Central Automotive Service Centre
Surrey, B.C.-based Central Automotive is the preventative maintenance specialist.
Opening the doors to its four-bay shop in 2010, Central Automotive is led by Don Sullivan, experienced in all facets of the automotive world and holding extensive knowledge of vehicle maintenance.
“Central Automotive makes it a pleasant experience for a grudge purchase,” Sullivan told The Canadian Business Journal. “From a proper reception area, to a clean shop, to technicians in uniforms and follow up calls on service to hear firsthand from our customers, service is first and foremost.”
At Central Automotive, the founding principle is that customer service is No. 1, and it is this primary reason why the company continues to reach new heights through its short history. After three years in business, Central Automotive has seen exceptional growth, reporting an 80 per cent increase in 2012 all while averaging 10 new customers each week.
Central Automotive preaches the importance of preventative maintenance. According to Sullivan, “When you can keep a car for 15 years, you have no depreciation, no payments, and insurance is next to nothing. Preventative maintenance then saves thousands upon thousands [dollars] more.”
Central Automotive’s obligation is to inform and advise customers on their vehicle condition and upcoming needs and expenses. The company is not in the business of selling; rather, its objective is to inform customers of what’s best for their vehicle and what needs servicing.
Graded on a five-level inspection, Central Automotive reviews the entire vehicle for potential issues that may require service, from minor issues not in need of immediate repair, which can be dealt with at upcoming service appointments, to the other extreme, severe safety issues recommended to be immediately resolved.
“This is not your quick 10-minute oil change,” Sullivan explained. “We spend time with the customers reviewing the inspection form, walking through step-by-step on what needs to be done now or down the road. In our way of providing service, we try to step it up a notch – we have educated technicians, we walk through the inspection report, plus each car gets a wash and a light vacuum. In addition, Central Automotive also offers a 12 month/20,000 kilometre North America wide warranty on most work. Furthermore, the company also provides a 12-month roadside assistance package for customers’ peace of mind.
“The only new business is somebody else’s business and, with 60 per cent of people dissatisfied with where they get their vehicle serviced, we believe that if we offer something above and beyond, then that’s a huge customer base to draw from, and that is where our growth comes from. We give the customer all the information so they can make an educated decision.”
For those customers wanting a quick in and out solution to their automotive problem, Central Automotive leaves that group to other service providers. Central Automotive attracts the customers who are interested in understanding car care and the importance of preventative maintenance.
What’s next for Central Automotive? Once the company and its brand are further established, Sullivan would like to consider franchising his idea, believing that the concept can be successful across the automotive marketplace. Part of that concept is building a systematic team that ensures excellence and is fuelled by passion for people and vehicles. In fact, Sullivan prefers to hire those workers who have a vision of one day opening their own shop.
“In this industry, I have seen a lot of people pigeon-holed into their jobs,” Sullivan detailed. “My philosophy is that if I cannot train my staff to open their own shop, then I’m not doing a good job. When a customer brings in his or her vehicle, they need to be confident that we have top quality equipment, tools, and people doing the job in a timely fashion and doing the job right the first time.”
By following its founding principles, Central Automotive has proven to be a profitable new venture within the automotive maintenance sphere, something that will only continue into the future.