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Meet David Smith of Advanced On-Site in Palm Beach County

Today we’d like to introduce you to David Smith.

David, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I must credit my father. He was a general contractor in New York, then an early home-flipper (1970s) in South Florida. As his apprentice during school breaks, I was afforded on the job training in everything from custom home building to maintenance and renovation.

Soon after leaving home, I founded my own maintenance and repair business.

Thereafter, I continued to benefit from Dad’s uncanny ability to sense trends. For example, he was talking about “specialization” even before it became a buzzword, never mind a reality. Then, there was the time, he sold off all his assets just months before an economic downturn stalled the market.

In the ensuing vacuum, Dad began to focus on a specific area of expertise he’d developed during his home-flipping period – interior window fashions.

On seeing the success he enjoyed in that field, I set up my own dealership 30 miles away in the Palm Beaches. For some time I concentrated on sales and installation of window coverings by Norman Shutters, Hunter Douglas, Spring’s Window Fashions and others.

In the mid-2000, Dad’s acumen struck again. He’d heard about the “OnSite” method for in-home cleaning of fabric window coverings.

In addition to providing an edge over rival dealers, he intuitively knew they’d all be obliged to recommend his new service to their own clients whenever the subject of cleaning came up. To make such a prospect a bit more palatable, he cut them in on the proceeds. A 10% referral fee was offered on all collected amounts.

Again, I adopted the same business model.

By 2007, drapery and shade cleaning had overtaken sales and installation to become my core business. I subsequently renamed my company Advanced On-Site.

Dad retired in 2014, handing the original operation over to my younger brother, Phil.

Has it been a smooth road?
There certainly have been challenges along the way.

At its absolute nadir, the great recession caused the window coverings industry to come to a near standstill. Primarily, because it’s an industry heavily reliant on disposable income.

Several projects in development simply evaporated. One project we’d already begun shut down completely. My appointment book thought my phone had been cut off during most of 2008 and parts of 2009. (LOL!)

Other challenges stemmed from personal issues.

Just as my original maintenance and repair operation was peaking, a messy divorce prompted my ex-wife to abscond with our daughter. They disappeared for years. Distraught, I performed unevenly in the aftermath and ultimately lost some of my customers.

Another challenge came in the form of a passion developed on a seventh-grade class trip years earlier. We went to a broadcast facility where, among other things, I met a very young Al Roker (NBC Today Show) working his first job as a weather anchor.

The area’s most popular radio station was located on the same property. As we toured its portion of the building I became enthralled with the Program Director’s description of what went on there. “We paint pictures with sound,” he said, adding: “We like to call it Theater of the Mind.” From then on I very much wanted to play with sound. Some years later I scored my first radio job, not long after launching my maintenance and repair operation.

At first, there was no conflict because the radio job occupied weekends, only. However, over the next three decades, I flirted with and at times, assumed larger roles that caused my company to sputter. Indeed, it never really reached full potential until I retired from broadcasting at the end of 2010.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Advanced On-Site – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Advanced On-Site offers safe and effective cleaning of all fabric window coverings – right where they hang!

Specializing in Hunter Douglas products, we’re known for our ability to remove stubborn stains, mildew and in some cases, even paint.

Our exclusive NO shrinkage NO damage guarantee is what sets us apart from other cleaners.

Other factors that render off-site cleaning risky and much less convenient:

1. Tassels, fringes, pinch pleats and hems can be damaged in dry cleaning machines.
2. Agitation fades and breaks down fabrics.
3. Top treatments and window shades with rigid housings or cornice boards, cannot be placed in a machine at all.
4. Additional stresses occur during removal, transport and re-installation of window treatments.
5. Failure of aging components (mounting hardware, carriers, cord tensioners) is often accelerated during such removal. Replacements can become totally unavailable by the time a product is just a few years old.
6. Windows may be uncovered for up to a week.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I like the coastal lifestyle best. Not only does our close proximity to the ocean moderate hot summer temps to some extent, it’s also nice to know you can take a short trip and get in. Most any time of the year!

I despise the traffic nightmares that occur with maddening frequency. In my eyes, it’s just bad planning by city, county, and state highway authorities that expansion projects don’t even get started until way after they’re needed. In some places, I’ve seen the same stretches of highway torn up every 20-25 years.

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Getting in touch: VoyageMIA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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