Ohio Shop Adding 12th Location

Rad Air’s Formula for Success

An ASA member-shop that started in 1975 with a good, simple formula for success is showing the world that it was on the right track from the get-go.

The shop is Rad Air Complete Car Care and Tire Centers in Ohio. Andy Fiffick started it all with three employees and his vision for the future. Today, Rad Air has 72 employees and 11 locations, and it’s adding a 12th location this spring.

Rad Air’s Strongsville location soon after its construction in 2011.

Rad Air’s Strongsville location soon after its construction in 2011.

Its formula for success? “We have three golden rules we have lived by since we started,” says Andy. “We try to fix the vehicle right the first time it comes into the shop, always charge a fair price and make sure the customer is happy and satisfied.”

Humble Beginnings

Andy started his business in Parma Heights, Ohio, as a radiator and air conditioning shop, hence the name, “Rad Air.”

Rad Air is still considered the local expert in cooling and air conditioning systems, but it is even better known for full-vehicle service and repair for all types of cars and trucks, both imported and domestic.

Interior of Strongsville shop shows well-lighted, spacious work bays that provide a great work environment for techs.

Interior of Strongsville shop shows well-lighted, spacious work bays that provide a great work environment for techs.

Another key reason for their success, says Andy, is that “all of our technicians are paid by the hour and there are no sales incentive programs that call for a technician to be paid a bonus for selling something to a client. All we want our technicians to do is fix the vehicle right the first time and not worry about how much they are earning or have the added pressure of making up-sells just to take home a decent wage.”

Rad Air enjoys a reputation for offering car owners the best service in the Cleveland/Akron area at an affordable price.

Recognized for Excellence

Shown behind the counter at Rad Air’s Strongsville location are (from left) Mike Munger, manager of the Strongsville shop, and Andy Fiffick.

Shown behind the counter at Rad Air’s Strongsville location are (from left) Mike Munger, manager of the Strongsville shop, and Andy Fiffick.

It’s also considered one of the best shops in the nation. Motor Age Magazine recognized Rad Air as the No. 1 shop in the nation in 2011, and runner-up in 2010, 2012 and 2013. Rad Air’s website was named one of this year’s top 10 websites by AutoInc. in the February 2014 issue.

Each location holds an A or A+ rating with its local Better Business Bureau. Rad Air won the BBB Torch Award for Integrity in 2005 and was runner-up in 2008. It also has been cited in numerous local contests for excellent work and customer service.

“Having multi-locations presents its share of challenges, but having a well-seasoned and trained staff keeps everything manageable,” says Andy. Other than the two original locations (Parma Heights and Garfield Heights), all of the other shops are Rad Air franchises.

Andy serves as Rad Air’s president.

He has a partner, Tom Warmuth, who is vice president of operations and general manager. Tom, who joined the firm in 1984 while still in high school, oversees daily operations of the franchise.

Service to Industry, Community

Andy also finds time to serve as CEO and chairman of the board of the Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide organization, and the board of the Cleveland Better Business Bureau.

The Rad Air team includes (from left) Tom Warmuth, Brittany Gumucio, Elissa Fiffick and Andy Fiffick. Andy, an ASE certified technician, is a self-professed “gear-head” with a passion for all things automotive.

The Rad Air team includes (from left) Tom Warmuth, Brittany Gumucio, Elissa Fiffick and Andy Fiffick. Andy, an ASE certified technician, is a self-professed “gear-head” with a passion for all things automotive.

Andy’s daughter, Brittany Gumucio, is marketing and brand manager for Rad Air. “She does a great job,” says Andy, “and it’s a pleasure to have her aboard.” Andy is also grateful for the help of his wife, Elissa, who performs bookkeeping and clerical duties; and for his younger daughter, Alexa, who frequently helps out, but is still in college.

What does Andy like best about his job? “Meeting and taking care of our clients,” he says.

If he could change one thing about his business, what would it be? “We’d be open fewer hours,” says Andy, “but unfortunately the public demands access outside of the 9 to 5 workweek for most other professionals.”

In addition to its expertise with automotive repairs, Rad Air takes its responsibility as a corporate citizen seriously. Every year, it participates in a variety of fundraisers and awareness events that help promote health and education. It donates money to the Cleveland Clinic Breast Cancer Vaccine Research Fund and participates in events such as its biannual Secure Your ID Day and food drives. It also sponsors Ladies’ Garage Nights.

What’s ahead for Rad Air? “We will continue to grow as long as there is a need for our services,” says Andy. The com­pany’s 12th location, in downtown Cleveland, is scheduled to open this spring.

Shop Stats

Name of Shop: Rad Air Complete Car Care and Tire Centers

Locations and Square Footage of Each Location:

  • Cleveland (downtown, open soon) – 5,554 sq. ft.
  • Fairlawn – 4,256 sq. ft.
  • Garfield Heights – 6,594 sq. ft.
  • Lorain – 4,584 sq. ft.
  • Medina – 5,557 sq. ft.
  • North Akron – 3,588 sq. ft.
  • Parma Heights – 6,623 sq. ft.
  • Seven Hills – 3,654 sq. ft.
  • Solon – 4,272 sq. ft.
  • Strongsville – 10,200 sq. ft.
  • Westlake – 4,085 sq. ft.
  • Wickliffe – 6,555 sq. ft.

Years in Business: 39 years

Number of Employees: 72

Number of Repairs Weekly: 423

Projected Annual Sales: $10.2 million

Website Address: www.radair.com

Why RadAir Is a Member of ASA: “ASA is a class-act organization that does an excellent job of representing this industry. They provide shop owners like me information, training and more. It also helps educate consumers and helps them find a good repair shop.”

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