What does your company do?
Veenstra’s Garage is committed to providing quality auto repair and service to all makes and models of vehicles.
What made you want to be an entrepreneur?
I am a third generation owner. I followed in my father’s footsteps. Veenstra’s Garage has been repairing cars in Grand Rapids since 1925 – 88 years! This is our family’s vocation.
Why did you choose your business?
Well, you could say it chose me, but I knew I’d be working towards Veenstra’s further success.
What prepared you for entrepreneurship?
Learning how to run Veenstra’s has been a journey – that I’m still on. I’ve learned the details of the business, but also learned to think outside of what is happening now and into the future for how it can grow bigger and better.
What has been your greatest achievement so far?
Continuing to build a business that works, that has worked for almost nine decades , has been the greatest achievement for me.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Being my own boss, as well as being able to hire the right people to make Veenstra’s look and run successfully.
What challenges have you faced as an entrepreneur?
Finding those right people to work inside the company as well as outside the company, to act as advisors to me has been something of a challenge. It has been exciting, but also challenging to surround myself and Veenstra’s Garage with people who will make it grow and change for the better.
Is there anything you wish you’d done differently?
If I’d have found these advisors and mentors sooner, maybe I would have found this success earlier on.
How can others get started in this business?
Follow the advice of those who have succeeded before you. They know from experience!
Do you have any advice for future entrepreneurs?
Don’t be a lone ranger. We often have a great idea to go into business with – make sure to find the experts in that field and allow them to guide and advise you. Follow their wisdom and don’t be afraid to work hard.
What does Veenstra’s Garage Service entail?
Veenstra’s Garage provides quality repair and excellent service to all makes and models of vehicles.
Why choose Veenstra’s Garage over a less expensive garage?
If you compete on price alone, you will not succeed in a high technology service business. If people choose to compete on price alone, they’re going to have a short shelf life.
Have you been running Veenstra’s Garage long?
I have been running Veenstra’s Garage for 25 years, but Veenstra’s Garage has been around for 88 years.
What did you do before you started Veenstra’s Garage?
I worked inside the company. Running Veenstra’s was more about passing the baton and less about starting a business. I took over what my relatives had already created.
What do you think is unique about the Grand Rapids market?
I think we have such cool business leaders. The DeVos and Van Andel family, for instance. These people have given back and created hope in smaller business leaders like me; They’ve created a better market and strong business community for all of us in Grand Rapids.
Have you made any major changes in your service offerings since starting out?
We have moved to a more structured, trainable system.
How large is your staff?
We have a staff of ten.
What does the background of the people you hire tend to be?
As far as background goes, I look for people that have demonstrated a strong track record, whether technical, customer service, or sales. For entry-level positions, I look at their character and background. I look at where they went to school and where they demonstrated excellence, whether that be in school or as part of a team or club.
Are most of your customers of one particular type or another?
We have a wide range of customers, from students to business owners to stay-at-home mothers. We like to build a trusting relationship with our customers, if you want a long-term relationship with your mechanics, call us at 616-454-6597! We want to prove trustworthy with both your money and your car.
What trends are we likely to see with garages in the future?
The industry continues to become more high-tech. So where we used to value our technicians being really advanced mechanically, we now also value their ability to learn new technology and use computers as a major tool for repair.
How have you found most of your customers?
Through advertising and referrals.
Are you doing any marketing at the moment?
We do several different kinds of marketing, including print and online advertising.
What are your goals for the future?
I’d like to add another location of Veenstra’s, as well as mentor my successor for when I retire.