21 Year Old Opens Car Audio Shop and Kills It

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Elevate Audio-Nate car audio shop

Adrian Avila, 21 and Nate Treirweiler,32, opened their car audio shop last year with a folding chair and desk as the only furniture. They didn’t own a laptop so sales were recorded on a pad.  The walls were bare and the bay held only a table and tool box.

But that didn’t stop Adria, a gifted salesman, from giving every customer a tour of the shop, pointing out how clean it was and how good the lighting was. “We would talk about how well lit the garage was, when we had nothing to do with it, that’s just how it’s lit,” said Avila.

Ten months later, Elevate Audio, Indiana is already profitable and will bring in six figures in sales this year. But it’s not your usual shop.

There’s no inventory.  There’s only one display and it has only one radio, so the shop can demonstrate how Maestro RR lets you access tire pressure, climate controls, etc.  If you want a demo, there are the owner’s cars.

Elevate Audio displays no brands, and brands are barely mentioned. “I don’t talk about the product; a lot of times they don’t know what they are getting,” said Avila of his customers.

So while the rest of the world is fighting Amazon and showrooming, Elevate Audio’s prices are four times as high as the old time shop around the corner, claims Avila.

Elevate Audio owners
Elevate Audio owners Nate Treirweiler (right) and Adrian Avila at Spring KnowledgeFest 2017

When a customer places an order he puts down a 50 percent deposit and that goes towards the inventory.

Gross profit for the store is 62 to 64 percent and Elevate just set a new goal to bring that up to 70 percent.

In March the shop had 41 customers, 46 came through the door–the store has a 92 percent closing rate.

On the phone, there’s no mention of price. “You answer their questions by following up with a question.” If that sound like training by Del Ellis, yes the shop began working with Ellis 5 weeks ago, although Avila says he’s been using professional sales techniques from the start.

Avila met Treirweiler at ABC Warehouse where they both worked; Trierweiller, as an installer. At ABC, Avila took charge of a sales team for a store that ranked 12th in sales out of 45 locations.  When he left, the store was ranked 5th.

The shop has been buying through distribution although it’s starting the process of working direct with suppliers. Some of the brands it uses are JL Audio and Hybrid Audio.

Most of its installs create a front stage system with one set of high quality speakers, an amplifier and acoustic treatment. Sometimes they add a subwoofer and a DSP.  The shop also sells remote starts, LED lights and radar detectors.  “I use SoundSkins and Fast Rings on every single pair of speakers. We do not install speakers without acoustic treatment,” said Avila.

Don’t some customers object?  Again, it’s all about salesmanship, he says.  “The acoustic treatment makes a better environment for the speakers. It reduces road noise, it’s going to give the customer more bass,” he tells customers.

“Most customers come in and want to do all four speakers. So we show them the advantages of just having one good pair of front speakers with proper amplification. So instead of spending all the money on mediocre speakers and wire and no acoustic treatment, we show the advantages of taking the high road with one pair of speakers.  It’s typically way more clear and a lot of times, even louder,” Avila said.

Every single radio sale is accompanied by a back up camera sale, he claims.

Shop hours are 10 to 6 and 10 to 4 on Friday.  Saturday hours are 11 to 3 but there’s no installation on Saturday, only sales, because most suppliers’ tech support facilities are closed.  Avila goes home to a 6 month old son and a 2 year old daughter and he’s about to marry his fiancé. He’s promised his fiance if he gets to working 10 hours a day, he’ll hire an assistant.  After his family goes to sleep he studies YouTube videos on salesmanship and marketing.

By the way, the shop is located in an industrial area behind another building so it’s not viewable from the street. Often,  “people have to call us to find it,” said Avila.

So how does the shop pull it off?  “Salesmanship is the heart of me and Nate’s heart is installs. He doesn’t want to talk to customers, he just wants to be buried in a car and do some cool work.   And all I want to do is run my mouth all day and be in front of people. I want to come in and have fun, meet some new people and make some money,” Avila said.”We wake up every morning happy and ready to come to work and do a better job than we did the day before.”

Top Photo: Adrian Avila of Elevate Audio






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  1. good Job,
    I ran my shop the same way over the years. Now I am semi retired and still help potential customers the same way.

    Derrell Jones reviewed Auto Sound & Alarms — 4 star
    September 6, 2016 ·
    I Don’t Live In The Same State But Wow I Really Got The Best Help
    Auto Sound & Alarms

    Auto Sound & Alarms
    Jay did you try and do what I advised you?

    Derrell Jones
    Yes it help me thank you
    Like · Reply · September 6, 2016 at 2:49pm

  2. Never Let a customer go home unhappy.
    Even if it cost you money to make it right its worth it.
    If someone stops by and says his radio stopped working even if he’s never bought somthing for you,
    or will ever buy somthing, if its just a fuse replace the fuse, tell him thank you for stopping by and send him on his way home free of charge.
    He will tell everyone how nice your shop was and you fixed his problem when no one else would. And then you will not know what to do with the overflow of customers you start getting. Its called Word of mouth advertising and its the best Advertising you’ll ever do.

  3. What an inspiration, great story. All it takes is a vision and will power to execute that vision to its fullest. Keep that passion alive always !!

  4. What a great story. The American dream is still alive. You could change the names and turn the clock back 30 years and this story hits home. We are still here. We used to work Saturdays too. We have changed that to Monday thru Friday so all of us “kids” of years ago, can spend time at home with our own kids on the weekend. Show a great product and service, and they will come.

  5. I also opened my store at the age of 21. That was in November of 2000. Almost 17 years ago! I’ve seen car audio trends change, survived a recession, and worked with over 30 different employees over that time span. The one thing that has kept me going is my passion for the industry and good old fashion hard work. You can absolutely make a decent living working 8 hours a day. But I’ve found that I’m most successful and profitable when I work more like 12 hours a day 5 days a week and then save the weekends for my family. Best of luck to these guys! I’m routing for ya!

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