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Located in St. Peters, Missouri, Jungerman CARSTAR has been a family owned and operated collision repair facility since 1991. General Manager Kerry Woodson and his team are devoted to developing personal and trusting relationships with their customers by providing clear and thorough explanations of the repair process for each individual repair.
Gus: What are some of the advantages of being part of a family owned and operated business?
Kerry: The biggest advantage of being part of a family business is the level of commitment by everyone in the organization. When you work alongside your family and learn from them how to run a business, your business, in turn, treats customers like family. It’s a comfort to know that everyone here will do whatever is necessary to deliver the highest level of customer service and quality workmanship. Not many balls are dropped because we have to sit across the table from one another at Thanksgiving dinner.
Gus: How has CARSTAR evolved since first opening back in 1991?
Kerry: When we first joined CARSTAR, it was teaching a “Body Man” how to run a business. Now it has evolved into not just running a business but operating on key systems and performance indicators to produce world class results. The resources available with key vendors and contacts at the highest levels within insurance companies allow my business to compete in a local AND national market.
Gus: Congratulations on earning honors as a CARSTAR Auto Body Repair Expert of the Year by Esurance. Can you talk about what that recognition has meant to your business and what gave you the competitive edge?
Kerry: The recognition by Esurance was humbling. It validated all the hard work and extra hours that everyone in my business has put into trying to distinguish our store as a leader in the market. The staff I have is ultra-competitive and detail orientated which is a must in the DPR Insurance world. You have to deliver cars when promised to customers and you have to deliver them with a quality repair.
Gus: What are some of the ways that you make the repair process as painless as possible for your customers?
Kerry: We try to live by the motto “relax we’ll take it from here”. That starts from the moment we receive the information from the customer. We have a Hertz Rent-A-Car in house so that when someone drops off for repairs, they get into a rental within 15 minutes and get back to their regular schedule. We tell the customers all they have to do is bring in their car and we will take care of the rest. We set up their rental, work with their insurance company on getting their claim approved, complete repairs, and get them back in their vehicle on an average of 5 days.
Gus: What has the population growth of your service area, St. Charles County, meant to your business?
Kerry: When we first opened here in St. Charles it was a small farming community. In the past 20 years it has blown up to be one of the biggest counties in the state of Missouri. This has created more traffic and, thus, more opportunities to grow our business.
Gus: What do you think are some of the key challenges your industry is facing?
Kerry: A couple of the key challenges facing us are the changing vehicle designs. More and more cars are being built with new advanced types of High Strength Steels and Aluminums. Continuing to train your personal on how to handle these cars becomes essential amongst increasing technological advances. For instance, the amount of airbags in cars is increasing the number of total losses in vehicles, thus, reducing the amount of repairable vehicles.
Gus: What challenges or successes do you find in recruiting and retaining talented skilled craftsmen for your business?
Kerry: The biggest challenge I find is getting technicians who are willing to adapt. We are consistently trying to find the best and most efficient way to repair vehicles and we need people who want to be on the leading edge of technology and innovation. Adaptation is a big challenge for almost everyone. We are no different.
Gus: If you could share one small business branding strategy with our readers, what would it be?
Kerry: You can not only market when you are slow. You have to market your business all year long and with consistency in your message to where it becomes ingrained in people’s minds.