In the performance fastlane
Hillsboro, Mo.—In the spring of 2004, Justin Bondurant was becoming increasingly unhappy with the parts quality and options that were available on the market for his 2004 Dodge SRT-4. He began fabricating a few parts for his personal vehicle and posted pictures on internet automotive forums.
Within a few months, he was selling his custom fabricated parts at such a pace that he was able to quit his full-time job and start his own business.
JMB Performance and Powdercoat was officially founded in October 2004. Since then, the business has grown rapidly, from local service and fabrication work, to international sales. Over the years, the shop has expanded from a two-car garage to a 6,200-square-foot facility.
“We build high quality, custom-made parts and are happy to accommodate each individual customer’s needs. We don’t make ‘one size fits all’ products,” Bondurant said.
One notable project is Dom Vallejos’ twin-turbo Dodge SRT-10 pickup. The truck is, according to Bondurant, the quickest street legal SRT-10 pickup in the “world by a bunch” — as in a couple of seconds. “That truck ran a 7.973 at 183 mph. There is nothing else like it.”
The pickup sports an the original Viper block, now at 540 cubic-inches, aftermarket JM Striker cylinder heads and Garrett twin GTX-88 turbochargers, supported by a stock style front suspension and tubular back half all steel frame and body with custom JMB fabricated parts as well.
Projects like that and much more are made possible because of the many service offerings JMB can provide to their customers.
“Custom fabrication, engine swaps, custom turbo and supercharger setups, powdercoating, and machining are all available,” said Bondurant.
Billing and invoicing
With so many custom projects, billing and invoicing can become challenging, but Bondurant’s system has evolved over the years and ensures that each job is properly closed out.
“When a customer is bringing us their vehicle, they already know they’re looking at $15,000 to $50,000, so billing and invoicing is important,” he said.
Bondurant added that custom performance work cannot and should not be billed the same as R&R jobs.
“Communication is very important during the project, but even more so at the beginning, before work even starts. I let the customer know up front how billing is going to work, what the expectations are from me as far as their responsibility goes, as well as what to expect throughout the process.
“I bill every week. People tend to have sticker shock, and rightfully so, when they get a large bill. If they get a $1,000 invoice every week for 20 weeks though, it softens the blow and ensures payments a lot better than hoping for a big payoff at the end. It also allows for better communication throughout the project. When a bill goes out, we send photos of the progress, ask questions, answer questions, make changes, and keep the customer involved.”
All parts a customer wants or needs for their project are paid for upfront and paid prior to installation throughout the entire process.
Although many parts are custom made at JMB, some performance parts and aftermarket replacement items are still sourced online or locally from Advance Auto Parts and Atech Motorsports, which is Summit Racing Equipment’s wholesale entity, ATP TURBO for turbo parts, and ProCharger for supercharger parts. OEM parts are also sourced from Weir Parts Center, South County Dodge, and Lou Fusz Automotive Group. Other suppliers include Schaeffer’s Oil for all of his lubrication needs and Central Waste Material in St. Louis for steel and tubing.
Used parts sales are another source of income for Bondurant as he also runs another business, Salvage St., which sits on the same property as his shop.
“Used parts sales have a very high profit margin. We buy parts cars for the shop and whatever is left we pull off and sell through Car-Part.com and Ebay, which is incorporated into our website as a searchable database.”
Advice for others
Bondurant’s advice for repair shop owners who may see a high-performance vehicle come through the doors is to conduct research.
“Ask the owner questions about aftermarket parts that have been added. If you don’t know how to properly diagnose or work on a turbocharger or supercharger system, call someone that does and have them help you through it. People spend a lot of money to customize their cars and would rather you be honest and say you are not comfortable with the repair as opposed to making them spend more money to fix your mistake later.”
Bondurant also stresses that performance shop owners need to charge what you are worth. “Don’t try to be the cheapest guy around. You will put yourself in a hole really fast. This type of work involves expensive parts and custom work. You should back it up by charging for your labor appropriately.”
The future for Bondurant and his family is already planned out when it is time for him to step away from the business.
“I’m 37 years old and the plan is to go for another 15 years. We put away a lot for retirement every month and my wife and I plan on traveling outside of the United States to do missionary work when it is time to step away here.”