Turnpike Motors separates itself from other autobody shops because the company is allowing their customers to see what is going on under the hood and making them aware of the whole repair process.
When a motor vehicle is brought to Turnpike Motors, it goes through the same detailed, but basic process:
- Administration (where the parts are ordered before the repairs start and paperwork is filled out)
- Heavy Repair, if needed
- Light Repair
- Wash and Detail
- Final Inspection
"It is simple and visual," said Turnpike Motors President Doug Fernandez Jr. who designed the process. He added that once the diagnostics report is completed, 30 percent of the work is done.
On average, a customer will receive anywhere from four to seven calls from the shop to update them on the process of the repair. Throughout the process, customers will also receive photos of the car and the repairs. Each car has a file in which cards are placed in. Each time the car goes into its next stage, a card is placed in a spot in the office, so calls can be made to the customer.
"It's full disclosure," Fernandez Jr. said about the process at his business, which is a member of the , and Chambers of Commerce.
Fernandez Jr. said he is noticing more customers bringing in later model cars, some as old as 1990, because of the used car market is so expensive. People are also keeping their cars longer, he added.
The company, which finished third in the Hartford Business Journal Best Places to Work in Connecticut for small and medium size companies, employees 34 people with a majority of them being full-time and 25 are technicians. The technicians are invested in the product and there is "an internal quality check," Fernandez Jr. said.
"Your car will pass through 20 peoples' hands," he said. "Peers are accountable for one another."
The shop has "very little turnaround" and includes everyone from recent Lincoln Tech graduates to a 78 year-old employee with more than 30 years automotive experience, Fernandez Jr. said. The employees are former computer technicians, helicopter mechanics and custom motorcycle painters.
"We have a fair range of skill sets," said Controller Marty Smith. "There is nothing that we cannot do."
The staff at Turnpike Motors has the experience and knowledge to handle just about anything that is brought to their door step, according to Smith. The shop has recently repaired a fire engine, a dump truck, zomboni and even, the Patridge Family bus.
Most of the clients that visit Turnpike Motors are going through a third party such as insurance company to help or fully pay for the repairs to their vehicle. Fernandez Jr. said they "can help navigate through the insurance process."
"We are your advocates," he said.
In the end, Fernandez Jr. said he think he knows why customers have been coming back for more than four decades.
"We have been been consistent for 43 years," he said. "And we are considered somewhat of a trusted name."
For more information, visit Turnpike Motors website or call 860-666-3319. The hours of operation for the autobody shop is Monday and Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Wednesday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.