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[Podcast] Embracing Change with David Martin [RR 543]


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Dave Martin is the Owner and President of Martin’s Auto Repair in Phoenix, AZ. His automotive career began pulling weeds on the shop property then as he got older Dave moved into a station helper and gas attendant. Dave then became the shop manager before taking over the family business from his father in 2006.

Dave has worked to bring the business into the technology world communicating with customers at their level with digital inspections, email and texting. Dave also knows a key to a successful business is having a team that has strengths he does not. One example is his decision to hire an in-house marketing director back in 2010 (no shops were doing this then). Having a person in the shop who gets to know you and the entire team along with day to day processes brought a bigger success in marketing than imagined. When the person marketing your business knows you, they can then take on your personality which adds the personal touch many businesses were lacking. The shop is well known through the website, social media and fun videos Dave has been “persuaded” to do. (He loves doing them). The shop added the ability to email and text these videos to customers which has been a big hit. Customers and followers now look forward to the videos with the fun and creativity he gives.

Dave married his wife Bo in 1992 and they have an adult daughter, Qamree. Dave bowls, plays over the line baseball, and is a passionate football fan, proudly supporting his lifelong favorite team, The Dallas Cowboys.

Dave was born with Spina Bifida and wants to help others affected and increase public awareness. Elected as Chairman of the Board for the Spina Bifida Association of Arizona in 2012 and has been involved of in its growth through events and fundraisers. Dave also volunteers as a speaker to community organizations and young adults showing how he doesn’t let Spina Bifida keep him from his goals.

Key Talking Points:

  • Culture change was keyCulture wasn’t necessary 10-20 years ago- a different generation now, businesses have to change and adapt
  • Empowered employees to make decisions
  • Keeping up with technology and training 
  • Embrace change and be apart of “team” atmosphere 
  • Get in front of the camera- make videos for your customers to watch
  • Younger team of techniciansHard to find seasoned technicians to replace technicians leaving
  • Owner and manager decided to hire “grow your own” younger technicians and started to train them
  • Weekly meetings- each employee tells team a learning moment they had that week so everyone can benefit from it
  • Smartest hiring decision was hiring marketing manager in 2010- she was able to understand the culture of company and owner’s personality and portrays it on all social media and advertising platforms  
  • 3 life lessons from fatherNo free lunches, you have to work for everything you get, nothing good comes out of you getting something for free
  • Succession planningThe average age of owner is 55+
  • Important to have open discussions with owner and buyer- communication is key and both parties knowing what each other’s expectations are 
  • Community supportChairman of board for Arizona’s Spina Bifida Association- Dave was born with Spina Bifida
  • Encourages those affected to never let Spina Bifida stop you from pursuing your goals
  • Dave Martin’s 5 Key TakeawaysYou must have a strong foundation of work ethic
  • Communication ensures everyone works towards the same goals 
  • If you learn to think outside the box you’ll become a great problem solver
  • Always be ready to embrace change
  • It’s a marathon- stay consistent and never give up

Resources:

  • Thanks to David Martin 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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  • 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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