Shop Profile - Collision Repair

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Immigrant couple leads thriving trio of collision repair shops

Friday, April 5, 2019 - 07:00
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“Our story is the American Dream,” according to Andy Zamora, describing how his father José arrived in the U.S. from Costa Rica at age 26 with a middle school education, $12 in his pocket and an unwavering vision of succeeding in his new homeland – a dream that became a reality when he and his wife Cathy established their first Zamora’s Auto Body location.

“Thirty-eight years later, our family business has flourished from 5 employees over 100,” Andy reports. Adherence to traditional values and morals -- and showing the utmost respect to customers and staffers alike -- has been a constant quality throughout.

At a Glance:
Zamora’s Auto Body
Rockville, Md.
Main location
Jose, Cathy, Eric & Andy Zamora
Owners
3
No. of shops
38
Years in business
100
No. of employees
9
No. of DRPs
$2,200
Average repair order
7.5 days
Average cycle time
$350,000
Average weekly volume
180
Combined vehicles per week
$13 million
Annual gross revenue
PPG Envirobase
Paint supplier
Car-O-Liner
Frame machines
CCC One
Estimating system
www.zamorasautobody.com

“Our employees are, and will continue to be, our No. 1 priority. Although we have expanded greatly over the years and have hired employees outside of our family, we all treat and view each other like we are family,” he says. “This way of thinking was instilled in the company” by José and Cathy’s direct examples, and it continues to this day as Andy and his brother Eric assume increased operational responsibilities.

“When we say we value our customers, we mean it and strive to show it. We wouldn’t be nearly as successful as we are as a company if it weren’t for our loyal customers,” Andy explains.

“We don’t advertise our business, so our reputation and growth rely solely on word-of-mouth from our customers. We acknowledge that accidents are an inconvenience for our customers to have, so we make it our goal to provide excellent service to better their overall experience,” he points out.

“Overall, communication is our shop’s biggest strength. It starts with all our staff maintaining excellent communication with one another; from the creation of a repair plan, throughout the repairs and with the customer, and it ends with keeping the customer updated through the entire process,” says Andy.

“Another strength of ours is the low turnover from our staff,” he elaborates. “We commit to our employees and they commit to the success” of the entire operation. “With long-time valued employees we have extremely highly skilled technicians in each department -- we have created a staff that believes in our culture.”

When interviewing a potential new hire, “We only ask for one thing: ‘Good Attitude,’” says Andy.

“We don’t expect them to have any experience because we like to build our own techs in each department.” Each of the departments is set up with A-B-C level technicians with every collision specialist receiving a helper. The helper works with A level tech until moving up to become a B tech, and then the A tech gets a new helper.

“Before soliciting new techs, we give the opportunity to current employees to grow from within. We find the most valuable thing we do to retain our employees is communication with our staff and conducting semi-annual reviews. We ask questions about their salary, the supervisors, changes they would like to make, future goals and how long they plan on staying with our company,” he reports. “This open-door policy with our staff creates loyalty from both sides.”

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