Interview With Entrepreneur and Western Fence Company’s President, Jason McLaughlan
Hello Jason, can you please tell us a bit about you?
I am Jason McLaughlan, a family business owner from Utah. Together with my close family members, I have built Western Fence Company into a thriving, popular fence business for home and commercial properties. I have worked in the family business all my life, and I feel that I have been a major contributor to its success.
What are your focus areas and why?
My focus areas are quality and customer service. I have dedicated my life to these principles. If a customer can’t trust our quality, there is no reason to come to us with their work. I believe that too many businesses are cutting corners these days. There needs to be a higher standard of quality nationwide.
Customer service is my other area of focus. Taking care of our customers is one of our standout features. I believe that every customer deserves to be treated with care and respect. When we have the ability to meet our customers’ needs, we have a complete understanding of what it takes to be the best fence company for them. We are always taking suggestions about how we can improve our business, from our selection of fences to the convenience of our installation.
How would you describe “Western Fence Company” in a few words?
I would describe Western Fence Company with three words: family, trust, and quality. We are a vital part of our local economy, and we provide good jobs as well as good service in Utah.
Where do you think it is really making an impact?
I believe that we are making an impact because we have upped our game. We have begun producing the best quality fences that are available anywhere nearby. In the past, we may have stumbled in certain aspects of our business, but we learned from our mistakes and we have come back stronger than ever.
Do you think integrity is an essential part of the entrepreneurship game?
Absolutely. When people think of Jason McLaughlan, I want them to think of integrity first and foremost. If a business can’t be trusted, there is no reason for customers to stay. Companies need to be upfront with their customers about the realistic timeline for installing their product and about all the additional costs that may be needed. We believe it is in very bad taste to pull a “bait and switch” and force the customer to come up with extra funds that may be outside their budget.
What advice would you give to young people just starting out and hoping to make it?
I would advise young people who are just starting out to get job experience in any way they can. No one should be too proud to work in a “low-level” job. I hate to hear about young people who are just sitting at home because they feel that all the jobs around them aren’t good enough. I believe strongly that young people need to make something of themselves. When you get your foot in the door, you can turn a small job into something great. We have people who started in entry-level jobs who are now responsible for a great deal within our company.
I would also advise that people think twice about going to college. Student debt is a huge problem in America. For many people, they end up with an expensive degree and no job to show for it. This is especially true in the liberal arts, at least where my friends from high school are concerned. It may be a better idea for young people to consider trade school, where they can become certified in a trade like plumbing with little to no debt. Jobs that can be had after trade school are stable and rewarding.
Do you find as an entrepreneur, that you enjoy the challenge of the industry being complex with the game rules are always changing?
I do enjoy the challenges of owning my own business. Everyone gets burned out from time to time, but I love getting up in the morning and going to work. It helps that I have good relationships with everyone in our main office and in our warehouse. Our installers are also great guys. When you work with family, it can be challenging when there are disputes, but our family has become stronger due to the demands of running a business together.
If you could turn the time, what would you love to change in regards
to your career?
I wouldn’t change a thing. I might have made my move to management sooner. I wasn’t confident about my leadership skills, but my family had faith in me. I have always wanted to be part of the family business, so I don’t feel that I am missing out on any of my hopes and dreams.
What are you most excited about at the moment?
I am excited that our company is growing. We have added different types of fencing to our services, including wrought iron, vinyl, and wood. We also put up the traditional chain-link fence we became known for when my great-grandfather started the business.
The last word or final thoughts?
Don’t be afraid to work for a family business, but you may need to change your expectations depending on who you hire to work for you. Don’t allow people who are not passionate about your business to work with you. That goes for family members as well as outside hires.