Ed Beery Discusses Intechgrity Automotive Excellence
January 12, 2018
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Erik Wolf: Welcome to The Denver Executive Association Trusted Advisor podcast. Twice a month. our group gathers over breakfast in a swanky meeting space above the Denver University hockey rink. We get together, we share our knowledge, we share connections and we do business together. Twice a month we will be talking to DEA members on this podcast and posting them for the whole world at denverexecutiveassociation.com. Today we are here with Ed Beery. He is the owner of Intechgrity Automotive Excellence, one of Denver’s absolutely best auto service places. He has three locations now in Aurora, in Englewood, and now in Westminster as well. So welcome Ed.
Ed Beery: Well thanks for having me.
Erik Wolf: So first of all, I know that you’re celebrating five years in the auto service industry.
Ed Beery: That’s right.
Erik Wolf: How did you get started?
Ed Beery: Well I was a Fortune 500, Fortune 100 guy and I had become sort of tired of the bureaucracies. I needed to get out and get some stuff done. I kind of figured that life is just a little too short to not be able to get the big stuff done. So I decided to head out on my own and I was looking for investment opportunities and look primarily at industries that were decidedly not sexy. I had been in the dot-com boom and the bust and experienced all that went along with it and I really wanted the old-school, hard work industry as a balancing point for an investment strategy. I avoided anything fashion oriented or fashionable in any way. We will not do things like restaurants, as an example. Sure. So industry stuff just seemed like it was the perfect fit and I wanted to get into something that everyone needs, but that no one wants to do. It’s a basic supply and demand play and automotive maintenance met that exactly.
Erik Wolf: What other types of businesses were you looking at when you were looking to buy? What else was unsexy enough to meet your criteria?
Ed Beery: We looked at oil rigging, we looked at oil wells, we looked at HVAC installation, we looked at HVAC manufacturing, really just industry nuts and bolts, build stuff, hard work, pick it up, put it up that type of thing.
Erik Wolf: Very cool. So tell us about the shops, tell us about Intechgrity and what you guys do and what you’re great at.
Ed Beery: Well so we do automotive maintenance as a professional service which is something I think is truly lacking in that business, in this industry.
Erik Wolf: The professional part.
Ed Beery: The professional piece yeah. We look at it as, when we work with a fleet, we understand that the fleet has to have that vehicle rolling to produce anything. We are always looking for the win-win-win and if we can keep those vehicles rolling at the best value, keep the presentation proper, keep the vehicle safe so that that employee that drives that vehicle to do that work can get there on time, present properly, not have to worry about having the vehicle drop down dead on the side of the road, that vehicle produces. And what happens is we take the data that we put together, I came from a data background, we tie it together and we provide for our fleets and our, we call it a fleet of one but our individual drivers, a program to maintain the vehicle and give them the scheduling to make sure that that vehicle is taken care of properly. So we can catch things like: brake pads are a wear item. The rotors are also a wear item but they’re a much slower wear item. What happens is when people don’t maintain the vehicle, the brake pads go, then the metal hits the rotor, then the rotor chews things up, and next thing you know, you’re into the caliper. And so you basically multiply the costs of that maintenance work. We will measure the pads and we’ll be able to project out exactly when those pads are going to need to be replaced prior to them becoming a problem with the rotor, do the same thing with the rotor and done properly, you shouldn’t ever even have to hit anything regarding the calipers. It just saves people money over the long term.
Erik Wolf: Now you talked a lot about your fleet customers when you mentioned the fleet of one, that’s just a regular consumer or it might be a single business owner?
Ed Beery: Sure. Yeah. You’ve got somebody that’s you know it’s Bob’s Electrical Firm and he drives his van around and we’re going to take care of him. Same service.
Erik Wolf: Okay. And then you’re going to go and buy Bob’s business because Bob is a hardworking guy.
Ed Beery: Well exactly. We have plenty of examples of that where we have fleets and it’s kind of nice you end up kind of building sort of like the DEA, you build this network of folks that you trust that really do great work. And then we have somebody that we can count on to take care of our needs. You know we have electrical needs, we have plumbing needs.
Erik Wolf: How much of your business is, so you’ve got your fleet customers, how much of your business is the regular old people owning cars and need them taken care of? And how does the fact that you guys do so much fleet work because that’s not sort of a normal thing for the place where I bring my car if I go to just the chain oil change place or whatever? You know they’re not doing nearly the fleet work that you guys are. Is the fact that you guys do so much fleet work, is that a benefit to me?
Ed Beery: I think it definitely is because there’s a different sense of urgency and accuracy required to manage the fleets. You can’t have a fleet vehicle going down because you can end up losing revenue. You’re going to have somebody sitting on the side of the road or waiting for a vehicle repair. So the goal is to make sure that that vehicle is constantly running but when you really think about it, there’s no difference between that and somebody that needs to get to work or somebody that needs to get their kids to school. It’s just as important. So we have this sense of urgency about making sure that things are right. We have a specific process that we follow, it’s all electronic. We do video of the vehicle, we do images of the parts to make sure everything is exactly right. Certainly, there’s going to be situations that will arise. A perfect example would be you pick up a piece of road debris. I mean you think about what you have with a car, you got a couple of thousand pounds minimum barreling down a highway at 65, 75, my wife maybe 80, and things are going to happen right. So that’s OK. But what we aim for is that if there’s an issue with a vehicle that we maintain, that issue is a road debris issue or some sort of fender-bender thing, an event that we didn’t have any control over. If we have a situation where we should have caught it, we’re going to go back and we’re going to assess what we did and we’re going to get better every time. And that process has really taken us a long way.
Erik Wolf: What would you say is the number one thing that makes your company different?
Ed Beery: Process and data. It’s really kind of the two things I can’t kind of separate them. We track the data, I’m a data guy. I did the data integration service layer for a very large national healthcare company. I know how to do this stuff and I’m applying the same thinking to this industry. We’re drilling into the data and we’re seeing what’s going on with the vehicle in advance and by doing that we can project out the needs for that vehicle and give folks a schedule that makes everything easier for everybody again, win-win-win. So that’s a huge piece of it but it doesn’t matter if we do that if we don’t execute properly. So then it’s about the process, going through the inspection process consistently, making sure everybody is executing on that and really aiming for that perfection standard where we do everything right every single time, the process always works and we know what’s right.
Erik Wolf: So I know you have a lot of these but I would love to hear kind of a hero story and it can be a fleet story, it can be a story about somebody who just came to you with a really bad personal auto problem.
Ed Beery: I have two quick ones, one of each as it turns out. Just this last week we were contacted by a Homeless Hand-Up group out of Fort Collins that had a young woman with three kids who needed some pretty significant auto repairs. As part of our initiative, we say that our goal is to help as many people as we can as fast as we can. I don’t really think there’s any other point to life than that. And so when we get these opportunities, we take them. So we got her vehicle in, we did the full inspection, our normal process. We found all the issues with the vehicle, determined that indeed it did make sense to go ahead and repair that vehicle as opposed to replace it. There are times when that doesn’t make sense. We purchased the parts, we supplied the labor and the know-how, and got that vehicle, so now this young woman, who is currently homeless, now has a vehicle which is a huge step for her to step out of that problem so she can get her kids to school, she can get to work and all the things that she needs to do. That was literally last week. And then two weeks ago we had a company that is coming onboard as a fleet that had a dead-on-side-of-road condition with a Kenworth tractor-trailer rig at Iliff and C-470, our by our Aurora store. And we got a phone call from them. They were interested in us taking on their fleet. Apparently, their driver was driving down C-470 and blew a coolant line on his Kenworth. And it sprayed all over the Colorado State Patrol that was driving next to him, onto the windshield, goo-ed up his windshield and he got pulled over. Of course, he needed to stop anyway. We got the call, we dispatched our mobile unit. Our guys got him repaired and reloaded with coolant and on his way so he could keep working. So you can imagine that particular fleet is fairly interested in using our services going forward.
Erik Wolf: Did you bring coffee for the state patrolman.
Ed Beery: No we didn’t know that that was the entire condition until we got there. One of the cool things about this industry, this business, is that there’s a lot of cool stories. There’s a lot of, you know people are kind of having a bad day as a rule when they’re dealing with auto issues and our goal is to, when it is a bad day, we make it a much better day and hopefully by using our maintenance process the number of bad days is way lower.
Erik Wolf: One of the things that I hear you talk about a lot is Ultimate Recycling. So tell me what Ultimate Recycling is and why it’s important and why you guys practice it.
Ed Beery: So the concept is really simple. When we maintain mechanical items, like a car, we can keep a car running, looking and feeling like it’s brand new, as long as you want to. And if we do that, if that becomes a cultural mindset, we never throw it away. And to me, that’s ultimate recycling. We tend to think of recycling as well I’ve used it now I’m gonna put it into the recycle bin and then we’re going to have to take action on it and it’s going to be used for something else
Erik Wolf: In your case, it’s still a car at the end of the day.
Ed Beery: Well and what’s really cool about it is we actually have a gentleman at one of our locations that has a 2001 Chevy Suburban and he uses it. He beats the tar out of it, he takes it hunting, he puts a ton of mileage on it and so forth and we did a posting of several pictures of that vehicle with the question to the viewer: Guess how many miles are on this and we posted on our cool stories link on our Web page.
Erik Wolf: And that’s now a car that’s that’s approaching 18 years old.
Ed Beery: That’s correct. And I won’t do the the the notification or inform people on what the mileage is because it’s kind of fun to watch people and go through the experience of guessing what the mileage is and then actually seeing it. But I will say this, if you take the time to look at it, it’s a Cool Stories, Ultimate Recycling of the Chevy Suburban. You can find it on our Cool Stories page. Take a guess and then see if you’re not surprised and then realize this: the mileage on that vehicle has gone up substantially since that was done over a year ago. The key is that that vehicle will be turning the point of becoming a classic. And it will ultimately get to the point where it’ll begin to appreciate, it will go up in value. Vehicles depreciate for the first 20 to 30 years but eventually, they become a collector’s item. That vehicle will become a collector’s item and the story behind it is just fantastic.
Erik Wolf: That is very, very, very cool. You’ve got a new store that just opened in Westminster.
Ed Beery: We’re really excited about it, it’s a very nice facility.
Erik Wolf: Tell me all about the new store.
Ed Beery: So the new store’s located just south of the Boulder turnpike on Federal Boulevard. We’re on the south-west corner of 74th and Federal just north of the Safeway there. It is an 8-bay shop, nice tall ceilings. It has great doors, lots of space, it’s in great shape. We went through and did the Intechgrity Automotive Excellence repairs and refurbishing and so forth.
Erik Wolf: The excellent-tification of the new facility
Ed Beery: There you go. I like it. Excellent-tification. That’s the newest word we’re gonna use. Yeah, it is beautiful. We’re really excited about it. It puts us in a position where we have, with the Englewood store, the Aurora store, and the new Westminster store, we are triangulated across the metro area. So when you think about the train wreck that we have in terms of traffic up and down i-25, we’re sort of wrapped around that. So if somebody is on the north side they can get to us reasonably easily, Southside easily, and West Side easily. It works pretty well and then that location between 270, i-25, Boulder Turnpike and so forth, very very easily accessible and it puts us in reach of several fleets that have been interested in our taking over their fleet.
Erik Wolf: That’s awesome. Congratulations on that I know it was a lot of work.
Ed Beery: It was a lot of work but we’re really excited about it, should be great for 2018.
Erik Wolf: So last question. This is a trusted advisor’s podcast after all. So I’m going to ask you to be the trusted advisor. Give us a tip for someone who is looking either for their own personal use or for a fleet: What’s one thing that you should know or that you should ask before you choose your auto shop.
Ed Beery: Well, really, the key thing with it, I think everybody knows this intuitively, is you really want to have somebody or better yet a company that you can trust. What’s happened in this industry is it typically tends to be, “I have a guy,” is one of the answers you get. “Where do you take your vehicle for repair?” “Well, I know a guy.” OK well, that’s great until the guy stops working on cars which I’ve actually had that experience. Another answer would be “Well I’ll go to the dealership” and there are two sides of that. One is I go to the dealership, I know it’s expensive but at least they have a brand behind it. A manufacturer, Ford Motor Company, Chevrolet, what have you.
Erik Wolf: And there’s a sense of responsibility there as well if you buy a Toyota and you take it to the dealership for service. You know you feel like you’re paying more, you’re getting something for that. I can understand that.
Ed Beery: Absolutely. So that’s another one and then really, most people, you ask them where they take their vehicle for repairs and they kind of get this like you know I kind of go wherever and I hope for the best and I’m uncomfortable and all that. What you really want is to.
Erik Wolf: Yada yada franchise chain around the corner.
Ed Beery: Exactly. Yeah. Bob’s down the street or, “I tried these guys, I feel like I got ripped off and then I tried these other guys and I was kind of uncomfortable and then I found this guy and he seemed really nice but the next time I went in it was different guy,” and all that. What we’re building is a recognizable process, a company, where we’re building trust for the company. Where it’s when you see Intechgrity Automotive Excellence, we are going to look for the win-win-win. That is the purpose of it and get that done. We tell people if you come into one of our shops with a coupon and we say “Hey this is the situation you have.” And the person says, “Well I’ll take it back to my regular mechanic.” Our thing is, look it’s not worth saving the five bucks to come to us. Go to your regular mechanic because you’ve already got a guy. And it’s better to have that continuity of process than to try to save five bucks on an oil change. It’s all about the long-term. And if we get people thinking long-term, just like the ultimate recycling idea, that’s really where the win is and you’ve got to find the people that you trust and they’re out there. There are some really good operators in this business that we are honored to be competing with. You know they’re going to elevate our game. Find the folks that you trust. That’s the key.
Erik Wolf: Ed thank you so much for joining us. How can folks get in touch with you?
Ed Beery: Easiest way to get in touch with us is to hit our awesome website intechgrityauto.com. Hit that and we’ll take care of you.
Erik Wolf: Well thanks so much for joining us. And thank you for listening to the Denver Executive Association Trusted Advisor Podcast. We’ll see you next time.