SAN ANSELMO – When asked what led him to a career in auto repair, Yann d’Argence says it all stemmed from a youthful curiosity…one that got him in trouble on occasion. “As a kid, I had an obsession with taking things apart and seeing how they worked,” he remembers. “As I got older, this became concentrated on the family car. One time, while I was messing with the engine, I accidentally dropped a washer down the carburetor and damaged the valve. My mom said, ‘You broke it, you fix it,’ so I ended up doing a valve job. At 15, I had no idea what I was doing—all I had was a manual. I was basically flying by the seat of my pants, but I got it done!”
Not long after, Yann got his first job working at an auto shop in his hometown of Mill Valley. Following high school, he earned his AA in Automotive Technology from College of Marin and landed a job at a large auto repair facility. Over the next 13 years, Yann would increase his skills not only on the service floor, but also at the front desk and in the office. “Working on cars came naturally to me, but the nuances of running a business did not,” he explains. “Working for that big shop gave me valuable experience with managing a business and working with customers, which came in handy when I opened my own facility years later.”
Today, 20 years after founding All Autos, Inc., Yann says his favorite part of his job is helping customers get back on the road. “It feels good to take care of a customer’s needs, especially when they’re under a lot of pressure. I have a really loyal customer base, so it’s very rewarding to be there for them when they need me.”
A lifetime resident of Marin County, Yann spends the bulk of his free time outdoors. “I’m an avid mountain biker, and I also enjoy water skiing, snow skiing and range shooting.” Additionally, Yann likes hanging out with his son, Max, who works as a technician at All Autos, and his daughter, Alexa, who works as an interior designer.
In regard to his professional career, Yann espouses the importance of providing solutions for his customers’ problems. “In addition to resolving issues in a timely and cost-effective manner, we aim to fix them correctly the first time,” he affirms. “If it’s not done right the first time, we bend over backward to get it right the second time. At the end of the day, it’s all about getting our customers back on the road and making them happy with our service.”
When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Yann says he’d hit the road. “I’ve traveled in Europe a lot, but I haven’t seen that much of the United States. I’d love to rent an RV and drive across the country. I’d see it all: The Grand Canyon, the Great Lakes, the Teton Range—you name it.”