Nagy's Collision: Taking Care of Business
Many times, when a family business is transferred from one generation to the next, the older generation passes along the following advice: "Take it and run with it," or "Make it your own," or "The sky's the limit for you." Those are all phrases you might hear as the transition occurs. If brothers Ron and Dan Nagy heard any advice like this when they bought Nagy's Collision Specialists from their father in 1995, you can look at their business today and believe they took that advice to heart.
When Nagy's Collision Specialists opened in 1973, the business was owned, operated and staffed by Dave Nagy, Ron's and Dan's father. According to Dave, the business completed about three repairs a week. Once business began to pick up, he hired an employee - his first, and began to teach his sons about the automotive industry. Just more than 20 years later, Ron and Dan purchased the business from their father. At the time, Nagy's Collision Specialists was a one-location business doing around $650,000 per year in repairs. Fifteen years later, Nagy's is a six-location automotive repair business. The business earned around $4.5 million in 2009 and is on track to bring in $6 million this year.
So how does a business go from 10 employees in 1995 to 43 employees in 2010? And how does it balloon from a one-location collision repair business to a six-location, comprehensive automotive repair corporation? According to Ron Nagy, president of Nagy's Collision Specialists, "[we] work diligently on load-leveling to keep our customer satisfaction index (CSI) at the highest point possible." He continued, "We have five service locations plus an Express Center and Call Center, and we are constantly working on keeping uniformity across the board at all shops."
Nagy points out that location and size of the actual shops has been key in harnessing growth. "We have found that our rural market business plan of operating mid-size shops at the 7,000-8,000 square foot size works well," he said. "We are in an area in which there is no big city, but there are several mid-sized towns. Strategically placing our shops to service customers with convenience has been instrumental to our growth and success."
Currently Nagy's Collision Specialists averages about 70 repairs per week. Although this statistic speaks to the confidence consumers place in the Nagy business, there are other ways in which the local community has recognized the outstanding business practices and quality received by Nagy customers. Earlier this year Nagy's won the Fox 8 Business of the Year award, and in 2009, received the Wooster Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year award.
Ron and his brother, Dan, who is vice president of Nagy's Collision Specialists, are high school graduates who have continued to develop their business skills and automotive training in several ways. Ron currently holds the Accredited Automotive Manager (AAM) designation from the Automotive Management Institute (AMI) and Dan will graduate with the same designation soon. Both men are ASE Collision Master Technicians, and are I-CAR platinum as well. But the education and training needed to operate a successful business does not stop with the president and vice president. In fact, all the Nagy's locations are I-CAR gold class shops, and many technicians are ASE-certified or hold AMI designations. Nagy's pays for all training and certifications for its employees.
The relationship that Ron Nagy has with the Automotive Service Association has been one of mutual service. Ron, who is currently the ASA chairman-elect, has held almost all local ASA positions, including serving as president of the Summit County unit, and all state positions with the exception of ASA-Ohio president. He explained how he first came to know about ASA and its benefits. "My father joined ASA in 1981," he said. "It was the smartest thing he did, and I continued the membership once Dan and I purchased the business. Nowhere else could I get the education, knowledge and government representation that ASA affords."
The growing business has continued the "family feel" by remaining a family-run business despite its multiple locations. In all six of the Nagy locations, Ron and Dan's sister, Debbie Nagy, oversees the Hertz rental car portion of the business. In addition, Ron explained that several cousins are production or operations managers at the various locations, one in-law is a head painter and one is a facilities manager. Ron said between the six locations, there are four sets of brothers and/or father-son pairs working together. He said, "The advantage to having so many family members working together is that you know the work ethic they bring to the business. I know what to expect from them and what they will be doing." He continued, "We are very close knit, but a real disadvantage to family businesses is that Christmas can be a little cold if you've just had to fire a family member!"
The tradition that this family brings to the market is one of the characteristics Ron feels distinguishes Nagy's Collision Specialists from other businesses in the area. Another unique characteristic is the updated marketing Nagy's conducts in the social media arena. "Our marketing manager has done a great job aligning us with social media such as Facebook and Twitter," he said. "We have teamed up with Autowatch to develop a superb website where a customer can view real-time repairs being performed."
Ron explained that despite the business's phenomenal growth in the past 15 years, he and Dan have a business plan that involves continuing to grow in strength, market share and size, while hanging on to the family tradition that Ron says "just can't be bought." It is this tie to family, not to mention their strong faith, that allows the Nagys to look back at just how far this family business has come, while also allowing them to look forward to all that the future holds, both personally and professionally.
Name of Shop: Nagy's Collision Specialists
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