Business Spotlight | Small engine tech finds the joys of entrepreneurship







Dave Smith of Dave’s Small Engine & Power Sport Repair works on a four-wheeler during a PowerSports class at Southeastern Illinois College. Smith’s business repairs a wide variety of small engines.


Southeastern Illinois College Media Services


Sometimes the desire to be an entrepreneur is as simple as wanting to be at home more. Such is the case with Dave Smith of Ledford in Saline County.

With a new baby at home, Smith found his work as a union carpenter did not allow him to spend as much time with his family as he liked. He realized that by being his own boss, he could set his own schedule.

A natural “tinkerer” who enjoys motorsports and working with his hands, Smith opened his own repair shop, working from home. Wanting to set Dave’s Small Engine & Power Sport Repair apart from other mechanics, he earned a small engine certification through Southeastern Illinois College’s PowerSports program.

Then he went to work at the shop at his home, fixing and customizing all sorts of four wheelers, motorcycles, lawn mowers, jet skis, weed eaters, lawn tractors, chainsaws and more.

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“I work on pretty much anything with a small engine. If it’s not running I’ll get it running,” he said, adding that customers’ reactions are one of the best aspects of his business.

“I like it when somebody brings me something that doesn’t run and then whenever they get it back, it does and they know that they can enjoy it for the rest of the season,” he explained.

Smith also offers custom lighting to give motorcycles or other vehicles a distinct nighttime look.

“I’ve always been a hands-on person,” he said. “I’ve been an automotive technician and carpenter for most of my life.”

He said some maintenance tasks such as oil changes can be completed in as little as a day, but other, more major projects may take a few days to a week – depending on the availability of parts. Customers can make appointments for service or simply drop their vehicles and implements off at his shop.

Smith said he likes the hours and working from home, but he is already looking towards moving his business.

“I’d like to have a shop with more space to make it easier to work and easier for people to find me,” he said. “Right now I’m out in Ledford. I’d like to find a location in Harrisburg where it would be easier to find me.”

He said he also hopes to offer pick-up and delivery in the future – if time allows, he’s already attracting customers from as far away as Johnston City.

“Next year, I hope I’m even busier as word gets out,” he said.

To schedule an appointment with Dave’s Small Engine Repair & Power Sport Repair, call Smith at (618) 499-5431.

Melise Oakley talks about the changes she has made in her business, Melise’s (formerly Melise’s Boutique) in Marion and why it is important in business to be willing to evolve and change.


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