Ford & Sons Keep Loyal Customers
Ralph “RJ” Ford keeps his New York recycling business growing by providing great customer service.
It’s the little things that make the difference, noted Ralph “RJ” Ford. And it’s those same “little things” that have propelled Ford & Sons Auto Salvage, Inc. even through challenging times.
“Take the time to call your customers back. It just amazes me at how many of those big fancy yards don’t even call you back,” said Ford, the owner of the Westtown, N.Y. auto recycling business. “Then, of course, spend time with your customers whether it’s in person or on the phone.”
Ford & Sons Salvage is known for its outstanding customer service, which Ford said is pretty straightforward. “We make sure that the employees who deal with customers have a good knowledge of the parts. And we give customers our undivided attention. It’s the same, whether they’re asking about a $2,000 motor or a $50 door mirror.”
Then, there are the products the company offers. All parts are meticulously cleaned and bagged. All orders are shipped within 24 hours, but many are shipped the same day. The parts also come with “no hassle,” 90-day warranties. The business replaces any defective parts immediately, no questions asked.
It’s a formula that has worked for Ford & Sons Salvage since its beginning, 15 years ago. At the time, Ford worked for a towing company. He heard about a 12-acre property his family leased to a guy who wanted to “get out.” So Ford arranged to take over the property, which was an auto recycling facility. “I started with a blank slate,” Ford remembered. “The place was completely empty, not one car on the property. I started buying cars little-by-little. Then I bought a flat bed truck and a computer system.”
The business has grown every year, even during the down economy. “We always seem to be climbing,” said Ford, “even if it’s not by a huge amount. The year that all of the dealerships closed, we had a 0.3 increase and I thought, ‘I’ll take it.’”
These days, the business employs three, including Ford and his brother, Gus Turner, who has been with the company from its start. There’s also Ford’s Labrador retriever, appropriately named Bumper, who accompanies him to work each day and who greets the walk-in customers.
The most recent additions to Ford & Sons Salvage are the scales to weigh scrap metal. Ford had them installed last July. “We were spending so much money on inventory that we wanted to get some of it coming back in,” he explained. “There was also a need for it in this area since no one else has them.” The scales are used every day, Ford noted. He hasn’t even had to advertise; that part of his business has grown simply by word-of-mouth.
“We have customers who buy parts from us that bring in their cars for the scales,” he said. “We buy tin and iron; we haven’t gotten to nonferrous metals yet.”
It’s too early to tell how much the scales will impact the overall business, but Ford is optimistic that Ford & Sons Salvage will continue to grow. “We have great relationships with our customers and know them personally,” he stated. “We treat them as we would want to be treated. We also stand behind our product. We don’t sell anything we wouldn’t want to install in our own vehicles.
“We’re a smaller shop and we offer personalized service,” he added. “We treat our customers right the first time and they keep coming back.”