My name is Cara Gallagher. I have three children who are my motivation for everything I do. I started out wanting to do Medicine and hated it. I then figured out that I loved going to work with my dad and decided to switch my major to Construction Management. While in school, I purchased parts for my kids’ father’s Heavy Equipment company. After graduating, I went to work with him at his company, C.L.H. Backhoe & Hauling for 10-plus years until he passed. It was then sink or swim and I decided to swim and continued the company. C.L. & H. Services Ltd was born in 2015. I modified and incorporated it because there was a lot more that I wanted to do with the business. At that point we only provided heavy equipment services but later expanded to selling supplies and fencing and other Industrial projects. I wanted to open a truck parts store in Freeport, but the economy was just not ready for it and I ended up branching out and opening C.L. & H. Services Ltd-Nassau. In Nassau, we cater to heavy trucks and equipment. We supply tires, oil, truck parts and now starting Hydraulic hoses.
2. What is the best advice someone told you?
The best advice anyone ever gave me is that times change, and so does your clientele and you have to move with the times. Most people say that it is supply and demand, but in truth it is demand and supply. If they want it; you find it and sell it.
3. What is the best advice you can give other women in the community?
The best advice I would give other women in the country would be to find something that you are truly happy doing and honestly you won’t feel as though you are going to work. Don’t be afraid to step out on faith because your passion or gift can make a way for you. Start your dream as a side hustle and go from there. If it works out, the transition will become necessary.
4. What is it that makes you successful?
My inner nerd requires me to challenge myself and be the best that I can personally be. I do not compete with anyone else but myself. I am determined and focused when it comes to anything I put my mind to and my money behind. Failure is not an option for me. Although I may have missteps, I use them as stepping stones and lessons for the next time.
I also have the belief that the customer should get just what they deserve. Sometimes what they come looking for isn’t always what they need and I always take the honest approach with them to be the most cost and time efficient.
5. How do you maintain your success?
I maintain my success by working hard and I am involved with all aspects of my business. You have to understand your business inside and out and work out all the loopholes so no one can take advantage of you or it. I run my business in Grand Bahama differently from the way I do in New Providence and I have to be able to call the shots for the business in New Providence because I am not physically there all the time. I must be able to do the same thing with New Providence when I am in Grand Bahama. You have to be willing to make sacrifices for the good of the business.
6. What accomplishment in your career to date are you most proud of?
To-date I would say the accomplishment I am most proud of in my career is that I kick ass in a man’s world. I own and run a heavy equipment company and a parts company. I am very well respected in my field and most importantly I am happy with my work and the quality. When I hear people talking abut C.L. & H., I am proud knowing that we are awesome and my name is on it. My Nassau company lately has been my new baby though, I love building things from scratch and watching them grow.
7. What adjectives would your references use to describe you or your business?
As DJ Khalid says… We da Best. I call my crew the A Team. For a small company we know how to pull it together and run with the big boys. As for myself, the adjectives that come to mind are dedicated and committed. I also get called a beast in my field! I am a monster when it comes to my work.
8. How do you encourage yourself to think creatively?
In my opinion, I am actually not that much of a creative, I am more practical. I find solutions for people. I like that I can see the finished product in my head long before I start a project. Long before I opened my shop in New Providence, I pretty much knew what I wanted and how I wanted it to be.
9. Which is most important to your business and why—mission, core values or vision?
What’s most important to my business are my core values. They are truly what my business is built on.
My principles are simple: (1) Not all money is good money. (2) Do not take anyone’s money without giving them my best. (3) Treat my employees fair and pay them as they are supposed to be paid and respect them. (4) Say exactly what is on mind so they know exactly how I feel. (5) Be honest with my customers. (6) Try and spread the wealth and if I don’t have it or if I am not available, I recommend others.
I do not believe I should charge an arm and leg for items. I price fairly and I prefer to turn over in quantity. I believe in giving back to the community. To whom much is given, much is required. Everyone has to play their part.
Lastly, I think of how I would love for my children to come into the business and I want all my blessings to flow on them so I just believe in giving people what they deserve.
10. What is the biggest challenge you have faced being a female entrepreneur
The biggest challenge I have faced as a female entrepreneur is that I have encountered some individuals in companies who believe a woman should not be the head of a business. So I have been passed over on a few occasions, but I don’t let it bother me. That’s where my “all money is not good money” rule came in. I also have issues where some think I don’t know what they are talking about or what is going on and then when I open my mouth my knowledge usually shuts them up and I become the one who knows exactly what is what.
11. What is your business motto?
Our motto is, Give what I would expect to get. Although it doesn’t always work that way but I always give my best.
12. What woman inspires you and why?
My mother is my inspiration. She taught me to learn all that I can because no one can take that from you. She taught me to be a decent and fair human being. She taught me that anything I want to achieve I can. I watched her raise three strong women and countless others she has inspired through the years of her nursing and working in the insurance industry. I love that so many people come to me and say how much they love her and she gives them such stable advice. I love that she was firm with us and even though many days I hated it, I completely understand why she did it. I love now that she and I can have two-hour long conversations and she talks about all the things she did. She is well spoken, well-traveled and an amazing woman and I am proud to be her daughter. I aspire to be like her.