Judy’s Automotive: Service ‘With a Woman’s Touch’
Judy’s Automotive is located in historic San Rafael, Calif., in the North Bay region of San Francisco. The one-person shop opened in 2005 and offers maintenance and repairs for all Asian and American cars, light trucks and SUVs.
Mayne shared her background and work experience that led to opening her own shop.
“In 2005, I was granted an opportunity to purchase Cox Automotive, a successful business for 35 years. I worked for the owner back in the 1980s, and after keeping in touch with him over the years, he was comfortable with the transition. My former employers include North Bay Motorsports, Righetti Automotive, Heynneman European, Fairfax Garage and Excelsior Auto Clinic.
“My first job (after Jack-in-the-Box) was pumping full-service gas at Red Hill Shell in San Anselmo while in high school. I had a 1962 Chevy Nova and learned how to fix it. After attending Indian Valley College in Novato for two years and supporting myself with a job in Point Reyes as an apprentice technician, I enrolled in the two-year auto technology program and received my A.S. degree in 1981. I had a smog license up until 2000 when it all changed again. I have maintained my status as an ASE Certified Master Technician since then, returning to classes as needed to learn the new technology.
“I still have the Nova. It’s a red 1962 convertible, a popular fixture of the local scene, as I cruise the town with my dog, Angie, riding in the back! My shop is also a sponsor of the local Pacific’s Baseball Club and I give back to the community with regular donations to local schools and other non-profit organization silent auctions.”
NOTE: Mayne’s son, Kevin, shares shop space with Charlie Chappelle, specializing in BMW, Audi and VW as Chappelle Automotive. In combination with Judy’s domestic and Asian service, the addition of European vehicle service has resulted in the shop location’s reputation for comprehensive brand coverage.
Judy’s Automotive offers general service/repair for most systems with the exception of A/C Freon, and engine and transmission rebuilds.
Mayne said, “I discount oil services in order to remain competitive and establish a relationship with the customer, performing a pretty thorough bumper-to-bumper inspection each time. I charge a full/fair price for major services and repairs. I can then keep notes and monitor for immediate or future services needed. I try to do my best to explain what, how and why specific services should be done. I do ‘little’ things for free, not always charging for something that took five minutes.
“The most difficult customer question to answer is typically, ‘How long will my car last?’ I politely decline an answer, proclaiming that’s outside of my human abilities, comparing it to ‘how long will any of us live?’”
Mayne noted that she sources parts from WorldPac and O’Reilly’s, based on “good service, quality merchandise and warranty support.
“I do try to educate customers about the value of quality parts. I politely decline installation of parts purchased by a potential customer. Even if they bought from a dealer, I’d have to charge more to make up overhead and I can’t provide an honest warranty.”
Parts buying decisions
We asked, “On a scale of 1 to 3, with 3 of highest importance, what determines your buying decisions?” Mayne said:
Brand name recognition 1
Promotion in racing 0
Perceived quality 3
What do your customers expect from Judy’s Automotive?
“Customers expect honesty and complete reports of all service work,” Mayne said.
How does Auto Service Professional benefit your business?
“Sharing of information is vital, and I rely on ASP for detailed technical articles and announcements of new parts, tools and equipment,” said Mayne. “ASP offers superb education and information sharing.” ■
Judy’s Automotive -- San Rafael, California
Owner: Judy Mayne
Business founded: 2005
Number of bays: 4
Number of certified technicians: 1
Shop size: 2,700 square feet
Number of vehicles services per month: 60 to 70
Hourly labor rate: $120
Average spent on tools and equipment annually: N/A
Vehicle makes serviced: Asian and domestic