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?

         3 comments
      Got your attention? Good. The truth is, there is no such thing as the perfect technician pay plan. There are countless ways to create any pay plan. I’ve heard all the claims and opinions, and to be honest, it’s getting a little frustrating. Claims that an hourly paid pay plan cannot motivate. That flat rate is the only way to truly get the most production from your technicians. And then there’s the hybrid performance-based pay plan that many claim is the best.
      At a recent industry event, a shop owner from the Midwest boasted about his flat-rate techs and insisted that this pay plan should be adopted by all shops across the country. When I informed him that in states like New York, you cannot pay flat-rate, he was shocked. “Then how do you motivate your techs” he asked me.
      I remember the day in 1986 when I hired the best technician who ever worked for me in my 41 years as an automotive shop owner. We’ll call him Hal. When Hal reviewed my pay plan for him, and the incentive bonus document, he stared at it for a minute, looked up, and said, “Joe, this looks good, but here’s what I want.” He then wrote on top of the document the weekly salary he wanted. It was a BIG number. He went on to say, “Joe, I need to take home a certain amount of money. I have a home, a wife, two kids, and my Harly Davidson. I will work hard and produce for you. I don’t need an incentive bonus to do my work.” And he did, for the next 30 years, until the day he retired.
      Everyone is entitled to their opinion. So, here’s mine. Money is a motivator, but not the only motivator, and not the best motivator either. We have all heard this scenario, “She quit ABC Auto Center, to get a job at XYZ Auto Repair, and she’s making less money now at XYZ!” We all know that people don’t leave companies, they leave the people they work for or work with.
      With all this said, I do believe that an incentive-based pay plan can work. However, I also believe that a technician must be paid a very good base wage that is commensurate with their ability, experience, and certifications. I also believe that in addition to money, there needs to be a great benefits package. But the icing on the cake in any pay plan is the culture, mission, and vision of the company, which takes strong leadership. And let’s not forget that motivation also comes from praise, recognition, respect, and when technicians know that their work matters.
      Rather than looking for that elusive perfect pay plan, sit down with your technician. Find out what motivates them. What their goals are. Why do they get out of bed in the morning? When you tie their goals with your goals, you will have one powerful pay plan.
  • Similar Topics

    • By Joe Marconi

      Premium Member Content 

      This content is hidden to guests, one of the benefits of a paid membership. Please login or register to view this content.

    • By carmcapriotto
      Ready to dive into the critical topics of safety and compliance within the automotive service aftermarket? Tom Herrmann shares valuable insights on maintaining a safe work environment, including hazard communication, safety data sheets, labels for chemicals, and the importance of employee training and clear safety policies. Tom emphasizes the role of safety as a form of salesmanship, advocating for selling the importance of safety to employees rather than focusing on potential fines and violations. The episode aims to instill a sense of responsibility in listeners, highlighting the importance of safety to prevent accidents and maintain a productive workforce. Tom Herrmann, Small Business Safety & Compliance Company, LLC.
      Show Notes
      Tom's background and experience (00:01:28) Tom shares his experience as a safety officer for the federal government and a compliance officer in the dealership network. Hazard communication and safety data sheets (00:06:42) Tom explains the importance of hazard communication and safety data sheets for chemicals in the workplace. Training and safety policies (00:05:37) Tom emphasizes the importance of training employees and having clear safety policies in place. Labels for chemicals and emergency action plan (00:13:50) Tom discusses the necessity of proper labeling for chemicals and the importance of an emergency action plan for workplace safety. Hazard Communications (00:15:04) Discussion on the importance of hazard communication and the need for updated safety data sheets for chemicals. Lockout Tagouts (00:15:32) Explanation of lockout tagout procedures for equipment safety, including a real-life incident and the importance of proper training. Equipment Safety (00:16:44) Importance of tagging and locking out malfunctioning equipment for safety, with examples of floor jacks and bench grinders. Bench Grinders and Eye Protection (00:17:37) Discussion on the necessity of eye protection when using bench grinders and the importance of following safety standards. Safety Inspections (00:19:37) Importance of regular safety inspections to identify and address potential hazards in the workplace. Eyewash Stations (00:20:11) The significance of eyewash stations and their compliance with safety standards for emergency eye flushing. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) (00:21:28) Discussion on the responsibility of shop owners to provide and enforce the use of personal protective equipment for employees. Respiratory Protection (00:23:36) Importance of respiratory protection, medical evaluations, and fit testing for employees working with hazardous chemicals. Life Safety and Lift Safety (00:26:55) Overview of life safety measures, including the certification of automotive lifts and the importance of proper vehicle positioning on lifts. Certifications for Lift Installation (00:28:37) Discussion on the certification process for companies that install lifts and the availability of qualified and certified lift inspectors. Proactive Safety Measures (00:30:09) Emphasizing the importance of proactivity in safety measures, including monthly inspections, resources available, and reaching out for assistance. Safety Specialist Training (00:31:19) Exploring the idea of having a safety specialist in the shop and the training options available through OSHA education centers. Equipment Maintenance and Compliance (00:31:55) Focus on the importance of maintaining equipment, including lockouts, respiratory protection, PPE, and machine guarding, as well as the significance of checking fire extinguishers. Finding Safety Consultants (00:32:28) Tips for finding safety consultants, including searching for safety consultants online and reaching out to OSHA for assistance. Importance of Safety Compliance (00:33:16) Highlighting the significance of prioritizing safety compliance to prevent work-related injuries and ensure employee safety. Thanks to our Partners, AAPEX and NAPA TRACS Set your sights on Las Vegas in 2024. Mark your calendar now … November 5th-7th, 2024. AAPEX - Now more than ever. And don’t miss the next free AAPEX webinar. Register now at http://AAPEXSHOW.COM/WEBINAR NAPA TRACS will move your shop into the SMS fast lane with onsite training and six days a week of support and local representation. Find NAPA TRACS on the Web at http://napatracs.com/ Connect with the Podcast: -Follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RemarkableResultsRadioPodcast/ -Subscribe on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/carmcapriotto -Follow on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/carmcapriotto/ -Follow on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/remarkableresultsradiopodcast/ -Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/RResultsBiz -Visit the Website: https://remarkableresults.biz/ -Join our Insider List: https://remarkableresults.biz/insider -All books mentioned on our podcasts: https://remarkableresults.biz/books -Our Classroom page for personal or team learning: https://remarkableresults.biz/classroom -Buy Me a Coffee: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/carm -The Aftermarket Radio Network: https://aftermarketradionetwork.com -Special episode collections: https://remarkableresults.biz/collections      
      Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio
    • By Changing The Industry
      Episode 144 - From Customer Conflicts to Industry Innovations with Arun Coumar
    • By carmcapriotto
      Danielle Vila discusses the importance of customer service in the industry and shares her strategies for quality control, the benefits of a reliable shop management system, and the significance of standing behind services and parts. The conversation also covers unique marketing strategies, the value of maintenance, community involvement, and the impact of these on business growth and customer trust. Danielle Vila, Red Rock Repair, Las Vegas, NV. Danielle's previous episodes HERE Show Notes
      Selling Premium Work at the Shop (00:05:45) Exploration of how Red Rock Repair sells their premium work by building value and emphasizing customer service, with reference to a study on anxiety-inducing consumer experiences in automotive repair. The Importance of Customer Service (00:07:05) The significance of customer service in the automotive industry, including the role of the service advisor in building trust, explaining costs, and meeting customer expectations. The importance of customer experience (00:08:06) Discussion on the growing trend of customer experience and the role of a client experience officer in a company. Attention to detail in customer service (00:09:18) Importance of small nuances in customer service, such as offering different beverage options and ensuring a clean and well-maintained vehicle. Elevating services and competing with other shops (00:12:21) Challenges faced by small businesses including increasing labor rates, attracting good technicians, and elevating the overall customer experience. The importance of warranty and standing behind services (00:17:46) Discussion about the significance of offering warranty on services and parts, and the negative impact of not standing behind them. The success of a shop with a lifetime warranty (00:19:03) Exploration of a shop that offers a lifetime warranty and how it contributes to their success and customer focus. Hiring for attitude and culture fit (00:22:09) The importance of hiring employees with the right attitude and energy to fit into the shop's culture, and how it affects the overall atmosphere and success of the business. The CRM engine (00:25:37) Discussion on the importance of CRM in marketing and customer retention in the automotive repair industry. The toothbrush metaphor (00:26:33) Exploration of the idea of using toothbrushes as a metaphor to encourage customers to prioritize maintenance and preventive services. Community involvement (00:30:14) Plans to implement programs such as food drives and donations for local shelters to make a positive impact on the community. Supporting the local food bank (00:31:56) Conversation about the best time to support the local food bank, focusing on the needs during the summer months when children are home and may not have access to food. Thanks to our Partners, AAPEX and NAPA TRACS Set your sights on Las Vegas in 2024. Mark your calendar now … November 5th-7th, 2024. AAPEX - Now more than ever. And don’t miss the next free AAPEX webinar. Register now at http://AAPEXSHOW.COM/WEBINAR NAPA TRACS will move your shop into the SMS fast lane with onsite training and six days a week of support and local representation. Find NAPA TRACS on the Web at http://napatracs.com/ Connect with the Podcast: -Follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RemarkableResultsRadioPodcast/ -Subscribe on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/carmcapriotto -Follow on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/carmcapriotto/ -Follow on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/remarkableresultsradiopodcast/ -Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/RResultsBiz -Visit the Website: https://remarkableresults.biz/ -Join our Insider List: https://remarkableresults.biz/insider -All books mentioned on our podcasts: https://remarkableresults.biz/books -Our Classroom page for personal or team learning: https://remarkableresults.biz/classroom -Buy Me a Coffee: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/carm -The Aftermarket Radio Network: https://aftermarketradionetwork.com -Special episode collections: https://remarkableresults.biz/collections      
      Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio
    • By carmcapriotto
      "40 plus years in business and we had zero money in the bank." Bret shares his journey from struggling to successful business owner, emphasizing the importance of seeking outside help and continuous learning. He discusses the transformation of his business into a profitable venture with the help of a coaching company and the implementation of key profit indicators. Brett also highlights the significance of team training and understanding generational differences in the workplace. Bret Fadley, Fadley's Auto Masters & Tires, York, PA. Show Notes:
      The rule of holes (00:03:00) Bret discusses the rule of holes and knowing when to stop digging. Struggling to save the business (00:03:29) Bret talks about the challenges his family's business faced after his mom passed away and left zero money in the bank. Turning the business around (00:06:08) Bret shares his resolve to turn the business around, pay off debts, and seek outside help through coaching to achieve profitability. Learning to run a business (00:12:04) The importance of getting outside help to learn how to run a business. The importance of team building through training events (00:16:48) Discussing the investment and decision to take the whole team to major training events for team building and a happier work environment. Understanding and adapting to the younger generation (00:17:52) Sharing the experience of attending a seminar with Sara Fraser on getting to know Gen Z and millennials and the importance of adapting to their work style and slang. The need to attract and encourage younger people in the automotive industry (00:20:28) Highlighting the importance of changing and adapting the industry to attract the next generation and addressing the tech shortage. Thanks to our Partner, Dorman Training.  Training technicians today for the challenges of tomorrow!  https://www.dormantraininglive.com/
      Connect with the Podcast:
      -Follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RemarkableResultsRadioPodcast/ -Follow on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/carmcapriotto -Follow on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/carmcapriotto/ -Follow on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/remarkableresultsradiopodcast/ -Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/RResultsBiz
      -Join our Insider List: https://remarkableresults.biz/insider
      -All books mentioned on our podcasts: https://remarkableresults.biz/books
      -Our Classroom page for personal or team learning: https://remarkableresults.biz/classroom
      -Buy Me a Coffee: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/carm
      -The Aftermarket Radio Network: https://aftermarketradionetwork.com
      -Special episode collections: https://remarkableresults.biz/collections


      Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio


  • Our Sponsors



×
×
  • Create New...