Tommy Ngai: Exclusive Expertise
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
REDWOOD CITY — Few automotive professionals can boast equal expertise in mechanical and body work, but that’s precisely Tommy Ngai’s claim to fame. It all began with an early introduction to the field. “I’ve been working on cars since I was 12 or 13 years old,” he recounts. “Growing up on a farm, my first encounters with auto repair work consisted of fixing tractors. My brother-in-law owned a gas station that had a little repair shop, and I went to work for him as soon as I was old enough.”
During subsequent years, Tommy worked at Honda and Subaru dealerships before opening his own repair shop in 2012. “I had a dream to make an all-in-one auto repair and body facility,” he says. “Eventually, I moved from my 1,800-square-foot shop to an almost 18,000-square-foot shop, which gave me plenty of room to handle both mechanical and body repair work.”
Today, as owner of Exclusive Auto Care and Auto Body, Tommy says his favorite part of his job is serving his customers. “An important part of owning an auto shop is building clientele. When I was working at the dealerships, I had customers who would ask for me specifically when they brought in their cars. Some of those customers followed me when I left to start my own shop, and I’ve since added more. It feels good to have loyal clients who trust me to take care of their vehicles.”
A resident of Daly City, Tommy likes to stay active when he isn’t working. “I don’t think I ever relax—I’m a 24/7 kind of person,” he affirms. “My business takes up most of my time, but when I’m not working, I enjoy cooking and entertaining at my home. I also like going to restaurants in the city and watching basketball, football, and baseball.”
In regard to a career philosophy, Tommy espouses the importance of customer satisfaction. “Return customers are the lifeblood of any automotive business, so it’s really important to me that everyone leaves here satisfied. I always do my best to advise my customers, steer them in the right direction and make them feel that they got their money’s worth. I don’t want anyone leaving my shop unhappy—besides being bad for business, it just doesn’t feel good. I want to sleep well at night knowing my clients are happy with the service and value I provided.”
When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Tommy says he’d take a vacation. “I haven’t traveled much in recent years due to being busy with work, so I’d probably make up for lost time and do some traveling. I’ve always wanted to go to Germany for Oktoberfest—that’s on my bucket list, so I’d probably do that first thing.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Niku Steakhouse in San Francisco.
Q: What are your favorite sports teams?
A: The Golden State Warriors, the Oakland A’s and the Oakland Raiders.
Q: Are you an early bird or a night owl?
A: Both. I always say sleep is a waste of time.
Q: What was your first car?
A: A 1984 Ford EXP Turbo. Most people haven’t heard of it. It was like a Ford Escort but a two-seater.
Q: What’s your dream car?
A: Any model of Ferrari.
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