Author: Francisco Dejesus, BSU student
An Interview with Owner, Dan O’Shea
Are you from this local area? Yes, from Brockton, lived there 35 years, now I live in Bridgewater.
Tell me about your business. Centerville Auto Body is a collision repair shop. We repair vehicles that have been in car accidents.
Why did you choose this line of business? I just sort of fell into it. I have a degree in Criminal Justice and went to work for an insurance company with the intent on getting into investigating fraudulent claims.
Eventually I ended up instead as an auto damage appraiser, and from there I formed relationships with many body shops and eventually chose to change my career to working for a body shop.
When did it start? What Year? I started around 2016 but the business has been around just over 50 years. The business was established in 1968.
What was it that made you want to carry on with this business from the original owner? The original owner has been very good to me and has encouraged my training and learning in the auto body field.
What was the toughest thing you went through in the business? What inspired you to keep going as you were running the business? My largest obstacle in managing a collision repair facility is that I have never really done collision repair myself and have to manage technicians with much more knowledge about repairing cars than I have. Typically I try to look, listen, and observe and always try to keep an open mind to make the best decision possible in all the instances that come up on a daily basis. What inspires me to keep going is the just teamwork of it all. There’s a dozen people here that depend on me doing a good job to keep the business running well and keep all of us employed.
If you had to start over from day one. What would you have done differently? What was your most difficult challenge? I think there is a lot of good training available to me that I didn’t get into until recently, I would have started all of that sooner. The biggest challenge is trying to manage everyone differently. Each employee needs to be managed in their own individual way to get the most out of them. I’d never managed anyone before working here so learning that aspect of management is very challenging.
What is the toughest part about having a business in 2020? There’s a big challenge trying to market yourself online. This is an odd business in that you don’t NEED to have your car repaired until there is an accident. It’s nearly impossible to market to only people who have been in current car accidents. This means you just need to have a very broad marketing campaign and hope that when someone crashes their car they remember your company exists. And then with the ease of access to rates and reviews, one bad customer experience could be very damaging. It’s very challenging to make sure every customer’s experience is good enough to not warrant negative feedback, let alone be so happy with the service that they’ll give you positive feedback.
If a customer was to choose between your business and 3 others just like it why would you suggest they at least give you a try ﬁrst? What makes you stand out? Our customer service ratings and reviews online are better than everyone else around us. We guarantee our workmanship and the customer’s satisfaction which not every shop can do.
What is the number 1 way you currently bring in new customers? Probably through insurance company referrals. If not, just word-of-mouth from existing customers.
Has internet technology (website, online ads, social media, etc) played a big part in your growth and making your company more successful? Yes. We get lots of comments from customers that our ratings online were the reason they chose us.
Do you feel that internet technology could play a bigger role in your business if you had the
right tools? Absolutely. The internet is a huge area of opportunity even for businesses that are already growing and doing great.
If you had to look 6 months to a year into the future where would you like to see your business be? We’re presently working on our business process or the way every vehicle goes through production. We’re trying to add a couple more employees to keep everyone focused on just one or a few tasks that they can be responsible for. In 6 months time I’d like to have at least 1 additional employee to manage our parts department.
Does your business take up a majority of your time? If you don’t mind me asking does it take a lot of time away from your family? Yes. I work 5am to 4pm Monday through Friday. When I get home that leaves me about 2 hours to spend with my 1 year old before bed and then about 1 hour left to spend with my fiancée before I go to bed. That’s 55 hours a week at work and 15 hours with family during the week. You try to make it up on the weekends.