NFIB Texas Q&A with Rick Bonner, member since 1989

Date: September 09, 2015

NFIB Member: Rick Bonner
Business:
Arrowhead Powder Coating
Location:
Wichita Falls, Texas

When was your small business founded?

1986

How did you become a small business owner?

I found out that I was a terrible employee. I had no choice–work for yourself or go hungry. An opportunity presented itself and I had money saved up so there you go. The last job (as an employee) I had was during the Carter administration.

How many employees do you have?

I have 12 overall. Four at the coating shop.

Why did you become an NFIB member?

I’ve always been interested in politics, even back in high school. NFIB’s name came up a lot in general conversations. I’ve been a member since the 80s.

In what ways has NFIB helped your small business?

Here in Texas, it’s always been the case that the people who work for NFIB have their pulse on the Legislature. So when it comes to tax policy, environmental policy, the general business outlook, NFIB is always there. That’s what I like about it. I think it’s been a great organization for me.

What’s the biggest challenge that faces Texas small business owners like you?

There’s a multitude. Primarily healthcare and overregulation. My policy renews Sept. 15 and after next year Blue Cross Blue Shield won’t be able to renew so I have to find something else. It’s going to be a huge issue for myself and my employees. Since I got a year, it’s status quo until we find out in the summer what my options are from my insurance agent.

How are you tackling that challenge in your own business?

My Blue Cross Blue Shield policy went up $1,000 a month, an extra $12,000 a year. For now, as a business owner, I’ll eat that increase. But that means there’ll be no pay raise for anybody this year.

What advice would you give new NFIB members to make the most of the membership?

If you’re a member, you really need to be involved. You can’t rely on somebody else to do the work for you. You need to know who the legislators are and they need to know who you are. Sure, we need money to fund the organization but if you want to effect change you need to be involved. Just from my perspective, my congressional representatives know who I am, state legislators know who I am. And they’ll take my phone calls to discuss serious issues.

What could help your industry grow?

For the price of oil to go up. My business has work in the oil fields. One of my companies is a wholesale distributor to retail oil field supply outlets. With my coating business, I do a lot of work for corrosion protection. When people lose their jobs or take pay cuts, they don’t do things like coating their lawn furniture, bicycle, motorcycles. If they don’t have the money, they can’t do it.

If Texas lawmakers could grant you one legislative wish for your business, what would it be?

I guess level the playing field. Texas has a (sales) tax. My accountant can make more money with a $5,000 laptop than I can make with my $7 million inventory.

We have to figure out way to level the playing field so that everybody pays their fair share.

Related Content: Small Business News | Economy | Texas

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