Jeremiah Graham, owner of CARSTAR Jeremiah’s in Oklahoma City, OK
While Graham has more than 15 years of experience, he became a shop owner just over two years ago. Since then, he has quickly turned his shop into a top performer.
“When I found out, I couldn’t believe it,” said Graham. “I’m very flattered. I’m glad there is an award that recognizes the young guys. I feel like a young man in an old man’s world. This business takes a lot of experience and moxie. It’s not easy for a guy my age to get into body shop ownership. I applaud everyone out there who is doing this.”
In his short time as an owner, Graham has also been awarded the following recognitions:
- 2014 CARSTAR Rookie of the Year
- 2014 CARSTAR Marketer of the Year
- 2014 ABRN Top Shop Runner-up
- Recognized by CNN Money in a 2015 feature on top blue collar entrepreneurs
“Since Joining CARSTAR, Jeremiah Graham has quickly proven himself as a great owner,” said David Byers, CEO of CARSTAR Auto Body Repair Experts. “He is an owner that is truly plugged in to the business. He runs an efficient shop and is able to generate original ideas that really work.”
Graham started in the business at 18 when a neighbor offered him a job after recognizing his work ethic. By 25, he became the general manager. When the former owner decided to retire, Graham bought the shop’s assets and opened his own shop, becoming Oklahoma’s first CARSTAR location.
Graham spends a lot of time focusing on customer experience by implementing transparency and communication. His shop employs AutoWatch, so his customers can keep up with the progress of their repair with pictures and text messages. He is also a very hands on owner in the sense that he’s always around and engaged with what’s happening in his shop. Graham also has great relationships with his DRPs and vendors. His policy has been – “Treat us fair. Do the right thing for us, and we’ll do business with you.” When it comes to purchasing, he would rather pay for the right part or tool instead of saving money on the wrong thing.
Graham offers I-CAR training to his technicians, and hosts it in his shop to make it more convenient. He has also invited people from various companies like 3M and Lord Fusor to give one-on-one training with their products, and actual certification in some cases. Graham is always reminding his staff that things are always changing, and that they must stay current. He will not deny education for those who want to learn more about the industry. If they come to him about something they want to learn more about, he will do everything he can to get them more resource material or find out what it would take to get them extra training. Graham also pays for their training, and for their time while they’re in training. He also offers life insurance at no cost, and pays for short-term and long-term disability once an employee has gone through a trial period.
Each one of Graham's techs also has his own lift. While the techs buy their own tools off the truck, Graham will help them if they need anything. He also buys tools to have available at the shop. He tries to find things that will make his techs be able to do their job better, or faster, or just not as hard on their bodies. As the need arises, he will get what the shop needs to help them do a better job and stay current with the industry.