SHOP: Eurozone Motors LOCATION: Los Angeles, Calif. OWNER: Ronaldo Hidalgo SIZE: 1,000 square feet STAFF SIZE: 4 AVERAGE MONTHLY CAR COUNT: 50 ANNUAL REVENUE: $500,000
1. Finding a Niche:
Ronaldo Hidalgo, owner of Eurozone Motors in Los Angeles, developed an interest in European vehicles when he started working with Mercedes-Benz cars during his time as a technician at an Infiniti dealership and doubled as a helper in a car touring team.
In 2015, he decided to create his own shop because he wanted something that resembled a dealership, but on a smaller scale. His idea was for Eurozone Motors’ customers to receive the same experience as they would with a dealership without an aggressive push to get sales out of the way. Additionally, he wanted to make sure his shop had a sleek and professional look, to keep it competitive in such a tough market.
Hidalgo and his wife came up with the name for the shop together and he subconsciously drew inspiration for the shop’s color scheme from his childhood memories of yellow-and-black parking lots in Brazil.
After assessing the daily drivers that were on the road and in the community his shop was located in, Hidalgo decided that Eurozone Motors should specialize in European vehicles. “Central L.A. is an expensive area to operate business,” Hidalgo says. “With the level of service that we offer, compared to dealerships and our competitors; for every car we service, our neighbors have to do three.”
2. Developing a Good Layout:
When Hidalgo decided to get a shop, the options for space were limited. He got this small space and had a technician that was going to work at the shop look at it with him.
The shop is one big space with two lifts. There’s an additional area that houses equipment and another area in the front to do more repair work.
There is a large door and a roll-up door that both face the street. The 300-square foot space behind the roll-up doors is where the office and customer area rest.
For the shop floor, he came in with a tape measure and measured to see if cars could move comfortably. He then mapped out the space, he drew it out with chalk and measured everything out. It took him a couple of days because he had to plan how the two lifts would be positioned. He opted to have one of the lifts at an angle.
Hidalgo also created a nook where oil and chemicals are located. Another 50-square-foot area is the designated storage area for vehicle parts.
3. Making the Right Investments:
Hidalgo is a firm believer in maximizing space. That’s why he purchased a slim-line lift. He says it’s approximately 10 inches less wide than a regular model. He bought the lifts at Best Buy Auto Equipment.
Another key aspect of the shop is that they don’t stock any parts. They are able to do that because they have SSF, parts suppliers that deliver seven times per day. Also, a local oil supplier that provides oil quickly.
Hidalgo also wanted his shop to be top of the line. He wanted to be a digital-first business and not give people hand-written invoices. His shop has an Autologic Assist, factory scan tools for BMW and VW, and diagnostic software for a variety of European vehicles.
4. Going the Extra Mile:
Eurozone Motors offers complimentary Enterprise rentals and Uber and Lyft rides.
Aside from helping customers get to where they need to be, Hidalgo also wants to provide a memorable customer lounge and service counter space. When customers walk in, he wants them to feel like they are coming to a lounge area not just the shop. He feels that makes a difference between a modern-day shop and old-school shops where people would sit outside. He notes that 80 percent of that area is dedicated to customers. There’s a mini-fridge, an espresso machine and a TV equipped with Hulu, Amazon Prime and Netflix.
The shop also hands out swag to customers. They created branded postcards, lanyards and water bottles.