Best Workplaces 2021: Do It Right the First Time

March 1, 2021
This collision repair shop in rural Texas is dedicated to quality, education, and support for its small staff.

Owner: Carlos Olalde Staff Size: 4 Annual Revenue: $600,000 Average Monthly Car Count: 16 Staff Tenure: 8 years

Carlos Olalde says he could spend 24 hours per day working at his shop because he enjoys repairing cars and cares about the service he provides to his community.

“Nothing is a rush. You don’t rush anything,” he says. “Everything is one pace, because I like to do it one time only.”

This has been one of the guiding principles for his namesake business, Carlos Paint and Body Shop. Olalde says his team could work on more than four or five cars a week, but he doesn’t want to pressure his small team and open the door to mistakes.

“One of my big things is, if I am gonna do something, I want to make sure I am doing it the correct way.”
—TJ Ball, manager and estimator at Carlos Paint and Body Shop

Nestled between Dallas and Austin, Texas, Carlos Paint and Body shop is located in the 3,000-person town of Hamilton.

Olalde has worked on cars since he was 13 years old, and eventually started his shop by himself in 1996.

From those solo beginnings, Olalde employs a tight-knit team of three: shop manager T.J. Ball, Olalde’s brother, Jorge Olalde, and a new addition, who’s been shadowing Olalde on the shop floor, Madison Hailey.

With 24 years of dedication to his shop, Olalde says he expects that same commitment from his employees, while supporting that commitment by paying for employees’ certifications and training.

Patience, understanding, and generosity

Olalde brought on Ball three years ago to get help managing the front office. Ball says he moved his family from Fort Worth, 100 miles away, because Olalde offered him a better opportunity than his position at the time, and he hasn’t looked back.

“I have been a manager for close to 15 years of my life,” says Ball, “and I can tell you right now, when you’re managing, and treat people like family, not just employees, you get a lot more stability from them and better work ethic from them.”

Olalde values continuing the education of his employees and maintaining their necessary certifications so they can continue to provide great service to the Hamilton community. “My last two shop owners; they weren’t interested in continuing education courses,” Ball says. “They didn’t care if I knew what I was really doing.”

Carlos Paint and Body Shop manager TJ Ball says with training and support, employees will:

  • Care about the work.
  • Be motivated to complete tasks.
  • Feel they are contributing to the company’s success.
  • Be included in advancement of the company.

Olalde recently paid for Ball to take a 10-session general manager’s course. Each year, Olalde pays for his brother’s recertifications so he’s always up to speed at the shop.

Ball says he mirrors how Olalde operates when he’s managing the shop, saying, “If I am going to do something, I want to make sure I am doing it the correct way.”

Throughout Ball’s career in shop management, he says a lack of education and support from ownership would lead to unproductive work environments.

He says Olalde is willing to work with him and invest in his education and maintain the shop’s annual certifications. Because of that, Ball says Olalde is the best boss he’s ever had—he genuinely cares about his employees’ wellbeing and the quality of work being provided to Carlos Paint and Body’s customers.

When it comes to Olalde’s values of patience, understanding, and generosity, Ball says he could go on all day. Those values all work together to treat employees as if they’re family, he says, which, in turn, makes them a successful team.

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