Brothers use what they learned from father as children to build foundation for overwhelmingly successful Nevada shop.
It all started with them holding a flashlight for their father.
Now, years later, brothers Vinnie and Anthony Lucido have turned what they learned as youngsters into an extremely successful auto repair shop – CoAuto – in Reno, Nev.
They fondly remember those days when their father taught them the ropes.
“He would usually buy from a private party or auction and we would help fix (the vehicles) for resale purposes,” Vinnie said.
“Our father was a great influence on us,” said Anthony, who is 38 and 18 months older than Vinnie. “… Dad was always buying and selling cars/boats to make extra money.”
The brothers credit their father’s automotive “buy-fix-sell hobby” with helping them choose an industry that they now so dearly love.
Vinnie says they first assisted their father in doing mechanical repairs, bodywork and diagnosing vehicles while in their early teens. Anthony says he remembers helping his father pull an engine out of a Fierro when he was 13.
That ultimately led to the two taking part in Reno High School’s automotive program and then to jobs at a local full-service gas station.
“We were a full-service, pump-your-gas-for-you type facility, using the good ol’ ‘pop your hood and we will check your fluids while we wash your windows type service, Vinnie says.
That service style, the 37-year-old Vinnie said, has “extended into our own business.”
And that style has definitely led to accolades for the two who are 50-50 partners in the business.
They own the only ASE Blue Seal Shop in Reno, as its technicians are all master certified.
The Reno Gazette Journal named CoAuto the medium-sized business of the year and an Automotive Services Gold Winner. A proclamation from Reno’s Mayor Hillary Schieve named Oct. 16 CoAuto Day. The business received congressional recognition in 2017. It also garnered the Vision Facility of the Year 2018 award from ASA.
The brothers are also involved in the community. Vinnie has been a Rotarian for four years and Anthony is past president of his Toastmasters club.
They allow local artists to display their work in their waiting room/art gallery. They “gift” a car to a local veteran in need each year. They partner with high schools to provide internships. They hold car care clinics for women.
And, of course, they love what they say is a top-notch staff.
“Without the rock stars that surround us here, we would not have the freedom or time to be so integral within our community,” Vinnie said.
In fact, the Lucido brothers’ success has come after much hard work for them and their staff, as their business has endured massive growing pains along the way.
“This has not been an easy road thus far,” Vinnie said. “We have run into multiple challenges with growing pains.”
Their shop initially was 2,250 square feet, which worked for roughly one year, when the brothers expanded the business into the shop next door. That expanded the business to 4,000 square feet. Then…
“We grew too large for our britches, so we moved next door into a new building completely,” Vinnie said.
Now with 5,250 square feet, Vinnie said, “We are buying the building and we are expanding into the last available unit in our new building.”
That will give the Lucido brothers a total of 7,000 square feet.
And the bottom line is the bottom line: Their shop has become nicely profitable.
It has grown from nearly $400,000 in sales its first year to roughly $1.3 million its third year and to an estimated $1.5 million-plus now.
The brothers’ business philosophy is simple.
“Always be honest with your clients and stand behind your work with an iron-clad warranty,” Anthony said
Anthony says they attribute their success, in part, to their “networking” efforts.
“I have yet to see another automotive professional at the marketing events I attend,” Anthony said.
Meanwhile, Vinnie and Anthony say there are numerous advantages to having a sibling as a business partner.
“We work well together,” Vinnie said. “We both have a willingness to adapt to each other’s needs and a lot of brotherly love are just a few of the advantages.”
One disadvantage, Vinnie says, is the two brothers have a hard time vacationing together, but that an “exit strategy comes in soon.” The brothers have had a five-year exit plan since first opening.
“Our crew is capable of operating without us in the day-to-day operations and this is very exciting for our future,” Vinnie said.
Vinnie says they have discussed eventually selling a percentage of the business to our committed staff and opening up the opportunity for the team to establish their own CoAuto.
“The future is bright and now we need to spread that word to our youth of what we have to offer,” Anthony said. “I am so grateful for the position we are in today, thanks to our team and our great clients that support us.”
Doug Myers is content manager for ASA
NAME OF SHOP: CoAuto
LOCATIONS: Reno, Nevada
SQUARE FOOTAGE OF BUSINESS: 5,250, soon to be 7,000
YEARS IN BUSINESS: 4
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 10
NUMBER OF REPAIRS WEEKLY: 40-55
PROJECTED ANNUAL SALES: $1.5 million
WHY COAUTO IS AN ASA MEMBER SHOP:
“We joined ASA for many reasons: Education, support, legislation, discounts and networking to name a few. We love that ASA supports us through legislation (and) has incredible management training, networking and business meetings.”