Auto Service Professional

JUN 2018

Magazine for the auto service professional

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30 A S P J u n e 2 018 B u s i n e s s P r o f i l e N By Mike Mavrigian Neubauer's Auto Repair is located in Ellicott City, Md., in northeast Howard County, ap- proximately 10 miles north of the Baltimore- Washington International Airport. Following is a brief history of the business, in owner Jim Neu- bauer's own words. "Neubauer's Auto Repair started out with my father and business partner Pete Reichardt in a two-bay Esso station in Ellicott City, Md. WWII was ending and Pete was working on war plane tail sections at Martin State Airport. In 1947, Pete le Martin to start his career in the auto industry and opened his Esso gas station with two bays, later expanding to three. Pete and his wife lived in the house lo- cated just behind the Esso station, shar- ing it with my father, Will Neubauer, and his wife, Joanne. In 1972, Pete retired and sold the property to Esso and my father. At that time, Esso changed over to Exxon, and built a new four-bay location. "I began working in the business, first pumping gas back in the full-service gas station days, then in 1979 fresh out of high school, turning wrenches. In 1989, I bought out my father and Exxon and built a new five-bay station at the same location, becom- ing the third generation owner. "In 2002, I broke away from Exxon and relo- cated two miles down the road, purchasing our current building for $1.2 million. "In 2007, I was struggling with the service de- partment, forced to run the department alone aer one adviser quit and our general manager was out with medical issues. I tried using temporary help to answer phones and greet customers, as I tried to run the shop and sell jobs. "What a nightmare. e first temp would an- swer the phone and turn around immediately to tell me I had a phone call. Nothing could get her to at least scrutinize the call (customer name, type of repair desired, etc.). e next temp was somewhat better. Aer a few weeks of helping out in between doing her schoolwork, she announced that she was graduating from college, thanked me for helping her graduate, and promptly le. "I finally had enough, and called in my daughter Chelsea to come in aer school to help with the phones. She's been with the shop ever since, becoming the fourth generation from our family working in the business. I'm now considering retirement in the next few years, and am working on a continuation and succession plan with both Chelsea and her brother Seth, who is in the business as well, turn- ing wrenches." Does your shop offer general automotive re- pair or do you tend to specialize in specific makes or types of repairs? Most of our automotive service is in the "gen- eral" category. A true Maryland marvel Neubauer's Auto Repair Shop owner Jim Neubauer. Neubauer's shop regularly updates their shop equipment to take advantage of evolving technology, investing approximately $38,000 annually in equipment and tools. Certified tech Donny Laws discusses repairs to a customer's vehicle. Neubauer's techs make a point of establishing close one-on-one relationships with their customers. The shop places emphasis on technician training in order to keep pace with new vehicle technology. Here Bob Fernholz and R.J. Piosall diagnose a drivability issue.

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