SPOTLIGHT AUTO COLLISION SPECIALISTS, LLC. For Chuck Scilipote of Auto Collision Specialists (ACS) in Reisterstown, MD, staying in business for 36 years has required a lot of work and flexibility. From writing estimates to fixing cars to making deliveries, he has done it all. What started out as an individual enterprise has now blossomed into a lucrative business that employees 17 people. From a very young age, Scilipote was destined to be in the auto industry. “When I was 12 years old, I started helping my stepfather with body work – side projects on the evenings and weekends, [including] sanding cars and prepping for painting,” he recalls. “My first overall paint job was at 16 years old. I liked it because it was very rewarding to make something that was smashed up look brand new again.” Thankfully, Scilipote has been able to pass down that sense of accomplishment to his sons Charles, Daniel and Andrew, who – to no
one’s surprise – work for him at ACS. “Working with them is the main reason I love going to work every single day. I get to be with my kids.” With his son Daniel working as an Elite Mercedes-Benz certified welder, Scilipote is able to offer specialized care to those customers. Having this highest level of certification is a huge selling point for ACS, especially with Charles and Andrew managing the paint shop to maximize quality and efficiency. “Being Mercedes Certified gives us a huge advantage, since they pretty much invent all of the technology that then trickles down to other car manufacturers. I’m lucky to see new technology earlier than most.” Surprisingly, ACS is able to service anywhere from 90 to 100 cars a month and pull in approximately $3.1 million a year – with only one paint booth! Because the staff is non-commission, employees at ACS are able to focus solely on the customers’ needs rather than worrying about the number of cars being serviced. “When we negotiate the repair with the insurance company with the customer’s best interest, we gain [our customers’] trust; that is how we build our clientele. We’re not a DRP shop, so we are fixing the cars based on the customers’ needs. Surprisingly, that’s a challenge. We’re forced to waste time ordering aftermarket parts that we know we aren’t going to end up using, but we have to buy them and then return them. Insurance companies don’t exactly advertise the fact that they will only pay for aftermarket parts. It’s impossible to please everyone, so we choose to please the customers.” While the staff at ACS is committed to staying loyal to their customers, Scilipote admits that finding qualified help has been quite a challenge over the past few years. “I’ve been forced to re-hire people because the pool of technicians I have to choose from isn’t ideal. Sometimes this can cause tension, but it’s important to hire repairers who can get the job done correctly.” WMABA mainstay Chuck Scilipote helms one of the area’s most thriving businesses.
Official Publication of the Washington Metropolitan Auto Body Association (WMABA)