Have you ever been burned by a vendor? Maybe you paid for 2-day shipping and it took a week. What did you do about it? Today, we’d like to introduce you to a guy who did something extreme. He started his own company. Introducing JB Autosports, one of our official GBXM partners.
Most of us have had an experience where our expectations were not met by a vendor. When we do, we’re likely to share our frustration with friends and take our future business elsewhere. You went so far as starting your own business as a result! Can you go into detail on the transaction that finally drove you to launch JB Autosports? What happened?
The thing that really set things in motion was a transaction with a vendor that failed to meet my expectations. The team in which I race the LeMons series with was working on our race car with about 1 week left before the race. The time came that we needed a clutch after some testing, and so I sat down and ordered one with special shipping from UPS to help us hit a Friday delivery to install on a weekend and get the car loaded up and ready to go.
Friday comes, and nothing with UPS shows up at 10am. I chose UPS from their website specifically because of the time in which UPS delivers in my area – 10AM everyday, UPS arrives with ground, overnight, and 2nd day air shipments. Well, the clutch came by FedEx, which delivers ground shipments at 11am, and Next Day Air or 2 Day Air at 3pm. Our clutch was ordered UPS 2 Day, and showed up late Friday afternoon on FedEx.
Now you may say no big deal, the clutch still got there Friday. Well it is a big deal when the car is 45 minutes away and you leave at noon to work on the car because you assume it’s not coming UPS, and the vendor never sent you tracking or replied to your e-mails the day before asking for tracking.
So I go out and work on the car, grab a cheap clutch locally, and pray for the best. We get the clutch in the car and off the hoist, and my phone rings at 4:30. “Hey Fed Ex, just dropped off a box from ACT.” Smashing a phone would not have done justice at this point, lol. We just buttoned everything up on the car, and no way were we going to tear it all back apart until after the race anyway.
So long story short, I got the bug to start JB Autosports based on one thing, and one thing alone. Understanding a racers needs. If I would have gotten FedEx tracking from the vendor, I may not be where I am today with JB Autosports. It’s crazy now that I write this to think; that a simple tracking number is what it took for me to start this business.
Is JBA a solo venture or did you have some friends team up with you for the launch?
JBA was originally a solo venture. I worked for many months on all the background things to get it going. We’re talking almost a full 8 months of dedicated, design, testing, logos, etc. to get going. I had many friends step in and help with the name, logo suggestions, and encouragement, which one day I will repay.
Then one night while working I texted one of my best friends on what I was working on. One who I had lost touch with over the past year or so. We had talked over the years about doing something like JB Autosports but never did. He immediately responded with kind words and with the passion once shown towards the hobby, which I had not seen in a while from him. We made plans to meet and discuss this more and we made the decision to go 50/50 on JBA.
At the end of the day, there are two of us working at JBA (technically 3 now, we just hired our first real employee). KC and myself (Jeremy) are owners and Aaron is our newest addition here at JBA. I handle most of the technical, marketing, ordering and such as CEO. KC handles the relationships, technical questions, and more. Aaron is on top of the private message (PM)/forum front.
How is JB Autosports different from other online retailers?
We do our best to stand out with our service. We have been told time and time again we have the fastest response times to e-mails and forum PMs. We do our best to get back to someone in a few hours at most. We don’t always make that mark, but sure do try our best. We also will not sell someone a part just to make a dollar. There have been numerous times where I told someone wanting a Cobb AccessPORT to try an open ECU tune from their local tuner before they make the investment in such a serious piece of equipment. We put the customers needs first and help them pick the best solution – even if it doesn’t come from us.
That is how I would want to be treated so that is how we work.
What do you guys specialize in? Any particular platforms or pursuits?
We specialize in Mitsubishi, Subaru, Honda, and Acura right now. We are continuing to grow and, while we can get parts for any make or model, we excel at helping customers with those platforms at this time. We are currently working on acquiring a FRS/BRZ and plan to hit that platform very hard this year. We will be racing one starting mid-2012 sometime and continuing to grow with providing knowledge to customers in that area as well.
Speaking of racing, what kind of racing experience do you guys have?
Between the three of us we have 20+ years of experience. We all went through that unfortunate street racing phase and then grew into drag racing at the track. Now all of us do some form of road racing or autocross. Autocross is something I’m personally involved with throughout the year, along with NASA HPDEs (High Performance Driving Events), and LeMons/ChumpCar racing. We have been doing this style of racing for over 6 years now and really have a good understanding about what it takes to setup a car for these type of events and win.
Why are gearheads important?
I believe gearheads are important more than ever now. Vehicles have become appliances to 98% of the population. We need the gearheads to stand out and make sure cars that have souls continue to be produced. We still have plenty of good options today, but someday, without continued support for true sports cars, those choices may no longer be around.
You don’t need to spend a dime on your car, but if you buy a new FRS/BRZ, 370Z, Evo, S2000, Mustang, Miata, and etc… please do not go “hellaflush” or “stance” it out. USE the car in stock form or in modified form like it was engineered to be used. DRIVING that puts a smile on your face!
We hope you’ve enjoyed learning the backstory on JB Autosports. They are Official Partners because they are just as dedicated to helping you build high performance machines & lives as we are here at Gearbox Magazine. We’re going to start tracking down KC and Aaron to get their stories so you know who you’re dealing with when you deal with JB Autosports. In the meantime, do us a favor and give them a quick visit. You can even see a listing of the specific races they’ve entered and how they did on their about page.
And, just in case you think we’ll make anyone a partner who flashes a little cash in our faces, we hope you’ll find these customer testimonials prove otherwise. Gearbox Magazine Official Partners will ALWAYS be above board. We’re staking our reputation on it!
If you have specific questions you’d like us to ask next time we meet with Jeremy, KC, and Aaron, please leave them in the comments below. Until then, keep going fast with class and press on regardless.