Bevan Collard works on a fleet vehicle at his shop in Wellington.
Entrepreneurs come in all shapes and sizes, but maybe they all share something in common: "An impeccable, gut-wrenching feeling of doom."
So says Bevan Collard, who has won the Small Business Administration's Young Entrepreneur Award for 2010. He founded his business, Bevan's Precision Alignment, three years ago, taking the leap of faith in his own talent and marketing strategy. He designed and built a mobile rack that could hold big rigs - trucks, motor homes, buses - for on-site servicing.
In keeping with the "feeling of doom," he had to put up his house and land as collateral for the SBA loan that made it possible. "Nobody sees that sacrifice," he said of the risk involved in launching a business of one's own. After eight months he was able to establish a permanent maintenance facility in Wellington but still tows his mobile rack across Castle Country and as far away as Salina and Vernal to serve his customers.
Collard says he was not compelled to start his own business for financial reasons. He had a good job as a mechanic at Nielson Construction and loved it. "I guess I'm just someone who needs to be challenged," he says.
Picking the type of work he wanted to do was easy. He grew up surrounded by mechanics. He even took courses in diesel mechanics from his father, Dean Collard, at the College of Eastern Utah and earned his Associate of Applied Science there in 2003.
Although he's been trained and has experience in just about all aspects of diesel mechanics, he decided to specialize in alignments rather than be a generalist. "You need to have a niche, something solid where people know who to call when they have a specific need," he explains. In other words, there are already plenty of good general repair businesses around, but not many specialists in alignment.
Technically he's still in the start-up phase of a new business, building a customer base and reputation. "It boggles me that I won this award because I'm still struggling," he admits. Nevertheless, his progress so far was enough to convince the awards panel that he earned the recognition.
Collard has some advice for those who may want to launch their own business: have a support group to prop you up when the going gets tough. He gives credit to his wife and parents for their moral support, which has been vital in keeping his dream alive.
They say that a person's livelihood is connected to that person's transportation. With the understanding that the same is true of businesses, Collard founded a mobile heavy-duty alignment business to service trucks, buses, motor homes, trailers and coal trucks at a client's site or on the side of the road. Collard's company, Bevan's Precision Alignments, is now a well established, trusted enterprise servicing Carbon and Emery counties.
Growing up in a family of mechanics, Collard learned the tricks of the trade. After graduating from the College of Eastern Utah with an associate's degree in diesel mechanics, he went to work as a diesel technician for Nielson Construction. After five years with Nielson, Collard recognized a niche and pursued his dream.
After only eight months doing work, Collard was able to obtain a fixed location shop in Wellington. The shop doesn't replace the mobile service, but enhances the business' ability to meet its clients' needs. Collard recently solidified a deal with a national tire chain to be their service representative for Eastern Utah.
The goal of Collard's is to further diversify by adding services for diesel and farm equipment.
Collard seeks to establish a relationship of trust with his customers. His main goal is to be accurate and honest in his work. He works tirelessly to identify problems and find superior solutions. He spends hours researching mechanical problems and expanding his knowledge base so he can better anticipate and meet the needs of his clients. Using high-tech laser equipment to correct and align tires, BPA can save its customers 2-10 percent in fuel costs and up to 50 percent on tire costs.
Throughout his lifetime, Collard has always desired to be the best at all of his endeavors. Because of this attitude and his work ethic, his patrons will not have to worry any longer about their livelihood.
Bevan is the son of Dean and Christie Collard of Huntington. He and his wife Sarah and family live in Huntington.