Small Business of the Year
Chuck Oxford, owner of Lakeside Collision Center of Bellevue (now Fix Auto Bellevue), smiled when his company was named 2011 Small Business of the Year at the Eastside Business Awards ceremony hosted by the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce. The win represented a personal victory for having taken the risk to pursue his entrepreneurial dream.
The Eastside Business Awards recognize local companies for their superior performance, history of revenue growth, a growing staffing plan, and ability to seize new market opportunities, new approach- es and new technologies. This video puts into focus the factors that set Lakeside Collision Center apart.
The back story behind how Lakeside Collision has become an award-winning company offers inspiration to those who dream of successfully striking out on their own.
Frustrated after working for three decades with a corporate management team that seemed biased toward making decisions to influence the bottom line at the expense of customer care, Oxford took a stand and quit to search for a small business he could own. He wanted to make an impact, bring his skills to the table, and apply his talent as a business turn-around artist to the test.
In 2004, Oxford put his retirement savings at risk, put all the cash he had into the business, put equity of his home into the company, and secured an SBA loan. His wife and family didn’t share his enthusiasm for the venture at the start, which made Oxford work all the harder and smarter to make things work.
Since buying this business, Oxford has grown it from a struggling $350,000 a year shop to a $1.6- million enterprise with eight employees who are happy to come to work every day. Oxford says that customers are more likely to repair their vehicles, as opposed to buying new during tough times. The company also is a trusted resource for car enthusiasts who want to accessorize their vehicles.
Even during the demanding Great Recession when many competitors in the collision business suffered 20% – 40% drops in revenues, Oxford reports that Lakeside Collision Center of Bellevue welcomed 40% increases.
While other collision repair shops rely upon insurance referrals for their customers, this company en- joys referrals fueled by word of mouth — online and in-person. In fact, between Google, Yelp, and City Search, Lakeside Collision of Bellevue has 90 five-star reviews posted online. Oxford is proud to have built a good company culture in which team members are happy to do their best work.
Oxford emphasizes extraordinary customer service with every move he makes and every decision he makes. The team works hard to create a welcoming environment for customers. The lobby is well appointed. Customers are addressed by name. Care is taken to explain the treatment plan for each collision repair so each customer can be part of the process.
Oxford’s environmental commitment is also woven in the fabric of his business. He strives to use water based coatings to reduce VOC’s by 80%. In addition, the company has worked with Puget Sound Energy on new lighting systems that reduce electrical usage by 35%. The focus on continuously improving systems and processes is also in motion.
The company introduced a pilot program that provides real time estimates and automatic parts ordering, leading to even greater time savings on total time to make repairs. This improves the process compared to industry standards.
In an industry that typically ranks very low on customer service, Oxford has set the bar very high. He explains, “We are trying to create extraordinary customer service. It is about attempting to push the boundaries to develop customer relationships that extend well beyond the current transaction. Oxford adds, “This service takes shape in a variety of ways, from driving clients to business meetings and doctor appointments while their cars are being serviced to finding timely ways to repair the vehicle that coincide with a client’s business travel schedule. Whatever we can do to make the customer experience convenient and remarkable is always top of mind.
About Lakeside Collision Center of Bellevue:
Getting clients safely back on the road with quality repairs delivered in a manner that exceeds client expectations is top priority at Lakeside Collision Center of Bellevue. A highly professional auto body collision repair facility, Lakeside Collision Center of Bellevue returns vehicles to pre-accident condition and offers lifetime warranty on all body and paint work. Since 1957, the company has been assisting clients navigate the insurance claims process and providing impeccable quality and customer ser- vice. To learn more and schedule your appointment, visit www.fix-auto-bellevue.com or call 425.641.5475.
About the Eastside Business Awards: The Eastside Business Awards (EBA) is a program of the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce developed to celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit and business successes of the Eastside. The Eastside Business Awards honor the outstanding businesses of our region that uphold a strong commitment to quality, community and innovation. To learn more, visit www.bellevuechamber.org.
Best Auto Body Shop
With more than 50 years of experience serving the Eastside, Lakeside Collision Center (now Fix Auto Bellevue) has certainly earned its customer loyalty.
13310 Bel-Red Rod, Ste 204
Bellevue WA 98005
Phone: 425-641-5475 - Fix Auto Bellevue - 13310 Bel-Red Rd, Ste 204 Bellevue WA 98005