A few days before Christmas, Robin Deubner heard something weird buzzing by her office at CarShield’s St. Peters headquarters.
It was a drone. “A little tiny one about the size of your palm,” said Deubner, the company’s event planner. “The company had a little contest going on in the customer services department and if you got a certain customer review, you could pick a prize from under the Christmas tree.”
The contest is just one of dozens of ways Deubner said CarShield, which sells vehicle service repair protection and reported $146 million in revenue last year, engages with its employees.
“What we strive for each and every day is to create an environment that people want to come to work — not just have to,” said owner Mark Travis. “If we feel something in the office is getting stale, we’ll throw some type of curveball with the employees.”
Travis said on days it’s nice outside, company employees enjoy playing a pickup game of basketball on a court on CarShield’s four-building campus in St. Peters. “Or just little things like a Wiffle Ball tournament,” he said. “Not like we’re going into the office to say, ‘Stop what you’re doing and come outside.’ We just get a small group together outside and usually more people come and join.”
CarShield, according to its website, has covered 500,000 vehicles since being founded in 2005. The company has nearly doubled its top line over the last five years, from $80 million in 2013 to a projected $160 million this year. During that time, CarShield has also grown from about 150 employees to more than 350 — all on the St. Peters campus.
Deubner said the management team seems to personally take an interest in each and every employee.
“I feel like they really care about their employees and their families,” she said. “I’ve had a couple of major health issues in the past five years. I had some (chemotherapy) and radiation treatments and missed some time, and they were incredibly supportive of the time I needed to get healthy.”
Deubner said management has set up GoFundMe accounts to help pay for costs for other employees with health issues. “There’s even one girl here who needed surgery for her dog but couldn’t pay for it and one of the owners’ wives paid for the surgery,” Deubner said.
Travis said a happy employee starts first and foremost with compensation. “And we always strive to have the leading compensation package in the industry,” he said.
Other incentive packages tied to performance also help keep employees happy.
The company supports an annual trip to Chicago for qualified employees to take in a baseball game between rivals St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs. Roughly 100 CarShield employees made the trip last season.
“Employees get a free hotel room and a ticket to the ballgame as well as dinners out during that weekend, and it’s all paid for by the company,” Deubner said.
CarShield brings in Valenti’s Market and Catering from St. Peters for lunch each Monday. And not a month goes by when the company doesn’t take some portion of its employees out for dinner with their families.
The company also supports nearby charities, sponsoring local March of Dimes walks and acting as the lead sponsor of this year’s St. Louis Moolah Shrine Circus.