Owner Bill Adams at Adams Autoworx hosts a radio show, Norcal Auto Talk, that has been broadcast on five stations since 2008. Manager Melissa Brunson (left) and Service Advisor Becky Merlini help to run the front office at Adams Autoworx.  Bill Adams (far left) continually hires interns and educates them in his way of doing things.

Working for a better industry

One decade on the radio helping auto repair customers and growing business

Castro Valley, Calif.—Bill Adams isn’t afraid to jump in when it comes to improving his business and being an advocate for the car repair industry. This second-generation owner moved Adams Autoworx into his new location earlier this year and did a major renovation, including new floors, offices, lighting and a modernized computer network designed to accommodate his new management system, Protracker.

“Our goal is to maximize our customers’ transportation dollars — it’s that simple,” he said. “We have grown exponentially over the years because we have an outstanding staff and truly partner with our clients. This means that we have to be brutally honest with them in many cases, but they always respect us for our honesty in the end.”

Since 2008, Adams has been hosting a one-hour weekly radio show, Norcal Auto Talk that is broadcast on KFAX AM 1100, KDOW AM 1220, and KTRB AM 860 “The Answer” in addition to two stations in Monterey. “We strive to provide a voice in the wilderness that can provide listeners with an alternative message from an independent shop’s perspective. New car marketing and advertising is a multi-million dollar industry, so we want to tell consumers that there’s a viable other way of getting your vehicles repaired and maintained. We tell people to be smarter with their transportation budget and give them guidelines to follow and that’s why we believe the show has grown in popularity over the years.”

Adams always suggests that his customers should wisely set aside money for when they have to get a new car for whatever reason. “Today’s vehicles can easily go 150,000 to 200,000 miles or more, but owners should always be prepared for when it’s time to retire them,” he said. “We call it a ‘Murphy’s Fund,’ so that they’re never in a bad spot when they have to get a new car. We work with all of our customers to keep their vehicles on the road, but when the repairs start to get costly, they should be prepared. We hold retirement parties for cars every day and it’s never easy, because some people get way too emotionally attached to their vehicles and hang on too long.”

By providing his customers with useful information about their vehicles, Adams is able to build trust and keep them coming back again and again, he said. “We give every car a comprehensive inspection with photos and data, so that we’re all on the same page. We categorize the repairs in three ways — those that must happen today, tomorrow or down the road. We partner with them and always consider things like their driving habits while also figuring in factors such as their budget and how many miles they drive on average.” 

With several of his employees recently nominated for national awards based on their performance, Adams said he is proud of what he has achieved when it comes to his crew. “We are lucky to find and hire top professionals and we keep them here by creating a fun, family atmosphere. We spend more time with our employees than we do with our own families and that’s why I always try to connect with my crew and keep them engaged. We constantly work on our Customer Service Index (CSI), set goals and deliverables and all of that works together to outstanding customer satisfaction.”

To fill the pipeline for new members of his crew, Adams said he  continually hires interns and educates them in his way of doing things. “We have a young woman here, Sarah, who came from the local junior college, where she is studying auto tech, and Kyle, a scholar athlete from here in Castro Valley who is currently attending the University of San Diego. Many of our employees started out as interns and some of them have been working here for more than a decade. We work with our interns to give them full access to every aspect of this business, because this upcoming generation is going to be the next distinguished group within this industry and we want to feed into that.”

To provide a more complete menu of services, Adams said he is expanding his company and adding a tire outlet to his existing building. “We want to capture more business and provide one solution for our customers. Tires are something we know we can do well and if we can keep them in-house, it’s something we want to do. We’re going to be opening a 3,800-square-foot tire store later this year and are excited about the capabilities it will add to what we’re currently doing.”

Parts & People

Parts & People is published monthly by Automotive Counseling and Publishing Company, Inc., a Colorado corporation, P.O. Box 18731 Denver, CO 80203, 303-765-4664. President-Lance Buchner. Founded by Lance Buchner and Dave Lucia.