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All About Buddy's Mobile Mechanics, Inc.

We are not Mobile anymore! 

We are not Mobile anymore and we only work exclusively on Subarus.

Buddy started working on Subarus at Saab/Subaru Denver in 1973. In 1975 he moved to Leo Payne Subaru which was located in Lakewood. He worked at Leo Payne Subaru until 1979 when Mobile Mechanics was born. Mobile Mechanics serviced the metro/mountain area mobile from 1979 to 1996.

In 1994 Buddy purchased the shop and ended the mobile service in 1996. Buddy has worked exclusively on Subarus since 1973. We are conveniently located off 6th Ave., I-70 and C-470, between 2 light rail stations. We are approximately ¼ of a mile from (Denver West and Colorado Mills Shopping center) and in walking distance of a few good restaurants. Enterprise car rental is located 2 blocks away and has special rental rates for all our customers.

Mobile Mechanics has been a member of the Better Business Bureau for over 32 years.

 

The History of Mobile Mechanics

buddy new


This article appeared in the Canyon Courier on March 16th, 1988, Written by Eric Anderson

Good ol' Buddy, the Mobile Mechanic, crawls under a Subaru parked near Wilmot Elementary School to change an oil filter. He works on his patient, probing the engine with hospital-green rubber latex gloves, kind of like a surgeon. Unlike a surgeon, though, he makes house calls. Lots of house calls. Over and over, every day.

Buddy Richardson, 34, a small, bearded man with a nice smile, works on Subarus for a living. Where they are parked.  In snow. In sunshine. In cold winds, Even in the dark of night, like the mythical postman.

Buddy's Mobile Mechanic business is a boon and convenience to Subaru owners in the mountain area, where most of his customers live, but, boy, does it keep Buddy busy. He worked 12-hour days when he had a partner. Then the partner quit, unable to handle the constant work. That left Buddy alone, working up to 15 hours a day, often getting home at 10 or 10:30 at night, seven days a week. Week in, week out. Year after year after year. "With me it's just constant," he said while working in the Wilmot parking lot. "It wouldn't bother me if it slowed up, even for a short time, but it won't. He's so busy customers can expect a wait of one week to get service these days, but when he's really busy, when he's getting 75 calls asking for help each day, customers might wait two or three weeks before Buddy can get around to working on their car.

Does he work too hard? "That's what everyone says: You'll be the richest man in the graveyard.' "I've never really took time off since I started the business," he added. The business is Mobile Mechanic, and the business is Buddy. He does all the work, driving his large white truck around the metro Denver area working on Subarus. He's thought about hiring another mechanic, but said most wouldn't be willing to work long days every day, especially in the winter. And he's heard from other independent contractors, like painters and plumbers, who've advised him to keep the business small, to avoid hiring too many people.

"Even if I'm sick, I work," he said, crediting a vegetarian diet and working outside with keeping him healthy and strong. "The only time I won't work is when there is a big, huge snow. I've worked up here when it was 30 below, without the wind chill. "Each year I learn something," he said, about staying warm while working in the winter. Like the surgical-green gloves he wears, which he got from his dad, who is also a mechanic. "He saw me working with plastic bags on my hand," said Buddy. His dad, who used the gloves on his job, gave Buddy a pair, and now Buddy orders directly from the manufacturer. The gloves, which have a  spongy rubber surface, keep his hands warm, allow him dexterity and keep fluids from drying out his hands.

Another thing he picked up was a battered brown insulated pad to lie on while working under a car. A friend saw it alongside a freeway and gave it to him. There are holes here and there and the inside spills out in a couple places, but it's worked out well. Buddy has a new one being made for him.

Buddy averages between 30 - 50 phone calls a day on his answering machine from people requesting service. Dotty Eddy, whom he hired when his wife had a baby boy last fall, schedules from 10 to 13 jobs a day. "I do everything from oil changes to full engine swaps," he said, including tuneups, and valve adjustments and filter changes. The only mechanical thing he doesn't do is transmission work. He also carries everything with him, from tools and an engine lift to parts. Parts, parts and more parts. And oil. Lots of oil. He's got everything he needs in his truck.

A neat thing, and something Buddy appears proud of, is that his business is run on trust. Once scheduled, the customer leaves the car unlocked with the keys inside. Buddy comes along, does his work, then leaves the bill on the seat. "I've had some customers for eight years and I've never seen their face. They're just a voice on a phone. "If they (a customer) can't afford it, they make payments. I had one lady pay me $5 a month for three years." He charges no interest, and rarely comes across a deadbeat. "In the first four years, maybe two people didn't pay," said Buddy. "I think he has a really good rapport with his customers," said Eddy. "Most of his customers feel as if they are his only customer. He takes pride in his work, they like that he's honest. They trust him."

Said Fred Schreiber, a customer of five years, "He's incredibly honest. We're his greatest fans. "Everyone knows it's hard to find a mechanic you can trust, "said Schreiber, who lives in Evergreen. "Buddy is great. He knows my car and keeps up on it." Schreiber tells the story of how Buddy once missed something while working on Schreiber's car, but how Buddy was "in my driveway at 11 o'clock on Sunday night" making the needed adjustments. Schreiber learned of Buddy the way most people do - by word of mouth.

"Almost all my business is word of mouth," Buddy said. I've found the best business for me is if they just hear from a friend. "It's like networks. I do a bunch of teachers, a lot of nurses, doctors, a lot of professional people. It works out real good." Buddy has his name in the Yellow Pages, but only in case one of his customers can't find his phone number. "It's all repeat business," he said. "A lot of people are almost like friends. When we had our baby, I couldn't believe how many presents we got." He keeps a file on each customer, detailing what work has been done and thus is able to know what will be needed. People don't even worry about their cars anymore. They know if something is wrong, I'll look up their records and just do the job. They know I'll call if there's anything weird." Buddy said sometimes people will call and say they need a tuneup, but he'll check his record and "just change the oil."

"This whole business is neat for them," he said, mentioning that occasionally someone will check to make sure he's staying in the business so they can buy another Subaru and not have to worry about maintenance. Because Buddy, good ol' Buddy, will be around to do it. He lives in Lakewood, and only comes to Evergreen on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The rest of the time he services cars in the Denver area. "I do mostly people who live up here (in Evergreen) who work in Denver," he said. The business evolved, not so much because he thought he was filling a need, but because he didn't particularly enjoy working at dealerships. He wouldn't have even worked there had his mother had her way.

"Mom wanted me to be a dentist. I hated it. By ninth grade, cars were for me, dentistry was out." In high school shop classes, he came across a man who changed his life. "My mechanics teacher was a big influence on me. I always thought I might want to teach," he said, because of his teacher. After high school, he left his home on Long Island and took classes at the Denver Automotive School for a year before landing his first job at a dealership. His first mechanic job was in 1972 at a Saab/Subaru dealer in Denver, but he worked mainly on Subarus because he "hated" Saabs. He left for a Subaru-only dealer a year later and in 1975 he moved to Leo Payne Subaru in Englewood, where he stayed five years.

But Buddy never liked working for a dealer, since he thinks they aren't always honest with the car owner when it comes to service. "One thing I didn't like at dealers was what they told people. I just got tired of the politics of working at a dealership." He needed a new way to make a living. So with a partner, Buddy began servicing cars on weekends and after work. "I started doing this on the side, they found out and fired us," he said. "It was the best thing" that could have happened. Then he talked to a mechanic friend who had a mobile mechanic business. "I got the idea from a guy in New York," said Buddy. "I told my wife about it. She's the one who suggested I start doing this." Wife Sherrye got a list of people who owned Subarus in the area, wrote letters telling them of Buddy's talents, and started getting customers for him. "She did everything herself," he said, crediting her for getting the business off the ground. She also scheduled his appointments, until L.K., their child, was born last November.

And the business began.

"I like being my own boss, that's for sure," he said. He and the partner worked 12 hours a day, seven days a week for two years. Then the partner bowed out. Leaving only Buddy, good ol' Buddy, to service Subarus out of his truck. "I live in this truck," he said, noting it's had two engines, four transmissions, and "probably at least 130,000 miles." He drives about 75 miles a day, from County Line Road in the south to Aurora on the east to 120th Street in the north, as well as anywhere in Evergreen, which is where most his customers live.

"My prices are pretty cheap," he said. "I'm making money, (but) I don't have to get rich. It's a business." He doesn't charge by the hour, but by the job. On a 15,000-mile servicing, he charges $103, compared to a dealer who'll charge between $140 to $250, he said. An oil change, for which Buddy charges $18.80, would cost $75 to $125 at a dealer, he said.

"It just gets me," he added indignantly. Good ol' Buddy.