Tuesday, October 16th, 2018

S Shopper Stories


CAR STRUCTION

Rebuilding damaged vehicles with meticulous care

by John Forte


Owner Vince Dobbs with family coat of arms and longswords

Owner Vince Dobbs with family coat of arms and longswords

A suit of armor roughly six feet tall stands in the corner. Two long swords hanging on the wall bookend a family coat of arms. Vince Dobbs, owner of Car Struction, recognizes the meaning in these objects.  He strives to bring the ideals of servant leadership to his professional and personal life. Born in Oxford, England to an Air Force father, he left England at the age of two, after his father’s deployment was up.

Bent metal, dented hoods and scratched doors get the renewal for which they yearn - all in the expansive modern workshops of Car Struction in Chesapeake. Vince has the gift of knowing how to transform vehicles, seemingly irreparable from collisions and accidents, into a product of restored beauty. Nearly 300 cars are worked on every single month.


“We are here to serve customers,
be their advocate
and treat them like family.”

—Vince Dobbs, Owner


“We are here to serve customers, be their advocate and treat them like family,” Vince says. His approach stems from having his own family working with him. His wife of 24 years, Kim, his daughters Chelsey and Madison, and his son Zack are on the job, too. There are a total of 27 employees working there. Vince beams, “I can tell you every single one of their wives’ and husbands’ and kids’ names, and everyone has my cell phone number. We genuinely care for each other.”   

A master re-builder and body shop whisperer, Vince epitomizes humility and kindness. His goal is to help others. He has seen many crashes, both as a former state trooper like his father and as an employee of a leading insurance company. He landed at Car Struction as an estimator and was quickly promoted to general manager. Then in 2013, as the owners at the time were contemplating retiring, they offered Vince the opportunity to purchase the business. Herb and Melinda Winslow knew he cared about the business and treated it like his own. They approached him with the idea of buying it, saying “When one owns their own business, it’s like having a child one wants to see grow and succeed.”

“They were there to help and encourage me in many ways, and they still are,” Vince smiles. In fact the Winslow’s oldest son, Matthew, still works at Car Struction as lead estimator. Vince is proud that he taught him and his own son the ins and outs of being a solid estimator.

And the name? “The name was Herb’s idea,” Vince explains. “He started off as a body repair man, and he felt his work was like construction, but instead of a building he was constructing a car. He and Melinda are responsible for making this company what it is,” Vince adds.

The customer experience is always on Vince’s mind. “I want people to feel that we were here just for them. I want them to feel that we treated their vehicle just like one of our family member’s cars.”


Clients might be distraught
from the incident and confused
about financial and insurance obligations...
Vince brings a positive attitude
and encouragement to each interaction. 



Vince impresses his code of service on his employees by asking them to not only do the best they can when working on the vehicles, but also by exuding confidence and honesty with each and every customer. There are always challenges along the way. Vince navigates the fine line of working between the insurance companies and the clients. “We’re willing to do whatever the customer wants done,” Vince states. The average repair time is roughly four days. Not bad, considering the time it takes for the assessment, ordering parts, performing repairs, painting and making the car drivable and safe.  

Vince’s aim is to turn the client’s bad day around.


The Car Struction facility where Vince Dobbs and his team care for cars

The Car Struction facility where Vince Dobbs and his team care for cars


They might be distraught from the incident and confused about financial and insurance obligations. They might be having trouble taking in the damage to the vehicle and what it will take to repair it. Vince brings a positive attitude and encouragement to each interaction.

The entrepreneur is proud of his employees, both new and more experienced. They are all very talented and have an average of 18 to 20 years in the business. They are constantly learning through a variety of training classes on new techniques and new machinery.  “Vehicles have changed and have become more sophisticated; we ensure that we stay up to date on that,” Vince notes.

“Vehicles have changed
and have become more sophisticated;
we ensure that we stay
up to date on that.”

—Vince Dobbs, Owner


Doing the right thing is crucial to Vince. “There was an older lady in her 80s who had been quoted an exorbitant repair price of over $2,000 by another shop,” he recollects. “Someone recommended us. Our mechanic looked her car over and discovered the repairs would really only cost about $200 dollars. When it was fixed, I delivered the car myself so the client wouldn’t have to pay for the tow. She was elated and very grateful.” Perhaps Vince restored more than just her car; perhaps he restored her faith in humanity.




Car Struction Collision Center

642 Woodlake Dr.
Chesapeake, VA 23320

757-523-2495
http://www.carstruction.com