San Francisco Forklift Company LLC
Here To Serve Your Needs
Hi, Im Chad, owner and founder of San Francisco Forklift Company. Here I will tell the tale of who we are, how this came to be, and what we hope to accomplish.
The product of two bikers with substance abuse issues and seemingly left behind by the hippie revolution my parents lived a hard rock and roll lifestyle and as such I had a dark and damaging childhood, the memories of which fuel my drive for success to this day. Since childhood I have taken the good and disregarded the rest. My mother was a free soul who loved both people and nature and she left me a sense of adventure, wonder, and awe. My father was a man who was known for his ability to fix any machine even if he had never seen it before, and its from him I get my gift of repair.
I was given few opportunities in life but I seized with both hands the ones that did come by. I took the very last year of Auto Shop in high school and it was the spark that set ablaze in my heart a passion for machines and mechanical things that became a guiding force in my life and gave me much needed direction and purpose.
I knew I wasn't going to college and as such needed to join the workforce asap so I secured my permit to work at 15 years old, passed my GED (highest scores in 10 years at that time), gave a heartwarming speech about success and determination, and dropped out of high school.
I immediately got hired at Mcdonalds down the street from my grandparents house, mostly because the auto shops were on the other side of town and I had never ventured that far on my bicycle. That and I wanted free Mcdonalds.
I loved having a job. I craved the structure and responsibility. I overslept one day and in a panic rode my bike to work so fast that when I hit the brakes I actually crashed into the bushes in front of Mcdonalds resulting in injuries to my hands and I had to take the day off. After that, I decided to put my alarm clock on the dresser forcing me to get out of bed to turn it off, something I still do to this day.
I loved the responsibility, the independence, the feeling of self worth, and I especially loved having money in my pocket, but I hated working at Mcdonalds and quickly realised it was not a career option for me. I knew in order to reach retirement, what I thought to be the ultimate success in life at that time, I would need the right career to carry me the distance. After a short time trying out construction, and then hardwood flooring, and an even shorter try at roofing, the answer was clear, I would choose my true passion and become a master technician no matter what it took.
At 18 I got my first shop job at Lifetime Mufflers and Brakes. I lied and said I could do everything, figured Id learn on the go. As soon as I was on my own in the shop I ran for the grey haired guy and started asking questions. I learned a lot from him. I also lost a few of his sockets so the boss made me spend my first paycheck on a set of deep impact sockets and a ratchet from Matco. I still use those same sockets, haven't lost a single one, and I still have an account with Matco some 20 years and $110,000 in tools later.
Eventually I was fired for lack of knowledge and for being an irresponsible teenager but while I was there I learned things like how to measure brake drums and rotors and how to do a basic service on most vehicles and I took that knowledge to the next shop and used it as a selling point to get hired. Same thing happened there, I was eventually fired for lack of experience (and calling in sick every Monday) but I had learned more about welding and the meaning of smog results, had acquired more of my own tools, and took these things as a whole to the next shop.
On and on it went like that for a few years. I was a restless soul in those days, never staying in one place for very long. Shop after shop, place after place, I patiently built up a wealth of knowledge about a wide variety of cars and machines. Each job came with its own mentor who taught me something new that I took and carried with me. In this way I earned my knowledge bit by bit, refining my abilities and skills all the while. I swear I worked just about everywhere in the Bay. I worked on buses and had the great honor of maintaining the Marguerite shuttle fleet at Stanford University. I even worked on trains for Waste Solutions Group/SF belt loop railroad. At some point in my late 20s, I realized I was no longer a novice mechanic and took all 20 something ASE tests and to my great surprise got over 90% and officially earned my title ASE Master Certified Technician.
After the bus company I stayed home for a bit with my wife and new child and one day my friend mentioned they were hiring at a local forklift company. How hard could that be I thought? Quite challenging indeed it turned out and here i found my place. What quirky little machines these things were and what funny difficult problems they presented! I loved feeling challenged again and spent the better part of ten years at that company, the longest i ever stayed in one place. I learned a lot there and I owe them more than I can list here.
There came a point however, where I realised I had outgrown them and with my drive and my work ethic maybe I ought to be on my own. I had tried working for myself before in my 20s. I had loaded my toolbox and my air compressor into the back of my trusty old Suburban, called myself "Mechanics On Wheels", hired my buddy, and put an ad on Craigslist. It felt good and I got quite a few calls, but knew nothing about forming a company or anything about business at all really, and was soon forced to abandon the venture and get a shop job. But again, I had learned some very valuable lessons, like always take note of the condition of the vehicle and any damage BEFORE working on it, and would carry those lessons with me going forward. I had also tried to get into real estate at one point, went to one of those seminars and took a "real estate training and education" class that talked me into forming an llc to sell houses promising "tons of deals" except I never bought or sold a single property and closed the LLC a year later. Lesson learned. But again, a valuable bit of knowledge was earned as I learned how to officially start a legal business.
(this section still in progress)