Pellman’s Automotive Service: Numero Uno!

Leads list of Top 10 shops

What do you get when you team a crackerjack technician with a marketing expert?

A top-notch shop, that’s what!

The best in the nation, according to Motor Age, which annually names what it thinks are the top 10 shops in the nation. It lists Pellman’s Automotive Service Inc. in Boulder, Colo., as the No. 1 shop.

Pellman’s is owned by a husband-wife team, Lisa and Brad Pellman.

He brings to the business a wealth of technical knowledge. And Lisa complements Brad’s know-how with a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Colorado.

Brad started working in the automotive industry when he was in high school. His first job was pumping gas and busting tires. He later held a variety of jobs, including stints as a lot boy, parts driver, service adviser and finally, technician. He worked for dealerships and independent shops.


Brad and Lisa Pellman, owners of Pellman’s Automotive Service, say it’s great working together. It’s successful, they say, because they have separate responsibilities and areas of expertise. Lisa handles the behind-the-scenes work – including bookkeeping, marketing, human resources. Brad focuses on customer service and running the shop. Only disadvantage of working together, they say, is that sometimes they take work home and it infiltrates their personal lives.

Brad paid his dues

As they say, Brad “paid his dues.” He learned the business from the ground up.

While working as a technician, he was also enrolled in college, studying computer science. But he decided what he really enjoyed and was good at was working on cars and talking to customers. So he decided to make automotive service and repair his career.

Brad’s extensive experience in the industry gave him a great perspective on what makes a successful auto repair shop.

He and Lisa first looked at purchasing an existing shop, but eventually decided to open their own.

They’ve been in business 18 years.

At first, there was just Lisa and Brad. Now 10 others work there.

What makes their shop so successful? “We’re customer-focused and provide a professional environment,” says Lisa. “From the moment a customer walks through our door, he or she can see and experience the difference.”

Making the ‘difference’

Junior Warembourg uses one of the many scan tools Pellman’s provides.

Junior Warembourg uses one of the many
scan tools Pellman’s provides.

Making the “difference,” says Lisa, are these factors:

  • A professional work environment (“think dentist office,” says Lisa).
  • Outstanding employees.
  • Community connection (“We are longtime residents of the area and really care about our community.)”
  • The shop’s commitment to training and excellence.
  • “We know we’re not always perfect, but we always strive to be the best. We always do what is right for the consumer.”
  • Pellman’s is environmentally conscious. “We’ve taken many steps over the years to reduce our impact on the environment. It’s something we feel strongly about. Our largest undertaking was installing 194 solar panels on our shop. We now provide 100 percent of the electricity our business uses.”
  • The shop is a fun place to work and visit. “We’re professional but we’re not stuffy. Many of our customers become our friends.”

“All these things are what we call our ‘non-direct marketing strategy,’” says Lisa, “part of what we believe is the best way to get new customers: ‘word-of-mouth’ – it’s our best advertising.”

In short, say Lisa and Brad, treat customers the way you would like to be treated. Be professional and fair. And educate the customer about their car and their options, and let them choose what works best for them.

Awards, certifications

Their business acumen has earned Pellman’s many awards and certifications, including:

    • Motor Age Magazine’s Top Shop for 2013, and a “Top 10” shop in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
    • ASE’s Blue Seal award.
    • A Gold Star from the Better Business Bureau.
    • Being named a 2013 Silver Partner with the Colorado Environmental Leadership Program.
    • An EnergySmart Business Award for 2012.
    • Many local publications’ “Reader’s Choice” and “Best of Boulder” awards.
    • Earning CarQuest’s 2007 Excel­lence Award and being named one of the “Top 10” in the nation by that organization.

The Pellman’s team includes (front row, from left):
Brian Wilson, Nika Perkins, Carrie Custis and Ed Layton.
In back, from left: Dan Levin, Junior Warembourg, Eric Wright,
Lisa Pellman, Brad Pellman, Zoltan Darko and Darryl Gipson.
Not pictured, but also a member of the team: Andrew Pryor.

Lisa, Brad both AAMs

Brad and Lisa both have earned the coveted Accredited Automotive Manager (AAM) designation from the Automotive Management Institute (AMI). Brad is ASE master-certified, holds an AR&D Hybrid and Electric Certifi­cation and has earned many training certificates.

He is president of ASA-Colorado’s Mechanical Division and has served on ASA-Colorado’s board since 2010. He formerly was that organization’s education director. He also serves on ASE’s board of governors, is a board member of the Car Care Professionals Network and serves on the advisory council for the Motorist Assurance Program. Both Brad and Lisa have served on the Tech-Net National Advisory Council for multiple years.

What’s ahead for Pellman’s Automotive? “We’re always striving to make Pellman’s Automotive better,” agree Lisa and Brad. Possibilities for the future include improvements in the shop’s current location and looking into opening additional locations to better serve the firm’s clients.

Nine of 10 Top Shops Are ASA Members

Nine of the top 10 shops in Motor Age Magazine’s 2013 Top Shops’ competition are ASA members.

Pellman’s Automotive Service Inc. in Boulder, Colo., was named the top shop. The other ASA shops that made the 2013 Top Shops list include, in alphabetical order: Brad’s Service Center, Chicopee, Mass.; Carfix, Garner, N.C.; CARS of America Inc., Glenview, Ill; Certified Automotive Specialists, Glendora, Calif.; Curt’s Service, Oak Park, Mich.; Larson’s Service Inc., Peabody, Mass.; RadAir Complete Car Care (see page 21), Westlake, Ohio; and Sun Valley Imports, Tempe, Ariz.

Shop Stats

Name of Shop: Pellman’s Automotive Service Inc.
Location: Boulder, Colo.
Square Footage of Shop: 9,420
Number of Employees: 12
Number of Repairs Weekly: 82
Projected Annual Sales: $1,450,000
Website Address:
Why They Are a Member of ASA: “We support ASA because it supports our industry and keeps us aware of issues that might impact our business. We enjoy networking with other businesses and we appreciate the training opportunities ASA provides.”