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[Podcast] Giving Back: His Calling to Expose the Automotive to High School Students [RR 565]


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Luke Walker started Luke's Auto in Columbus Ohio in November of 2009 after being a technician for 5 years. The rent was $350 a month for a 1 bay shop and he had zero employees. The first-year Luke's Auto did $260,000 in sales. At the end of 2014, Luke's Auto was up to $750,000 in annual revenue with 10 employees. 

Luke realized that he needed business training and since 2014, he has spent around $150,000 in business consultants and training. This business consulting and training brought his ability as a business owner to a new level and helped to secure Luke's Auto as one of the top shops in Columbus.

10 years into the business there are now 16 bays, 24 employees, and $4MM in projected revenue for 2020. Luke's Auto is the top Yelp and Google rated independent shop in all of Columbus and was voted as one of the "Three Best Car Repair Shops" in Columbus. Luke's has also been features in the Columbus Dispatch newspaper.

Key Talking Points:

  • Started with 1 bay shop, now has 16 bays, 24 employees and on track for almost 4 million  Coaching consultants (Cecil Bullard, Ryan Clo, Aaron Stokes) big key with success- profits had flatlined and more problems arose as the business grew and became bigger 
  • Credits his success to the team as well- finding talented people that fit the culture of the business
  • Inner-city skills-based non-profit program- wanted to give back to the community11-19-year-old students-focused on high school students
  • The program was established for 20 years but recently in the last 6 months it had stopped due to lead person retiring because of health reasons
  • After school program- an actual shop that has different stations, once a week for an hour and a half for 6 weeks. Identify and cultivate students that are gifted with working with their hands
  • Time trials- timing how fast they can complete tasks after teaching them, top 3 receive toolsets and invite to advanced program 
  • Helps separate the students that are gifted and interested in the industry sooner, which will help steer them into the right path for their future 
  • Run by Luke and volunteers
  • Hired student from the programStudent shadowed at the shop after excelling with program 
  • Youngest hire at the shop at 16 years old
  • Wants to go mobile with programMost of the stations they’ve created are on a workbench inside the shop, can easily transport on a trailer and bring to a high school
  • Raised 150K so far for program- first donation was from a woman from church that donated 50K, other donations were from NAPA and other dealerships
  • Is making money evil in your mind? “Love of money is the root of evil”
  • What do you want to look back on? Is it making money or making a difference and help people

Resources:

  • Thanks to Luke Walker for his contribution to the aftermarket’s premier podcast.
  • Link to the ‘BOOKS‘ page highlighting all books discussed in the podcast library HERE. Leaders are readers.
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Gold Certification recognizes top tier NAPA AutoCares with a high level of participation in the AutoCare program. The program was built by AutoCare Centers for AutoCare Centers to provide a consistent consumer experience, maximize technology leverage, and reward NAPA’s most committed partners. In other words, Gold Certified AutoCare Centers are the standard bearers for the AutoCare brand nationwide. Simply put, the Gold Certified NAPA AutoCare program, powered by your local shop brand, will separate you from the rest helping you boost your bay counts and your average repair orders.

Learn more about NAPA AutoCare, Gold Certification, and the hundreds of other benefits the NAPA family has to offer. Talk with your servicing NAPA store or visit, www.NAPAAutoCare.com.

Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

         0 comments
      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.
      One last thing; the cost of technician turnover can be financially devastating. It also affects shop morale. Do all you can to create a workplace where technicians feel they are respected, recognized, and know that their work contributes to the overall success of the company. This will lead to improved morale and team spirit. Remember, when you see a technician’s toolbox rolling out of the bay on its way to another shop, the heart was most likely gone long before that.
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