Business Success Stories: Houston Auto Sales
|Owner/President: Russel Canterbury
Company Name: Houston Auto Sales (Houston Auto Companies, Inc.)
Company Address: 6522 Cullen Blvd. Houston, Texas 77021
Company Phone: 713-747-9633
Web Site URL: http://www.houstonautosalestx.com
# of Locations: 1
# of Employees: 4
Tell us a little bit about your business?
Houston Auto Sales is a long-standing automotive retail and finance center with over 60 years of loyal ties to South Central and South East Houston. We focus on quality, pre-owned vehicles with lease financing options to help restore individuals’ credit.
What is the single most important piece of advice you would give someone starting a business?
Go into business with the mindset of the Tortoise and Hare parable. The tortoise will always win in the long run. Be patient and pay your dues. Treat people the way you would like to be treated.
How did/does Greensheet Media help you with your business goals?
The Greensheet has exposed Houston Auto Sales to a new clientele outside of our immediate territory.
Why did you start your business?
Houston Auto Sales started in the Automotive service industry (by my father, William Canterbury) with the intention to serve many blue-collar, hardworking families in the central neighborhoods of Houston. When I bought out the business, I saw an opportunity to provide automobiles to these same families that could not otherwise obtain credit for vehicles. The business was converted from service to sales over several years.
What was the most challenging aspect of starting your business?
Living up to my father’s stellar, hard-working reputation and creating an environment to exemplify his generosity and integrity.
What keeps you motivated to continue your business?
We have maintained a long-standing customer base serving the same families for years. We would like to continue to serve these families for generations to come.
What kind of mindset do you need to have to be a business owner?
For my particular business and clientele, forgiveness. Sometimes you have to let some factors in the past go and not be afraid to give people a second chance.
If you could do it all over again what would you change?
I would entertain more outside financing opportunities and use less of Houston Auto Sales capital for inventory.
What are some typical challenges you have with your business?
Finding the affordable and dependable pre-owned vehicles that our particular lower income customers can afford.
What is your greatest fear to start a business and how did you overcome it?
Finding employees to rise up to my expectations of dedication and professionalism. I have been very fortunate to have rare employee turnover. Some have been with me for twenty years plus. We are a family.
What is the best way to achieve long-term success?
Dedication to quality and genuinely caring about the customer and employees. It is important to treat all people with respect and gratitude.
What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
An entrepreneur has to put everything on the line. He/She has to take a complete risk.
What are some of the biggest mistakes you’ve made over the years?
Probably being too trusting and lenient. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt and that has led to being taken advantage of on rare occasions.
What types of things do you do to market your business?
Aside from THE GREENSHEET, I have sponsored youth sports teams and donated to non-profit organizations.
If you could be anything other than an entrepreneur/business owner, what would it be and why?
Maybe a counselor. I have always had the ability to listen to and help people through life’s challenges.
What is the best thing about being a business owner?
It is very self-gratifying and I like to call the shots. I also like to make my own schedule so that I can be attentive to my family.