Collision Vision Episode: Huge Opportunities Ahead for Forward-Looking Single-Shop Operators with John Melendez

Melendez believes you don’t need to be a huge operation to be successful in our industry.


Host Cole Strandberg met this episode's guest at CIC at SEMA last year and was immediately blown away by his story and his passion for the collision repair industry. John Melendez is the owner of JDM Collision, located in Thornton, IL, just south of Chicago. Melendez used to be a multi-shop operator but currently operates out of one location. Melendez believes you don’t need to be a huge operation to be successful in our industry. He is doubling down in the space though, and he and Strandberg talk all about that.

Episode Overview

Melendez's story is one of dedication and a deep-rooted connection to the collision repair industry. Having grown up in his father's body shop, he quickly learned the value of hard work and the significance of education. His journey is a testament to the power of certifications, such as his GM certification, and the profound impact networking has had on his business growth.

Melendez took the entrepreneurial leap, transitioning JDM Collision from a multi-shop operation to a single, consolidated location. This strategic move came with its fair share of challenges, including the loss of franchises. However, it was the focus on OEM certifications, training and investment in advanced equipment and technology that truly set JDM Collision apart.

In the collision repair industry, stagnation is not an option. Melendez, who serves as chairman of the Northwest Indiana I-CAR Committee, firmly believes continuous training and improvement are essential for differentiating a business and cementing a strong reputation.

The collision repair industry is ripe with opportunities, but it requires a strategic focus. Strandberg and Melendez discussed the importance of targeting specific areas and demographics, as well as the necessity of forward-thinking to navigate the evolving car models and technological advancements.

The second part of their conversation shifted towards the future, with a spotlight on advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and the challenges and opportunities they present.

Melendez emphasized the need for specialization in response to the evolving automotive landscape. With ADAS calibration becoming increasingly significant, comprehensive equipment and facilities are crucial for addressing the complexities of modern vehicle repairs.

Strategic planning and adaptation have been central to Melendez's approach. He shared his experience in retooling his center to accommodate ADAS calibration, revealing his long-term vision for JDM Collision, which includes expansion and the development of a state-of-the-art repair center focused on education and training.

Their discussion highlighted the importance of demographic research, market understanding and the pursuit of complementary relationships to thrive in the industry. Melendez's passion and commitment to continuous education are the driving forces behind his success and the excellence of JDM Collision.

The collision repair industry is undergoing a transformation, and the conversation with John Melendez provided invaluable insights into how businesses can navigate this dynamic environment. His dedication to education, training, and strategic business decisions serves as an inspiration and a guide for industry professionals looking to excel in the face of technological advancements and market shifts.

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