By Ashley Reyes
The Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA) named Painless Performance Products as the council’s latest member spotlight company.
Get to know the company’s breakthrough moment and current project in SEMA’s interview with Andrew Erichsen, Painless Performance Products director of sales and marketing, below.
SEMA: Tell us the story of your shop. How did you start?
Andrew Erichsen: We were founded in 1990 as Perfect Performance Products when a company named Weatherford Industries that produced harnesses for conversion vans reached out to long-time street-rodder Dennis Overholser and asked if he’d be interested in developing a street-rod harness. Overholser developed the first universal-based harnesses and initially sold them at the Pate Swap Meet, selling three that first weekend and rolling those sales into producing more.
As the word spread about the quality of the harness and the ease of installation, editorial writers for leading magazines came knocking and wanted to learn more about this fast-selling new product. In a 1991 article in Hot Rod Mechanix Magazine, Tex Smith ended his review by stating, “Folks, this is really painless wiring!” The name caught on and Painless Wiring was on its way.
The company grew rapidly over the next few years and it became evident that it could no longer efficiently build harnesses one at a time for sale direct to the public. A national distribution network was needed to handle the growing demand and Painless was soon available at national auto-parts chains, warehouse distributors, mail-order outlets and independent retailers everywhere. Customers could now benefit from the cost savings resulting from longer production runs, consolidated distribution and reduced shipping costs.
Since the original founding of Painless, we moved from building harnesses in a storage unit to a 20,000-sq.-ft. facility, but quickly outgrew the second location as well. In 2004 we moved into our current 45,000-sq.-ft. facility to keep up with the demand and growth. As business continues to grow, we have stayed dedicated and loyal to the company’s origin, with everything being produced in Fort Worth, Texas.
SEMA: What was your breakthrough moment?
AE: We are truly a company of passionate car people who are fortunate to have a job doing and selling what we love. On any given day you will find classics in our parking lot. Any customer that speaks to us at a show isn’t getting a sales pitch; they’re getting information provided by someone passionate about the product they’re selling.
SEMA: Tell us about your business now in 2022 and what projects are you working on?
AE: Like many companies, we have seen a lot of growth in the past two years. With this, we have had to reevaluate things in production, so a lot of our focus in 2022 has been working on efficiencies. We have a lot of exciting new products in the pipeline, but nothing that we’re quite ready to announce!
SEMA: Tell us about a project you are proud of.
AE: Honestly, our installation manuals and how we work to ensure our customer is confident going into their wiring project. We always strive to have the best installation manuals in the business and have offered 100-plus page bound books for years with many of our harnesses. To keep up with demand and to keep offering these high-quality manuals, we purchased a production printing press that will not only do a much better job keeping up, but the printing quality on our already great manuals is about to increase. We also now have the ability to print our own catalogs and marketing materials, so it makes it a lot easier to have the most up-to-date information for our customers at shows throughout the year.
SEMA: What advice do you have for young professionals contemplating a career in the automotive aftermarket?
AE: Don’t be afraid to reach out to companies and to make contacts when attending shows. This industry is full of people who love helping out and want to help guide the next generation to keep our hobby thriving and in good hands. SEMA is always a good place to keep an eye out for job openings, and it’s always good to remember that you don’t have to be a fabricator to work in our industry. Every company needs their sales, accounting, marketing, production, etc.
Fill out an HRIA-member spotlight form to highlight how your company is contributing to the hot-rod industry. Selected candidates are eligible to be featured on HRIA’s social media, SEMA News and future HRIA-member updates.