Business Spotlight | Small engine tech finds the joys of entrepreneurship


Dave Smith of Dave’s Small Engine & Power Sport Repair works on a four wheeler during a PowerSports class at Southeastern Illinois College. Smith’s shop repairs a variety of small engines.

Southeastern Illinois College Media Services

Sometimes wanting to be an entrepreneur is as simple as wanting to be more at home. Such is the case with Dave Smith of Ledford in Saline County.

With a new baby at home, Smith found that his job as a union carpenter didn’t allow him to spend as much time with his family as he wanted. He realized that as his own boss, he could set his own schedule.

A natural “tinkerer” who enjoys motorsports and working with his hands, Smith opened his own repair shop and worked from home. To differentiate Dave’s Small Engine & Power Sport Repair from other mechanics, he earned Small Engine Certification through Southeastern Illinois College’s PowerSports program.

Then he would go to the workshop at home and repair and customize all kinds of four wheelers, motorcycles, lawn mowers, jet skis, weed eaters, lawn tractors, chainsaws and more.

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“I work on pretty much anything with a small engine. If it doesn’t work, I make it work,” he said, adding that customer response is one of the best parts of his business.

“I like it when someone brings me something that’s not working and then when they get it back, it’s working and they know they can enjoy it for the rest of the season,” he explained.

Smith also offers custom lighting to add a distinctive nocturnal look to motorcycles or other vehicles.

“I’ve always been a practical person,” he says. “I’ve been an auto mechanic and carpenter most of my life.”

He said some maintenance tasks, like oil changes, can be completed in as little as a day, but other, larger projects can take anywhere from a few days to a week – depending on parts availability. Customers can arrange a service appointment with him or simply hand in their vehicles and equipment.

Smith said he likes the hours and working from home, but he’s already planning to move his business.

“I would like a store with more space to make work easier and people can find me more easily,” he said. “Right now I’m out in Ledford. I would like to find a place in Harrisburg where I would be easier to find.”

He said he also hopes to offer pickup and delivery service in the future – he’s already attracting customers from Johnston City when time permits.

“Next year, I hope I’ll be even busier when it gets known,” he said.

Call Smith at (618) 499-5431 to schedule an appointment with Dave’s Small Engine Repair & Power Sport Repair.

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