Snap Shop: Simon's Auto Body

Sept. 25, 2019
Take a virtual tour of a Massachusetts shop with no shortage of state-of-the-art equipment.

SIMON’S AUTO BODY OWNER: SIMON FREITAS LOCATION: FRAMINGHAM, MASS. SIZE: 37,000 SQUARE FEET STAFF: 20 (10 front office, 10 shop workers) ANNUAL REVENUE: $3.8 MILLION AVERAGE MONTHLY CAR COUNT: 100 

CALL TO ACTION 

Starting in June 2017, Simon Freitas stripped his shop to the studs. Eighteen months later, once-gutted Simon’s Body Shop featured several new elements aimed at keeping customers happy. 

Chief among those elements: a call center, in which customers waiting for their vehicle to be delivered typically have employees’ undivided attention if they have any questions about the repair process. The call center’s dedicated employees only make outbound calls during slow stretches. 

“The reason we have a call center or business development center,” he says, “is because it’s kind of rude when you walk in the lobby area and the phone rings, and I have to stop talking to [customers], take attention away from them, and answer the phone. 

“In our main lobby area, that’s where customers come in at first and we greet them and find out their needs.” 

LAVISH LOBBY 

The main customer waiting area at Simon’s Auto Body resembles the front desk area at a four-star hotel. Leather couches and accent walls greet customers at the Massachusetts shop, setting a relaxing tone from the second clients arrive. 

Freitas said he spent five figures total when purchasing office furniture. 

“Throughout the whole offices,” he notes, “all the furniture was custom made.” 

TOP-OF-THE-LINE EQUIPMENT

Throughout his collision repair career, Freitas has made a point to listen closely to feedback and insight from vendors. Because he values their opinions, he has few qualms about investing heavily in equipment. 

Freitas says he spent roughly $700,000 combined on spray booths, welding equipment and tools when outfitting his recently revamped facility. He’s especially appreciative of his shop’s new Spanesi Frame Machine, which is approved by several OEMs and cost $110,000 to place flush to the shop floor. 

“The frame machine helps us [immeasurably],” he says.  

ON-SITE GLASS REPAIR

While Simon’s Auto Body sublets out glass repair work, Freitas has set aside space on his shop floor for that work to be done on-site. He prefers to have as much work done at his facility as reasonably possible. 

The reason for that, he says, is because “the customer is coming to my place to have an experience with me.” 

It’s hard to argue with Freitas’ tactics, considering his shop continues to improve incrementally; after doing $3.5 million in sales in 2017, the shop is now trending toward $4 million in annual revenue. 

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