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I want to know CarMax's Proprietary Secrets


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I visited a CarMax today, wanting to see their shop floor.   About a year ago, they switched from epoxy flooring to polished concrete.    So, in speaking with the Shop Manager, I was told that he would not let me into their shop because it was filled with their proprietary secrets.   However, he was gracious enough to answer all of my questions regarding his year old flooring.    At the end, I asked if I could just peek in to see the floor without looking at the goodies and it was a firm no.    So, now, Inquiring Minds want to know.  "Show me what you got!"   I can't imagine anything in their shop that needs to be kept secret.   Anyone seen the goodies?

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6 hours ago, bantar said:

I visited a CarMax today, wanting to see their shop floor.   About a year ago, they switched from epoxy flooring to polished concrete.    So, in speaking with the Shop Manager, I was told that he would not let me into their shop because it was filled with their proprietary secrets.   However, he was gracious enough to answer all of my questions regarding his year old flooring.    At the end, I asked if I could just peek in to see the floor without looking at the goodies and it was a firm no.    So, now, Inquiring Minds want to know.  "Show me what you got!"   I can't imagine anything in their shop that needs to be kept secret.   Anyone seen the goodies?

I used to work in the service dept for Carmax. The absolute BEST company to work for. It's not just chance that they are thriving as they are today. Now as for the flooring, I never paid attention to that while I was there lol. You should work there part time as an inventory associate lol, you'd be let into the shop then haha

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Thanks, but ignore the floor.   He would have shown me the floor, but he was afraid that I'd see the shop layout.  He was alluding to the secret car repair techniques and procedures in their service shop.   That was my question.   If was sort of tongue-in-cheek as I doubt I would have learned anything new by looking inside his shop other than seeing his shop.    He made it sound like they've invented touchless repair procedures that needed to be kept locked in a vault along with the KFC recipe.

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1 minute ago, bantar said:

Thanks, but ignore the floor.   He would have shown me the floor, but he was afraid that I'd see the shop layout.  He was alluding to the secret car repair techniques and procedures in their service shop.   That was my question.   If was sort of tongue-in-cheek as I doubt I would have learned anything new by looking inside his shop other than seeing his shop.    He made it sound like they've invented touchless repair procedures that needed to be kept locked in a vault along with the KFC recipe.

yea, i dont remember anything needed to be kept secret. The only thing I can recall is that I wanted to show a customer the really in depth inspection sheet a tech goes through when getting a car in the shop. Wanted to make a copy but they were very adamant that  I could only show them and the copy MUST return to the shop. Never seen another copy since.

Layout is the same as other dealerships. You got a parts counter out back, 1 or 2 shop formans sitting in the back. They use their own computer system called ERO. Really good software 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Carmax figured out fast what most dealers already knew. Buying cars at auction is expensive with fees, competition, transportation, and the very real possibility that a shady dealer temporarily hid major problems. So they get customers to bring cars to them, mostly untampered with at prices below wholesale. It's a good business model. I didn't know they did retail service work. 

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I'm not sure if they are doing retail service work or not, but they have a dealer sized check in bay - about 18 cars.  I was there about 2 in the afternoon, and it was empty, but I saw about (I think they were) 6 service writers and a receptionist.   This might be the give me a buy price for my used car or a service area or both.   Most of the CarMax's around here are very large (large dealer sized), so the service check in seemed reasonable for the size.

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      It always amazes me when I hear about a technician who quits one repair shop to go work at another shop for less money. I know you have heard of this too, and you’ve probably asked yourself, “Can this be true? And Why?” The answer rests within the culture of the company. More specifically, the boss, manager, or a toxic work environment literally pushed the technician out the door.
      While money and benefits tend to attract people to a company, it won’t keep them there. When a technician begins to look over the fence for greener grass, that is usually a sign that something is wrong within the workplace. It also means that his or her heart is probably already gone. If the issue is not resolved, no amount of money will keep that technician for the long term. The heart is always the first to leave. The last thing that leaves is the technician’s toolbox.
      Shop owners: Focus more on employee retention than acquisition. This is not to say that you should not be constantly recruiting. You should. What it does means is that once you hire someone, your job isn’t over, that’s when it begins. Get to know your technicians. Build strong relationships. Have frequent one-on-ones. Engage in meaningful conversation. Find what truly motivates your technicians. You may be surprised that while money is a motivator, it’s usually not the prime motivator.
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