RR 352: Rocky Khamenian. Uniting The Industry’s Great Divide!
Rocky Khamenian is the owner/operator of Bimmer & Benz Specialists in Costa Mesa, located in south Orange County. He is an active member of both Chapters 48 and 50 of the Automotive Service Councils of California and has served on the Board of Directors for both.
Throughout his 32-year career, Rocky has continually increased his education to maintain the highest possible level of professionalism. In 1982, Rocky received his diploma in Automobile Engineering in the United Kingdom. He later achieved the status of Master Technician through ASE (National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence) and he has completed a wide variety of technical classes on the repair and maintenance of BMW and Mercedes Benz vehicles through WTI. He has also taken classes in Autologic and Eurodiagnostics to elevate his technical knowledge, and he’s undergone various managerial courses through ESI and WTI. At the present time, he is in the process of being certified as a Bosch Master Technician.
Although he now specializes in BMW and Mercedes Benz cars, Rocky began his career at an auto repair shop in London where he worked on all makes and models doing general repairs, eventually specializing in Mercedes Benz and BMW vehicles. After coming to the U.S. in October 1987, Rocky settled in San Diego where he was hired as the manager at a service and repair shop for import cars. Rocky first established his own business in May 1989 on Newport Boulevard in Costa Mesa. He was not only the owner of this business but also its sole employee, performing all repairs himself. He eventually moved to another location nearby, and then in January 2011, he purchased a larger and better-equipped property where, in his 23rd year as a business owner, he now employs four people and has to obtain corporate status.
The secret to Rocky’s success is his commitment to customer service. His professional goal is to always exceed his customers’ expectations in caring for “the most important tool in their lives.” By continuing his education in both the technical and managerial fields, Rocky provides his customers with the best experience possible. He feels that it is imperative for shop owners to be up-to-date on the latest developments in repair, billing, customer notification, and record-keeping. He credits the many new software products with maintaining convenience and economy for his customers and for his business. In 2000, Rocky first joined ASCCA Chapter 50 and he immediately realized the benefits provided by the organization. ASCCA provided him with tools for interacting with other shop owners, exposure to new laws that apply to the repair industry and finding ways to reduce expenses while expanding customer service.
He has become active on various ASCCA committees and eventually joined Chapter 48 as well as 50 in order to broaden his interactions with other shop owners. Looking to the future, Rocky will remain active with ASCCA as one of his main professional resources. He has seen colleagues come and go, but as the economy weakened he observed that the stronger shops are always those whose owners continually develop their skills. For this reason, Rocky refers to ASSCA as “the best education I’ve ever received.
Key Talking Points
He offers concierge service to his customers. Not much he won’t do for them.
He is a frugal operator. Owns his own property. Carries no balances on his credit card.
An owners obligation is to plan for the future. For the business, family, college, retirement.
Rocky talks to a lot of people to get advice and information. He seeks help and ideas. He is an open book.
This allows him who he chooses to work for.
Started with 2 bays and would work non stop
10 years later invited to ASCCA meeting
The network grew, gained a mentor, learned from everyone involved
High-end car service
45 cars per month
Quality of work that excites owner and customer
Not all about gross profit- what is left? Plans for future and retirement?
His customers are clients. They are his guests.
Be an open book
Ask questions, open up to people and receive feedback
Don’t let your ego get in the way because you are worried someone will know your ‘secrets’ or struggles instead of uniting as an industry. Need to inspire and lift each other.
Ego or secret sauce is what is dividing us.
We must unite and share.
What does it take to own a business?
Technical skills, business knowledge, marketing knowledge, psychology knowledge
ASCCA Degree San Diego Chapter
One solution for tech shortage for independent shops
Provide scholarship, state-approved credit course
Paid internships form ASCCA shops
A post-secondary program like the OE programs but for independents.
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