This family owned facility has built a reputation on service that’s second to none.
CARSTAR Ancaster, located at 605 Garner Road East, is one of two original CARSTAR Canada franchise locations, the other being in Stoney Creek.
Established in 1995 and operated by Sam Saputo, the business developed a well-earned reputation for superior collision repair work and customer service. Today Sam’s sons, Paul and Joe Saputo, manage the day-to-day operations, presiding over a business that has continued to grow year-over-year.
Both brothers say they feel very privileged to have grown up in the collision repair business and witnessed the establishment of the CARSTAR business in Canada through their father and Sam Mercanti, along with the tremendous changes that have taken place over the last two decades.
Today, CARSTAR Ancaster is experiencing annual sales growth of well over 10 percent—in 2016, the business saw a 16.5 percent increase.
“We have a great team of people here,” says Joe Saputo. “When you look at the numbers and the size of the facility, we thought it was something that would never be possible, but our team is driven, smart and they love coming to work.”
With approximately 6,800 square feet of shop space and another 1,200 square feet devoted to administration, CARSTAR Ancaster may not seem like a large operation, but the volume of work the shop handles belies its exterior dimensions.
Within the shop itself are four frame machines and six-foot overhead hoists that incorporate pulling capability.
Combined with other major equipment investments in recent years that include two Spanesi multi-benches, a Spanesi electronic measuring system, Car-O-Liner Speed Rack with multi-vehicle capacity, plus Chief spot welders, Pro Spot resistance and silicon bronze/aluminum welders, plastic welders as well as a new, above ground scissor lift, the result is a facility that handles around 30 vehicle repairs a week and can fix anything from a Toyota Tercel to a Bentley Flying Spur.
“Being situated in this area, a lot of our clientele drive late-model and often higher-end vehicles,” says Paul Saputo. Being able to repair such a wide range of vehicles to exacting standards requires not only equipment investment but extensive training as well.
“With a vehicle like a Bentley Flying Spur, you need to follow the exact OEM repair procedure,” says Joe Saputo. “The vehicle has to be scanned before you even begin.”
The growing need for pre and post-repair scanning has led CARSTAR Ancaster to work with Team Extreme to ensure the shop has the latest scan tools available.
Additionally, OEM certification and top-notch training are two major thrusts for the business. “We’ve been a Honda Certified facility for two years and have also achieved certification with Nissan,” says Paul Saputo.
“We have also invested in our technicians to become I-CAR Gold Class certified,” he notes.
Saputo himself is a big advocate of looking at new ideas and tailoring them to the business. After several years working at CARSTAR Ancaster, he took some time away to see how things were done at other facilities. “When I got back,” he says, “I found we were actually doing some things really well here, but there were others that could be improved.”
Today, CARSTAR Ancaster’s processes are dialed in. Maximum space utilization within the shop helps ensure vehicles come in and repairs are completed as efficiently as possible. Due to the increase in volume the business has witnessed in recent years, one service bay was remodeled into a parts storage facility.
Every vehicle that comes in gets pre-washed, inspected and SOPs such as mileage and options noted before examining current and prior damage. The appraisal isn’t sent out until every piece of damage is captured, and repairs don’t begin until every part has been acquired and inspected.
Although DRP work still represents a sizeable chunk of the shop’s business, there has also been an increasing amount of customer pay work.
“Because this area is so residential, we get quite a lot of minor repairs where somebody has backed into another vehicle on the street and doesn’t want to make a claim,” says Paul Saputo. The fact that customer pay work has grown significantly is a legacy of the quality customer service Sam Saputo established and continues to be a cornerstone of the business today. “We have a lot of customers that come in,” says Joe. “They have heard about what we do and aren’t concerned by the door rate; they simply want their car fixed properly and in a timely manner.”
In fact, word of mouth is such that higher end vehicle owners and even celebrities make a beeline forCARSTAR Ancaster for quality collision repairs.
The business also offers full glass repair service and interior/exterior detailing as part of its express service package.
With a second location (1420 Sandhill Drive) and volume continuing to grow, CARSTAR Ancaster is clearly going from strength to strength.