Written by The Business Journal Staff
Don Boam, Owner
Don Boam Carpet and Flooring
What we do: Supply and install all types of flooring — carpet, wood, vinyl, ceramic tile, commercial floors, etc.
Education: Fresno High School graduate
Family: Three sons — Kevin, Greg and Steve
How did you first get involved in the carpet and flooring business, Don?
In eighth grade, I came home from school and there was a gentleman there putting new carpet in our house. I told him I was looking for a job. He gave me a call a week later and I started helping him as an installer, and it went from there.
At what point did you feel you were ready to start your own business, Don?
I’ve never felt completely confident, but I had to it. So I just did what I had to do.
During the recession, the construction industry was hit really hard, but there appears to be some recent improvement in that segment of the economy. Has that reflected in your business also?
No. Things have been slow and the pie is a lot smaller. My attitude is go out and do the best I can each and every day. I live in the solution, not in the problem.
How were you able to make it through the recession, Don?
The recession is still going on and it’s getting worse. All you can do is work hard and be positive. It’s not like everything is shut off and there is no business — you just have to go after a smaller portion of the pie. You have to work hard and stick with it, that’s all you can do. I find not listening to the news is the best thing I can do.
As a business owner, what do you think the key is to being successful?
The first thing is you can’t be under-capitalized. Secondly, you need to be extremely thrifty. Third — you need to work hard and do the things you don’t want to do.
Do you feel that the business environment in Fresno is conducive to a small business owner, Don?
No, absolutely not. I get nickeled-and-dimed by the city after everything they can get from you. Any city you do a job in, they are going to nail you for a city license. For example, you could go do a job and have to pay your $75 for a city license, yet nobody ever inspects it. All it is a tax.
Even as a business owner, do you feel customer service skills are vital for you?
Yes, more so than ever before. When people buy a product like we have that is not cheap, they expect great service. They need a good sales representative, they need someone knowledgeable, they need someone honest who has their concerns first, not the sale. They need someone who will help them find the right product for them, not just sell them something.
What are some things you like to do for fun away from work, Don?
I love auto racing. Particularly sprint car racing — real racing.
What was your first job growing up and what did you learn from it, Don?
I helped my dad fix houses that he would sell. He was a tough employer — that is why I was looking for another job in eighth grade. But I found that I could enjoy work. I remember how good it felt when we came into a house, moved all the furniture, cut up the carpet, laid it, trimmed it out, vacuumed it and when I left, I felt so good. It was such an accomplishment to do something.