Independent Businessmen

Archive from March 2005 – Dayton Daily News

Independent businessmen

Centerville father, son share zest for building own companies

By Tokunbo Awoshakin

For the Dayton Daily News

CENTERVILLE | Jeff Bonsteel and his soon-to-graduate-from-high-school son, Eddie, are related not only by blood but also by their zest for building a business and watching it thrive.

Jeff Bonsteel has created an independent business using his computer know-how, and Eddie Bonsteel has created an independent business from his after-school and summer grass-cutting jobs.

A computer programmer with 20 years of experience, Jeff Bonsteel started his computer repair business when he got tired of the corporate world.

"I was independent for about five years and then the economy went downhill. My daughter was starting college, so I had to take another job. I soon got tired of that and decided to start my own business, Computer Medic Pro, a PC clinic at 7920-B Clyo Road in Centerville."

Although there are bigger players in the computer repair business, Bonsteel said the increasing demand for quality professional on-site computer care, the personal attention to his client's needs and his affordable pricing make him preferable to the big operators.

"It seems I am always cleaning up after the big operators because they do not have people who really know what they are doing necessarily."

Asked how he brings his 20 years of real-world experience to finding the best solution to computer problems, he said, "While the big operators would be quick to just re-format your hard disk for instance, if you think it is worth saving, I would try a little harder to save it," Bonsteel said.

Apart from computer repairs, Bonsteel is also a computer security solutions specialist, who creates best-of-breed computer security solutions that prevent intrusions on networks and protect computer systems from attacks and threats.

"People with wireless systems at home need protection, and right now about 30 percent of that part of the business has been through referrals from people in Centerville."

At age 18, Jeff's son, Eddie Bonsteel, has his own lawn and landscaping business called Eddie's Lawn & Landscaping LLC. He owns two trucks, handles 200 landscape contracts and has four employees. He is a high school senior, but, like his father, he is an entrepreneur.

"I started seven years ago by cutting grass for neighbors when I could not get a job," he said.

Today, Eddie Bonsteel, whose services include residential and commercial mowing, landscaping, seasonal cleanups and fall leaf removal, has built up a substantial clientele around Centerville and Springboro.

"I plan to deploy two new (employees) this summer to keep up with demand," he said.

Jeff Bonsteel is obviously proud of his son's entrepreneurial strides.

"I am pretty proud of him. I mean, four years ago, he got a 61-inch standby mover and we rigged up a trailer so that he could put (on) additional equipment. He was then just 14 years old and did not have a driver's license. That limited his range of operation because I would not let him cross the major streets."

As soon as Eddie Bonsteel became eligible to obtain a driver's license at age 16, he bought the first truck for his business.

The younger businessman confessed that running his business and going to school has not been easy.

"I still keep my grades up in school, but it is hard since I sometimes have to work with the crew till dark, return business calls and do paperwork."

Bonsteel said he plans to take some landscape design and business classes after graduating from high school.

"It is sad, but high school classes are not really good towards what I am doing. The classes are more geared towards graduating and going to college," he said.

Bonsteel hasn't decided which school he wants to attend, but he knows he wants to keep running his business.

The elder Bonsteel said the entire family supports Eddie's plans to make a career of his business after graduating from high school.

"I think what he is doing is great, both of us — I think it is unusual but my wife, his mother, who is involved in customer service business, has instilled a lot of what's important as far as keeping your customers happy, so if Eddie wants to expand the business, he certainly has what it takes."

And even though Jeff Bonsteel's business is computers and his son's is landscaping, the two businesses connect quite a lot.

"Matter of fact, we are already doing that through referrals. I have lived in Centerville all my life. I know a lot of people around and we are always running into people. These people, our neighbors, are our clients," Jeff Bonsteel said.

Copyright ©2005 Cox Ohio Publishing, Dayton, Ohio, USA. All rights reserved.

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