OC Autostyle – SoCal Car Guy Start-Up Success Story
First, man fell in love with cars. Then immediately, he started customizing them.
Fast-forward 100-years, countless automotive start-ups, and enter OC Autostyle.
This car customization shop is new, but it’s actually been around for more than 20-years. Huh?
You see, for decades the business has been exclusively serving local car dealerships.
But now you and I can go directly to the source! And we can create seemingly anything with our cars, limited only by our imaginations – and budgets. :0)
Another Southern California Automotive Entrepreneur
Since the ’90s Hector Jaime has been customizing cars.
In fact, he started his career as an installer. Personally customizing cars just like around 30-guys do in his shop now each day.
But the path to multi-millions in annual revenue and countless custom car creations on SoCal roads was never certain. For sure it wasn’t even predicted.
Long before Hector started customizing cars he was just a kid in Southern California. While going to Estancia High School he was on the honor roll.
But like a lot of us guys, when girls sparked his interest, academics were pushed to the backseat.
So when it came time for college, Hector didn’t exactly have a target course of study. Much less a bullseye he was aiming at, careerwise.
OC Autostyle From 2-Hours Of College
Nevertheless, the SoCal car guy dutifully enrolled in courses at Orange Coast College.
Luckily the school was near his home. And he didn’t have to pack up all his stuff and move across the country.
Because his first college class was scheduled to be 4-hours long. However, there was a break after the first 2-hours.
And during that break, Hector decided college wasn’t for him. So, he just never went back.
Humble Car Guy Beginnings To Multi-million Annual Revenue
While college didn’t work out for Hector, he wasn’t completely without direction much less dedication and passion.
It seems he just needed to figure out a place to apply his energy, creativity, and focus. And it didn’t take long for Hector to find the right outlet for his talents.
Growing up, Hector was the second oldest of four kids in his family. His mom cleaned houses and his dad worked with fiberglass. First making boats and later creating prototypes of cars.
Hector found himself done with high school, and college and in search of his next step in life. Being a young man in SoCal and having his dad involved with the customization of cars, that next step wasn’t entirely surprising.
Hands-On Car Customizing
He got a job customizing cars himself. And at that time, long before OC Autostyle, it was the mid-nineties. So gold badging and wood-grained interiors were popular and he installed a lot of those.
But it didn’t take long for Hector to be promoted to branch manager of the shop where he was working.
And for the next ten years, he would manage teams of car customizers throughout Southern California. While also getting into the sales side of the car customization business.
Direct To Car Dealer Sales To OC Autostyle
The key thing here is that it wasn’t retail sales that Hector was gaining experience within and practicing. Rather he was selling directly to car dealers.
So the (very) big difference between selling to dealers and selling directly to his future OC Autostyle consumers was the massive volume of work. Because selling to car dealers allowed him the benefit of customizing lots and lots of cars (new and pre-owned) every day.
Direct To Dealer
In 2006 Hector founded Dealership Services Direct. Like so many other start-up entrepreneurs, his garage served as world headquarters.
By that time he was offering leather upholstery, sunroofs, custom wheels, tires, spoilers, and more. Pretty much whatever customization needs his car dealer customers had, Hector was in the business of supplying it.
And business was good and it grew. In fact, his business has continued to grow since 2006. So much so that it’s outgrown numerous locations.
During that growth and moving into different locations, the retail side of Hector’s business sprouted organically. Because car guys and gals who needed work done would stumble across Hector’s team working and ask for customization of their own.
OC Autostyle And Dealership Services Direct
So OC Autostyle has been a growing business for Hector, really without him trying. Or, at least, without him marketing and advertising the business.
Some of it has been word-of-mouth momentum that has been built from the many customers who were just driving by his shop.
Chips And Inventories
For years the business-to-business side of Hector’s operation has serviced more than 200 Southern California area new and pre-owned car dealers.
But with the COVID pandemic came supply chain disruptions including chip shortages. And those have caused inventory at new car dealerships to hover at around 15 to 30% of what it is typically.
For instance, Lewis Cook at Martin Chevrolet says that due to COVID’s interruption of the automotive business he’s had around 40 cars on the lot. And the Southern California Chevy dealer says that’s “off from the low-end norm of around 300 cars the lot.”
Hector’s Pivot To OC Autostyle
So, Hector’s Dealership Services Direct sales have lagged a bit due to lower inventories. At the same time, his OC Autostyle retail business has easily picked up the slack.
And it seems Hector’s always got some new element of his business ‘brewing.’ For example, digital license plates.
Like all things tech-related these days, there’s more to the story of digital license plates. Because they offer numerous benefits now and those will be added to as technology advances.
Digital License Plates From OC Autostyle And Dealership Services Direct
For instance, digital license plates are customizable. So just think of the possibilities with that message at the bottom of the plate. And the digital plates allow drivers to customize them simply through an app on their smartphone.
As technology and coordination with the California DMV improve drivers will be able to pay toll roads, traffic violations, and parking meters from the same system.
Also, Hector is offering digital plates through both OC Autostyle And Dealership Services Direct.
Lewis from Martin Chevrolet adds that he likes offering the new tech to his customers for all the reasons above. But especially for the theft recovery feature. Because if your car is stolen, you can have your digital plate flash the message “STOLEN VEHICLE!”
OC Autostyle Car Customization Offerings
Needless to say, as time goes on Hector plans to increase the car customization offerings he provides through both OC Autostyle And Dealership Services Direct.
He’s currently focusing on adding EV-specific options. But if you need anything from a lift for your truck, custom wheels, tires, sunroofs, infotainment systems, spoilers, custom badging, de-badging, wraps, tint, lighting configurations, or pretty much anything else… it’s a good bet Hector can help.
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