The Doctor is In
For Garage Door Medics, focusing on people is its prescription for success
In 1990, when Mick Dapcevic was 19 years old, he decided he wanted to start his own garage door company. Having done service calls for his dad’s welding business since he was 16, he began to notice that the demand for roll-up sectional garage doors was increasing. He decided it was a niche from which he could build a business.
Mick signed a long-term lease for a commercial space in a strip mall to build his showroom. But at 19, he was unable to find a lender that would give him any credit. Struggling to get his company off the ground, he spent every weekend driving around town, putting up flyers to attract business.
“I had no doors, just flyers,” Mick remembers. Meanwhile, the other tenants in the complex where he rented had a wager on how fast he would go out of business.
With funds running low, and rent on his space soon due, Mick took a chance on purchasing an ad in the Sunday newspaper. That one ad changed the course of his business.
“I ran the ad on Sunday, and on Monday we had 25 people at our showroom looking for new garage doors. In a couple of days, I had collected deposits for all those doors, was able to pay rent and the rest is history.”
More than Garage Doors
Rather than going out of business, as others predicted, the company flourished. Now 30 years later, Garage Door Medics, based in San Diego, has branched out to provide residential and commercial garage doors, gates and access control systems to customers in Riverside County, Orange County, the Coachella Valley and four additional locations: Phoenix, Arizona; Boise, Idaho; Denver, Colorado; and Dallas–Fort Worth, Texas.
As it has grown, Garage Door Medics’ commercial division has expanded tenfold, says J. Candace Covington, Marketing Executive. “Originally Garage Door Medics’ primary focus was on residential repairs and installs,” says Candace. “However, over the last several years, we have expanded into the commercial markets, offering a variety of new services.”
But don’t let the name fool you—Garage Door Medics does far more than garage doors. They also service and install access control systems, gates and more for a variety of residential and commercial clients across multiple industries.
The Garage Door Medics team has installed everything from a self- supporting trackless gate at Palomar Observatory in San Diego to clear view doors at some of the most popular restaurants and nightclubs in San Diego. Clients include school districts, military bases, insurance companies, contractors, architects and property management companies.
In addition to installations, Garage Door Medics can also help with maintenance, code upgrades and keypad programming. “We are the preferred company for commercial garage doors and gates, and we’ve become a one-stop shop for the customers’ security needs,” says Candace.
A People Company
Garage Door Medics’ approach to customer service—and its focus on people—has contributed to its success with commercial clients.
The focus on service can be found in the company’s name itself. Mick says he chose the name Garage Door Medics to highlight the medic part: diagnosing and fixing problems. “We will be there when you need us,” he says.
This focus on service is also driven by the company’s oath, which Mick wrote several years ago to make sure the company had a strong foundational mission that all could follow and to describe the type of people they want to hire. “We want to hire someone who has a moral compass,” says Mick. The oath remains top of mind for the Garage Door Medics team; team members recite it each week during their training meeting, and it’s posted around the office.
According to the oath, Garage Door Medics “is not simply a garage door company, but a people company.”
“It means we care about our neighbors. We try to take care of the people in our community that we provide service to,” says Mick.
Part of taking care of people means only charging what is necessary, he explains. “We’re not money-driven. We’re not out to price gouge customers and take advantage of their vulnerability.”
Understanding that not being able to immediately access one’s garage, car, equipment or business leaves a person in a vulnerable situation—and knowing that a broken gate could be a security risk—Garage Door Medics operates 24/7 with the intention of repairing garage doors, gates or access control systems as soon as possible so all parties involved can go about their day.
Only Recommending What’s Needed
The company’s motto, “We only recommend what you need,” illustrates its commitment to caring for the customer and is one of the characteristics of the company that sets it apart from other garage door companies, according to Randall George, Chief Operating Executive.
In fact, the Garage Door Medics team takes great pride in being unique in the industry. “The garage door industry is the wild west,” says Randall. “You’ll see a lot of variation in how companies deal with customers, pricing, service, etc. We stand out because we only recommend what we think is needed for the customer. We put their needs first and treat everyone fairly. In my opinion, no other companies have the level of commitment or high standards that we do. Garage Door Medics has over 5,000 five-star reviews.”
Words and Actions
Randall says that one thing that makes the company so successful at providing repairs is their highly skilled and specialized team. Garage Door Medics has service professionals that specialize in the commercial industry, and others focus on residential services; some cross over in both areas of expertise.
Randall explains, “We go to great lengths to make sure everyone we have is skilled at what they do. Whether it’s customer service, accounting or parts, we have well-trained, quality people in every area of the company.”
“There’s not much they can’t do,” says Randall of the service technicians. “They can look at a door and find out what’s wrong with it in a short period of time. They have an excellent track record of providing great service.”
Randall points out that, while the industry is known for high turnover, Garage Door Medics has team members who have been with the company for more than a decade. He attributes that to the company treating its employees the same way it treats its customers: fairly and with care and respect.
“I’ve had the opportunity to work for a lot of different companies, large and small, and I can tell you Garage Door Medics is unique,” says Randall. “Management goes to great lengths to make sure everyone is provided with the information and support to do their job to the best of their ability.”
Supporting their people means investing in job-specific training and education to help team members grow professionally, not just for the company but also for themselves. Garage Door Medics offers their customer service team one-on-one coaching with an external consultant and provides weekly training and safety discussions for their service professionals in the field. Because Garage Door Medics works with major brands and the latest technology, these meetings include coaching and product knowledge in addition to safety discussions.
“It’s not just words here, it’s actions,” says Randall. For a company that started out with bets on how long it would be before it went out of business, Garage Door Medics is still going strong 30 years later. George believes its longevity and success can be attributed to its focus on its mission and purpose, mapped out in its oath.
“Garage Door Medics has survived ups and downs in the industry and economy and is still here and solid today,” says Randall. “Treating customers and employees with respect and fairness truly pays off.”