Rick Jacobs Jr. has been working at South Hills Lincoln since he was 15 years old. His father, Rick Jacobs Sr. owns the dealership which has been serving customers since 1983.
Tell me a little about the history of South Hills Lincoln and how your family got involved.
My dad, Rick Jacobs Sr., began working in the car industry when he was in high school. During his career in the automotive industry, he has worked in every department within a dealership. He attributes a lot of his success to his roots in the service department. Growing up, he would always tell me, "How can you tell an employee to do a job or a process that you have never done yourself? You would have no idea of how long it takes to do that job or any idea of how to do that job correctly."
South Hills Lincoln opened in 1983 and my dad began working there on December 20, 1990. He started the process of purchasing the dealership in January 1998.
To make sure that I wanted to commit to a life in the car business, I started working hand-in-hand with my dad at an early age. I started detailing cars at the dealership when I was 15 and have worked in various departments throughout high school and college. After graduating from Robert Morris University in 2012, I became a full-time employee.
In addition to my dad and me, my mom has recently become a member of our dealership team. She manages our service reminder system and my sister works as a cashier/receptionist during the summer when she’s home from Penn State University where she’s pursuing a degree in nursing.
Why do you think there are so many family-run car dealerships in Pittsburgh?
Pittsburgh is such a great place to live, therefore, making it a great place for a family-run business. In other cities, the second generation may decide to move elsewhere, envisioning it as a better place to raise a family or grow a business.
Why should people support family-run businesses like South Hills Lincoln?
Family-run businesses tend to have a different atmosphere than most businesses. Relationships are one of the core principles within a family and this becomes important in a family-run business, too. My family and I have always had strong relationships with our staff. Because of that, I think that our customers feel a sense of comfort and reliability within our dealership.
What sets your dealership apart from others in the area?
When customers purchase or service a vehicle at South Hills Lincoln, they’re going to see the same friendly faces when they come back the next time. The employee turnover that typically exists within a car dealership does not occur here. Most of our sales staff has been with the dealership for over 20 years, including a salesman that has been here since it opened in 1983. This is unheard of within the car industry. It has allowed our staff to build strong relationships with our customers. They are always willing to go above and beyond customers’ expectations. Our staff truly cares about our customers’ transportation needs.
Another important facet of our business is the reconditioning of our pre-owned vehicles. My father started his career in the service department, so he knows the importance of going above and beyond with the servicing of all of our vehicles that we have in inventory. For example, if the brakes or tires on a pre-owned vehicle in our inventory are below 50 percent, we replace them. This allows us to stand behind our vehicles – both new and pre-owned. The South Hills Lincoln family takes a lot of pride in our vehicles.
What do you enjoy doing with your family when you’re not at the dealership?
I would say that my family is different than most because we are around each other so frequently. This has allowed us to become much closer as a family. One of our favorite things to do is to go to our camp which is along the northern part of the Allegheny River. It's nice to be able to escape from technology, relax, and enjoy each other’s company.