Hans VW/Audi Service and Repair’s specialization leads to expansion
West Seattle, Wash.—Business has been good recently for Hans VW/Audi Service and Repair, and Shop Manager Hans Loos Jr., son of Owner Hans Loos, says they are preparing for expansion.
Loos Jr. said that like any business, Hans VW/Audi has had its share of ups and down, but business has been mostly up these last three years.
“We’re adding two more bays to the building this summer,” he said, adding that the additional bays will help their five technicians, who currently work with three bays and an outdoor lift, with workflow. “People are keeping their cars longer now, so they need more servicing, and I don’t see that trend ending anytime soon.” Loos Jr. said the new bays will both have Rotary lifts installed.
Loos Jr. said they specialize in the VW and Audi because there weren’t many independent shops doing those import lines exclusively when Hans VW/Audi opened in 1974. “There were a lot of Japanese auto repair shops popping up. We just stay with the cars we know best.”
Loos said there have been a few additions to the business along the way. In the 1980s, he added a retail parts service, H & J Foreign Auto Parts, out of a small building on the property.
Loos said the biggest addition to the business happened in 1998 when Hans Loos Jr. completed his training at South Seattle Community College and joined his father in the day-to-day operations of the business.
Loos Jr. said another factor in their success is location, location, location. “We do no advertising,” he said. “No newspapers, no coupons, and no Facebook. This business is 100-percent location based and word of mouth.”
Strong relationships with suppliers are also valuable, he said. “IMC and WORLDPAC make it easy to have readily available parts always in stock,” Loos Jr. said, adding that specializing also helps them keep their diagnostic times short, a savings they can pass along to their customers.
Loos Jr. said they use Baum Tools and Ross Tech scanners to do their diagnostic work, and it’s equipment that has always been the best for their operations.
Hans Loos Sr. said that while business is up, they aren’t seeing many of the older VWs coming in anymore. “That’s being left for the weekend tinkerers, or the hobbyists or the collectors.”
The road to success
“I left Germany in 1956,” Loos said. “I went to Canada first, learned the trade, and then came to the United States a couple years later.”
Loos said he worked at a couple foreign car specialist shops through the 1960 s, and by 1974 was ready to open a shop of his own. He said he knew what he wanted, and he found it in West Seattle. Loos Jr. said they also maintain a connection to the automotive program at South Seattle Community College, donating engines or other equipment as needed. He added that training for the technicians at Wyo Tech in Arizona is also important for success.