With only a toolbox and $800 to cover his first month's rent, Francisco Mayoral opened JC Collision Center in Bakersfield, CA in 2007. After many years of hard work and dedication, his body shop was named Family Owned Business of the Year as part of the 2016 Kern County Small Business Success Awards. The award was presented on May 5 during National Small Business Week.
Francisco and his wife Elizabeth operate the body shop, which expanded last year into a 58,000-square-foot facility that sits on a 2.5 acre lot with the capacity to repair 100 vehicles. Autobody News reached out to the Mayorals to find out more about JC Collision (JC stands for Jesus Christ) and what makes their business so successful.
Q: Congratulations on receiving the award. What was your reaction when you found out you were going to be honored and what does the recognition mean to you and your shop?
A: We were shocked. My husband and I couldn't close our mouths. Then I noticed tears were coming from Francisco, the founder. Suddenly, we started calling our friends and family. Hearing that news meant so much for us. After so much effort and sacrifice, we realized it was worth it.
Q: Can you tell us about Francisco's dream to open JC Collision and the journey you took to get where you are today?
A: In 2007, after suffering a big economic fail due to a bad investment, and having to file a bankruptcy, my husband Francisco decided to quit his job as an auto body technician and follow his own dream: owning his auto body shop. I was really scared because of the hard economic time the country was going through and because I had just lost everything. Francisco's vision and faith was stronger than anything else.
I clearly remember his first customer. It was an insurance job of about $3,500. Suddenly, more cars started coming. It was then when I decided to join him and help him make his dream come true. Francisco wanted to show the community what he was able to do by offering "The Best Job at the Best Price.” A year later, we moved into a better location with more traffic and seven years later we opened our newest and biggest facility.
Q: What do you tell your customers about the importance of supporting small, local businesses and the ability to choose the shop of their choice?
A: What I love most about my job is not just repairing the vehicles, but educating our community about their rights as consumers. I dislike the power insurance companies have when they try to steer customers away from their shop of choice and take it to their DRP shops. I clearly let them know that by supporting small local businesses, they are helping a kid go to soccer camp and putting food on a family's table, rather than helping a CEO buy a new Ferrari for his wife.
Q: How have you built a successful business through reinvestment and not borrowing?
A: It hasn't being easy, especially having no working capital or saving in a reserve account. Every dime that we would generate has being reinvested back into the shop to buy equipment such as two frame machines, two spray booths and one welder machine as well as continuing to educate ourselves and our employees to help manage our shop more efficiently.
For at least five years we showed no profit at the end of the year. I remember Fridays after paying everyone else, we'll keep just enough to cover our household expenses. During all these years, we have learned to live under a budget, having the vision that one day we'll have enough to take a nice vacation and to send our kids to college without having to ask for any government loan.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to add about your business or the industry in general?
A: I believe the key to success is having faith in God, and truly believing in what your vision is. Stay focused on your goals because during the journey you'll find many many obstacles, but as long as you maintain your focus, you will get there.
Don't be ashamed to ask for help. Find a mentor or consultant. There are many companies out there that are willing to teach shops how to manage and be successful.
To contact JC Collision, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 661-398-1819.