Bintelli Evolves From Scooters to Golf Carts, Seeing Extensive GrowthNov 08, 2023 01:13PM ● By Donna Isbell Walker
Justin Jackrel’s first product was a gas scooter that he constructed from a weed trimmer engine and a skateboard. He was still in high school when he embarked on the journey that would take him from his homemade gas scooters to producing tens of thousands of low-speed electric vehicles (LSVs) with his company Bintelli LLC.
This year, Bintelli was ranked No. 6 on Integrated Media Publishing’s list of the 50 Fastest Growing Companies in South Carolina, chalking up a 106.6 percent rate of growth. The percentage growth is a weighted average of full-time employees and annual income growth over three years.
But Jackrel couldn’t have imagined where his career would take him the day he attended a home products trade show in his native Florida in 2000. At that trade show, he met a man who made electric scooters for kids, and the man asked Jackrel, then 17, if he would be interested in setting up a website to sell the scooters.
He soon realized that the children’s scooters, which cost $900, were not selling well because of the price, so he built his own.
“I found a factory online that made weed-whacker motors, gas motors, and a skateboard factory, so I put the weed-whacker motor on the skateboard and then added a handle and a brake, and that was the first gas scooter ever imported from China to America,” Jackrel said.
He largely sold the products on eBay, and he spent his college years at University of Florida building his business. He was selling 100 to 150 scooters a week, while attending school during the day.
His senior year, Jackel opened his first storefront, “and after that, we got into the manufacturing and distribution side, and we grew it after I graduated from college. Now, we still sell scooters, we still sell electric bikes, but the street-legal golf cart side is about 95 percent of the company at this point, and it’s really been our focus for the last four or five years.”
Bintelli still sells scooters, but these days, the company’s primary focus is the LSV market, which consists mainly of street-legal golf carts which have a top speed of 35 mph. He says he would like to move into the medium speed vehicles, which can travel at up to 45 mph, but very few states allow them, so he will continue to focus on LSVs.
According to the company website, Bintelli, headquartered in Ladson, has the largest stand-alone LSV manufacturing facility in the United States, at 176,000 square feet, with another 150,000 square feet coming online next year. Bintelli is No. 4 in the U.S. for production volume, Jackrel said.
For several years, the primary customer of a Bintelli golf cart was a high-income business executive, but the market changed during the pandemic when families were looking for ways to have fun without being stuck in the house. The average customer in 2023, he said, is a family of four.
Jackrel said it was exciting to be ranked No. 6 on the 50 Fastest Growing Companies list. Bintelli was also recognized by Inc. 5000 as the No. 7 fastest-growing South Carolina company.
“Last year was a really exciting year for us,” he said. “We could have been even higher (on the 50 Fastest Growing Companies list) if we could have gotten the supply, but our suppliers just couldn’t keep up with the growth we had. There was a month or two in the middle of the year, especially during the pandemic, where we had no inventory flowing, and we had 1,000 units on order from dealers that we couldn’t deliver until the following month. So, with all the import issues and the inventory issues we dealt with during Covid, to be able to get that level of growth was really exciting, and I’m really, really proud of the team that we have here to be able to do that.”