By Cheryl Conway
At DTA Automotive in Budd Lake, customers can expect satisfaction, personal service and the “right way” to fix all of their vehicle’s imperfections.
Budd Lake resident Alex Roman, owner of DTA Automotive, takes great pride in his company, the customers he serves as well as the town in which he works and lives. The full service automotive repair shop has been in existence since 1990, with Rowan as owner since 2002.
He kept the name DTA as it stands for the original owners’ names, Demetrius, Trent and Anthony.
“I made a conscious decision to keep the name because of its good reputation,” says Roman.
At DTA Automotive, Roman provides full service auto repair to mostly BMW, Volkswagen and Audi vehicles, as well as some foreign cars, domestic and Japanese imports. He stuck with mostly European cars because of the challenge they bring.
“As technology and cars are getting more complicated, I needed to take a concentration,” says Roman, “so I chose European’s more technologically challenging” vehicles.
As an owner of his first BMW 12 years ago, Roman says “I wanted to make sure I knew the car” from “top to noise, top to bottom, inside and out.” He is on his fifth or sixth BMW now, he adds.
“I love the way they drive,” says Roman. “The firmness, the handling, they handle beautifully.”
With his degree in mechanical engineering from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, Roman has a handle on the major concepts utilized when dealing with vehicles, concepts such as physics, thermal dynamics, fluid dynamics and electrical current flow.
While his original plan was to work in mechanical engineering, his first internship deterred him from following in that path.
“I didn’t like sitting behind a computer and designing,” says Roman. At the age of 20, “I looked around thinking this is going to be my life sitting behind a computer?”
Roman’s passion for repairing cars was with him all along, he says.
“I went into automotive repair by accident to pay for my schooling during the summer,” explains Roman. “I liked taking cars apart and putting them together.”
When faced with a problem car, Roman says “I enjoy the challenge. I enjoy the satisfaction and resolving the problem. It’s ultimately rewarding to resolve people’s problems.”
As owner, Roman says he is “hands on” 30 percent of the time. “I diagnose the car. I assess the customer’s complaint,” by taking it for a ride and diagnosing what’s wrong. He then directs his mechanics on what needs to be done.
“I oversee and diagnose rather than put on the brakes,” he says.
At DTA Automotive, customers will receive repairs by the latest technology.
“In today’s shop, you have to have technology,” says Roman. “I try to keep up with the latest technology.” He recently purchased a $15,000 computer scan tool and also invested in a new thermal imaging camera. “I call it my newest toy.”
As far as specials, Roman steers away from them.
“Those are marketing gimmicks,” he says, as a way to get customers in the door. “No one is getting rich doing oil changes,” he says. “It’s a way of upselling something else. Fixing cars is expensive. There’s the cheap way then there’s the right way.”
He also appreciates the “good amount” of competition.
“Competition is good for everybody,” he says. “It gives consumers plenty of choices. You have to keep your customers happy because they do have choices. I do everything possible; I fight tooth and nail to make them satisfied and give them value for their money.”
Roman takes pride in keeping his customers happy. He says his average retention rate is 97 percent, meaning most of his customers do come back for future service. About 80 percent of his customers are local, and the remaining 20 percent travel to his shop for service.
“We offer a warranty on all work we do,” he adds, and tries to provide same day service. For delays in service, Roman does offer rental reimbursement.
What I can provide is “that personal service,” says Roman. Most have my cell number; they can call me if they’re broken down on the side of the road. I can answer their questions and I can make sure they can safely get home.”
As a businessman in town, Roman also strongly believes in giving back. He sponsors several recreation teams in town such as baseball, softball, basketball and football.
“You always want to give back to those who allow you to make a living,” says Roman.
Volunteering as an elected official is also his priority.
Roman is currently serving his third year term, or tenth year, on the Mt. Olive Township Council. He has also served on the Mt. Olive Twp. Zoning Board of Adjustment, is a liaison to the Mt. Olive Recreation Advisory Board and currently serves on the County College of Morris (CCM) Business Advisory Board.
“I cannot be more grateful for what Mt. Olive has given me,” says Roman. “It’s a great place to live; it’s a great place to have a business. I have a great clientele and customer base. Basically, I’m blessed.”
DTA Automotive is located on 46 west in Budd Lake. Appointment required. Hours are Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.