David Mello recently celebrated two notable anniversaries: his 30th as the owner of Anderson Behel in Santa Clara, CA, and his 40th in the collision repair industry.
While many independent shops in Silicon Valley have come and gone, Mello has made all the right moves to thrive in a highly competitive market.
Mello has held almost every leadership position available in the California Autobody Association (CAA) over the past 26 years and has worked hard to make a real difference in the collision industry since day one.
Mello's love for cars while growing up in Santa Cruz, CA, led to a career in collision repair.
"My dad was a dairy farmer who eventually ran a creamery. I always loved cars more than I liked cows, so when I was in high school, I got a job at a service station where I could mess with vehicles," he said. "While I was attending junior college, I got a job as a parts guy at a local Oldsmobile dealership where I was making $600 a week---decent money for a kid out of school. I was promoted to parts manager and then was hired at a body shop. I worked there for 10 years and then in 1989, I purchased Anderson Behel, a shop that had been there since 1960."
Mello has changed with the times, gravitating more toward working with car dealerships while shedding DRPs, he said.
"We've always depended on dealership referrals and a healthy amount of repeat customer business. Dealership referrals are great because once you've proven yourself, they will hand you more and more work. We still work with all of the insurance companies, of course, but we don't have any DRPs, and that's why we don't have to discount our prices as a result,” he said.
Regarding DRPs, Mello has been there, done that. Those days are over at Anderson Behel, he said.