Shop View: Steele Auto Body Inc.

June 26, 2019

In western Pennsylvania, Bill Steele has created one of the most successful collision and custom repair shops in the country.

Bill Steele owns Steele Auto Body Inc., located in a western suburb of Pittsburgh named Oakdale. In 1990, he bought the current facility from his mother; it was formerly the home of his father’s trucking company. He established the collision center in 1993, steadily growing the business and eventually breaching $1 million in annual revenue after several years.

Steele is known for his meticulous attention to detail, no matter how minute or massive. Over time, he was able to foster consistent growth through a razor-sharp commitment to customer relations, effective management and quality repairs. Steele brings a disciplined approach to his employee
management as well, training everyone in the shop to repair vehicles to his standards and then holding them to those standards, ensuring a quality
repair every time. When he first started out, customers would occasionally ask him to shave a few bucks off their estimates. Steele stood his ground,
confident in his work.

“I wanted the cars to look good,” Steele says. “I didn’t want to try to short cut things. I wanted to do things the right way.”

He says that customers know his commitment to quality and are willing to travel to receive his great work. He is always the last one to look at the finished car before calling the customer to pick it up. 

In 2004, Steele expanded his shop and opened Steele Kustoms, a shop renowned for its award-winning and high-quality work. Here’s an inside look at Steele Auto Body Inc., straight from the man himself.

Steele Auto Body, Inc. & Steele Kustoms 

Location: Oakdale, PA.

Founded: 1993

Owner: Bill Steele

Size: 13,000 square feet

Staff: 8

Average monthly car count: 70

Annual revenue: $1.6 million

That’s me, and those motorcycle bodies have just finished paint work and are getting ready to be delivered. I value my work and the awards in the background reflect that; three of them are for the Easyrider Bike of the Year; I’ve won the award three times (2007, 2009 and 2014). I won Hot Rod of the year in 2009. All the bikes were built from scratch.

That’s the whole Steele Auto Body team. We’re a tight-knit
group who works hard and enjoys what we do.

On the production floor, we can usually get 11 vehicles on the main floor and paint shop, another four on the frame machine floor, and seven on the custom collision repair side. There’s usually six or seven rental cars sitting around every day because we go through them so fast. We feature concierge service through Hertz.

The Painter's Playbook is presented by PPG and SATA/Dan-Am Co.

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