C & G Auto Center is your source for Repairs, Service and Maintenance, European or Domestic we can help you with it all. Tune-Up, Check Engine Light and more!
Auto and Truck repair shops will always have a place in our local service sector in Central Florida. Orlando currently has many of them that are positioned perfectly in a consistently growing segment of our economy. As new vehicles get more expensive many of us can afford to get a new one, so we maintain the one that we have. U.S. consumers are buying more cars than ever before, according to research from IHS, a global business information company. In 2015, there were 257.9 million passenger vehicles registered in The United States, an increase of 5.3 million (2.3%) over 2014. The number of cars per licensed driver now stands at 1.1 and has been increasing steadily since 1972.
The rate at which cars are taken off the road has also been declining, with only 11.4 million cars retired in 2014. Fewer cars are being unregistered, abandoned, or junked. In 2015, new vehicle registrations were greater than scrappage by 42% - the highest number ever recorded by IHS.
This week we interview: Carlos Ramirez, with CG Auto Center. Carlos is the owner and manager of C&G Auto Center they are a family-owned and operated shop in Orlando. We do everything from exotic, to family and commercial fleet vehicles. We have a 12 bay shop that is 6,000 square feet of shop and 1,500 square feet of office space. Carlos and his family are more than just business owners, they are a part of this great community and part of Central Florida that we call home.
What are you thankful for?
Carlos: Today I am grateful for being outside and breathing. I walked outside and enjoyed some time under a tree. The weather has cooled down a lot, I was able to walk outside enjoy the tree and the breeze then walk back inside.
Why Auto Repair?
Carlos: My Father brought me into this segment, or should I say dragged me into this industry. I’m big on family, I went to school for marketing but my family needed me so I was able to merge them together. I love cars, marketing, and my family so I am happy that I can live my dream.
My father started with his own shop back in 1996. He has always been a technician, at first it was him forcing me to be there after a while I wanted to be there. He always wanted me to follow in his footsteps, so I have been able to fulfill both our dreams. I didn’t think that I could accomplish this in my younger days.
If you started over do you think you would find your way back to Auto Repair?
Carlos: I think it would have dragged me in at some point. It might have been the corporate route or maybe with a bigger company, but my family would have brought me into this segment somehow. I would have come into something automotive related. You will even now find me at times in the back working on cars at different times of the day.
Who inspires you?
Carlos: So I have different inspirations, but I would have to say that the number one is my Grandmother. She taught me how and an understanding on how to give back to people and giving back to your community. We are from the Dominican Republic, she would pack up boxes of rice and beans and send them back. It’s not just all about monetary value it's about how you affect other people's life. I am also faith-based that I also learned from her. I also listen to podcasts and popular entrepreneurs, by people like Tony Robbins, James Alterature those gentlemen inspire me that you can be something great even though you come from a simple background.
Are you a mentor or did you have a mentor?
Carlos: Yes, I have a mentor! I’m part of a mastermind program, my mentor is Aaron Stokes, he really changed my life. He encompasses the modern-day businessman; he shows me the spiritual and the business mindset and the thinking about how to view the world. I mentor some family members; I have three uncles who own shops and I have cousins who are technicians and I help all them. You sometimes don’t realize that you are a mentor, with that mater mind program you don’t realize what 30 minutes or a couple of hours could do for someone else. I enjoy helping others and it’s a bit of a calling for me to help others in this automotive industry. It all ties back in with my grandmother! Maybe I can guide them and help them figure it out.
What’s your favorite Orlando, local’s thing to do, or location?
Carlos: Downtown winter garden for sure. The bike trail, I bile every weekend with my friends, we also do the farmers market on the weekends. It’s an amazing culture and feel that I love.
What is your favorite Pizza Restaurant?
Carlos: I’m not going to lie; I’m hooked on Flipper's traditional cheese pizza. That traditional cheese pizza they do a really great job, I love those guys. I think the best restaurant in Orlando is Little Dog Eats in Gotha! It is BBQ, it is phenomenal food its in that same old winter garden area, it's an old house it has history and feel that’s amazing in and the history that it has.
I think that working with the public is incredibly difficult how do you train your staff to be so customer service orientated? I see that your reviews and ratings are very impressive. How are you training your employees?
Carlos: I don’t have a trick to it, it’s just understanding people. Sometimes you need to be able to get into people shoes and to be able to see things from their side. I like to think what if this was my car that is broken down, you would already be in a bad mood, I try to empathize with them and understand where they are coming from or are going through. I try to see it from their point of view so that I can help them. They can be afraid or not understand, this gives me the patience to be able to help them or to answer their questions. You can go that extra mile to explain things to people.
How have you shifted or pivoted your business or approach during COVID? I’m fascinated to see companies that have been able to adapt or shift?
Carlos: We have, we have more sanitation, we hired a cleaning company. We now do drop off’s and pick-ups for the elderly that do not want to be going out. We just started last week with a loaner program so if you do not want to wait for your car you can take a loaner out. We never thought we would have started some of these programs a year ago, but you know at the end of the day these changes are for the better. People and companies will be stronger from this situation, this was a good test. We have now shifted our mindsets and it has opened our mindset.
What is that one or two things that are misunderstood thing about your industry?
Carlos: Quality is the biggest one! There is a big distinction in the level of service or quality that you can receive. It’s easy for us to wow people with our level of quality. Some of the mobile mechanics can lack quality and have put a mark on our industry. On the other side in the dealership world there are some games and physiology used so that you keep going back to them. I will say that there are some great dealers in our area who are great, but it makes it hard from a consumer standpoint to be able to decipher between the good and the bad. All you can see sometimes from the consumer is the price, we can’t always see the value.
What social media platform do you enjoy the most? Is their one that works the best for your business
Carlos: For our business, Facebook is the best tool, we can message each other and it intertwines efficiently. Personally, I love Instagram. It allows me to be able to follow the people that inspire me. But for the business its Facebook, it’s the best outlet for us.
Best quote from our talk:
“It’s not just all about monetary value it’s about how you affect other people’s lives”
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