Quick Note: To those of you who read my work, I am immensely grateful for your time and I thank you so much for it. This article will be a bit of a read, but I promise it's worth it. I will pour my heart out, in turn all I can ask is for you to share this with someone. Thank you.
"All Shops Are Created Equal" -A myth. How is it that some shops hold 40 cars in the lot while others struggle to maintain one? How is it that some shops can write an estimate for $13,000 while the shop across the street writes up $1,500. If every shop repairs cars, why is there such a fluctuation in price? Why is it, my insurance will send me to a shop they recommend? Does the shop recommended out perform every other shop? All these questions are pondering in your head and sometimes the easiest route, the path of least resistance if I may, is to just go along with the insurances suggestion. ( I know, my own family has done so before, claiming the insurance would charge them more or they would lose coverage...NOT TRUE) That choice is what's known in our industry as a DRP (Direct Repair Program), in which the shop signs an contract with the insurance company for "x" amount of cars in which they will dramatically discount the rate paid for the labor. The shop is given so much work, they are more transactional than friendly in some cases. In other words, the insurance doesn't recommend you to the shop with the best skills; they recommend you to the shop that will give them the best price for the job. You pay a premium each month and the insurance company gets to keep more of it by guiding your decision. Not all DRP's are bad, but wouldn't you rather get service from a shop with a purpose greater than fulfilling contractual requirements? So here is our purpose. . .
Armar Body Shop. Established in 1988.
"The real joy in life comes from finding your true purpose and aligning it with what you do every single day."- Tony Robbins
Armar Body Shop was founded in 1988, when my father Salvador wanted to quit the rat race and end the 9-5 life. The shop opened and through honesty, integrity and amazing customer service my dad managed to keep the lights on through all of these years. It hasn't always been sunshine and rainbows of course every business faces it's challenges and after every summer comes fall then winter. Needless to say, I'd be doing you all a disservice if I didn't recognize the last owner, Juan Carlos. Around 1999, my dad had other investment opportunities that went south for him very quickly, In rearranging his options and what he can do to save the shop from closing out, he passed the torch to my cousin. Juan being a young owner excited with the opportunity dove straight in. From being a talented painter and even more of a brave designer, he quickly made people turn heads at all the custom work he did. Doing custom beds on trucks, fiberglass panels, amazing artwork on some lowriders, it didn't take long to realize he had a talent for body work. With Carlos as owner, the Speed Channel featured Armar Body Shop on TV! Carlos and my dad painted a Mini Cooper with machine guns on it in competition to be featured in a James Bond Film. Around 2020 with Carlos having 20 years of service, my dad and Carlos decided to pass the torch to me. This is where the purpose gets interesting.
Ever since I was a little kid, I remember my dad bringing me to the shop and I would express how I wanted to work here when I grew up. I was always fascinated by the variety of cars I was able to enjoy here. I would move from a custom hydraulic setup in a 68 Impala with paint that looked like glass to a brand new Austin Martin or Porsche. I remember the smell was a mixture of paint, acetone, and bondo. Every time I visited, I would ask my dad the value of each of the cars then ask for the keys to the most expensive one. Knowing I was to young to drive, I would simply sit in the drivers seat dreaming of the day I was able to have my own. Reality set for me when I was about 15 years old, and I asked my father for a job here. As any great father, he persisted I focused on my education and told me he couldn't pay me anyways as he wasn't the owner. I was heartbroken but not enough to let that stop me from making money to help my parents out. At that same age I picked up DJ courses at our local youth club and a few months later I was earning $300 a weekend playing music at people parties. For me creating value for others in exchange to help out my parents was a huge reward! That is what kicked my entrepreneurial spirit into gear.
I tried to fit in to a normal career path in which I pursued aerospace careers that would pay well, but between school for 4 hours and working 12 hours a day, I quickly wanted out again and landed into car sales. As a salesperson I enjoyed being able to speak with customers all day long, but I hated the fact we had to try and break the bank in order to get a paycheck ourselves so I quickly left that too. Being a car sales broker was a lot more rewarding, I was able to speak with customers all day and in addition to that, I would get paid by being able to save them the most amount of money so it was a win-win for me, until the company went under of course. Forcing me back into the "job" category I landed a very well paying job in Aerospace. In five years I received 5 promotions, moving from an entry level tech to a manager position. I had folks who were older than me becoming so upset because I moved up the ranks faster and it didn't make sense to me. When my dad presented this opportunity of passing on the shop, he was very calm and trying to be very very cautious of everything. He worried over expenses and cost, and capitol and told me what if no customers came.
For me, I was living a double life, working in a corporate job but knowing I had so much potential. I was then faced with two options, leave to run the shop or stay at my current workplace, where I had benefits, paid vacation and sick leave, not to mention the work was rewarding I was able to showcase my skills of soldering and wire harnessing, some of my coworkers had doctorates degrees. I mean it was a great company and I had the opportunity to coach and mentor some great people and watch them grow as individuals. the question still remained, who was I to take the easy way out? I have a father who has worked his A** off for 33 years, 6 days a week, almost no time off unless it was an emergency. His daily work consist of lifting heavy car parts or being hunched over the body of a car sanding it down. He did this day in and day out 33 years with out complaints. Never has a customer left this place not satisfied with the work, and never did I hear my dad complain of how hard the work was.
What kind of son would I be if I let my dads efforts of 33 years go unrecognized, let it all fade away for the security of a paycheck? I quickly realized what a blessing had fallen in my lap despite all the negative feedback I received from managers, coworkers, and even my own family . I had managers tell me I wouldn't last six months. I had coworkers telling me I was incapable of running a business. I had family telling me it'd be in my best interest to sell the shop and cut my losses. None of them took my dad into consideration, or my sales background, or my willingness to learn from failures. None of them realized how blessed and fortunate I was to have amazing support from my parents, my wife, and my babies. None of them cared to see my Instagram page for the shop and realized through branding I'm creating a community of customers who encourage our work. None of them see the followers who tell me to keep the content going and understand what I am doing is not for my own personal gain. To those of you followers reading, y'all are the best!! I'm not in this business to take advantage of my customer. I'm here cause this is my purpose!
I have to go to work on every car like its my last car, I have to accomplish every job like its the most expensive, I have to treat the safety of my customers cars like I'm going to put my family in these cars. I have to treat every one of my customers with the respect my dad has shown them for the last 33 years, I get to pass on the legacy to my kids and teach them the same morals and values my father taught me growing up. I get to take the pay cut and security of a paycheck away for the chance, the slight chance, that if my knowledge and skills can grow this business I can afford my dads retirement that he rightly deserves after these years of service. I get to live out my dreams of providing for my family, my parents my wife and kids, and best of all owning my dad's business and having his legacy continue. Remember this was my dream as a kid! This is why I get up every morning. This is the DNA of Armar Body Shop, And this is why you cannot let your insurance dictate which shop you should choose.
Now I do not write this message as a way to receive customers out of sympathy, nor do I boast of my past accomplishments. In this business I solely want to express my purpose, my values, and my passion for the work to attract those customers who are in line with the same mission. I've had a customer before who I shared my story with and she not only brought in her car for business but brought in two friends from how inspired she was. I realized many body shops can have the same tools, the same size shop, and the same amount of employees, but they will never have the same hustle. They will never have the speed, accuracy, safety, or customer service Armar provides for each and every one of you. Thank you all for your time.
Gratitude is the attitude
If you didn't read the message clearly, my customers are my family. We are in business to serve others, hence why we are in a service business. Through helping people, they help us with more customers. More customers allows our business to grow. A growing business allows for me to secure my dad's retirement. This will forever be the message. This is what separates our shop from the DRP you were told to go to. WE help our customers, to them, you are just a customer. Same knowledge, same tools, completely different end game.
If you made it this far, you're the type of rockstar we serve. I am super grateful for your time and once we wipe away the tears of joy, we can chat. I'd really like to know what you thought of this. This may just be the story that leads to my first book. Was there confusion at all I should clear up? Grammatical errors you can help me correct? Let me know. Otherwise I want to thank you for reading this post. Please follow our socials for more content. Or hit up your friends and family and tell them to get an estimate from our site.