For more than 30 years, Wilfred Parker built up a solid reputation locally and internationally as one of the best auto body technicians Bermuda had to offer. Still, one area he needed assistance with was the administrative side of running his business, Parker’s Auto World Ltd. In October 2009, his daughter, Felica DeRoza stepped in to lend a hand.
Together the father-daughter duo have been able to work closely to ensure Mr. Parker’s legacy, of providing quality auto repair services at an affordable price, stays alive. “I came on board as co-owner roughly nine months after stepping in to help with office work at the garage,” Ms DeRoza explained. “Once we made the decision to partner, we had to sit down and discuss what my new role would be, how we would navigate the father daughter dynamic and also gain the respect of the staff and clients. I would no longer be ‘just the secretary’, and I think for a lot people, even now, I’ve had to earn their trust seeing that I’m a young lady in a male dominated industry.”
In a bid to be taken seriously, Ms DeRoza became certified in estimation and collision repairs. Now when her dad isn’t at the office, she’s able to answer clients’ questions confidently and address their needs on her own. She’s also taken several entrepreneurial courses, offered through Bermuda College and the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation (BEDC), to add to her knowledge toolbox.
She said: “What I’ve found is a lot of times entrepreneurs work in the business, but we don’t work hard enough on the business. So while we may know the day to day operations of what’s going on, we neglect to dedicate enough time to the back end and administrative tasks. Those things are overlooked; however, those are the anchor for your business and are what will ensure you’re around for years to come.”
Over the past nine years, Ms DeRoza has learnt a lot of valuable lessons – such as how to account for every penny that comes into Parker’s Auto World and not to overlook the weaknesses of the business, facing them head on instead, so the company can become better and stronger. While there are ups and downs that come with being an entrepreneur, they both say working together has been extremely rewarding.
“Acting as a team definitely makes us stronger,” Mr Parker said. “Often times, if I miss something she’s able to pick up on it and vice versa if she overlooks something. Using the combination of our strengths and skills has been extremely important to growing and thriving the business.”
Ms DeRoza admits that much of her childhood was spent at the Bermuda Motors garage, where her father worked for over three decades. She spent time after school and on weekends watching him in his element and asking questions along the way. “I’ve been around cars nearly all my life, so I’m not surprised that I’m working alongside my dad now,” she confessed. “One of the best things about working with family is that if you have a great relationship before working together it’s a huge benefit. There are times when you may not agree or see eye to eye, but you know how to communicate and work things out.”
This article was presented by the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation.