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Powder coating offers brilliant white booths!

Powder coating is the fastest growing finishing technology in North America, representing over 10% of all industrial finishing applications. So what is a Powder Coated Finish?

Have you ever seen a really shiny and clean metal piece and wondered what type of paint it was? It was probably a powder coated finish, which is an advanced method of applying a protective finish to practically any type of metal. It’s a sprayed powder that is a mixture of finely ground particles of pigment and resin. Once sprayed, the item is ‘baked’ at a very high temperature to cure the smooth finish and leave it with a sleek and durable ‘skin’. Here’s an old filing cabinet that we powder coated yellow.

Powder Coated Finish: The Powder Coating process provides one of the most economical, longest lasting, and most color-durable finishes available for metal. Powder coated surfaces are more resistant to weather, chipping, scratching, fading, and wearing than other finishes. Powder coatings produce no drips, runs or sags. Edge coverage and coverage inside holes and nooks is exceptional. See the process from our Powder Coating production on this new blog. Continue reading Powder coating offers brilliant white booths!

KNOW WHO YOU’RE DOING BUSINESS WITH

barneyOne of the benefits that the Internet has brought with it is the ability to find almost anything that you’re looking for from the comfort of your computer. No longer is location a barrier to doing business. Let me give you an example. Do you remember that big purple dinosaur from the 90’s, Barney?  Say you’re throwing a Barney birthday party for your soon-to-be-three year old, no longer do you have to drive to a zillion stores to see who carries supplies from that popular children show from 25 years ago. Now, you can hop on Amazon or Ebay, check out partycity.com or scoot over to Walmart’s site to order custom banners, posters, balloons and table clothes that have the big purple Dino on it. Within an hour, you can be done. Some of these products come from China (the Dinosaur is popular over there), some come from personal collections, and some are sold exclusively online for those searching for the hard-to-find supplies. Some of the sites you may choose to order from because you know of their business (everyone knows Walmart) and are familiar with them. But what if you have never heard of them or have no idea who they are? Would you still choose to do business with them? It’s hard to determine how genuine a business is when you are simply looking at their web site. When you are looking for a paint booth, you are looking at a large investment… not just some balloons or party décor. How can you decide if the company you’re looking at online is a legitimate business that will provide you a quality booth?

Here are some signs that you may want to pay attention to when shopping online.

Remember that anyone can get a web site and pay to show up on Google. Here are some results for “Paint booth” on Google.

NC paint booth Google search resultsA nice web site may be a good sign, but what is contained within that web site is even more important. Don’t be swayed with how “nice” a site is… but for the information they provide about themselves. When you search for a product on Google, remember that anyone can pay to show up in the ads … the one’s who show up in the organic results are the ones that are there because of the content they provide as well as the record they have proven to Google.

THERE IS NO PHYSICAL ADDRESS LISTED

This is a big giveaway that it is a company you may not want to do business with. When ordering anything online, it’s important to find out that it is a legitimate business before you give them payment information. If the company does not freely provide their location (actual address), business history and how their booths are made (and where they are made)…. I would go with a more established organization. Get a physical address and Google Image the map of it. A PO Box is not a physical address.  FYI- When you Google our address, this is what you see, our office and plant facilities…. with an actual brick-and-mortar location and cars in the parking lot.

4810 Clover Rd. MapquestA companies web site should include: where their booths are manufactured, where their booths are shiDistribution centerspped from, who is makes the booths, how long the business has been making booths, how many employees they have, etc.

Some competitors list several states that they have “locations” in… but in reality they are a distributor of a company that have storage warehouses in those locations. Some of these companies do not have any kind of brick-and-mortar location, although they present themselves to.

If you are shopping on a site like eBay or Amazon, make certain you know the company you are purchasing it from.

about us video captureNO PRESENCE ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Can you find their basic web site but nothing else? No Facebook page or YouTube account. No blogs to read. Remember that anyone can set up a basic web site, that doesn’t mean they are a legitimate business. Find a company that constantly posts blogs with useful information, post photos of client’s products and testimonials. Companies should be utilizing as many avenues as possible to tell you about their company and products. If not, perhaps you should ask, “why?”

FEEDBACK + REVIEWS

Every company has their share of upset customers, but if all you find online are customers that are complaining about their experience with a company…. It should be a red flag. You should be able to see both positive and some negative comments when you look at their reviews or scan their social pages.

PHOTOS OF ACTUAL PRODUCTS One of our paint booths with a car

We all want to see what the finished product looks like. Look for customer photos on their site or on their Facebook page. Drawings are the industry norm, but their social pages and blogs should provide images of what their booths look like after installation.

TYPOS AND ERRORS ON SITE 

Are there misspelled words or errors in the formatting? For example, instead of “14’W x 10’H x 24’D” does it read “14’0?wid? x 10’0?hi?gh x 24’0?deep”?

These are signs that the business is:

a)     Copying and pasting the information from somewhere else.
b)    Doesn’t take the time to really proof their site for accuracy. Make sure you do business with a company that pays attention to the details.
c)     English isn’t their first language, so perhaps they are located elsewhere.

WHO THEY ARE Our funny Holiday picture

You should know whom you’re doing business with. Can you easily find a name, or photo, of someone at the company, or the CEO? Are there photos of the employees posted on their Facebook? Are there email addresses or direct phone numbers? Is there an “About Us” portion of their site that tells you their mission and why they are passionate about what they do? All of these little details add up to give you the information you need to make an informed decision on whom you are doing business with.

We thank you for your trust and your business!

Let’s Chat ….. Online!

Heather and coffeeIt’s early Wednesday morning and I am just settling into my desk, big ole’ cup of coffee in my hand and looking out the window hoping I will soon see a few snow flakes. As I start to sort through emails and check voicemails, I hear a big BRRRRRRRRING! It’s my computer letting me know that a customer is online and wanting to chat!

So, I start my morning assisting a customer on our paint-booths.com site looking to get a heated booth. In this cold weather, I can’t blame him! We chatted for a few, and were able to get him a quote quickly, while we both had our coffee.

We have recently added the “Live Chat” option to our web sites (www.paint-booths.com, www.toolsusa.com, and www.eagleequip.com).  Don’t worry- it’s not Skype or a video chat — we can’t see you sitting there in your PJ’s (thank goodness).  While we are still getting used to communicating with our customers online, it’s great for our customers to quickly ask a question or request a shipping quote. We also love it when our customer’s just stop by to say hi. Look for the Bright Aqua Button on the left side of our site. (See Image) Continue reading Let’s Chat ….. Online!

Monitor & protect your booth 24-hours a day

For anyone who has ever visited our blog, you have already seen a lot of posts about safety. It’s something we take very seriously in the business we’re in…. and we’re hoping you do too.

We KNOW just how dangerous mixing rooms and commercial paint spray booths can be! They comprise of highly flammable liquids, which creates an environment where fire is always a threat. Fumes accumulate, chemicals leak or spill…. if any ignition source is introduced it becomes a potentially devastating combination.

When a fire occurs, systems must be instantaneously shut off and alarms and other electrical devices must be activated in order to save as much property and lives as possible. This type of explosion doesn’t always happen during usage, when someone is there to shut it off manually. What would you do if this happened in the middle of the night? Would you find your shop burned to the ground in the morning?

That’s where a fire suppression system becomes an important component of a spray booth system. (In many cases, this type of system is mandated by local municipalities, and must be installed in your spray booth.)

Generally, a paint booth fire suppression system includes dry chemical tanks that are discharged when heat-sensitive fuses are broken. In the event if a fire, when any one of the fuses break, tensioned cables are released which punctures a C02 canister, thus releasing a chemical fire retardant through nozzles positioned throughout the paint booth and sometimes parts of the exhaust stack. A manual trigger, located at the personnel entrance to the spray booth, allows a user to trigger the system from outside the booth. Other electrical components of the spray booth system may be deactivated when the system is triggered, such as the fan or AMU. The best part, fire suppression systems monitors your paint booth 24-hours a day.

Buy Before January 1st to Save Thousands.

It’s December already, can you believe it? Where does a year go? With the year coming to a close, you may hear a lot about “Section 179” and how you’re business can benefit if you are looking to purchase some equipment before 2013.

We get just as confused as the next guy when you start talking “tax rate”, “deductions” and “depreciation”. We thought we would do a little research and try to explain how this could be a HUGE benefit to small businesses.

When we say ‘equipment’, we mean any large purchase you buy to benefit your business. Some examples: a paint booth to help your productivity, a car lift to increase your repair business or a frame machine for the busy winter months. If your business needs it to increase business and it’s an ‘investment’, it is most likely included in this category.

You can even finance it in 2013, but write it off in 2012 and save thousands.

So, section179 is what exactly? It’s an incentive created by the U.S. government to encourage businesses to buy equipment and invest in themselves. Essentially, Section 179 of the IRS tax code allows businesses to deduct the full purchase price of qualifying equipment purchased (or financed) during the tax year. Wow! The FULL PURCHASE PRICE will be deducted from your gross income. (As long as the total purchase price is less than 139,000.) Continue reading Buy Before January 1st to Save Thousands.

Our CEO’s Response To Doing Business In China

Meeting at our Chinese plantsLast week, I was in China visiting three of the plants that manufacture equipment for Eagle Equipment and Tools USA. A picture of my visit to one of the plants was posted on facebook. We were immediately inundated with comments that were ugly, obscene, and questioned my patriotism. This is in response to those comments.

My family roots in this country can be traced back to the 1600’s, before there was a United States. My ancestors fought the British in South Carolina during the American Revolution. My family served and died for both sides in the Civil War. And I have had relatives serve our country in every war from WWI to Afghanistan and Iraq. My father and his father were lifelong members of the machinists union (AFL/CIO) in the airline industry. My mother’s father played football for the University of Alabama in 1917 and 1919 (no team in 1918 because of the war). My son spent ten years as an officer in the US Army, serving in Kosovo, Iraq, and Korea.

I love my country and I am proud of my family’s American Heritage and my lineage.

Reviewing products produced overseasTen years ago, Standard Tools manufactured all of our products in the United States. We paid above average wages and provided good benefits to our workers. Gradually over the years, we became less competitive because we could not compete with imported products. Like the textile and furniture industries before us, the automotive equipment industry was being off-shored in search of cheaper labor.

Faced with a choice of importing products or shutting down a portion of our business, I elected to bring equipment in from overseas. We spent two years selecting vendors that could and would produce equipment that met our rigid standards of quality and safety. We continue to monitor the development and production of our foreign made products. We maintain a presence inside the manufacturing plants that work for us. I can assure our customers that the quality of production in our plants equals or exceeds the quality of most American manufacturers.

While I wish that we could build these products in this country competitively, the reality is that we can’t. And sadly, the American buying public doesn’t care. We still offer American made lifts. Last year, only 13 people were willing to pay for an American made Eagle lift. 13! Like all of the other lift and frame machine manufacturers and distributors, we are forced to give the people what they want, an inexpensive product. I see our goal as providing the highest quality imported product and a competitive price.

Carefully inspecting one of our foreign-made productsNow let me share my final thoughts on this subject. There are currently 50 employees and their families here in North Carolina that depend on Standard Tools for their livelihood. They come from all over: Rick and Terri are from Pittsburgh. Bill is from Chicago. Phil and Jennifer are from Long Island. Carmen is from Miami. Her parents fled Cuba to escape communism under Castro. Bam, Dhuen, and Soh are Monteynards from Vietnam. They are refugees from the internment camps set up by the Vietnamese following the fall of South Vietnam. Rada is from Bosnia. He fled from the civil war in his homeland in the Balkans. All are Americans and all love their country dearly.

We are a great nation and we will continue to grow and prosper. However, in the new global economy, we must work with other peoples and nations to achieve prosperity. The world seems to have gotten smaller in my 60+ years but not more understanding. There is still no place for ignorance and bigotry. It is easy to blame our problems on foreigners, including the Chinese factory worker. The truth is that it is not their fault. They are just like us, people that love their families and are working hard to provide for them. We just come from different places.

Michael Kestler, CEO
Standard Tools and Equipment Co.

Welcome to the Standard Tools & Equipment Blog

Standard Tools and Equipment Co., operating as Tools USA and Eagle Equipment, is a trusted leader in the automotive aftermarket industry. Through their mail-order catalog and Web sites, they market hundreds of their manufactured products including frame machines, pulling posts and clamps, paint booths, truck paint booths and powder coating equipment.  Eagle Equipment is an internationally known supplier of automotive lifts and wheel service equipment.

The company has been recognized as one of Google’s “One Million Visitors” Web site as well as one of the Top 500 Online Retailers by Internet Retailer Magazine.

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