Auto Body Q&A: A Conversation with General Manager Nick DePaul III
For nearly 40 years, Parkville Autobody has been the premier auto repair shop in the Franklin Park and Bensenville communities. As a family-owned business, we take great pride in providing not only outstanding service, but also personalized service. It’s the way we do business, and we want the chance to earn yours.
The DePaul family has been instrumental in growing Parkville’s success over the decades. To give you a better idea of our business philosophy and personal interest in our customer’s needs, the following interview with Nick DePaul III, our General Manager, provides a few insights.
How long has Parkville Auto Body been in business?
Parkville itself has been in operation since 1983. My father joined shortly thereafter, and became a partner within 5-6 years. Another 5 years after that, he’d bought out the interests of the other partners, and it became a DePaul family business, and has remained so since then.
For a family-run business, it’s quite an achievement to not only survive, but to thrive as long as Parkville has. What is Parkville’s secret to success?
We’re committed to the complete customer experience. We have separate buildings for offices and repairs, so customers can evaluate our proposed repairs without distractions. We believe in constant communication to avoid any surprises in the process. That means that if a customer wants a highly detailed explanation of any proposed repairs, we’ll be happy to provide it. We’re committed to the highest quality of repairs, and doing them the right way, with the highest quality components.
How large is the Parkville facility, and how many cars can it serve?
Parkville is one of the larger automobile service shops in the area, at 36,000 square feet. We can easily service between 20-30 cars at any given time. And since our office space is physically separated from the repair shop, customers can have a more comfortable experience, free of distractions.
What kind of cars does Parkville Auto Body repair?
Parkville is capable of handling most automobile makes and models, but our core business is on “the everyday car.” If you own a rare, collectible Jaguar, we’ll certainly look at it, but there may honestly be better options for you – and we won’t be afraid to tell you. But for mid-level foreign or domestic cars, we pride ourselves on delivering the highest quality repairs.
What should customers expect from Parkville?
No one likes surprises. To avoid them, our customers are always aware of the plan, and the schedule. Anyone can stop by for a preliminary estimate. Once the actual repair process begins, we’ll begin by washing the car to reveal the extent of any issues, and to properly examine the car. If necessary, we’ll then conduct a pre-scan, and if necessary disassemble damaged areas of the car. At that point, we can formulate a repair plan while working with the customer. We always try to pre-order components to shorten the total repair time. As a rule, we always try to beat our estimated delivery date; we realize that daily transportation is vital for our customers, and try to avoid unnecessary delays or extensions.
Once the repair process begins, we’ll address any structural or mechanical issues first, then proceed to the actual repairs, and the paint shop. After final painting and assembly, we conduct an extensive quality control review. This includes a post-repair scan, as well as calibration of any systems that were affected by the repair process.
During the entirety of the process, we make every effort to advise the customer of the process. For longer repairs, you don’t have to call us – we’ll call you. For example, during a 2-week repair, we’ll generally reach out to the customer 2-3 times during that period. And if there are insurance issues with the repair, we’ll notify the customer immediately.
What sort of warranty does Parkville offer?
At no extra charge, Parkville provides a limited lifetime warranty on our workmanship for the owner of the vehicle. We honor our work. Depending on any replacement parts used (and their manufacturers), there may be additional warranties on the individual components. The latter is dependent on the customer’s insurance company’s policies, but in all cases, in the event of an issue, we will investigate the possible avenues for the customer with the insurance agencies and warranty sources.
Parkville has been reviewed very positively on Google and Yelp. In your opinion, why is Parkville highly reviewed?
We view each and every repair the same, the quality of the repair and the safety of the repair is of the utmost importance. It must be done correctly, and by the book, every time. We view it as a testament to both our business model, and our long-term success, that a such a high percentage of work performed in our shops is repeat business. We want every customer to feel like the most important customer.
Do you have any advice for individuals shopping for body shops? What should they look for in a shop?
First, remember that you are the customer – not the insurance company. Often, they’ll direct you to a large chain body shop, for the simple reason that they’ll spend less money there. But you, as the customer, have already paid your premiums, and you have a choice.
Next, feel free to stop by a repair shop and look around. You’ll learn a lot by how clean the shop is, how organized it looks, and what sort of cars are being repaired there.
Lastly, look at reviews of the various shops in your area. Often, you’ll find that family-owned businesses provide a much better overall customer experience. You might think that parts are easier to source for large chains, but this is a misconception. OEM parts all start out in the same warehouse.
Auto insurance policies can be complicated, and sometimes offer some surprises to customers when the time comes to use it. Do you have any general advice when it comes to auto insurance?
Do your homework on the details of your policy before you buy it. You’ll want to balance affordability vs. the terms of the actual policy. For instance, if OEM parts are important to you, find a policy that specifically covers that.
Next, consider the need for non-repair portions of the policy. For instance, rental coverage. It’s been said that many vehicles from the 1960s could be repaired with a screwdriver, a crescent wrench, and a hammer. Today, virtually every car features multiple interlocking computer systems, sensor-activated airbags, and one or more camera systems. These cars are a lot more complicated to repair, meaning that wherever your car is being repaired, you may be without it for awhile. A rental policy can be extremely helpful.
In general, the cheapest insurance may not be the best insurance for you. It’s important to evaluate your own needs first, before your car needs a repair.
If you’re buying new, it’s also worthwhile to consider GAP insurance to avoid uncomfortable surprises.
Nick DePaul III holds the position of General Manager at Parkville Auto Body. For more information, please call us at (630) 860-0010, or via email at email@example.com.