Cape Cod Golf Cars

High-end, Customized Mini Cars for Cruising
Written by: 
Jeanee Dudley

David Ficher began learning to work on golf cars at the age of 15. “I started as a service tech for another company, right out of a trade-school program,” Ficher explains. “I worked for them for 12 years, learned the trade and got all my certifications through school. One day, I realized that I could do this myself, so I went out on my own and started servicing cars, adding accessories and building my own custom cars.” In early 2012, Ficher formed Cape Cod Golf Cars (CCGC) as a one-man operation serving customers in Cape Cod, Mass.

While owning a company and working for oneself is a dream for many, Ficher also saw areas where he could improve on the services he was already providing. “When I worked for the former business, I could easily see where we were lacking,” he explains. “We were falling short with quite a few things. Customer service needed the biggest improvement. That’s where I have gained the most business, making sure customers are well taken care of. I focus on communicating, following through and being honest, which has allowed me to build a growing customer base without any advertisement.”

And Ficher’s words have proven true. “Work is steady; people call me up, so it is all word-of-mouth,” he continues. “I want this business to grow that way. I don’t want to be the cable company where you call a hotline; I want to be the concierge who knows customers by name. My No. 1 priority is customer service.”

Hot-rod Club Cars

Ficher works with a few freelance technicians, but for the most part, he services and builds cars on his own. “Today, I have been winterizing cars for a member resort,” he says. “I go right to their house, they pay a fee and I take care of it for the winter. Owners email me before they come back and I get it ready for them by the time they return for the next season. Most of my work is for private car owners, but I have some contracts with local golf courses. I am currently trying to promote more of that work.”

While the service aspect of Ficher’s business keeps cars on the road or the green, CCGC offers some seriously unique services to clients. “Our custom cars often start at $3,000, but can go all the way up to around $60,000,” he details. “Some of the more popular customization work is just adding another row of seats to turn a two-passenger golf car into a four-passenger.”

According to Ficher, customers also often request custom colors; and he is happy to appease them. “They can pick out just about any color and I will match it and make it happen,” he says. “The craziest paint job I have done was an airbrushed flame paint job. It was absolutely ridiculous. I have done a lot of wacky paint jobs, like bright neon green, bright red and skulls airbrushed on.”

CCGC also performs custom body work. “I can make them from mild to wild,” he laughs. “We use body kits to build up the frame; we do lifting, we add big tires, headlights, taillights and custom-embroidered seats, either leather or suede. The sky’s the limit. If you can think it, it can be done.”

It is evident that Ficher is not only proud of what CCGC is capable of, but he also truly enjoys his work. “We have made cars look like a Rolls Royce and other vintage cars or hummers,” he says. “It’s a way of life for some people who live in these private neighborhoods. This is how they get around and it is a fun way to showboat a little bit, trying to top each other with the coolest ride.”

One of the most interesting projects, according to Ficher, was when he built a custom car for “My Classic Car,” a television show on the Speed Channel. “They wanted a car to use one weekend for a big car show, just something cool to drive around in,” he details. “It was a satin black golf car with pinstripes. I think I was able to achieve the hopped-up ’50s look. That one got really good reviews. A lot of people loved it, and the show’s host, Dennis Gage, sent pictures to Jay Leno, who gave it two thumbs-up.”

Ficher also recently donated time, materials and labor to build a custom cruiser for the local Pop Warner football organization. The car incorporates the team’s logo and colors and will help the organization tote around the necessities for football practices and games. “I do want to build a business,” Ficher explains. “But, I think it is really important to give back to the local schools and programs. I like to support a good cause.”

Continued Growth

Over the next few years, Ficher hopes to extend his business’ reach. “I have a goal to add a few more service technicians to the staff and get a couple of mobile service trucks together,” he elaborates. “I’m aiming for on-site service with a fleet of trucks, so we can do golf car repair at the owner’s house without having them bring it in.”

And Ficher has high hopes. “Each truck will have an inventory of parts and tools when the tech comes to your door,” he elaborates. “We want to take care of things and stay one step ahead of the customer. I just got into a shop this year, so the business is growing. I’d also like to take on a factory product line to sell new. Right now we only retail used, reconditioned and custom cars. That will be a big investment in the coming years.”

Above all else, Ficher remains optimistic, and that has carried him. “As far as challenges go, the economy hasn’t hurt my business,” he says. “Our clientele are mostly well-off people who own a golf car and live in a fancy private golf course club or neighborhood. It has been a little touch and go in the golf course industry, but I think that will turn around.”

However, as with any business, there are always challenges. “For us, deadlines are the hardest part of business,” he says. “Our customers want it and they want it now. The other challenge is aligning the vision in my head with the vision in a customer’s head. It is one thing to figure out exactly what they want, but sometimes what they want is not necessarily a good idea mechanically. The process itself I can practically do with my eyes closed.”

Nonetheless, CCGC has built a solid customer base. “The most rewarding part of this business is customer satisfaction, hands down,” Ficher explains. “When you deliver it and the customer sees it for the first time, they are blown away. We exceed expectations. I built a custom car for someone’s birthday last year and when we presented it, they absolutely freaked out. They were so happy. It was awesome.”

CCGC provides a unique alternative to large service companies for golf and golf car aficionados. “We provide competitive pricing and timely service,” Ficher states. “We offer rapid response, not a wait period of two or three weeks. People get used to poor customer service and we want to change that.” As Cape Cod Golf Cars grows and changes, Ficher’s clients can continue to expect leading service, strong experience and killer golf cars every time.