Government Regulations (originally posted May 2014)

So you think government regulations only affect big companies or big banks. Oh how naïve you are. Now, I will admit some regulations are needed but for every needed regulation, there are many that are unnecessary and damaging to our standard of living. Let me give you some examples: ethanol – when it was first mandated, it was sold as cleaner burning and it was supposed to help us be less dependent on foreign oil. How does it affect you? First of all, it increases the cost of fuel next it places such a demand for corn that feed prices for cattle, pork, and chicken all go up. This increases your cost for food. Even bread and milk. Why bread? Because wheat acreage is switching to more profitable corn. What about foreign oil? Well technology has increased our reserves to the point we soon will no longer need foreign oil, but like all good regulations, they never go away.

Let me give you some local examples where bureaucracy trumps common sense. First a friend of mine was recently trying to sell about 10 acres of land on Hwy 322. He had buyer and was proceeding toward a closing. The buyer was going to open a business and needed to move the driveway. Texas Department of Transportation got involved and produced a regulation that any new driveways could not be within 400 feet of an existing driveway. Since the next door neighbor’s drive was closer than the 400 foot, the buyer could not build the new driveway. Result: the sale fell through and my friend’s property value has gone down. Does anyone at TXDOT care? I doubt it.

Next a businessman I know sent a refrigerated truck to Dallas to pick up a load of liquid creamer. On the way back the truck had a problem and caught fire. The truck burned on the shoulder of I-20. Several hundred gallons of liquid creamer spilled on the road. Again, TXDOT gets involved and says this is a hazardous material. A Hazmat unit is dispatched to clean up the spill which the businessman must pay for. Not only has he lost a truck and the product it was carrying but he has a tremendous bill to pay. Now folks, liquid creamer is milk. Since when is milk a hazardous material? Since some bureaucrat in Austin decided it was. A logical response would have been to have a fire truck wash the milk off the roadway-oh but this is to simple.

Regulations come in all shapes and sizes. Did you know that 20% of the cost of all new vehicles is to meet federal regualations? Did you know that your barber or hairstylist can be fined for having a dirty mirror or a crack in the mirror?

I could write forever because these bureaucrats never quit writing new regulations. Don’t worry it is all for our own good because we must be protected. Maybe we need a regulation to protect us from the bureaucrats.

On Winning the Entrepreneur of the Year Award

Jo Ann and I started our business in May 1987. We were having difficult financial times and we wanted our own source of income. We both worked full time jobs and delivered coffee on lunch hours, nights and weekends. We started with just the coffee service and added vending two years later.

Today things are very different, we serve 17 counties and have 23 employees. I believe we have been successful because we put our customer’s needs first. Technology is the buzzword in business today and it certainly has its place but personal service (the human touch) is still the key to our success and I don’t see that changing.

Another key to success in today’s business is offering the products your customers need and want. We have greatly expanded the services we offer our customers, such as filtered water systems and micromarkets. We are always looking for new ideas to better serve our clients.

When you are starting a new business, all your focus is on making a profit and establishing your business, as your business matures, some of your energy should be directed to giving back to your community. We have tried to be an asset to East Texas by Adopt-A-Highway program and other charities. We encourage all our employees to adopt the same philosophy.

Which leads me to my final point: to grow your business you must recruit and employ good people. You cannot do everything yourself so you must surround yourself with competent, dedicated individuals. We have done this at Robert’s Coffee & Vending and have a great team.

Jo Ann and I want to thank the Chamber and our employees for this award.


*Originally posted in March 2014