Staying In the Auto Repair Industry

From the time he was a young boy, Charles “Chuck” Dilworth was racking up life experiences that would serve him when he became the owner of Cottman of Philadelphia, PA. He grew up around the automotive business: “My father owned a cab company,” says Chuck. That’s where he got his first taste of the auto repair industry.

After earning a degree in business and economics, he joined the Army. “I was a Captain in the transportation corps in Vietnam. I had to provide the vehicles for troop and material movement.”

After leaving the Army, Chuck got a job with Ford Motor Company as a district manager.

Later, as Ford began downsizing, he started looking for a new direction. “I wanted to stay in the auto repair industry, and I liked transmission repair because I understood it. So I started looking around for a good fit,” says Chuck.

“I’d heard a lot of good things about Cottman, so I researched it further. An opportunity came up to work with the franchise as an operator at one of their centers, so I got on board.”

He worked with the company until his current shop became available; he took over the Philadelphia center in January 1999. This placed a new demand on Chuck: dealing with retail customers.

“I’d worked with mechanics and parts sales people, but never with individual customers,” explains Chuck. “That’s where Cottman’s training came in. They offered terrific training and I picked it up real quickly.”

Local Transmission Service

Since opening, Chuck is proud of the relationships he and Cottman of Philadelphia, PA have built with their neighborhood. “The neighbors accept us; we’ve developed a great rapport with them.

Everyone in South Philly knows Cottman.

“We get involved with neighborhood activities, such as the Police Athletic League (PAL), and we’ve participated and donated to many religious events in the neighborhood.

“Last year, I gave away book bags to all the kids in the neighborhood; not just to the ones who had their cars repaired here. I try to make people comfortable with us,” Chuck continues.

“I’m sincere about wanting to help them with their problems. I feel an obligation to help customers as best I can. I have more than just a business relationship with my customers.”

“I put myself in their shoes. If someone’s transmission is down, he’s in a fix; I try to make the customer a little more comfortable going through the process, without being rigid or mechanical. We have his wellbeing in mind.”

It’s a terrific attitude for any shop owner, and it’s one that’s working well for Chuck and his staff at the Cottman of Philadelphia, PA center.

Chuck can be reached at