When it comes to advertising, Jason Abbott does it all: TV commercials, mailers, phonebook listings, newspaper and local school event sponsorships. And for this independent repair facility in Tujunga, CA, it works.
“I’m the busiest shop around here,” says Abbott, who co-owns Jason’s Automotive Specialty Shop with his wife, Roxanne. “Even when times are real slow.”
The constant workflow, Abbott insists, has a direct correlation with the amount of advertising he does for his shop, which specializes in servicing Honda and Acura automobiles.
“I spend a lot of money on advertising,” he confesses. “My accountant falls over every month. He says. ‘You know you’re spending too much.’” But the name recognition that the shop enjoys in the community is priceless.
“It really is the whole package,” he says. “I started only doing mailers and the local phonebooks, and then stepped from there into some newspaper. But now it’s almost a brand logo. I’ve just got my name in so many places. Somebody sees it here and they store it, but they don’t really remember it. Then they see it in another ad, and they go, ‘That’s that place.’”
Another important piece of the puzzle at Jason’s is the fact that for the majority of jobs, they use Genuine Honda parts: Timing belts, brakes, hose, any kind of pump, alternator or starters. The list could go on.
Having qualified technicians and “…using Genuine Honda and Acura parts does help promote my business,” Abbott says, “because customers tell other customers, ‘I brought the car in, had the work done and I didn’t have to take it back. I didn’t have to worry about getting stuck on the side of the freeway.’”
Abbott’s good relationship with the local Honda dealer, Colonial Honda in Glendale, CA, has also helped him get the word out to his customers about the advantages of using genuine parts.
“The Honda dealership’s been nice enough to give me literature on why you should use Genuine Honda oil filters and air filters,” he says. Abbott says his partnership with the dealer also helps him turn the cars around quicker, which makes for happy customers and repeat business.
In addition to a quality track record, Abbott says he also receives top-notch service from the dealership, which delivers parts two or three times a day.
“I definitely get quick service,” he says. “If my dealer doesn’t have a part, they’ll locate it from one of the other local dealerships and have it sent over to me. And if I have any problems, I can go down there myself and match up a part.”
Abbott got his start working with Honda and Acura vehicles literally from the ground up: Sweeping floors at a local Honda shop during high school led to a four-year stint as its manager. It was during his time as manager that a good-intentioned customer made him an offer that helped get him where he is today.
“He liked my work,” Abbott says. “One day he came in and said, ‘How much would it cost you to open your own shop?’ I was 24 years old at the time and said, ‘I don’t know – $5,000?’ He handed me $5,000 and said, ‘Go open your shop.’ That’s literally how I got my start.” So in late 1995, Abbot says he and his wife took the leap and opened their first store in La Crescenta, CA, with just one rack/car lift and space to work on two vehicles. The shop soon began to grow by leaps and bounds, thanks in part to Abbott’s honesty and commitment to being forthright with his customers.
“I’m a people person,” Abbott says, adding that his success is due in part to “people telling other people about our shop.”
The shop had grown so successful that in 1997 Jason and Roxanne decided to move to a larger facility in Tujunga, CA, to accommodate their growing business.
ALL HONDAS, ALL THE TIME
So why Honda? For Abbott, it’s all he’s ever worked on – and he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It’s a great a car, a car that I’ve believed in from the very beginning,” he says, adding that his own first car was a Honda, a 1978 Civic. “You couldn’t kill that thing. I ended up selling it and somebody else kept it for five or six years, and then they sold it. “You know, it’s the product. The vehicles, they just last forever. They’re fairly inexpensive to maintain. And they’re engineered so well that it just makes it really easy for us to work on them.”
Even Abbott’s five technicians drive Hondas. And, of course, Abbott himself drives a 2002 Odyssey and his wife a 2004 Pilot.
“I am just such a believer in the product,” Abbott says. “That’s really the core of my success. I can say comfortably that Honda is the best car on the road.”
It’s that very attitude that has helped Jason’s Automotive Specialty Shop become such a success.