Driven by the Numbers, Fueled by Passion for Performance
October 07, 2020 // Franchising.com // CHARLOTTE - Back in 2016, Jason Wong was facing a decision…. a crossroads in his business. As a collision repair facility owner, he knew he had gone as far as he could on his own. Yes, he has a good management platform. His staff was empowered to make good group decisions. He ran a quality center. But that’s when he ran out of roadway for growth.
“I got as far as I could by myself,” said Jason Wong, who owns CARSTAR Auto World Collision in South San Francisco. “We were doing about 200 to 300 vehicles per month, but I need the business guidance along with the education and training to grow. That’s when I reached out to CARSTAR. People in Northern California didn’t know CARSTAR then, and they thought I was crazy for joining a franchise network, but it was the best decision I’ve ever made.”
Wong has spent 27 years in the collision repair industry, starting off in high school. When the owners of that facility retired, he took over at 21 years old. Working closely with two local dealerships, he grew his business to a point where it could run with his strong management team. He then returned to work with his father in the family’s real estate business.
“About 12 or 13 years ago, I decided I wanted to return to a profession I enjoyed – working in a collision repair facility and helping get customers back on the road in their repaired vehicles,” he said. “Working with my manager Roger, we had a good business, but we knew it could be great.”
After exploring options with the CARSTAR team for more than a year, the Wong decided that was the path for him.
“I figured that, at worst, I’d get smarter about running my business, but I knew there was tremendous upside potential,” Jason Wong noted. “But it was like flipping a switch – withing 90 days I could see the improvement and results. It was like Michael Jordan putting on a new pair of gym shoes. Soon, we had national insurance accounts and a growing business.”
Like Jordan, Wong soon found the benefits of having a great team around him, from other CARSTAR franchise owners to CARSTAR’s corporate team. One of those team members, Roger Wong, his wife’s cousin, joined their team on a short-term basis after serving in the Navy some 12 years ago – and never left. Today, he’s a manager and critical member of the leadership team.
“The CARSTAR EDGE Performance Group meetings have been an incredible benefit to someone who was a solo operator,” Wong said. “To sit in the room with other smart, successful owners and be able to share our challenges and solutions is great. They are wonderful people. And they are always just a phone call away.”
Wong noted that the CARSTAR performance measurement system helps him know where his shop rates and what other facilities are doing. Today, with a 33,000-square-foot facility, team of 25 technicians, estimators and office staff, and numerous OEM certifications, managing by the numbers is more important than ever.
“It’s like our inside bible,” he added. “It’s our knowledge of what we get and what we don’t know – but need to. We can’t operate without it.”
Wong credited the CARSTAR team with incredible support and assistance in navigating the COVID-19 challenge, and said the team gave tremendously of their time and resources to help franchise partners like himself survive.
Looking ahead, Wong considered his role in the collision repair industry, and offered insight on what he can do for the future.
“I want to share what I’ve learned over the years,” said Wong. “I’m passionate about this industry. But you have to balance that and run it as business. I want to be with the people I work with on a daily basis. And I’m fortunate I get to do what I love the most.”
CARSTAR is North America’s largest franchise network of independently owned and operated collision repair facilities with more than 700 locations in 35 states and 10 Canadian provinces. A part of the Driven Brands family of automotive aftermarket franchise brands, CARSTAR delivers national scale, premier vehicle repairs, repeatable outcomes and the industry’s highest customer satisfaction ratings. CARSTAR has maintained its commitment to give back to the communities it serves through a variety of fundraising initiatives, including raising over $4 million for cystic fibrosis research, care and advocacy across North America.
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