Collision Done Right
Have you ever been burned by an auto body collision shop? Chances are you are silently nodding your head right now.
In my conversation with Kathy Mello, and Jason Cocco, owners of family run T.G.I.F. (To Got It Fixed) Body Shop in Fremont we discuss the most important things for customers to know when they take their car in. Also explore in depth what sets TGIF apart from the negative reputation many auto body companies have.
This place is one of the (most) outstanding businesses in Fremont and maybe the Bay Area. They are professional, honest and friendly. It is unusual to find businesses like this any longer. ~Online Review
It’s true, there are not as many family run, successful businesses left these days, however TGIF is one of them. In business for over 36 years, family run, and with a great reputation, they repair over 1200 cars a year.
In this interview I speak first with Kathy Mello. Kathy’s husband Richard Mello started this business in 1980 with his two hands and a tool box. It’s now run by Kathy and Jason. They have extremely high standards of care for both the vehicle and the vehicle’s owner. Priding themselves on owner advocacy when working the insurance companies.
Kathy Mello focuses outward. Meeting her in person her sincerity is very obvious to me. She shared with me that as a company they have decided only to participate in advertising that has some sort of benefit to our community. Like sponsoring local sports teams, and participating in fundraisers.
She is the face of the company in the auto body industry, keeping up to date on the latest tech innovations in an industry that is constantly changing.
Back in 2006 Kathy attended the first ever Women’s conference for the collision industry. Now, 11 years later, that conference has grown in to WIN, Women’s Industry Network. A non profit organization that supports women by providing training and networking and scholarships for women in the collision industry.
When asked what advice she would give to consumers Kathy says consumers should remember that they call the shots. And to always ask lot’s of questions.
TGIF’s record of success is no accident, pun intended. I ask Kathy what she attributes to their success.
“You have to have the right people and the right culture. Our employees really care.” I asked her how do you (as owners) cultivate that? “We care about them. We see to their needs, provide important benefits. Cross train so that no one feels they can’t take time off.”
About 35 minutes into the interview I snag Jason Cocco. Jason shares his story, starting when he would work at TGIF when he was just 16. Today he had taken over the running of the business. Customers talk a lot about the personal service they get when the come to TGIF and much of that is due to Jason’s leadership. We talked about the challenges of a family business. And making the transition from employee to boss, now managing the team he once worked alongside.
His advice, “Make sure your employees want to follow you. You have to show them what you want to bring to the table and have everyone be able to be on board with you. If you have people that aren’t on board… eventually those people are going to fade away, as long as you keep in the right direction as a leader.”