How did you become a Silencer dealer?
I don’t have a great answer – I just met a guy who was a dealer, and I was helping him out. It didn’t go all that well, so I figured I’d just go back to ranching. The owner of the company found out I was leaving, and he asked me to stay on for a while. He didn’t want me to go, so I told him that I didn’t like the way this particular dealer was treating his customers, but I’d like to stick with it if I could be a dealer myself.
Did you grow up working cattle?
My dad was a ranch hand. That’s all I’ve ever known, working feed yards and processing cattle. I’d seen some awful ways of doing it, and once I saw how the Silencer worked, how much easier it was on cattle and on operators, I just knew this was how it should be done. The thing is, I love cattle. It really made me unhappy to see all the stress and misery and pain they had to go through with some of the chutes that were being used. That’s what really turned me onto the Silencer, and it’s why I really love telling people about it. Selling a Silencer chute makes me happy, it makes my customers happy, and for sure it makes the animals happy.
How do you match up a customer with the right chute?
A lot of people come to trade shows where we’re demonstrating the Silencer. I like to ask a lot of questions, like what kind of operation the person has, whether it’s a feedlot, a ranch, if they’re running everything from calves to bulls and so on, and I listen to what they have to say. Then I show them the options that are best for their particular operation.
So, say I have a cow/calf operation – what would you recommend?
I’d suggest a Heavy Duty Extended Silencer. If you’re a registered producer, you’ll need more options on the chute, for head control, tattooing, de-horning.
What if I’m operating a feedlot?
The cattle are going to be pretty much uniform in size, and speed is going to be important. The Commercial Pro Silencer would be the best option. It’s the heaviest chute we make. You want to keep it simple, because you’re going to be using a lot of different operators, and you don’t want a whole lot of options that aren’t really needed. You’ll probably want a scale. Overhead scales are the best option because they last longer and they’re easy to clean.
What are some of the problems that can occur if you’re using a sub-standard chute?
Safety is the most important consideration when you’re choosing a chute. Cattle don’t want to hurt you, but they will if they’re stressed, and a lot of chutes exert way too much pressure on the animal. The Silencer never exerts more than 200 pounds of pressure. It gets the job done, reduces stress, and makes for safer operation. The noise reduction system means quiet operation. Operators are also able to talk to one another without needing to shout, and again this means less stress for the animal and a higher level of safety. You’ve got a relaxed cow going into the chute, and a relaxed cow coming out of the chute.
What does Silencer have that the other brands don’t?
Every Silencer is actually a custom-made product. No two Silencers are exactly alike. The three main points that Silencer offers that can be lacking in other brands are the low stress factor, noise reduction, and operator safety. With a scissor-style chute, for instance, the way the doors open, there’s a piece on the outside that if it hits you, best-case scenario you’re probably going to get knocked out. Worst-case scenario is that you could be killed. I’m not saying other chutes don’t have safety features, but the ones that do actually borrowed the concept from Silencer. We invented the technology, but we’re not resting on our laurels – we’re constantly looking for ways to make Silencer even better, and the other guys watch what we do and try to catch up.
Cattlemen know about Silencer, and they can buy a Silencer chute from a lot of dealers, so why should they buy from A.L.?
Anyone can sell you a chute. What I bring to the transaction is 37 years of knowledge going all the way back to when I was a kid working for my dad in all different kinds of operations. I can help design exactly the right chute, taking the guesswork out of it for the customer. I’m never in a hurry. If a customer needs an hour on the phone with me talking about what he needs, I’m happy to take the time. I never suggest options that the customer won’t actually use. And it doesn’t end when the chute is sold. We’ll set it up and make sure everyone who’s using it is fully trained, and we offer full support for as long as the customer owns the Silencer.
The other thing is, if I tell you something’s going to happen, then you can bet it’s going to happen. I stand by my word, because if there’s one thing I truly believe, it’s that if your word’s no good, then you’re no good.
How long will I have to wait to get my Silencer if I order it from A.L.?
We have inventory chutes that can be delivered right away. A custom-made Silencer is usually ready in 3-4 months.
I already own a cattle chute, so why should I switch to a Silencer?
Two main reasons – the kindness to the animal, and the well-being of the operator. Sure, it’s an expense, but in the long run, you’ll save money because there’s less risk of injury to the animals and the people working the animals. If you’re the operator, and you get hurt, it could end up costing you your entire livelihood. There’s no going back and saying “I wish I’d bought a better system.”
We’re talking about a big purchase here – is there any way I can try before I buy?
We have rental chutes available if you’d like to try out a Silencer.
Does A.L. sell other chutes besides Silencer?
No. Only Silencer, because it’s safe, quiet, solid and reliable – it’s the best there is. I’ve sold Silencers all over the world – not just the United States, but Asia, Canada, Mexico, Australia – and it’s the only chute I’ll ever sell.