C & C Used Auto Parts
Roy Murphy has always enjoyed working on vehicles. So when an opportunity to work in the auto industry presented itself, the former auditor for the U.S. Department of Energy took a chance and purchased an auto recycling facility in Oklahoma City, Okla.
"I bought the yard in 1980 and there really wasn't anything here," he explained. "Maybe, there were six cars."
But it was enough to get started in the business, and Murphy quickly transformed an acre of land into C & C Used Auto Parts (CAndCUsedAutoParts.com). At first, the company specialized in Chrysler products, but there was soon a demand for additional makes and models.
"As computers came into operation, and then the Internet, we were getting requests for a variety of parts," Murphy said. "So we expanded our line to cover all makes and models from about 10 years old to the present."
As the auto recycling business grew, C & C Used Auto Parts outgrew its acre. Murphy decided to purchase land next to the original acre in 1997. He built a 37,500-square-foot warehouse with 14-foot walls. The building stores 210 vehicles; another 200 are outdoors on the lot.
"The indoor storage is something that really differentiates our business," admitted Murphy. "There's no worry about weather damage to the parts. They stay newer for longer as a result."
Murphy also said the building has a decent-sized waiting area for customers, who consist of an even mix of wholesale and retail / walk-in clients.
"We want to make it comfortable for customers to sit while we pull the part," he added. "Many of our walk-in customers are mechanics who work on their [personal] vehicles. One of the most enjoyable parts of my job is helping them solve their problems, whether it's supplying a part or suggesting an approach. Customers also are much more knowledgeable about pricing. They research parts on the Internet and most of the time they know what you have and what it costs before they call or come in."
C & C Used Auto Parts also stocks a few small, aftermarket parts, like window regulators. It shares a full service garage with a sister company - M & M Auto Repair - for customer repairs and installations.
If a part isn't in stock, the company policy is to locate it for the customer through various networks such as Car-Part.com and Hotlines, Inc. Parts carry a standard 90-day warranty and ships throughout the United States. Customers who live within the four states surrounding Oklahoma - Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas and Texas - may qualify for local delivery.
Murphy uses a variety of methods to spread the word about the business. He attends industry trade shows as often as possible. He and staff distribute hats, T-shirts and pens; send out regular mailings, and run advertisements in business directories - locally and on the Internet. But, a lot of business is attributed to C & C Used Auto Parts' reputation. The company relies on a substantial amount of word-of mouth advertising and a solid repeat customer base.
In years to come, Murphy said he wants to continue to provide quality products, make his customers happy and roll with the punches as the auto recycling industry continues to evolve.
"Auto recycling has changed quite a bit in 30 years," Murphy reflected. "In the early 1980s, you could buy a current-year vehicle that was totaled for $400 to $500, on average. Today that same kind of vehicle averages $2,500 to $3,000."
Owners: Roy Murphy
Location: Oklahoma City, Okla.
Years In Business: 30