Long-term dealership relationships drive Dynamic businesses
Orange, Calif.—Long-term relationships with dealerships drive business to Tom Miller’s Dynamic Auto Images, which preps new cars for delivery and reconditions used cars for sale at more than 70 dealers throughout California, as well as Dynamic Collision Centers, with five collision repair shops in the Los Angeles area: Cerritos, Coachella Valley, Garden Grove, Redlands, and Victorville.
Since 1985, Miller said, Dynamic Auto Images has also sold packages for prep of new cars and reconditioning of used cars at one flat fee for each. Dealerships requested the flat fees, and despite his initial skepticism, he said after researching the average costs over six months he figured out how to meet that demand and rolled out the program to enthusiastic dealers.
To recondition a used vehicle, Dynamic can offer a number of cosmetic repair services that a dealership may have had to pay a number of companies to do, such as paintless dent repair, bumper or wheel refinishing, detailing, leather/vinyl/velour repair, windshield repair, and headlight refinishing, with a turnaround time of 48 hours.
The program means quicker return on an investment, higher Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) and Service Satisfaction Index (SSI) scores for the dealership, Miller said, with Dynamic managers’ pay also tied to those scores.
“The more efficient we are and they are, the more effective the partnership is going to be,” he said.
And for customers visiting a dealership for service work, a Dynamic representative will offer those same reconditioning services with the same 48-hour turnaround time.
The expansion into full collision repair in 1991 came from demand for additional services, Miller said, such as a used car needing the entire front end painted, or the retail customer who also needs the quarter panel repaired and refinished. Those collision repair shops now offer a full range of collision repair, with 20 percent of the repair orders being $10,000 or higher at the Cerritos location. The Cerritos shop will soon follow the Redlands location, which is on-site a Ford dealership, in being recognized by the Ford National Body Shop program for work on the aluminum F-150.
Relationship with Sherwin-Williams aids compliance, training issues
Dynamic has between 45 and 50 full-time painters, so it goes through a lot of paint and material. The painters on-site at the dealership—using mobile prep stations within carports or inside a service bay—and the painters at the collision centers—using new spray booths—have different spraying environments, although the high expectation is the same for the finished product, Miller said.
So when Derrick King, area manager for Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes, approached Miller with an attractive proposal to switch his paint business, he said he put the product to the test.
“I had two of my body shops try the material and then I had four mobile guys use it,” Miller said. “Across the board, they all gave me the thumbs up, without discussing the cost savings because I didn’t want to pollute their opinion of the material. But that was icing on the cake when they saw the cost was significantly lower and the opportunity for margin was significantly greater.”
Miller praised Sherwin-Williams and King for the assistance he receives.
“They have been phenomenal,” he said. “I’m very loyal to my vendors, so for me to make a change is a big deal. Whatever I need, it’s handled. If it’s training, if it’s a compliance issue, if it’s an equipment need, if it’s a material need, he’s on top of it. We don’t have work coming back; we don’t have warranty claims we need to deal with. It’s been a real healthy relationship.”
Miller said regulations of various governing bodies can often be at odds with one another, so King has been helpful navigating requirements to keep not only the EPA and the South Coast Air Quality Management District satisfied, but also the local fire department and city agencies.
What’s to come for Dynamic
It’s easier and less costly to expand his operations of in-store reconditioning operations, Miller said, and that is where more opportunities lie. But he said he’s looking at expansion opportunities for collision centers. There are usually two reasons for a dealership wanting to get out of the collision business and handing it over to Dynamic, Miller said.
“If they have a collision center in their facility, they could put a service/repair technician in there who’s going to generate $120 to $200 per labor hour, as opposed to $40-$50. So, if they’re landlocked, they’re going to look to convert that body shop into mechanical. If they’re not landlocked and they operate a body shop, you’ll find dealers who are struggling with it, so when I catch wind of that, I’ll present an option to the owner about possibly subletting the facility to us. They collect a check every month and they don’t have to worry about it.
“Then, we’ll operate that collision center as a Dynamic Collision Center, with all of the referral business coming from not just the dealership, but other dealers in the area. It’s been a healthy relationship.”
Miller’s son, Corey, joined the business seven years ago and is the business’ operations manager.
“I’m grooming him as a general manager for the whole company,” Miller said. “When I’m 60, I want it to be work-optional. But right now enjoy it; I live it; I have a passion for it.”