Woody Ayers' 56-year Career Started at Age 7
Daytona Beach, Fla. (July 29, 2022) Woody Ayers, new owner of the Central Florida Rhino Shield dealership, had a storied career on his path to ownership. He began his lifelong journey at a very early age. Along the way he sold windows, siding and paint, met Lee Iacocca, survived a hurricane and was met with tragedy.
Ayers started pumping gas at his father’s service station, Ayers Standard Oil, at just 7 years old. Long hours and the value of hard work were just a part of the family business. Ayers says the service station was the beginning of learning how to create customer value.
“Working at the family gas station with my brother Ron and my father taught me discipline, customer service and the rewards of hard work,” said Ayers. “We were open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and if we weren’t in school, we were expected to be there. It was at Standard Oil that I learned how to do the job right and treat everybody fairly. Those were great life lessons.”
Ayers worked at Standard Oil until he was 18. He then went into a house painting business with a friend who needed someone to help with sales. He said being thrust into the world of sales was a whole new experience.
“In selling, I realized I had to figure out how to solve the customer’s problem,” said Ayers. “The first thing I did was sit with a guy who had owned a painting business for 50 years — he really opened my eyes about the business. And I quickly learned that two things were paramount — giving the customer a solution and always using top-quality products. That’s how we distinguished ourselves from other painters.”
From there, Ayers and his brother went to work as salesmen for a home improvement company called Permavent, purveyor of all things home improvement. He now had sales experience and was hitting his stride.
“Aluminum siding was all the craze in 1980,” said Ayers. “You put it on and never paint again. Well, we did so well, I ended up being the office manager for the Orlando division. In this role I learned to hone my leadership skills to help motivate our reps to greater success. But truly we had more work than we could handle.”
In 1984, Ayers and his brother started their own home improvement company, Goff Industries. They became the first vinyl siding dealer in the Tampa Bay area, and this is where the story gets really interesting. Ayers had heard that Chrysler, the car manufacturer, was getting into the vinyl siding business.
“We wanted to be the first dealer in the country to start installing Chrysler’s vinyl siding brand,” said Ayers. “So, I started calling and kept calling and leaving messages for a certain representative. I’d call every week and leave a message but he never called me back. So, I called the main line and told the kind receptionist that I had called and called and no one would call me back. She took my information and much to my surprise, Lee Iacocca himself called me back the next day. We talked for about 10-15 minutes about the vinyl siding business. The next thing I know, we were named the first authorized dealer of Chrysler’s vinyl siding brand in the U.S.”
Ayers continued to work in the home improvement business, building a strong client base and offering solutions for homeowners.
In 2004, multiple hurricanes impacted Florida and caused Ayers to look hard at his business model. The market was short on labor, so they had to look for opportunities that required less employees. Their answer: hurricane-rated windows — exclusively.
“At the time, no one else in Florida was installing Hurricane-rated windows,” said Ayers, “and Certified Home Services was born. It was at Certified I honed my marketing and business skills. I knew we wouldn’t have long as the exclusive hurricane-rated window installer and that we’d really have to make our mark quickly.”
Fast forward to 2021. Certified Home Services had been going strong for 17 years. It was then that Ayers and his brother started seeing advertisements for a coating process called Rhino Shield. He knew his experience in painting would make the team an ideal dealership. In April 2021, they put in a request for more information on how to become a Rhino Shield dealer.
In May of 2021, as the U.S. was figuring out how to do business in the age of the pandemic, seven employees in his office had contracted the virus, including Ayers brother, Ron.
Rhino Shield officially asked them to become dealers, but just three weeks later, Ron died from complications of the COVID-19 virus. Ayers said it was hard losing his lifelong business partner.
“We worked at the family service station when we were just kids and had worked together ever since,” said Ayers. “I had learned so much from working with my brother, but I knew I had to keep going to carry on his legacy. We had decided to move forward with the Rhino Shield dealership and that’s what I was going to do.”
Since that time Ayers turned 63, Rhino Shield Orlando has earned more than $1.75 million in sales, and his new partner is his son, JR, who’s 31.
“JR becoming my partner was one of the high points in my life,” said Ayers. “He knows the business — heck he’s been working with me since he was 18. He will be my successor.”
When Ayers was asked what it was that attracted him to Rhino Shield, he said it went back to one of those early lessons.
Rhino Shield Central Florida serves from Ocala to Lakeland and Vero Beach to the Palm Coast.
“Rhino Shield is a very advanced product – it’s not paint – an elastomeric coating,” said Ayers. “Which dovetails perfectly into my mission of giving the customer a fantastic solution and always using top-quality products. This business gets in your blood — selling good products, doing the right thing, and providing customer value. This will be my son’s dealership one day and I’m confident Rhino Shield will still be the best product out there — giving him a valuable, unique business among a sea of traditional painters.”
Rhino Shield experienced record growth in the first half of 2022 — 38 percent year over year. AmCoat is expanding its Rhino Shield dealer distribution network to Minneapolis, Las Vegas, Seattle, Portland, Salt Lake City, New York City, Omaha, Buffalo, Rochester, Los Angeles, Boise, Baltimore, Richmond and more. Businesspeople in those areas who are interested in learning more about starting up a Rhino Shield dealership should email firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com or call (850) 424-6805.
About AmCoat Industrial
AmCoat Industrial manufactures high performance coatings for walls, roofs, floors and specialty industrial applications. AmCoat is home to some of the most recognized brands in the U.S., including the popular Rhino Shield Ceramic Coating and Floor Shield concrete floor coating products. Through a network of independent dealers, AmCoat distributes its products nationally and internationally, coating thousands of homes, buildings and commercial and industrial applications. You can find AmCoat, Rhino Shield and Floor Shield on Facebook.
About AmCoat Products
Rhino Shield is a ceramic elastomeric wall coating is distributed through a nationwide network of dealer contractors who market, sell and install Rhino Shield in their geographies. Rhino Shield has been installed in more than 75,000 homes and buildings across the U.S. and in several international markets. Rhino Shield is manufactured in the U.S.A. For more information, see RhinoShield.com.
Floor Shield is AmCoat’s 100 percent polyaspartic concrete floor coating — a newer technology that features rapid curing at a wide range of surface temperatures, bubble-free surfaces, high temperature and abrasion resistance and high solids content which means low to no VOCs during application. Floor Shield is manufactured in the U.S.A. For more information, See FloorShieldCoatings.com.
Rhino Shield and Floor Shield dealerships are highly profitable, self-sustaining, and many of its Rhino Shield dealers have been with AmCoat for more than 10 years.