Courteous, professional and high-quality---these are some of the words Leila Bates said customers have used to describe the work provided at Bates Collision Centers.
This year, the business received the Baytown Sun Readers’ Choice Award for best body shop for the eighth year in a row. Leila said they were honored to receive the award and will continue to work hard to fulfill their mission to be the collision center of choice for customers in the Bay area of Texas.
Autobody News recently talked to Leila about Bates Collision Centers and learned about some of the unique ways the company gives back to the community. She also shared how they use a process-centered environment and leadership training to facilitate the business’s growth, retain employees and offer customers exceptional service.
Q: What prompted you and your husband, Lee, to open Bates Collision Centers 28 years ago?
A: Lee had a lot of wrecks while he was in high school; he was in double-digit accidents before he graduated. At some point, his dad told him that if he continued getting into accidents and wrecking his cars, he was going to have to fix them. He went off to college and was doing well, but decided he wanted to focus on something else. He always had an interest in cars and his dad encouraged him to get involved in the automotive industry. Lee ended up working at a dealership in his college town, San Marcos, TX, sweeping floors. His ultimate goal was to own a shop of his own.
Meanwhile, I was going to college and working part-time when we got married in 1989. A year later, we decided to open our first location in Baytown. We experienced some good growth our first year, so we relocated to a larger facility in 1991, which we currently operate today. We also opened a second location in the neighboring community of Channelview, TX, in 2003.
Q: What is your main role and focus at Bates Collision Centers?
A: My official title is vice president, although as in most small companies, you wear a lot of hats and have to address the different phases of your business. I also handle CFO responsibilities for Bates Collision Centers, and both my husband and I are very involved in marketing efforts and community involvement.