Elite employs 1 body man and 1 head painter, and flexible help for overloads. There are 4 employees in the office-financial, marketing, estimation and customer service side of the of the business.
Manager Farhad Assemi and President Sandra Baker-Assemi are the backbone of the company while brother and sister Yasmin Assemi and Adrian Assemi team up to bring in new ideas.
“At first we wanted to stick with the vendors we had when we bought the business, but with experience we started to look around,” said Sandra.
Cost drives Elite’s vendor decisions but they also value highly vendors’ reliability of service and product and how easy they are to deal with on the phone and in person.
“We avoid re-dos like the black plague,” said Sandra.
Elite gained a partnership with Akzo-Nobel in September of 2010. Elite decided to switch to Azko-Nobel not only because of the high standard placed on their products, but also because they were willing to give Elite a hand with the transition from low VOC solvent-based paints to waterborne paint spraying and have good technical support, said Yasmin Assemi, Elite’s Chief Financial Officer.
“Price is not the main driver when all is said and done,” said Sandra. “With Azko-Nobel we feel the technical support is there.”
In the shop Elite has a pre-owned Car-O-Liner 3D measurement system that they acquired after researching all other options. Technical support for this unit is spotty and that’s been an issue for the business, according to Sandra.
The facility boasts oversized bays that can accomodate limos and up to 24 passenger buses. Elite partners with several companies in San Diego that have fleet vehicles as well as racecars through Alvaka Motorsports for their repairs.
Elite Auto Collision has been an active part of the community in San Diego ever since the Assemis took over. The business won the Best of La Mesa Auto Body Shop Award in 2008 and 2009 for their community involvement and also won the Talk of the Town Excellence in Customer Service Award in 2010 for their overall customer reviews online.
Elite is a business that believes in being part of their community; the business is a part of the San Diego Chamber of Commerce and also helped sponsor State Farm’s Project Ignition at a local high school in 2007.
Elite is also hoping to become a location for some of I-CAR’s training courses.
“We are in talks with I-CAR to do some classes,” said Sandra.
Elite makes it easy for customers to keep up with the status of their vehicle thanks to an online repair tracking program on their website as well as sending customers pictures and texts about their vehicle status.
Elite can email claims information to most insurance claims adjusters which helps speed claims along. Elite operates mostly through appointments; Saturday mornings for estimates, pickups and dropoffs. They offer a shuttle service that will take customers to and from their home to the body shop while their car is being worked on.
The shop also offers a lifetime warranty on their work which is transferrable in most cases.
Elite also offers the ability to purchase gift cards for their services and is applying for a spot on the city-by-city group coupon site, Groupon.com.
For more information please visit elitecustomauto.com.
Elite Auto Collision Repair Center
4949 Baltimore Dr.
La Mesa, CA 91942