A glimpse insde the Red Hill Collision facility.
Five years after moving to Southern California from Cuba, 15-year-old Armando Nogueiras began working at his father's shop. By the time he was 25, he owned his own facility. Today, Armando co-owns Red Hill Collision Center with his son, Christian.
Red Hill Collision
Type: Collision Repair
“Our philosophy, goals, and how we conduct business are what really make us stand out,” explained Armando. “We are insurance-friendly, but we do it by making all repairs under OE manufacturer's recommendations and suggestions.”
About a year ago, the shop became Hyundai certified. “I think it's a great asset for our company,” he explained. “Not only has it helped us with the clients themselves, but also with the insurance companies.”
Customers also appreciate the shop's recognitions. “When Hyundai owners come in and see our plaque on the wall, it's just an added peace of mind that their vehicle is being handled by a very capable facility,” Armando added.
In order to receive this certification, Red Hill Collision Center had to first be approved by Assured Performance. “Their process is stringent,” he said. “The extensive inspection and verification helps weed out shops that aren't ready for the certification.”
Armando added that the business performance program's reps were very helpful and provided a lot of coaching. “I think it's definitely an asset,” he said.
The aluminum clean room at Red Hill Collision.
Red Hill Collision Center is also certified by Honda, Nissan, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, Ford, and Ford Aluminum.
“Because my facility is only three years old, I have equipped it with the latest and greatest in technology, equipment, training, and education from the beginning,” Armando explained.
Red Hill Collision Center's facility is indoors, with 60 percent dedicated to collision repair and 40 percent dedicated to paint. Apart from state-of-the-art equipment, including a dedicated aluminum paint room and tools, the shop also has a positive online presence. “We have a great footprint on Yelp,” he said. “We've
been blessed with tremendous reviews.”
Another way customers can check out the shop beforehand is by taking a virtual tour on their website. “When the shop was almost ready to open, we hired someone to do a Google walk of our facility,” said Armando. “Insurance companies, clients, and customers can view our offices, work environment, paint
department, and so forth.”
Another integral piece of a successful shop is a well-trained, hardworking team. For this aspect, Armando has followed his father's philosophy.
Customers can watch TV, read a newspaper, or ask the staff questions while they wait for their vehicle to be repaired.
“I could probably name 10 different men between the ages of 40 and 55 years old today who were brought into this industry by my dad,” he said. “I've always followed that philosophy, which is why I continue to bring people into the industry.”
Armando believes that if more shop owners would've done this throughout the years, there would be a better pool to chose from. “At my previous facility, which I had from 1990 to 2012, my average tenure was about 8 years,” he explained. “I had people working with me since the 80s when I had my first shop; they followed me to my second shop and stayed with me until the day I sold.”
He also stressed the importance of young people entering the industry, and his concerns about the aging workforce. “I think the [deficit of young people] was caused by the lack of education for many years,” he explained. “So many people in our industry today kind of just learned by the grace of God, and I think that's why we have so many issues with our workforce.”
However, he does feel the times are changing for the better. “UTI Long Beach has been a great asset to the industry, as well as other colleges that have expanded their automotive education,” Armando said.
He added that there are many benefits to taking in employees who are fresh in the industry. “Because they haven't been set in their ways for many years, we feel that we end up with a much, much better employee,” explained Armando.
He said it is rewarding to see people he trained at a young age continue to lead successful careers. “There are many of them; some are running facilities, whether it's for consolidators, or independently, others are in the insurance industry, as adjusters and supervisors and managers,” Armando said. “I'm proud to have done that.”
He said his son plays a big role in training his younger employees. “Christian, being 30 years old, gets across to the younger generation a lot easier than I do,” Armando said. “I like to watch him when he's doing the training process, because they get him. I'm blessed to have him as part of the business.”