When you think of “the business world,” a few images come to mind. Endless office cubicles, white collar employees and a quiet, controlled environment are just a few. But some businesses thrive in the exact opposite environment – welcome to the world of automobile collision repair! Premier Coach Works, a family-owned auto repair facility in El Mirage, AZ, is one of the most trusted collision repair facilities in the entire U.S. southwest. Thanks to the leadership of Managing Partner Karl Copenhaver, Premier Coach Works has enjoyed steady growth in an insanely competitive industry.
Premier Coach Works is known as a full-service RV and auto body shop, but the company’s influence goes far beyond vehicle component replacement, paint touch-ups, body work and automobile restoration. There’s also a critical customer service component involved – Premier Coach Works assists people who were recently involved automobile accidents, and a comforting, calming influence provides much-needed reassurance. Mr. Copenhaver’s considerable auto body repair experience combined with a client-first mentality has earned widespread praise for the entire Premier Coach Works enterprise.
The ability to handle fleet repairs, RV interior design, accident restoration and other complex projects requires steadfast attention to detail, managerial instincts and much more. We talked with Mr. Copenhaver recently and discussed a wide range of subjects, including entrepreneurial advice, inspirational advice and how small failures can lead to big success.
Who has been your greatest inspiration?
My father, I have always tried to emulate my father in the way that he treated people, weather they were customers, friends or family.
What piece of advice would you give to someone who wants to become an entrepreneur?
Find something that you love to do and are passionate about, and go for it. It will never feel like work.
Where do you see your business in 10 years?
I see our business continuing to grow as the leader in our field in being able to serve our customers’ needs, and transitioning the day-to-day business activities to my sons.
How do you go about marketing your business?
What has been your most successful form of marketing? Without a doubt, word of mouth and customer referrals have been our best marketing tools. We also invest heavily in sharing our story online and in social media.
What have been some of your failures, and what have you learned from them?
Hiring the wrong employees and not making a change soon enough, when it was clear they were not the right person for our company.
About Mr. Copenhaver
Karl Copenhaver is the Owner – Managing Partner of Premier Coach Works Auto & RV Body Shop in El Mirage, Arizona. Karl has been involved in the auto-RV collision repair industry for over 34 years, starting his career as an automotive refinish technician, and working his way up as a parts & production manager, estimator, general manager, and finally as facility owner starting in 1999.
Karl has a degree in Automotive collision repair & painting from the West Valley occupational school in Los Angeles, CA. Karl is also an ASE certified master technician in automotive structural and non-structural repair, painting & refinishing techniques, and damage analysis. Karl is also certified “I-CAR Platinum” as an estimator, refinish technician, and steel structural technician. Karl is a past member and president of the California Auto Body Trade association, San Fernando Valley chapter, as well as a member of the Arizona Collision Craftsmen’s Association.