Putting an entrepreneur in the express lane to success
Miguel “Mike” Saavedra’s passion for cars comes from a childhood spent “wrenching” with his stepdad in the garage. Growing up in Los Angeles, Saavedra faced the misconception that as a Latino, he’d never rise above the station of laborer.
“That was a problem for me,” says Saavedra. “I didn’t want to work for anyone else and accept that status quo. Instead at 25 years old, I decided to go into business for myself, work hard, and I haven’t looked back since.”
Looking for a better future for their boys, Saavedra and his wife, Patty, moved to Franklin 11 years ago, where they found an old garage. “It was probably the last building in Franklin with a gravel lot and lead paint,” says Saavedra. “But we had a vision for it.”
Stepping inside Fender Bender is a unique experience that takes you back in time; with antique metal signs and nostalgic touches, it’s easy to forget you’re in a body shop. Plus, their new business model is popular with clients. Their Franklin location now serves as a drive-through storefront with an express lane for estimates, while the South Nashville shop is where all the mechanic magic is done.
“The national auto repair chains launched these pristine, modern storefronts, and we have to compete with that,” says Saavedra. “As a small business owner, you have to think outside the box, so we’ve created this unique and unforgettable brand that’s focused on a positive client experience.”
When it came time to expand their business and open a second location in South Nashville, Saavedra’s accountant sent him to Pathway Lending. “It’s been pain-free, stressfree and worry-free,” says Saavedra. “Their team knows business.”
Since working with Pathway Lending, Saavedra has added two new bays to their Nashville shop, completely remodeled the Franklin shop, found new ways to minimize expenses to maximize profits, and increased his focus on developing employees by launching a technician training center.
“I’m trying to be a good steward of everything God has given us,” says Saavedra. With three kids, six employees, two locations, hundreds of customers, and growth on the horizon, Saavedra is well suited to that stewardship role.
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