When Opportunity Knocks
It all started with a simple message through social media.
German Mendoza went from summer internships as a young teen, to being a top painter at a high-end dealership, to opening his own collision repair shop at 28 years old.
Through the power of Instagram, Mendoza met his future business partner, Merhdad Abooghaddareh, in 2013. After connecting virtually for about a year, they finally met in real life at SEMA and discussed the possibility of collaborating. In January 2020, The Royal Collision Centre in Escondido, Calif., opened its doors.
Mendoza has been able to take his extremely clean painting techniques, along with his social media and networking skills, to build a name for himself in the world of paint.
Own your work.
A lot needs to be considered when working on highend vehicles, says Mendoza.
Something to always keep in mind are different nozzle sets, he explains. He also suggests keeping an eye out on the weather to analyze if it’s either more humid or cold out. On a cold day, you’ll want to tone it down a notch on your spray gun.
But most of his technique comes down to cleanliness—from his paint suit, to his hose, to his prep work.
“If you do your cleaning on everything before you get to your booth, you’re going to have an overall clean paint job,” Mendoza says.
Being aware of the weather and ensuring the cleanliness of every aspect of the job relies on being hyper focused and slowing down. In fact, rushing is one of the largest mistakes Mendoza thinks painters can make. Working too quickly can affect the quality of work, especially when it comes to color matching.
“There are times that we do our sprayouts and we nail the color, but then a year later, the color doesn’t match anymore,” he says. “You have to always be updating your color chips.”
All techniques aside, mistakes will be made. And the best way to react, is to avoid excuses, and learn from what went wrong, says Mendoza.
Lean on others.
Mendoza credits a lot of his current success to social media and networking with others in the industry.
“What I would suggest is to keep communicating with others in the industry and support those on your same level,” he says. “You never know what can come to you—something great came to me from social media.”
Mendoza also leans on his rep for up to date industry and tool information. There’s a lot more equipment and tools out there these days, he says, and having a close relationship with your rep can be vital to staying current.
“Reps really know what they’re doing, especially this new generation,” Mendoza says. “They have so much to offer, both knowledge and support.”
Connecting to others can go beyond networking and technology updates; it can also act as a resource when feeling stuck, which may be easier said than done in such a prideful industry.
“Some people don’t want to ask somebody else for a tip or a trick because they might feel like it makes them a little less of a painter than the other guy,” he explains. “But that’s not the point, you know? Everybody has their strong suits.”
Promote your work.
Social media can also act as an online portfolio for potential customers, companies, and others in the industry. Mendoza has been active on his socials for years, and began posting some of his specific tips and tricks, but this resulted in a bit of kickback from others. They would ask him why he was giving away what he had worked so hard to learn, just to make it easier for another painter.
“I didn’t listen to them. I just kept posting because I thought it was the right thing to do,” he says. “I’m glad I continued because I feel like it raised some good attention and awareness, and I even ended up finding my business partner through it.”
Believing in yourself and believing in your talent will draw in others and create future opportunity and growth.
“You’re going to get criticized no matter what, but you can’t control other people’s thoughts,” Mendoza explains. “It’s all how you take it in; you have to ignore it and keep going with the positives.”