When Roger Jobs first started as an entry-level car salesman, few could have guessed he would rise to own one of the top Porsche, Audi and Volkswagen dealerships in the country. Yet, that’s exactly what this gifted entrepreneur did – and he had a lot of fun along the way.
Born and raised in Seattle, Jobs attended the University of Washington before serving in-country in the U.S. Airforce during the Vietnam War. Afterward, he attended Highline Community College and returned to the University of Washington. He was interested in pre-med but dropped out to pursue other passions. “Like Bill Gates did at the University of Washington, I didn’t graduate,” Jobs says with a laugh.
Young Jobs found employment as a car salesman in Everett with Humphry Volkswagen Porsche Audi, selling the same brands he does over three decades later. “I needed a job,” he says.
Jobs thinks the decision was inspired not just by need, but also by his positive memories of new cars. As a child, Jobs’ father purchased a new car every year. He and his family enjoyed the shiny new vehicles. “He didn’t come from a wealthy family,” Jobs recalls of his father, “but he would go in and negotiate a really good deal. Then he would sell it again within the year for a really close price to what he got it for. He was sort of a car guy and, whether I knew it or not at the time, it piqued my interest in the car business.”
Roger Jobs purchased his first sports car in 1972 – a Triumph TR6. His passion for sports cars led him to amateur racing. From 1972 to 1980, Jobs spent his spare time on the track, competing in races around the Pacific Northwest from Seattle to Portland, to the Mission Raceway in Canada. He loved every minute of it – and he was good, too. He was the Pacific Northwest Stock Champion in 1976. “This was the most competitive because everybody had to drive an equal car,” he says.
According to Jobs, “Racing is a bit like golf.” Each track is unique and offers a different experience. “It’s always the challenge of doing your best,” he says. Also, much like golf, amateur racing is a passion sport and Jobs’ passion was undeniable.
In the late 1970s, the cost of racing began to accelerate as quickly as the vehicles themselves, tripling in just five years due to high inflation and other factors. “The reward was the enjoyment of it and your accomplishment as a driver,” Jobs says, “but economically it was very expensive. I think when tires got to be $100 apiece, I didn’t need to go to the track anymore.”
His love for racing was far from over, however. Just a few years ago, Jobs went to the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in Le Mans, France.
Throughout, Jobs continued to sell cars. He enjoyed interacting with a variety of people and helping them find the vehicle they needed. “It’s a people business,” he says.
Jobs still works with customers who have been buying cars from him since the ’70s. His gift for helping people allowed him to grow from sales to management. In 1985, he purchased a small A-frame chalet on Samish Way; a one-car showroom with a lot and 12 employees.
From there, Jobs continued to build his business, moving to his current Iowa Street location in 2001 and constructing a new building four years ago. Today they’ve been in business for 32 years – a remarkable feat for any industry – and have 64 employees. Several of his original employees stayed with the company, a few recently retiring and one still employed. “We have good longevity of employees,” Jobs says. “There’s not a lot of turnover. We try to make it as easy to work here as it is to buy a car here.”
Roger credits the company’s longevity to strong customer service and a top-notch team. “Everyone that works here is an integral part of the whole delivery and service process, from the porters washing cars to the car detailers,” he says. “You have to pay attention and touch all the bases every time.”
He also credits his success to the local community. “It’s been great to have community support since we first started,” he says.
And Jobs loves giving back to that community. When Roger Jobs Motors moved into its current building, they vacated a modular home office. Jobs saw potential. “I didn’t want a good building to go to waste if it was possible to use it,” he says.
He donated the building to Habitat for Humanity, along with an in-kind donation for relocating it. Habitat converted the house into a home on Kendall’s Poppy Lane for a family who lost theirs to a fire. The donation was life-changing for the new owner and his seven children.
Roger Jobs Motors also supports nearly 50 local charities through annual auction donations. The most popular item is a three-day Porsche for the Weekend, which non-profits often combine with hotel packages. “It’s a big revenue generator for them to be able to do that,” Jobs says. “It’s in the thousands of dollars.”
Roger Jobs has led a fascinating life full of adventure. From military service to car racing, he has been unafraid to take risks and try new things. Throughout, he built a thriving local business which, well, let’s just say they’ve come a long way since the A-Frame.