Business Lessons From “Road Hauks” On The History Channel

Written by Mike Shapiro | | May 3, 2017

The new series, Road Hauks (the name is a play on the owner’s last name), about a shop that builds custom off-roaders, is not only entertaining but is also a great place to observe some solid business practices. Here are a few that showed up in one episode:

Create a market niche by doing something familiar, but do it differently. They’re re-working a familiar business of transforming old junkers into beautiful, one-of-a-kind, go-anywhere custom vehicles, with themes inspired by historical icons, like a WWII jeep.

Specialize and cooperate. Kenny is the owner and designer of Hauk Designs. He comes up with the ideas and the drawings. Justin is the operations manager. Each focuses on his own area, and you don’t see either of these two doing any welding, cutting or turning wrenches. That’s the job of Rick and Josh, who manage the hands-on work. You’ll like the respectful interplay among these key players and the other people who work there.

Balance marquee projects with bread-and-butter work. Kenny has a design for a car to take to a show in Las Vegas in a month. This is important because it will give them lots of great exposure, but Justin knows they have to pay the bills and comes up with another project that’s less glamorous but will consume less time and materials, can be done alongside the work on the Vegas show-car AND has a client waiting to buy it.

Temper ideal “wish-list” specs against time and budget constraints. Kenny’s original concept might include real hammered copper but, after hearing from Justin about what that would do to the budget, he’s willing to swap it for a spray-on patina that’s a realistic look-alike and costs a lot less.

Have a healthy attitude about mistakes. These guys are not eager to “fail fast and often.” But they’re usually working to a deadline so they move quickly. They’re making important decisions as they go, and that inevitably leads to some mistakes — such as failing to inspect some aspect of the original vehicle they assumed was good-to-go, or making the seat too high because they failed to take into account the driver would be wearing a helmet. But they’re not winging it. They know enough about the work that they can quickly recover with minimal downtime and added costs.

Check it out. It’s a great way to kick back for some fun TV watching that features an innovative business that’s figured out ways to address some common business problems.