A little over a year ago, Jon “TK” Livingston, 54, completed a 20-year career in appliance service and repair in Colombia.
Then in 2019, he and his wife, Leah, decided to leave Columbia to purchase affordable same-day service (aka Goforth Express) and moved to the small town in Lebanon.
“After a year and a half, I have learned a lot,” said Livingston.
Affordable same-day service repairs engines, transmissions, engines and other types of equipment. Other services include air conditioning installation and repair, furnace cleaning, gas leak detection, HVAC installation, oil to gas conversion, boiler repair and more.
“We’re a lot like UPS,” Livingston said. “We’re only staying in Missouri, but we’re going to all the big cities.”
He said the company serves 200 towns and cities in the state, including St. Louis, Kansas City and Columbia.
A routine day for Livingston includes sales and trips to Missouri to reach more customers.
“It depends,” he says. “I kind of look at the routes and see what’s not working.”
The affordable same-day service has around 25 employees out of its head office in Lebanon.
“That’s what I was missing in Colombia,” said Livingston. “I didn’t have employees to allow me to go out and make sales.”
He said he’s happy that none of the employees quit when he took the reins, and he’s proud to take care of his employees and provide pay increases.
“TK and Leah both listen to customers and drivers, employees. They don’t try to make rash decisions, which is what you sometimes have to do in this industry, ”said Darwin Kogel, Director of Trucks and Drivers at Affordable Same Day Service.
Kogel worked for the company when it came to a trucking company called GoForth and said ownership under the Livingstons was “a very easy adjustment.”
Leah Livingston said she goes to great lengths to make sure customers are happy and employees stay online.
“A lot of drivers don’t always realize that they’re the ones writing your checks,” she said.
“If a customer calls and says one of the guys was rude, or anything that doesn’t seem like a good customer experience, I want to dig that deep into and make sure our customers are the # 1 thing, that they are happy and all their needs are met.
Joining the Army
When Livingston graduated from high school, he wanted to go to DeVry University to study computer science. Despite graduating with a 3.7 GPA, Livingston said no college “wanted to talk to me.”
Then he met an army recruiter who told him the service would pay him to work on computers. Livingston remained in active service for about five years, working in computers and electronics.
After leaving the military, Livingston moved to Columbia to study at MU College of Engineering. It took him 10 years to graduate, he said, studying one class per semester while working full time.
Livingston also took classes at Columbia College and Grantham University, an online institution that partners with the military.
Buy a business
Upon graduation from college, Livingston provided heating, air plumbing and appliance repair services to clients for 20 years.
He was good at reading plans and math, and through his classroom work he understood business, statistics and accounting. In 2018, he saw that affordable same-day service was on sale in Lebanon. Initially, the owners did not accept his offer, but he waited six months, and they finally did.
Livingston said he admired his wife for agreeing to leave Columbia to help her with her business ventures. Originally from Harrisburg, she owned rental properties and was a property manager in Colombia.
While Leah enjoyed living in Colombia, she said moving was not too difficult, especially since her father had passed away a few months earlier. It had kept her tied to the city.
“I think that’s probably what drove me,” she says. “Finally, when that has happened, let’s just see where it takes us.”