Quantcast
Jump to content


Old Sarge --- My traditional Veterans Day story.... Semper Fi


Gonzo

Recommended Posts

Old Sarge
 
  I met this great man through his son, who happened to be 
the driver of that Chevy van from the furniture store that 
was my very first customer. Sarge isn’t his real name, but 
that’s what I called him.  He was a retired Marine Corps cook. 
I met him one day when he came in with a sick Cadillac. 
   
   The old Cadillac hardly had any power at all; just as slow 
and lazy as a snail.  I was only in business for a few months, 
and didn’t know anybody. I didn’t have any work to speak of, 
so even though it wasn’t an electrical problem 
(as he originally thought),   I jumped right in and found the 
problem.  It was a clogged catalytic converter.  Unbelievably, 
it wasn’t even welded in place. I could take off the clamps, 
and remove it without much hassle.  
 
   Back then I didn’t have a lift to put the car in the air, so I had to do the whole job on the ground.  Well, old Sarge just sat there and watched me do the whole thing.  I think he was a little suspicious of this skinny little white kid who was hacking away at his car, but he patiently waited, being the good man he was. We got to talking about things, and it wasn’t long before he found out that I was also in Marine Corps. Now we had some common ground.  We were buds for life, always cutting up with each other.
  
    One hot August afternoon Sarge brought in one of his other cars to get some work done.  I had the back door to the shop open, and Sarge steps outside for a little fresh air.  I thought I could hear the guy crying or mumbling something, couldn’t tell which it was. I stuck my head around the corner, “Sarge, ah …. you ok, buddy?” I asked. tp.gif
   
     He proceeded to tell me how the house he grew up in was close by, before it became a shopping center. He talked about his dad and family, and how he hunted rabbits right where we were standing. It was during the Depression. Hard times, and things were scarce in those days. How his dad hid a pig in a pit, not too far from here. Where they kept the corn mash for making moon shine. I sat and listened to this hardened Marine tell me his life’s story that day, from his first car to how he ended up in the Corps.  I didn’t answer the phone, or go up front to see if anyone came in. I just sat out there in that August heat, drenched in sweat, listening to this fella tell me his life story. 
     
     I’ll never forget that afternoon.  I’ll also never forget how every time he came to my shop over the next 25 years he would sneak up on me, and yell in a drill instructor voice, “TEN HUT!” I would snap to attention just like a good Marine should.  Sometimes, just to get a rise out of Sarge I would purposely hit my head on the hood of the car I was working on. He got a kick out of it every time. 
    
     Sarge passed away a couple years back.  I still think about him now and then. I hope he’s up there hunting rabbits, or something. Maybe he’s guarding the gates like every Marine hopes to be doing when their time comes. Or, he could be just waiting there to try and surprise me with one more “TEN HUT” when I show up.  
   
    Sarge, I miss having you around the shop.   Semper Fi

View full article

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites



thank you for all your comments.  Sarge, like many of our customers, became more than a customer.  Over the years we shared a lot of laughs , stories of our families, our time in service, and life in general with each other. To this day I can still hear his drill instructor growl that he would blare out as he would come into my shop with his TEN HUT greeting. Old Sarge, well, in the big world, he's just another face in the crowd. But, to me he's a king, and I'd like to think my little story about him will live on in his memory for years to come. I'm sure he'd be proud of it.  

  Because people like Sarge are not just a veteran, they're our friends, neighbors, brothers, sisters, fathers, and mothers.  But most of all they're people that took an oath to uphold the values of this great country with their very own life if needed. That's what makes them stand out in a crowd and king in my book.  Never forget a Vet! 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

    • By Joe Marconi in Joe's Blog
         4
      Typically, when productivity suffers, the shop owner or manager directs their attention to the technicians. Are they doing all they can do to maintain high billable hours? Are they as efficient as they can be?  Is there time being wasted throughout the technician’s day? 
      All these reasons factor into production problems, but before we point fingers at the technicians, let’s consider a few other factors.
      Are estimates being written properly? Are labor testing and inspections being billed out correctly? Are you charging enough for testing and inspecting, especially for highly specialized electrical, on-board computer issues, and other complex drivability work?  Is there a clear workflow process everyone follows that details every step from the write-up to vehicle delivery? Do you track comebacks, and is that affecting production?  Is the shop layout not conducive to high production? For example, is it unorganized, where shop tools, technical information, and equipment are not easily accessible to every technician?  Are you charging the correct labor rate and allowing for variables such as rust, vehicle age, and the fact that most labor guides are wrong? Also, is there effective communication between the tech and the service advisor to ensure that extra labor time is accounted for and billed to the customer? These are a few of the top reasons for low productivity problems. There are others, but the main point is to look at the entire operation. Productivity is a team effort.  Blaming the techs or other staff members does not get to the root cause in most cases.
      Maintaining adequate production levels is the responsibility of management to create the processes that will lead to high production while holding everyone accountable. 
  • Similar Topics

    • By bi0h4z4rd
      Hey guys,
      I have always appreciated this forum and not sure how I didn't think to ask this question here to begin with!
      I received an unexpected phone call from a gentleman whom I've never spoken to or met before the day after Christmasz but he was aware of me and my recent achievements while managing an independent franchise of a national auto repair chain (honestly doesn't make a difference to me if you know where u can msg me if u want. Just didn't know the rules on it) 
      In less than 60 seconds he was able to explain who he was, where he was from, and that he would like to move me out there for the purpose of taking over his shop and running it for him until he retires at which time I could buy it if I wanted it and I told him it is certainly a discussion we can have and would get back to him the following day. 
      Our next conversation I had the chance to interview him about the shop and a little about himself to which I have no objections and went on to inform him that picking up my life and moving out of state would not be a quick decision and would require a process in which 3 things would need to take place.
      1.  We would need to meet in person obviously, but also spend a decent amount of time in an environment outside of the work setting to get to know a little more of each other and assuming no red flags (very doubtful there are any to find) move forward 
      2.  I would need to see the shop and be able to shadow how it's currently operated for a day or 2 and if no issues were to come up that within a few days at most I woulr let him know what it would take and the cost needed in order for me to commit to this and move. 
      3. We would both have to mutually agree to or re negotiate a deal to be out in writing and signed and any upfront requirements fulfilled. 
      Until late May I had spent the last 3 1/2 years as general manager for another franchise of the same chain that was nearly bankrupt when I started and lead it on to achieve new reocrds parts and labor sales . I wrote out a business plan outlining all new policies, procedures, products, and pay structure that changed everything from the ground up. 
      The first year reflected an increase in more than 150k of gross sales at just shy of 1m and the second was the highest gross sales recorded at 1.29m, and I parted ways respectably in late May on track to exceed 1.5m. (sadly, they did not make this mark)
      During this time my compensation was a base salary of $1000/week, 1% of gross sales, and a weekly kicker of $250 per week gross sales ended over $20k, and an additional $250 for each $5k after for that week. 2021 I grossed $109k and this year was on track to end at $150k if I had remained. 
      There was nothing negative involved or that created the reason my departure. The regional manager for the 166 stores or whatever it is in the NW asked me long ago if I would ever be willing to relocate and run another "franchise store"  and I had a couple people email me that I couldnt even take seriously, but never let them go any further. 
      I am scheduled to leave by train this Monday 1/9 where he has provided me with a hotel and rental car for a 3 day stay to complete the other steps needed to move forward. 
      Below is a general idea of what I have in my head as far as what I expect out of a relocation package, but I've never had to hire or been hired this way before. Needless to say I could use and would appreciate any insight from anyone that has experience or any history with this process and reasonable expectations. 
      1. Move in costs including first and last months rent, security deposit, and any application fees.
       (I was going to put a cap on the amounts, but the cost of living there is ridiculously higher than here and I don't feel like moving from a nice 3 bdrm house that I have here to go live in some cheap 1 bdrm apartment there is the right direction lol)
      2. All personal property will be prepared and packed by myself and then loaded and delivered at owners expense. 
      3. Pay structure to remain the same as previous Midas employer with a $250 increase to weekly salary. 
      4. Employee discount will be all products and parts at cost.
      5. One time payment of $15,000 as incentive to ease the complications that come with relocating. 
      (,Thought of splitting up? 1/2 up front and other half dispersed with regular pay over next 6 mos?)
      Any feedback or thoughts is welcomed and appreciated. 
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
    • By carmcapriotto
      With over 20 years in the hospitality industry, author and trainer Steve DiGioia shares some real world tips and tactics to improve your customer service, increase employee morale and provide the experience your customers desire. Steve has a detailed 57 individual steps for dinner service, what are your steps for customer service? Steve Digioia, Author and Trainer Show Notes
      How do I make you feel while I am providing this service? What can you do during the service part of the transaction to hook this customer in, hopefully for life? It has to be something more than just a mechanical aspect of it. There has to be something else that separates you from your competition more so than just the physical service you were providing, it's how I make you feel. It's how I make you feel appreciated. It's how I welcome you when you walk into my place of business. Many mechanics, they're focused so much on fixing that they don't realize that the waiting area has to be not only comfortable, and obviously clean, but it should be bright and welcoming. Use customer’s name 3 times. In a perfect world, you shouldn't receive less service because you are paying less. Versus getting extra service taken care of because you happen to be paying more, meaning, a higher-valued car.  If you want a consistent product, consistent service, a consistent experience, you have to have something like that because at a bare minimum, it reinforces the steps that the business believes is important to them to be able to service the client Standardized thank you note in every car
      Connect with the Podcast: Aftermarket Radio Network Subscribe on YouTube Visit us on the Web Follow on Facebook Become an Insider Buy me a coffee Important Books Check out today's partner: Learn more about NAPA AutoCare and the benefits of being part of the NAPA family by visiting www.NAPAAutoCare.com
         
      Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio
    • By carmcapriotto
      Live from the 2022 Transformer's Summit, keynote speaker John Dijulius categorizes the automotive industry as a 'grudge buy' for customers when they are at their most vulnerable. How is this an opportunity for your business to be the 'hero?' How do you make price irrelevant? John Dijulius, John Robert’s Spa, The DiJulius Group. John's had the privilege of working with world class companies like the Ritz-Carlton, Lexus, Starbucks, Nordstrom, Nestle, Marriott Hotel, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Cheesecake Factory, Bausch & Lomb, Progressive Insurance, Harley Davidson, State Farm, Chick-fil-A, Entrepreneurs Organization, YPO, Aveda, and many more. Listen to John's previous episodes HERE Show Notes
      Drove for UPS- his wife was a hairdresser, and they opened a salon. John started getting involved in the business. “We aren’t going to be the best salon, we will be the best experience of your day.” Chambers of commerce businesses started asking John for business consulting.  20 years ago John’s first book came out and took him to the next level Business and Artistry Pengeleum   Making price irrelevant- based on the experience your brand consistently delivers, your customers shouldn't have an idea what your competitors charge because they aren’t window shoppers. Who is more expensive? Why are they?  “We do $10 haircuts” vs “We fix $10 haircuts.” Give the experience before you charge for it and justify it -“What does a $1,000 haircut look like? What is that greeting like? How is the massage during shampoo? What does a $1,000,000 keynote speech look and sound like?”  Grudge buy and losing time- automotive repairs. When you can come to the rescue when a customer is at their most vulnerable, there is an emotional connection and memory made. Customers asking about price- opportunity The biggest cause of anxiety is uncertainty- no update update for customers   Level 1 through 10 hairdressers based on expertise  “Discounting is the tax you pay for being average.” Things that make a brand something customers can’t live without- the quality of work, consistency, employee evangelism (educate vs sell), how do you make me feel, Capitalize the ‘C’ in Customer to show the emphasis in your policies and procedures  Building relationships with FORD- family, occupation, recreation, dreams Disney- know your role and be ‘on’ when you’re on, leave your problems at the door The Customer Service Revolution: Overthrow Conventional Business, Inspire Employees, and Change the World- John Djulius The Relationship Economy: Building Stronger Customer Connections in the Digital Age - John Dijulius
      Connect with the Podcast: Aftermarket Radio Network Subscribe on YouTube Visit us on the Web Follow on Facebook Become an Insider Buy me a coffee Important Books Check out today's partner: Learn more about NAPA AutoCare and the benefits of being part of the NAPA family by visiting www.NAPAAutoCare.com
         
      Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio
    • By carmcapriotto
      Guest hosts and shop tour with Bob and May Patterson, Bob's Automotive, Panama City Beach, FL. With encouragement from his wife May, Bob opened his own shop 8 years ago. Hiring technicians has been a challenge; find out why they patiently wait for the right fit for their shop culture. Watch Episode HERE Bob and May Patterson, Bob's Automotive, Panama City Beach, FL.
      Show Notes:  
      Opened 8 years ago (3rd location since original) Bob was a shop foreman, his wife May saw his potential and wanted him to open his own shop Been without a technician for over 6 months- just hired new technician.  Hiring has been the challenge for the business- it’s all about the fit in the shop culture DVI- educating customers on preventative maintenance  
      Connect with the Podcast:
      Aftermarket Radio Network
       
      Subscribe on YouTube
      Visit us on the Web
      Follow on Facebook
      Become an Insider
      Buy me a coffee
      Important Books
      Check out today's partner:
      Dorman gives people greater freedom to fix vehicles by constantly developing new repair solutions that put owners and technicians first. Take the Dorman Virtual Tour at www.DormanProducts.com/Tour
       

      Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio
    • By carmcapriotto
      Recorded live at AAPEX with Kent Bullard, COO, The Institute. We aren't done talking about millennials, we are just getting started. Find out why they are important to your business and as customers. Kent Bullard, COO, The Institute. Listen to Kent’s other episodes HERE. Show Notes:
      Millennials are going to be the key players in the industry Learn, apply and do things differently and better for the next time, be organized, gamification Millennials need feedback, constructive criticism, information, and guidance, but we also need some freedom to be able to make mistakes and be able to get on our feet. Adoption- 2 out of 3 of Kent’s children are adopted. “People look at our kids and say they are so lucky, but we (as their parents) are the lucky ones.” Gamification- the advisor teams will compete to improve their parts margin. Educate them, and train them on how to do that. If you have an individual element and a team element where they can still earn a bonus on their individual performance and earn an additional bonus with the team that's performed well, then it becomes more viable because they're not just relying on the team itself. Reward and incentivize the behavior you want to see
      Connect with the Podcast: Aftermarket Radio Network Subscribe on YouTube Visit us on the Web Follow on Facebook Become an Insider Buy me a coffee Important Books Check out today's partners: Set your sights on Las Vegas in 2023. Mark your calendar now … October 31 - Nov 2, 2023, AAPEX - Now more than ever. And don’t miss the next free AAPEX webinar. Register now at AAPEXSHOW.COM Shop-Ware: More Time. More Profit. Shop-Ware Shop Management getshopware.com
      Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio


  • By nptrb, in Automotive Industry,

    By nptrb, in Automotive Industry,

  • Our Sponsors



×
×
  • Create New...