|F. Lofrano & Son Inc. Auto Body Repair
San Francisco, CA
Type: Collision Repair
Owner Tony Lofrano founded the business alongside his father, Frank Lofrano, in 1974. "My brothers, James Lofrano and Fred Lofrano, have been an integral part of the growth and success of our collision repair business since the early years," Lofrano said. "My sons, Aaron and Josh, have brought in new concepts while they keep the goal of serving our customers at the top of their lists."
While many other shops are family-operated and employ members of their associates' families like F. Lofrano & Son, Lofrano suggested, "Perhaps something that makes us different is that we aren't afraid to try something as a beta test for our vendors to help better their business and our own. We strive to be on or ahead of the curve, and when it came to the M3 multi MIG welder, BPLCX resistance inverter welder, and the Miracle Repair System from Advanced Collision Repair Solutions, we felt these were the best products of those we tested when we decided to start using them in 2014." Advanced Collision Repair Solutions is the importer for both the Miracle System and GYS products.
Converting to GYS products was not too difficult, and overall, the employees at F. Lofrano & Son have responded favorably to the welding equipment and dent pulling systems. The emphasis on customer service is part of what makes these products so compatible with F. Lofrano & Son's business practices. A family firm since 1964, GYS understands the daily challenges associated with running a business, so they offer a two-year warranty on their welders.
GYS’ BPLCX resistance spot inverter welder is one of the many tools that F. Lofrano & Son use to deliver the best quality repairs for their valued customers.
Most important for Lofrano is the fact that GYS’ products help his shops deliver a safer repair for their clients. "We know we are using a more advanced and innovative product," he said. "GYS welders, with their automatic mode, are much easier to use than the competitors' products, and they provide a superior, safer weld for our customers' vehicles."
Customers are key for F. Lofrano & Son. "I'll never forget the day I stood in a tiny regional airport alongside only three other people awaiting the small plane that was to land shortly on a dirt runway," Lofrano recounted. "I'd forgotten I was wearing our sponsor shirt with our company name and logo for an annual San Francisco foot race. One of the three addressed me, saying, 'Hey--F. Lofrano & Son? They've been fixing my damaged vehicles for years! I love those guys! I always tell my friends not to go to any other auto body repair shop but them!' I thanked her for being a loyal customer and introduced myself, sharing the 40-plus year history of F. Lofrano & Son."
Recalling how his shop started, Lofrano explained, "My dad, Frank Lofrano, had been repairing cars in San Francisco for around 33 years before I began prodding him to partner with me to open our own auto body repair shop. An old-school craftsman who loved repairing damaged vehicles, Frank was my mentor while we worked for another auto repair business. One day, he finally agreed, saying, 'Kid, go get your tools and let's get going.' And so began F. Lofrano & Son Auto Body Repair at 1745 Divisadero Street in July 1974."
Lofrano plans to open a PDR division next year, and the Miracle Repair System’s ability to pull out dents will help ensure the business’s success.
From the very beginning, Lofrano recognized the importance of cultivating strong relationships with their clients. "Our business grew quickly by customers' word of mouth referrals," he explained. "In fact, throughout our years of repairing cars and to this day, repeat customers and referrals are the best compliment we can get. Our business practices are ethical, and we believe in good, honest relationships."
Lofrano's emphasis on integrity also extends to the community and the environment. The shop participates in food drives, vehicle donation programs and One Warm Coat donations. They are also adding a blood drive, Earth Day program and Breast Cancer Awareness Month initiatives. To protect the environment, "We recycle just about everything, including food and drink containers," Lofrano said. "We are also part of the Certified Green Garage Program."
F. Lofrano & Son Auto Body Repair's five locations total around 40,000-square-feet in production space, and their 77 employees utilize the industry's best equipment to repair an average of 472 vehicles each month. They participate in 13 DRPs and are certified by 17 vehicle manufacturers. In 2017, Lofrano plans to open both a PDR and a Glass Division.
Although Lofrano expresses concern with the shortage of technicians entering the industry, he believes the future is bright. "We are all working with the ever-evolving technology to include all of the model changes, accident avoidance systems, customer expectations, social media and websites, and managing multiple KPIs by carrier," he said. "But it is just change and will always be for the better."