Joining a franchise can sometimes mean signing on with a substandard vendor. Fortunately, that was not at all the case at ProColor Collision Montclair in Montclair, CA. Owner Carlos Flores has never been more satisfied with his paint system, thanks to the product and support he has gotten from Axalta after becoming part of ProColor.
“I’m very happy with the product and the manufacturer,” said Flores.
ProColor Collision Montclair
Company At A Glance...
Type: Collision Repair
Facility Employees: Nine
In Business Since: 2013
Number of Locations: One
Production Space: 9,000 square feet
Flores said his path to becoming an auto body shop owner was different from many others.
“I’ve met a lot who are owner-operators,” Flores said. “They know the trade. They have been body men or painters, or in the insurance industry. I’ve done none of that.”
Rather, Flores got a business degree and an accounting certification, and worked as an accountant until the Great Recession hit in 2008. He joined his mother in her restaurant business for a few years, and then, in 2011, he and a friend opened their first body shop in Los Angeles, Evergreen Auto Body Specialists.
Flores’ friend was the one who had the industry experience, while Flores brought the bookkeeping and administrative knowledge. The business partnership didn’t work out in the long run, but in the two years Flores worked with his friend, he learned a lot---enough to open his own shop.
In 2013, he did just that, opening what was originally known as Montclair Auto Collision.
“That’s how I came to own my own business without picking up a piece of sandpaper or anything of the sort,” Flores said with a laugh.
In 2021, an Axalta representative visited Flores’ shop. Flores mentioned he’d been considering joining a franchise, and the Axalta rep recommended he consider ProColor Collision, which was just beginning to branch out into California.
Flores liked what ProColor had to offer and spent the rest of the year checking off all the tasks necessary to join---among them changing the name to ProColor Collision Montclair, earning I-CAR Gold certification and picking a new paint vendor, as the shop’s original vendor was not one contracted with ProColor.
After observing a product demonstration at Axalta’s training center in Pomona, CA, Flores chose to partner with Axalta. His shop has been using the Cromax EZ waterborne system since it officially started doing business as part of the ProColor Collision franchise in February 2022.
The Cromax EZ system of primers, sealers, base coats and clear coats is easy to mix, easy to match and easy to apply.
“We found out the primers and sealers work very, very well,” Flores said. “They give us great coverage. The sealers are just a great product to use.”
Flores also praised the base coats for their superior color match and coverage---especially compared to his shop’s former vendor.
“They just didn’t have the same coverage,” Flores said. “Using Axalta means less material and more profit for the paint department.
“The clear is just phenomenal, just a great clear,” he added.
In addition, Axalta provided training for Flores’ head painter, Alfredo Murillo, making him proficient at using the Cromax EZ system as efficiently and effectively as possible, to produce the best results while saving money on materials.
“He uses the entire Cromax system, which has led to bigger profit margins,” Flores said. “He’s our in-house expert.”
Flores said the customer support from Axalta has been top-notch since the first day.
“The customer support has been excellent so far; I have had zero complaints,” Flores said. “I am extremely happy with the support from Axalta and the team here in Southern California: Joel Sanchez and Carlos Lopez.”
ProColor Collision Montclair’s production increased easily between 25% to 30% per month, offering collision repair, painting services and computerized color matching, as well as a lifetime warranty on all insurance repairs. They are also working on their Tesla certification. “That’s very important to us,” Flores said.
Flores said Axalta will be a valued vendor partner for many years to come.
“Everybody from the top of the food chain to the very bottom has been very helpful, very supportive, and very encouraging every step of the way,” Flores said. “I’m very pleased with what Axalta has brought to my business, and what they continue to bring to the table.”
To read more auto body shop profiles in the October 2023 Shop and Product Showcase, click here.