Furnished with comfortable couches, beautiful fish tanks and a large TV, the waiting room at Brake Stop provides an enjoyable place to wait while repair jobs are completed. Watkins maintains the décor of his shop in order to make his customers feel comfortable. “What people perceive at the front door is how you’re going to treat their car,” he said.
After learning the basics of auto repair from his father, who worked in a motor pool and helped friends and family with their own vehicles, Watkins began working in the auto industry. He appreciated the high-quality work but was distressed by how much car maintenance cost. “I’ve seen people sitting in dealerships crying because they didn’t have the money to fix it,” he remembered. He set out to correct this, eventually starting his own company, One Stop Auto, which became a big success. He sold the business after undergoing back surgery, but opened Brake Stop in 2008 and continued to provide the level of service for which he was known.
Brake Stop works on all makes and models, and provides services from oil changes to engine replacements. “I like solving people’s problems,” Watkins said. “You name it; we do it.” Watkins continually educates himself to make sure his skills and tools stay up-to-date, and even performs repairs on boats, jet skis and motorcycles.
One of Watkins’s highest priorities is decreasing the amount of time a customer must wait. “Ninety-five percent of our service is same-day,” he said. For longer repair jobs, Brake Stop offers a shuttle service so that customers can run errands, plus loaner cars for multi-day jobs.
One recent customer came to Watkins when a piece of wood broke through his front bumper on the freeway and damaged the radiator, air conditioning and other systems. “We solved it all in one shot,” Watkins said proudly. While he strives to offer competitive pricing, he recognizes that customers sometimes can’t afford to repair everything. For such situations, he prioritizes the repairs by how necessary they are to the car’s ability to function.
Watkins encourages people to practice preventive maintenance such as regular oil changes and tune-ups, and to fix problems, such as squealing brakes, as soon as possible. “The rule of thumb is that the louder it is, the more it costs,” he said. His customers appreciate his work; some travel from several towns away for a simple oil change. “They trust us,” Watkins said, attributing his popularity to his honesty in his work. “I have phenomenal repeat business.”
Brake Stop, located at 560 Valdry Court, Suite B-6 in Brentwood, is open Mondays through Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sundays by appointment only. Call 925-634-3001 or visit www.brakestopautoservices.com. Franchise opportunities are available.