I currently employ a mechanic and friend who has been with me for about 20 years. He was formerly a transmission rebuilder, but we have switched to mostly reman units and have no need for a rebuilder. His pay has remained the same despite his value declining. I am currently paying him roughly $100,000 a year. The problem i'm having is that his skill set is not near that pay level anymore. He does light diagnostic and basic managerial work, but I am not confident enough for him to run the shop for more than an hour. With the current state of the industry our numbers have gone down a bit over the last two years. While still being profitable, I can't help but think about the extra income that would be available by terminating this employee, I just dont know how to do it. Any advice on how to do this? I like him as a person and have known him a very long time, but I feel his is paid about twice as much as he is worth. Any help wouldbe greatly appreciated.
We've created this section here for you to post your shop website. This is a great way to get some feedback and suggestions from your peers.
Please post relevant automotive shop websites only. Any posts including non automotive shop websites will be moderated and removed.
By Elite Worldwide Inc.
All successful companies need a leader that has a vision of the future, clearly defined long-term goals and a deep appreciation for people. These leaders also need the ability to bring out the best in others, have a deep-rooted commitment to ethics, and be able to withstand the challenges of leadership. When it comes to small businesses, even the best leaders often have difficulty finding others in their organization that are not only capable of becoming a successor, but that can also effectively lead others. I realize that there are countless books that have been written on developing leaders within, and the amount of information available on the web really is endless. Accordingly, I felt I could best help you by distilling this subject down to a step-by-step guide to creating leaders within your company.
Step #1. Communicate your values, mission and culture early and often - Individuals in leadership positions must realize that others will most willingly follow when they feel the leader shares their values. By having a deep commitment to ethics, by never putting money ahead of people, and by creating a culture that others want to be a part of, people will have a natural propensity to not only follow you, but emulate you as well. These are the principles of leadership that can’t be faked, or only applied when the time is right, because people will inevitably be able to tell if you aren’t genuine.
You may want to consider what we do at Elite, and have all new hires memorize your Mission Statement as soon as they come aboard. This will help them achieve a deeper relationship with your values. Then throughout their tenure with your company, make sure that you continually reinforce those values and the things that are most important to your brand. For example, since ethics are important to our culture at Elite, we provide every new employee with a copy of Ethics 101 by John Maxwell, and they are asked to share what they feel are the most important takeaways. Reinforcing your shop’s culture early and often will help ensure that you have buy-in from everyone that works with you.
Step #2. Start with the Right People - Regardless of how good your leadership skills may be, in order to create leaders within your business you need to start with people that have the right attitude, the aptitude to grow within your organization (or into the position), and the right ethics. Bear in mind that regardless of whether or not you are looking to fill a specific leadership role in management, each and every one of your employees will take on a leadership role to some degree. This is why you need to consider two different leadership paths; One for the individuals who will be assuming greater management/business leadership roles, and one for those who will less directly serve as role models for others.
Step #3. Identify the Candidates for Leadership Roles in Management Positions – In identifying the right candidates, you will need to ensure you are confident that they have the capacity to grow into the leadership position you are looking to fill. You will also need to assess their natural talent for engaging and dealing with people (including the management of others), their temperament, their ability to operate under pressure, and their ability to inspire others. These are all personality characteristics (not skills), so you will need to carefully evaluate not only the candidate’s strengths, but equally as important, any noteworthy weaknesses. In making your decisions, you may also want to consider having the candidates undergo professional assessments that are available through organizations like the Berke Group.
Step #4. Create a Path to Leadership – Once someone has been identified as a good candidate for a leadership role in management, you will need to provide them with them a list of the skills they will need to develop, a timeline for their completion, and the method you will use to judge their knowledge and ability to apply what they’ve learned. You will also need to have a clear understanding with the candidate regarding what will occur if for whatever reason either of you feel it is inappropriate to continue moving forward.
When it comes to the skills they will need, first and foremost, they will need to develop (or further develop) their people skills. One of the best ways of accomplishing this goal is by asking them to read How to Win Friend and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. I would strongly encourage you to have them read one section at a time, and then provide you with an oral report. During their reporting session they should tell you what they have learned, how they will apply it to their personal life, and how they will apply it to their role in your company. Always be sure to ask for their reasoning as well. This exercise will help you better understand how your employees process information, and will give you valuable insights into how they view their roles.
This learning path should help the candidate understand the value of having goals in place, the goal setting process you use, your key performance indicators, your financial statements (when applicable), how to effectively manage their time, and how to delegate. You will find John Maxwell has written many extraordinary books on a number of these subjects, which can be valuable tools for you.
Lastly, they will need to learn how to effectively manage your single greatest asset: the people that you employ. Although there are many books that have been published on managing people, I believe that the all-time best is The One-Minute Manager series by Kenneth Blanchard.
Step #5. Application of Leadership Skills – As you are developing your business management leader, you will need to provide them with opportunities along the way to practice what they have learned. Although there are many strategies available, here is a simple one that you can use: Start by having the management leader-in-training create a simple 3-5 page mini-business plan for any part of your business. For example, it could be for driving up sales, controlling costs, or bringing in more new customers. The plan needs to include the goals (ideally relative to your KPI’s), the strategy that will be used, the opportunities and the potential risks.
Additionally, they should be put in a position where they can take on a leadership role in your team meetings, and begin handling employee issues that are relative to the role they will be filling.
While creating leaders is by no means an easy task, I hope that you find these 5 steps helpful in building a company comprised of leaders that not only embrace your shop’s mission and values, but that serve as role models for every life they touch.
Since 1990, Bob Cooper has been the president of Elite (www.EliteWorldwide.com), a company that strives to help shop owners reach their goals and live happier lives, while elevating the industry at the same time. The company offers the industry’s #1 peer group of 90 successful shop owners, training and coaching from top shop owners, service advisor training, along with online and in-class sales, marketing and shop management courses. You can contact Elite at [email protected], or by calling 800-204-3548.
View full article
By Hands On
Had a Chevrolet Cobalt show up at my shop today. The kid called for a quick no start diagnostic. He thought it might be a camshaft position sensor. I sent my tech out to look at it and he comes back in to ask if I am joking. The Fuel injector rail is out and resting on the valve cover. The super charger is removed two of the intake manifold bolts are missing, one is spaced out with random washers. The kid mentioned none of this dropping it off. He will not answer his phone or texts.
By J.P. GLENN
Anyone using alignment stands on a 2 post lift? How are they for daily use?
I have a smaller shop with 2 techs and 3 bays, We have 2 lifts and 1 small "flat" bay. We are Japanese specialty shop that is growing and we were planning to add a new lift to the flat bay. The bay is not deep enough for a true 4 post alignment lift, so I was planning to purchase a new 2 post lift and add stands with an alignment machine in the near future. In searching for the right lift to be used with stands, I was just offered a used 2 post Hunter alignment rack that would fit in the bay for the same price as the 2 post with stands... and that really got me thinking...
We do an average of 25 cars a week on 2 makes and we are adding 3 more early this year (thus the need for another lift). We just started doing tires this past year and only sublet alignments when they are absolutely necessary. Our situation is pushing us towards needing an alignment machine in house, but we could use another lift for "over flow" just a much.
Knowing that we will be doing alignments out of necessity in the near future, I am leaning towards having a dedicated alignment lift. My questions are:
1. Does anyone regret purchasing their stands over an actual alignment lift?
2. Does anyone do "other" work on their alignment lift?
3. And how many alignments should I really expect?
If space were a major issue, what would you do?
(Drive-on alignment lift -OR- 2 post lift with alignment stands?)
Similar Tagged Content
By Joe Marconi
Most of you probably already know what I am about to say: The Service Advisor position is the most crucial position in the shop. I know, I know, what about the mechanical work done by the techs? Well, that's important too, of course.
For the most part, customers spend their hard-earned money and most of time don't really know or see what was done to their car. Let's face it, the customer can't see the water pump or T-belt. And most of the time, the customer does not feel any difference with the car as they drive out of your parking lot.
What the customer does see (or experience) is how she was treated. And that makes all the difference in the world.
Plus, great service advisors also motivate the technicians, because great advisors are also great leaders of people.
Think about this...Six months from now, your customer will not remember the fuel injection relay or the mass air sensor that was replaced....but she WILL remember how she was treated.
And trust me, that OE-quality fuel injection relay install by a certified A-level Master tech using Snap On tools and a Launch Scanner IS NOT the reason WHY your customers return to you....She returns because of the level of service your provide.
By Joe Marconi
I know it's not going to be Back to School as usual this year, but there will be increased traffic on the road as more people perform school-related errands. It's your obligation to your customers and the community to make sure the roads are safe.
Many people have neglected their cars the past few months, making a lot of opportunity for your shop.
Get your Fall/Back to School marketing plan in place today!
Want to share ideas? Even Better!
By Joe Marconi
As part of our debt reduction, I revamped all of our usual marketing and advertising and put those dollars into customer service and social media. For example, we ramped up our shuttle pickup and delivery service, extended our hours of service, made sure we spend a lot of time with each customer and made sure we called as many customers as possible. We also stepped up our meet and greet process and made sure will followed up with customer after the repair. Lastly, we increased our social media posts and increases ads and boosting. This has made a huge impact on our customer and already starting to pay dividends.
What changes have you made to your marketing strategy since the Virus Crisis hit?
Here's 14 Secrets that virtually guarantee car count - in ANY Economy!
Hope this helps!
"The Car Count Fixer"
By Joe Marconi
Got your attention? Good!
Take it from me, a shop owner for 40 years; before you invest a dime on advertising, get your internal marketing in order....in other words...get your house in order.
No amount of advertising or marketing means more than what you do each and every day. And that is creating an amazing customer experience that gives your customers a compelling reason to return.
Make sure that each customer contact point creates a positive experience. The phone call, the drive up to your shop, the parking lot, the customer write-up, the upsell, the car delivery and every other point of contact with the customer.
These things I speak of means more than any money you spend on advertising. So, before you spend that dime, get your house in order. And remember, everyone in your shop is an important part of your marketing strategy!