Aftermarket family business facts

Management Lucas Deal June 17, 2014

Family businesses. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, the expression always carries cache.

Which isn’t to say there’s nothing special about operating a non-family business or corporation, not at all, it’s just that when one comes across a prosperous family business, it’s easy to be impressed.

Running a successful family business in today’s economy demands a level of respect and admiration.

It’s tough enough in this country to just get a business off the ground. Building a business from scratch that’s successful enough to pass on is an incredible accomplishment. And to pass it on to a family member who is able to keep the good thing going is even more impressive.

I’ve been encountering family businesses since I stepped into the aftermarket in January 2011. During that time, I’ve never not been impressed by the business acumen and skills displayed by family businesses in the aftermarket.

Family businesses are the backbone of this industry — and we have the data to prove it.

Over the last several weeks Truck Parts & Service has surveyed the aftermarket in hopes of establishing just how “family business” reliant this industry has become.

RELATED: The State of the Aftermarket in 2014.

We will release the complete results of our survey in a multi-part series on family businesses online next month, but in the meantime, here are some interesting facts about family businesses in the heavy-duty aftermarket.

Family businesses hold a significant majority: It’s easy to say “most aftermarket operations are family businesses,” but it sure helps to have data to prove your claim. We do. According to our research, nearly 70 percent of responders to our survey said they work for and/or lead a family business. That number includes distributors and repair facilities, which means the family business aspect isn’t limited specifically to one area of the industry.

Family businesses can stand the test of time: According to our survey results, 51.4 percent of aftermarket family businesses currently operate under second- or third-generation ownership. That’s incredible. First-generation businesses also account for 45 percent of the industry’s family-run operations, which means the industry also is receptive and accepting of new families entering the arena.

Family businesses aren’t always corner stores: The “Mom and Pop” store might be an accurate representation of family businesses in other industries but not this one. Our research indicates only 40 percent of aftermarket family businesses have less than 25 employees, with nearly 26 percent of family operations employing more than 151 workers. That’s a spectacular number.

When you put these stats together with MacKay & Company’s estimate from Heavy Duty Aftermarket Dialogue that the heavy-duty aftermarket is a $26.2 billion industry, it’s becomes quite clear how successful aftermarket family businesses are in today’s industry.

Family businesses make this industry tick, and that’s an excellent reason to be proud.

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