Joel Garcia has spent the majority of his life working on cars because of his passion for auto body work. He opened the doors to his business, Collision Masters, 25 years ago and attributes their success to their customers.
“I was born in McAllen, and raised in Rio Grande,” Garcia said. “Started off as a one-man operation, I was a sole technician back in 1996. Now we have two locations. We’re working on some more. We want to go Valley wide.”
Garcia was taught by his father to work on their own cars. He quickly realized that it was more than just a hobby, it was his calling in life. He knew that in order to enjoy his job, he needed to enjoy what he was doing on a day-to-day basis.
“I started from the bottom. I went into high school, got into the auto body program, and married the instructor’s daughter,” Garcia said. “I really love what I do, I love collision work and fixing cars. You have to enjoy what you do to not think of it as work. My son is my partner, he helps me run the business, and my wife is involved also. Now my son is the auto body instructor at a high school. It’s a family-owned business.”
“25 years later, over 75,000 vehicles repaired,” Garcia said. “I was a body shop manager in Sharyland from 1988 until 1996 when I opened Collision Masters.”
The most important thing Garcia has taught his customers is to be in control of their finances. He feels that insurance companies do not have their best interest at heart the way he and his employees do.
“My biggest thing is educating the customers about having the right not to be intimidated by insurance companies. My biggest competition is insurance companies trying to steer my work away from me. I work for my customer, not for the insurance company. I don’t jeopardize safety or quality to save insurance companies money,” Garcia said.
“Here at Collision Masters, we’re specialists in auto collision repair,” Garcia said. “We work on new, modern vehicles and get them back to their pre-accidental condition. We also have a 24-hour towing service.”
Garcia emphasizes the importance of the customers’ needs coming first. He wants people to know that they will be treated like family once they walk through the door.
“We take care of our customers, my customers become my friends,” Garcia said. “My staff and I are available 24 hours. I tell people here at the office, ‘anyone who walks through that door has had a bad day. Let’s make it a better day for them. They either had an accident, or we towed their vehicle. And nobody’s happy with either one of them.’
At Collision Masters, Garcia reminds his customers that they’re there for them to rely on when things go wrong.
“When your house burns down, you don’t call the insurance company, you call the fire department,” Garcia said. “But people think to call their insurance first, and that is an advantage for them. Take it to somebody that you can trust to take care of any situation. You call me from the accident, we’re there at the accident picking up your vehicle and explaining what to do after an accident.”
“Our slogan here is ‘your vehicle is your second biggest investment after your house. Here, we make it our first,’” Garcia said. “Keep an eye on costs. When somebody does cheap work, everybody ends up losing.”
Garcia does not take the easy way out when servicing his customers. He dedicates careful time and attention to each car as he would like his own car to be taken care of. Not only does that reflect in his customers’ happiness, but in the success of his business.
He appreciates each of his customers and wants to continue servicing the Valley and its’ auto collision needs for as long as possible. Opening more shops in the future is part of his plan to expand his business.
“We have dreams of opening more shops,” Garcia said. “And we’re here for the customers of Palmview, I really want to thank everybody. If it wasn’t for the customers in this area, we wouldn’t be where we’re at.”
Garcia has served on the school board all while being a city commissioner and running his businesses.
“Everybody thinks of me as a politician, but I’m a businessman before a politician,” Garcia said. “My main thing and what I look forward to everyday is running my business and taking care of my customers.”
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, their business continued to thrive. Naturally, things got difficult, but this shop never ceased to work hard and get things done for their community.
“When you come into our business, you don’t have to get down from your vehicle,” Garcia said. “We do the estimate while you wait inside our building, if you would like to come. If not, we will do everything virtually.”
Small businesses nationwide were forced to adjust to shutdowns, stay at home orders, and less business than normal. Collision Masters has made it easy for their customers to get their needs met while maintaining proper safety measures.
“We had no choice but to adjust because we’re considered essential,” Garcia said. “We learned to be safe. Now you don’t have to bring in your vehicle, you can do everything online. We take all precautions. We sanitize our vehicles as soon as they come in and when they go out. It’s been a challenge, but we’ve been able to maintain a good steady flow of work.”
Garcia takes pride in doing his work meticulously and with care. He says attention to detail is what sets Collision Masters apart from similar competitors.
“I’m very strict about quality, that’s what makes a business,” Garcia said. “The personal attention, the professionalism, the state-of-the-art equipment.”
“I remember the first day it opened, thank God that we’re still here,” Garcia said. “I really appreciate this community. They’ve received me with open arms.”
Collision Masters is located in Palmview at 2510 W. Expressway 83 with its’ second location located in Edinburg at 11700 Rooth Rd.