April '17

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52 THE SHOP APRIL 2017 performance upgrades are easily referred to a network of nearby shops that are set up for that type of work. "We really don't have big equipment in our store," he notes, "because the biggest thing we're doing is cutting a hole for a sunroof or drilling holes in bumpers. The big thing is for the installers to stay up on the tech- nology, with the way these cars are changing." Compared to other areas of the country, Moncada thinks it's less common in the East Bay area for shops to be doing a lot of lifts or oversized tires and wheels on new cars or trucks. "I find a lot of resistance from car dealers," he says. "A lot of dealers won't let us modify tires and lifts, where back East you see them doing that a lot more." BACKBONE SUPPORT While gadgets and toolbox contents might be nice to have on hand, Moncada is the first to point to employees as being "a kin- dred group; the backbone of our company" and a big reason the shop is still in business. Some have been on the payroll for as long as 25 years. One of the many perks they get is an enlightened compensation structure. Shop employees are paid hourly, with the poten- tial to "give themselves a raise" based on their production. "I used to have to always deal with prob- lems of people complaining about not get- ting paid enough," Moncada explains, "so we came up with this commission structure. If they're producing more, they're going to be incentivized more. They can be making $20 an hour one week and the next week can produce $50 an hour because the shop is busy and they're turning out the work. Some will come in on their own at 5 a.m. to get work out. For us it's nice, because if a car is done at 2 p.m., we can get it back to the dealer with enough time to spare. It's the same for the guys working mobile—the more they produce, the more they make." The shop also covers half of each employee's and their family's health insurance. On top of that, end-of-year profit-sharing goes into a retirement plan for the employees. And, if the company has a good year, all the employees receive a bonus at the end of the year. THE NEW CAR FUTURE Moncada says most of Autohaus' retail business comes from referrals, both dealers and former customers. But it can be a challenge when personnel changes at those dealerships. "We might be in a dealership for one or two years, because we establish a relation- ship with the people that are in there, and then the next year they move on to a dif- ferent dealer and we're not able to get into that new dealer, so it's tough." He says the shop doesn't advertise—in the traditional sense. "Our advertising is salespeople calling on car dealerships, RESTYLING/AFTERMARKET ACCESSORIES Upgraded leather and other interior amenities in a dealer showroom demonstrate to cus- tomers what products look and feel like and how they work. Alpine, Kenwood and Phoenix Gold systems are on display in the showroom—along with a selection of accessories, interconnections and interactive displays. MAKING CONNECTIONS

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