A member of Generation Y, Traffis remains undaunted in the face of adversity and innovation despite the many challenges facing the industry.
4 Wheel Kustoms and Collision
Type: Collision Repair
“Technology is good for the industry because you have a faster turnaround time," Traffis observed. "You have an estimating system that gives you parts and labor, so you’re not calling and running to get the parts. The paint has changed from lacquer to urethane and water, and the primers have become better, so there is less shrinkage. Spray guns have changed, helping to reduce waste; spoon feed guns waste paint because the pickup tube doesn't go all the way to the bottom of the cup like a gravity feed gun which uses up everything in the cup.”
For Traffis, technological advancements are a normal part of the business. He predicts that soon, “3D photos of the vehicle will be used to generate an estimate and indicate everything that needs to be repaired and what materials are needed to get the job done. Technology is a good thing and can help us do our jobs better.”
With such a positive outlook about the industry’s innovations, it comes as no surprise that Traffis sprays with Matrix Automotive Finishes. “During college, I took a semester off and worked in a paint store,” he explained. “They stocked Matrix paints, and they used the product regularly. I became familiar with the low-VOC line of products, and I really liked how easy it is to spray; when I opened my own shop in 2011, there was no question about which paint was best for 4 Wheel Kustoms and Collision to use.”
Owner Dave Traffis looks to the industry’s future to keep his shop relevant.
Traffis grew up in Cleveland, where he and his friends were very interested in cars. During college, he worked at a local garage, and in 2008, a neighbor loaned him a rental property where he repaired vehicles on the side until he opened 4 Wheel Kustoms and Collision in 2011. “I decided to open the shop and start my own business because I knew what I was doing from working at the paint supply store, and I felt like being my own boss was a better fit," Traffis recounted. "I had customers suggest that I would be successful on my own in this industry. I was working in a two-and-a-half bay garage after my eight hour shift, doing custom paint and fabrication to friends’ cars and for customers I attracted by word of mouth. People who saw those cars started asking where my shop was located and what kind of work I could do, so I opened a shop so I could tell them!”
The 4500-square-foot shop employs five collision repair professionals, utilizing a variety of equipment to repair an average of 25 vehicles each month. According to Traffis, “4 Wheel Kustoms and Collision stands out from the competition because we specialize in restoration and custom work. We build custom frames and lowering kits, and we also do full fabrications as well as custom paint jobs.”
4 Wheel Kustoms and Collision specializes in full fabrications and custom paint jobs.
With so many specialties, it’s imperative that the shop be able to rely on the equipment and products they use. “We love the complete line of Matrix low-VOC products - I even use it to complete side work at home. The toners are inexpensive, resulting in a higher profit margin, and the paint sprays and dries quicker than other brands," Traffis stated. "Matrix paint also covers in just three coats, compared to four or even five coats for other brands, so we use less material, which allows us to save time and money.”
“Matrix is less expensive than other brands, but it’s easy to implement," he added. "Their customer service department is very responsive. If we have issues, they send a technician out the very next day.”
Founded in 1983, Matrix Automotive Refinishes is known for producing quality high performance clear coats and primers, and the company’s color matching is unrivaled. The low-VOC line is fast, accurate and easy-to-use, plus it sprays better than conventional basecoats. A one-to-one mix ratio, it works in all climates.
Matrix low-VOC solvent basecoats are also eco-friendly, and environmental concerns are important at 4 Wheel Kustoms and Collision. The shop recycles all possible materials in addition to using Matrix’s low-VOC line.
Regarding current industry trends, Traffis observed, “There are a lot more turbo’d cars and a lot of popular paint jobs that require more detail and attention. Cars are getting crazier body lines, and there is more of a demand for flat clear, vinyl and graphic wraps. More customers want bright colors... These trends can present a challenge to shops if they don’t have the right materials, but Matrix offers superior color and matching that allows 4 Wheel Kustoms and Collision to keep up with these customers’ demands and desires as we move into the future.”
Matrix Automotive Finishes,
A Valspar Brand
PO Box 1461
Minneapolis, MN 55440
Facebook: Matrix System Automotive Finishes