History

Garage Door Training

Friday, September 15th, 2017 at 5:40 pm by Dan Musick

“We help people fix their garage doors.”

That was written on the first flier I printed back in 1980.

My plan was to provide training for maintenance personnel to repair their commercial and industrial overhead type doors. This was for the bigger companies in Chicago such as Honeywell and Wrigley, the chewing gum company, but I also did some quite effective training for a smaller company, Volvo / Honda of Lisle, IL.

That part of the company did not grow as quickly as I had hoped, but I did discover that many of the companies needed parts, and even more would prefer to have an outside contractor service and install doors. From there I built a catalog business along with a service and installation company that later became Dortrak which I sold around 1990. Later I started what became DDM Garage Door & Dock Services which was sold and became Matt’s Garage Doors. The overhead door training part of the business has always been part time.

This is one part of our business that I will never sell.  I can train men to fix garage doors, but I can’t train someone to train others. It carries the highest risk and liability. It’s our most challenging service and, because of that, it’s also the most expensive. There are men who are qualified to train, but they’re tied up with the more profitable task of running the larger traditional service and installation companies. It’s hard for me to justify the time away from our bread and butter business, but my greatest incentive is the transition I normally see in the trainees from fear and trepidation to a genuine sense of accomplishment.

Next week I’ll provide training for USPS workers in Stamford, CT. A few years ago I trained for the second time the postal workers at the Wallingford, CT facility. The first time I was there I made the mistake of promising to make a manual for the men at no additional cost, and I held off on invoicing them until the notebook was finished. Duplicating the notebook would have cost many times the price they paid for the training.

I guess we all live and learn.

 

BarCol Doors

Friday, September 1st, 2017 at 6:34 pm by Dan Musick

Those of us who have been in the business for a while remember the old BarCol doors. This name is short for Barber Coleman.

The biggest difficulty we remember is accommodating the incompatibility of torsion hardware. While all the other door companies used 1″ shafts, the early shafts on BarCol doors doors had a 1 1/16″ outside diameter. This spring anchor bracket above identifies the larger shaft, and trying for many hours to get parts to fit on the shaft was part of our initiation into the door business. We filed, we beat, we yelled – all to no avail. We learned to carry 1″ shafts or a 1 1/16″ drill bit to get the standard winding cone to fit.

The old BarCol system also used unique 1 13/16″ inside diameter springs that were hooked on the ends. The cones would slide into the cones and hook either the bracket or the raised edges on the cones. The cable drums were also bigger. Many service technicians never noticed the difference and they left behind a trail of heavy doors because of the drums’ higher moment arm.

The newer BarCol doors used brackets with 1″ bearings for 1″ shafts. Many of these used the hooked cones, but the new 1 3/4″ standard screw-in stationary cones would secure to these these compatible brackets.

In the early years BarCol also had special rollers that were tied together with hinge straps. As the door closed a plate welded to the curve of the track would catch the top roller and raise the hinge straps.

These straps would, in turn, pull the straps and rollers  along the full height of the door to force the ends of the door against the jambs and header.

This method of pushing the door against the jambs was designed because Overhead Door Corporation owned the patent to the wedge design that incorporates graduated hinges and pitched vertical tracks.