The office staff including (from left), Gabby Quezada, customer service rep; Danny Reyes, front estimator, Sandy Panduro, co-owner; and Daniel Panduro, president of operations and co-owner; are proud of the shop’s five star rating earned over nearly 30 years.Eddie Soto (right), general manager and I-CAR platinum recognized technician, discusses damage on a customer’s car with Hernando Pulido, I-CAR platinum and Honda certified master technician.Co-owner Daniel Panduro takes pride in the job board, which allows everyone to check the status of vehicles being repaired from start to finish. “I believe in having everything in writing,” he says. Betto A. Gonzalez, parts procurement specialists, checks all incoming parts and does “mirror testing” on replacement parts before they are given to a technician, which Panduro says saves a lot of time in the repair process. Body technician, Rodrigo Villanueva, uses the Polyvance Nitro Fuzer nitrogen plastic welding system to repair a mounting tab on a bumper cover.

Fix Auto Sun Valley’s gross sales more than double since joining Fix Auto USA

As market share shrank, owner-operator says there were three options: do nothing, sell, or join a group

Sun Valley, Calif.—Sun Valley is one of the most densely populated cities in the San Fernando Valley, with more than 100,000 people. It is also home to some of SoCal’s most fervent car enthusiasts, collectors, and car modifiers, Danny Panduro, president of operations and co-owner, said.

“Whenever quality collision repair is needed for those prized vehicles – or any vehicle – five-star rated Fix Auto Sun Valley meets and exceeds customer expectations on a daily basis,” Panduro said.

The second-generation family-owned and operated shop was founded in 1988 by Danny’s father, John Panduro, as J&L Auto Body. Since John’s retired, brother-sister duo Danny and Sandy run the shop.

In 2014, the shop joined the Fix Auto USA, and since then gross sales have more than doubled, Panduro said.

“In 2014 and 2015 we didn’t see much growth in sales because it took a while to ramp up with Fix Auto,” he said. “In 2016, we experienced 100-percent growth and we’re on pace to match those sales in 2017, as well.”

The shop’s average repair order is $1,769, the average car count is 142 vehicles a month, and average “key-to-key” turn time is 7.1 days, he said.

“January to May 2017 was 11.2 days and we closed the month of June at 7.7 days, according to the Enterprise length of rental (LOR) report,” he said. “We reorganized our teams and made a few minor tweaks to our processes that had a positive effect on our length of rental number.”

Since joining Fix Auto USA, the I-CAR Gold shop has increased its DRP count by eight, including Geico, State Farm, Allstate, Mercury, USAA, and Nationwide. And employee count has also increased to 18, including four I-CAR Platinum role reps.

“In addition to career training, we also believe strongly in helping our employees create a better version of themselves on a personal level,” he said. “To that end, 30 percent of our staff has attended Discover Leadership Training in Houston, Texas.”

The 40,000-square-foot facility has 13 work bays, a Hunter alignment machine, two Apache lifts, a Car-O-Liner and a Chief frame machine, a Car-O-Tronic measuring system, a Spray Zone and a Titan spray booth, and sprays Axalta Cromax Pro, purchased from FinishMaster.

Since joining Fix Auto USA, the shop has also purchased a Pro Spot I5 resistance welder, a Pro Spot SP1 Pulse MIG welder, and a Polyvance Nitro Fuzer nitrogen plastic welding system.

Panduro said lot of consolidators had approached him, which he has turned down, and the family had quite a few discussions before making the decision to align their business with Fix Auto USA.

“We were still providing the same quality work and service we always have, but we saw our market share continue to shrink. So we had three choices: do nothing and stay the course, sell the business, which we didn’t want to do because we love what we do, or join something bigger than ourselves.

“We wanted to join a group that allowed us to operate at a national level, but at the same time retain ownership of our shop and service our local community as they’ve come to know us. And that’s what Fix Auto USA allowed us to do.”

Panduro said the shop had a lot of great processes in place that they had implemented over the years, but he felt like he had this “great thing going but not enough people knew about it.”

“I was looking for a microphone that had a voice and I knew that Fix Auto USA had a ‘seat at the table’ with some of the insurers that we were never going to be able to get on our own.”

Aside from promoting the shop to insurers, Panduro said the corporate team does an outstanding job of marketing the shop’s brand throughout the Greater LA area on TV, radio, billboards, and through college and pro sports affiliations.

“This is one of the huge benefits to being part of the Fix family,” he said. “The amount of brand awareness that we’ve create as a whole would be nearly impossible to replicate on my own.”

Another great benefit Panduro takes advantage of is the “open door policy” that allows for a fellow franchisee to visit another shop to give or receive help with any system or process.

“Every Fix Auto shop offers a limited-lifetime warranty on the repairs performed on a vehicle,” Panduro said, “which is sweetened by the fact that any of the more than 400 locations worldwide, and more than 100 in the U.S., will honor it.”

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.

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