Whenever Bron Lindgren hires a new mechanic, he always gives them advice on how to treat customers.
“The motto I operate under is we care for your car like we care for our own car,” Lindgren said.
For over 30 years, Lindgren has worked on cars. Now, as owner of Bron’s Automotive Repair in Olympia, Lindgren’s auto repair shop works on all types of cars, from foreign to domestic from sports cars to trucks to sedans. He has customers from Olympia, Tumwater, Lacey, and all over Thurston county and South Sound.
Your car is his car.
He always tells his mechanics that before they recommend some kind of maintenance or repair to ask one question.
“I tell them they need to ask themselves if that was your wife’s car or your mom’s car on the lift, what would you recommend?” Lindgren said.
Customer satisfaction is always the goal. To achieve that, Lindgren tells his customers about the importance of “preventative maintenance.” A little work and little money now will save customers a lot of money later.
“It’s like cleaning your teeth,” Lindgren said. “You don’t like doing it, but it might prevent a root canal. What would you rather do?”
Lindgren discovered the value of preventative maintenance while working as a mechanic for 10 years for Intercity Transit in Olympia. Earlier in his career, he spent his time fixing, as he said, “broken things.” Then at Transit he found out how long a transmission would last if it was serviced properly. He also got to see how rare it was to see a heater core go bad if fresh coolant was put in it.
“I prefer to do the maintenance because there’s a lot less angst involved,” Lindgren said.
When you bring your car in, he’ll tell you what maintenance is needed now and what can wait until later.
“My goal is not to drain your wallet today as if I’m only going to see you once,” Lindgren said. “My goal is take care of your car like I take care of my wife’s car. I figure I’m going to have more satisfied customers in the long run.”
Lindgren sells integrity.
“It’s a small town,” Lindgren said. “I’m involved with several clubs in town. I want to be able to look people in the eye.”
Lindgren opened his repair shop that’s on Black Lake Boulevard in 2003, about seven months after he started his own repair business in his own garage. As his clientele grew, he rented the building he’s now in.
“At first, I was chicken to rent a place like this,” Lindgren said.
But the business grew. Now, he has 1,500 regular customers. And he now employs five – two mechanics, a service manager, a shop helper, and a receptionist.
Before Lindgren opened his own repair shop, he worked for several other independent repair shops. One boss always wanted Lindgren to push repairs. One day he questioned his boss about the value of doing a power steering flush every 30,000 miles.
Lindgren questioned the cost benefit of that service that cost $120.
“I said to him that the 1995 Ford truck that I was driving should have cost me $400 for servicing the power steering flush on it so far,” Lindgren said. “When the most expensive thing that’s going to go wrong is a pump that’s going to cost about $300 to fix, I asked if it needed to be done. He had never thought of it that way.”
Lindgren still has that truck and he hasn’t replaced that pump yet. “That would have just been a waste of money for me,” Lindgren said.
It was while Lindgren was pulling a transmission out of a van while working for his last employer that he started thinking about opening his own business.
“I was in my late 40s and some of the stuff I was doing was starting to hurt me,” Lindgren said. “One day I had to go home because I had hurt my back. I came back the next day and not only was that transmission waiting but so was another one. I said I’m not going to be doing this when I’m 65.”
So, he took some career planning classes and opened his own business.
“I have an extremely supportive wife who always said go for it,” Lindgren said. “She’s a nurse at the hospital and she paid the bills for a couple of years as I built my business. It gave me a chance to do things how I always wanted to do it and see how it works.”
Lindgren’s motto of always being honest with the customer and treating them fair has been the foundation of a successful business.
Bron’s Automotive Repair
1025 Black Lake Boulevard in Olympia
Hours: Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.