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Dynamic Automotive: Affirmative service in the D.C. area

Patrons' eyes and ayes affirm this year's Top Shop honors for one Washington, D.C.-area chain
Monday, December 1, 2014 - 08:00
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Patrons' eyes and ayes affirm this year's Top Shop honors for one Washington, D.C.-area chain

With a company motto of “Where Customers Become Friends,” the dynamic ownership trio of Jose’ Bueso, Lee Forman and Dwayne Myers has conveyed their commitment to providing their personal – and personable – best in delivering full-service maintenance and repairs to make Dynamic Automotive a Motor Age Top Shop.

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In addition to mechanical expertise, the three-shop chain serving the Washington, D.C. area offers quick lube lanes and car washes.

“We tell people that we pretty much do anything except body work,” says Myers. “It’s a broad range of everything, and we do any type of repair on any type of vehicle.”

European nameplates amount to 40 percent of the traffic because of the proximity to Washington and its high-end economic status as the nation’s center of power. Budget-minded customers are also part of the marketing mix. “The farther out from D.C., the older the cars get,” Myers reports.

Founded in 1995, Dynamic’s do-it-all approach has proven to be a capital idea as the company has established “a coveted reputation as an honest, responsive and competitive” operation – particularly among women and no-nonsense government officials.

“We’ve got a lot of Secret Service agents,” according to Meyers. “We know this because they can’t give us their names; they’re listed as ‘John Does’ in our database.”

It seems that all eyes, and ayes, are on this business as a certified online customer review site presents seven pages of mostly five-star ratings, netting a 4.6 average of respondents eager to recommend the company to their friends and associates. Female motorists are especially effusive in their praise:

“Dynamic Automotive takes care of me and my cars as if we were family,” says Donna. (Motor Age is withholding their full names.) “They do exactly what’s needed – no more, no less – and they advise me of services that will be needed in the near future. They maintain accurate records on my cars, and they can advise me about what needs watching and/or repair. I feel that the crew cares about me personally, my safety, and the state of my vehicles. It’s very personal, and they will take whatever time is required to make me understand what is needed or to answer my questions. They trust their staff to do the right thing with customers. I have total confidence in this business, and I will keep returning.”

“I was recommended by a friend and will pass the favor on to another friend,” says Jennifer. Another Jennifer reports that the shop possesses “A fabulous staff! Accommodating and friendly. Speedy service, too!”

“Dynamic Automotive is my personal car shop,” an additional reviewer comments. “They know my car and me, and they treat us both like it really matters. I love this business, but mostly I love the fact that they are always looking out for me and my vehicles.”

Yet another satisfied patron reports that she has passed the shop’s reputation along to a third generation: “My grandson now comes to you.”

And the roll call of votes-of-confidence goes on and on…

“We try and try and try” to deliver top service, “and we try and try and try to be personable,” Myers notes.

Community-centered car care
“All three of our shops are in ‘communities,’” Myers explains. Local demographic characteristics are studied prior to entering a given 10-mile marketing sphere. Executing an expansion in 2005 is a case in point. “We opened it before the town was ready,” Myers recalls. “It was going from farm to residential and they were building new homes.”

Myers, Bueso and Forman decided that debuting a deluxe “monster shop” represented an appealing and ultimately effective entry into the burgeoning neighborhood. “When we opened our third store we went from small shops to one with a lot of overhead. We had an architect, but we designed it ourselves; it was our ideas and thoughts that went into it,” says Myers. The subsequent customer counts confirm that the correct choices were made. “These are busy areas – a lot of growth.”

Each particular parcel in the triad of bedroom communities being served are picked to provide the surrounding residents with non-hectic, easy close-to-home commuter access. “We’re not on the pike in the rat race. People start their cars in the morning and drive to D.C.”

Although many of the residents are well-heeled, they can also be footloose as the population tends to be transient, shifting in makeup when election results are tallied and political employment changes are implemented. “Government workers come and go, and there’s a high turnover rate in the housing here,” Myers points out, emphasizing the necessity of maintaining an assertive array of online and traditional advertising strategies to attract potential patrons moving into the area. “You’re new to the community – why don’t you give us a try?” is the most-conveyed message.

Mechanical competence, solid business ethics and friendly personal attitudes take over from there to produce an ongoing pattern of word-of-mouth recommendations, which Myers views as the most dynamic and effective form of advertising.

“We use a variety of marketing tools, including sponsoring a local radio personality, Dave Serio, who hosts a weekly show on Saturdays called ‘You Auto Know’ on WFMD. Dave mentions Dynamic Automotive as a sponsor and directs callers to our shops for service,” says Myers. “We direct mail flyers throughout the year to our specific marketing areas. We have found this to be one of the best ways to drive customers to our doors,” he observes.

“To educate our customers about the products and services we offer we have videos that loop on (in-house) small monitors and display areas with information. And we have invited our product vendors to hold demonstrations at our annual benefit car show. Also, social media is a great way to promote our business for minimal cost.

Plus there is free popcorn awaiting in the waiting room. “It’s a big hit,” reports Myers, citing the tantalizing smells wafting from the vintage-like tilting kettle cooker. “I say, ‘come on by when you’re not spending money,’ and we’ve had people come by just to eat the popcorn.”

Fitting into the team
There is more than just a kernel of truth in that the key factor in hiring staff members is that they have to be genuinely nice people eager to impart their natural friendliness to the customers coming through the bay doors. “You have to treat them right because word-of-mouth is the most positive – and negative – thing you can have.”

That attitude is further reflected in the methods Dynamic utilizes to handle operations on the air-conditioned shop floor. “My job is to take care of my people, and they take care of the customers.”

Candidates for employment are selected largely on their ability to work across the aisle with their colleagues. “I look for the right fit – who’s going to fit into the team best,” says Myers.

“The guys in the shop work on a team system,” he explains, adding that this approach eliminates internal competition for the more lucrative tickets while ensuring that each individual’s skill sets are appropriately applied. “They pick whatever they’re strong at, and that’s what they work on. No one person is as smart as the team together.”

A majority of the staff lobbied for this non-competitive approach. “It’s what they wanted and I went for it; it’s worked out great.”

As a former tank mechanic in the Army, where errors can be catastrophic, Myers has long been a big believer in ongoing training and education.

“As the technology in the automotive industry is ever-changing, we encourage our employees to stay up to date. We pay for continued education classes, seminars at local colleges, trade schools and events held by our suppliers like Auto Service Plus and WorldPac to encourage our employees to continue learning. Our technicians’ pay structure is based in part on each ASE certification they hold. This is to encourage our technicians to keep advancing in their career,” he says.

“We track each technician’s performance by analyzing efficiency, proficiency and productivity. Monthly bonuses are awarded for certain levels of sales based on their productivity,” Myers reports.

“We encourage our employees and managers to handle day-to-day issues. If they take the initiative and make a mistake, I won’t fault them for trying; instead I will explain how I would have done things differently: It’s a learning experience for them,” he points out. “We also have apprentice technicians who are learning and fine-tuning their skills to take advantage of advancement opportunities as they arise.”

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