Snap Shop: Fix Auto Silverdale
FIX AUTO SILVERDALE OWNER: KEN MILLER LOCATION: SILVERDALE, WASH. SIZE: 8,900 SQUARE FEET STAFF: 11 (7 shop, 4 front office) ANNUAL REVENUE: $2.2 MILLION AVERAGE MONTHLY CAR COUNT: 75
The building that currently houses Fix Auto Silverdale was originally a glass business. That lends to the roughly 10-year-old facility’s rather unique appearance. The nearly 9,000-square foot building features an airy atmosphere that visitors consistently compliment, according Fix Auto Silverdale’s owner, Ken Miller.
“It shows very well for insurance companies and partners,” Miller says of the two-story, $2.2-million-per-year shop, which features an abundance of glass that the staff thoroughly cleans once per year. “It makes it easier for us to get customers and capture the job—it’s not like a lot of body shops.”
The facility features approximately 2,000 square feet of showroom space, giving it a far less claustrophobic feel than most businesses’ customer waiting areas. The lobby area features not only an energetic, personable customer service rep, but also leather chairs, couches, and a love seat by Tribecca, a massive 16-by-24-foot U.S. flag, plus soothing background music over the speakers. There’s even a meeting room nearby upstairs, where additional space is leased.
“We wanted an area that’s comforting to a customer, that they can leave their car with us and trust that it’ll be treated” with care, Miller explains. “It’s a different experience than what they’re used to, or what they would expect. It’s just calming.”
Over the last few years, Miller invested nearly $85,000 in four welders. Now, he doesn’t have to worry about his facility being able to adequately handle modern vehicles’ high-strength steels. The shop’s Pro Spot SP-5 smart mig is used to weld steel, silicone bronze, and aluminum, for example.
“We’ve invested in this equipment to repair cars properly,” the shop owner says, in reference to spot welders from both Pro Spot and Chief that are 240v and 60A. “With today’s high strength steel integration, these new smart welders have the squeeze pressure and output to meet the manufacturer’s parameters.
“We make sure that we have the proper equipment and have people trained to use it.”
KEEPING IT IN-HOUSE
In an effort to control as much of the full repair process as possible on-site, Fix Auto Silverdale’s staff often does in-house mechanical work, like suspension jobs, air conditioning replacement and repair, or steering component replacements. That fact typically helps the shop get vehicles back in customers’ hands more quickly than competitors can. Miller’s staff, which repairs an average of 75 vehicles per month, boasts an average length of rental of about 8.5 days, in a market that averages 11 days.
“We try to avoid most mechanical sublets if possible,” Miller says, “to assist in keeping our cycle time in line and to have more control over liability and the final product.”