-Dodge-Jeep, which require an annual investment of $5,000 to keep software updated. Budwine purchased most of his Rotary lifts through Mike Feeney at the McGee Co., he said. The truck equipment and fabrication shop is equipped with MIG, TIG, and stick welders, a steel mill with a lathe, and an ironworker, Ledom said, adding that when hiring fabrication technicians, he looks for skills in welding and hydraulics, and for mechanically inclined individuals with a passion for their work. Budwine has been involved with the Automotive Training Institute (ATI) for the past 10 years and said the training he’s received through it has been instrumental to his success. “My ATI coach, Brian Hunnicutt, has called me every week for the past 10 years to help me with my business. We talk for a half hour on the phone every Thursday – you can’t beat that with a stick,” Budwine said. The two owners also focuses on community involvement, supporting Little League teams, offering job-shadowing opportunities to high school kids and recruiting up-and-coming talent from Pikes Peaks Community College. “We think a good sign of service is giving back to the community that gives to you,” Budwine said. “Our motto is ‘People serving people, one truck at time’, and it’s not confined to just within the shop walls.”

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