Until recently, forklifts had no extended service programs like those people buy for their cars.
George Schmid saw that, developed projects and eventually founded a company to offer extended service on forklifts.
“It’s a multi-billion dollar revenue source per year for auto, recreational vehicles and power sports,” said Schmid, the president and chief executive officer of The Schmid Group. “The material handling industry has left huge profits on the table over the years. Extended service agreements also provide much needed protection to the customers and helps the dealers sell more forklifts.”
Extended service offers can help dealers make more money and help them take better care of their customers.
Schmid has worked in the insurance and warranty field for 30 years. His forklift extended coverage was a natural extension of that work.
“I started doing national insurance programs for forklift dealers and realized they had no extended service products,” he said.
In November 2009, George founded The Schmid Group, Inc. after he purchased his division from Edgewood Partners Insurance Center.
“We primarily focus on a national warranty program called Calco Lift Guard for forklifts class I to V, and have other warranty products now in development for other industries,” Schmid said.
Based in Orange County, Calif., The Schmid Group also designs and manages national and international insurance programs, partnering with Wood, Gutmann and Bogart Insurance Brokers. Schmid is the executive program director for the insurance brokerage.
“We need a well-respected, financially strong insurance broker on a national basis to process and service the insurance business we work on,” Schmid said.
To people who say they have too much insurance already and can’t afford any more, he says, “They might be over insured and over paying. However, if you don’t have the proper insurance and you have substantial claims, you can lose your business completely. Smart risk management practices must be exercised.”
Schmid started his career in insurance with Replacement Lens Inc., a contact lens insurer, as a sales executive. Once the company blossomed into a full-fledged insurance company, he worked his way up to vice president of national accounts and agency marketing on the board of directors for the two largest subsidiaries. RLI Corp. grew exponentially, from a $22 million to a $2.58 billion company and “it was very fast paced,” Schmid said.
Schmid has worked in the music business as a concert promoter and as a manager at family auto dealerships when he was younger. He is also an inventor, and also owns two other companies that focus on inventions and music artists.
Given his history, it is not surprising that he would create products for material handling, as he has been inventing things for years.
“I invented the original sport tube ‘Tube-N-it’ when I was 25. It was the first pull-behind speed boat sport tube that hydroplaned out of the water and was also used on snow hills. Twenty-three companies now make imitations. I also invented the ‘River Tube,’ which was used for river tubing and eventually became the tube used for all water park tubing rides,” Schmid said. “In addition, I invented the ‘Card Tree,’ which holds up to 72 greeting cards and is in the shape of a Christmas tree. I have recently worked on ‘The Hercules’ tree prop, which props up avocado branches so they don’t break under the weight of the fruit.
“And several I can’t talk about yet.”
Mary Glindinning is a freelance writer who has worked at daily and weekly newspapers for more than 20 years. She lives in rural Shullsburg, Wis. You may contact her by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.