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[Podcast] What Worked – What Didn’t – Success Has Its Ups and Downs [RR 500]

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I want to thank the thousands of listeners who make our purpose meaningful. We do it for you. To the sponsors of the podcasts over the years. THANK YOU.

Guests for the 500th Episode

Amy Mattinat is the owner and manager of Auto Craftsmen in Montpelier, VT. Her shop is an ASE Blue Seal Shop, AAA approved and she is a member of ASA, SBN & WiAC. Along with running her independent repair shop, she is able to combine her three passions: teaching small business owners how to run a successful business, teaching car care and safety to the general public and educating young people about the many career opportunities available in the auto care industry.

Amy was awarded the 2012 Top Female Shop Owner of the Year by the Car Care Council Women’s Board, Honored as a 2014 Professional Woman of the Year by the National Association of Professional Women, Awarded the 2015 U.S. Small Business Administration’s Vermont Women-Owned Business of the Year, Awarded the 2016 AAA Business of the Year in Vermont and served as President of Women in Auto Care 2014 through 2016. Listen to Amy’s previous episodes HERE.

Judy Zimmerman Walter is co-owner with her uncles and the CFO of, this 57-year young service business. Zimmerman’s Automotive, Mechanicsburg, PA is a true blue ‘family enterprise’ with 12 out of a team of 29 team members that are ‘IN THE FAMILY’. Zimmerman’s is a top automotive repair facility along with a quick lube and a used car division.

Among her involvement: Women’s Board of the Car Care Council, AASP-PA Alliance of Automotive Service Providers, and the Auto Care Association. Listen to Judy’s other episodes HERE.

Jerry Kezhaya from The Auto Shop in Plano Texas has been in business since 1981. Plano is a northern suburb of Dallas with a population of 280,000. According to Jerry, it is the top growing county in the US. His 35,000 sq ft shop has 21 lifts with two flats per lift.

Jerry is a business coach and prides himself for getting out of the shop between 80 and 120 days a year to work with clients, attends seminars and enjoys wine. Listen to Jerry's previous episodes HERE.

Brett Beachler, is Vice President of Beachlers Vehicle Care and Repair, Peoria, IL. Brett has been in the automotive industry for 30+ years and is third generation family. He started in the family business at about age 13 maintaining the business property.

Brett graduated from Bradley University with a bachelor of science in business. He departed the family business to work in the corporate world for four years. His Dad, Terry, asked Brett to re-join the family business. Since that time, Brett has not looked back and has enjoyed almost every minute of his time in the family business. Listen to Brett’s previous episodes HERE.

Kirk Richardson is a young and successful entrepreneur. Born into a blue-collar, hard-working family, he was a below-average student in high school and college. At the age of 22, he left school and started his first business. He bought his first three-bay shop at the age of 24. Seven years later he bought his second shop, South Street Auto Care in Rochester, MI.

Richardson really prides himself on his ability to create a family culture within his businesses. The culture is a blend of hard work, accountability, fun, and hi-jinx, which combine to make loyal and dedicated coworkers. Kirk loves business and people in general and will talk for hours about business! Listen to Kirk’s previous episodes HERE.

Dwayne Myers With Dynamic Automotive, This MSO group was selected top 10 automotive shop in 2014 from Motor Age and has just opened their 4th shop. Dwayne invests time in the industry with the Auto Care Association and serving on the education committee with CCPN (Car Care Professional Network). Dwayne was recently honored as one of only 17 outstanding individuals that qualified for the prestigious 2017 World Class Technician Award presented by The Auto Care Association and ASE.

Dwayne was on episode 2and with his partners Jose Bueso and Lee Forman and A Round Table on Technician Training in Episode 59, and on a Supplier Needs Roundtable (118). Listen to episode 222 with Dwyane as we talk about his 2017 World Class Technician honor and more. Listen to Dwyane's other episodes HERE.

Key Talking points:

What worked well in the last five years:

  • Amy MattinatUndercoating. A job given to her tire person and to supplement during the slow times. She uses Corrosion Free Undercoating out of CanadaRe-done every 18 months accounts for retention
  • Kirk Richardson100% profit-sharing plan based on the power of the collective team
  • One direction, one team  
  • He was always wired to be a business person, yet stood at his counter and did everything when he started 15 years ago
  • Profit-sharing is the best way to grow technicians
  • Judy Zimmerman WalterStarted morning meetings to best understand her team’s needs and to develop and compliment the team
  • Jerry KezhayaBeen an absentee owner for sometime
  • You have to inspect what we expect
  • As owners, we get what we earn
  • Dwayne MyersGoal Map ReviewsWhere do our people want to be? Their Goals for the next 3, 4 and 5 years
  • This has changed their company more in the last five years than anything they did
  • Stop looking at your people leaving and think about how they will stay with you
  • Invest in your people while you have them
  • Brett BeachlerAdvisor pay system he created
  • He measures many KPIs and they get a bonus production
  • He is legal for wage and hour by using Mike Davidson's spreadsheet as a guide. See this episode RR 4466 https://remarkableresults.biz/e466/
  • Owners get paid on net profitability so he has a similar plan for his people
  • He wants to take more time off but he has to have better systems and procedures
  • His program works on a percentage of sales but would like to convert to a gross margin incentive if he can get the right GP from his SMS

What did not work for me and what I learned:

  • AmyShe almost sold her business and backed out. She felt her business was going to become a ‘McDonalds’
  • She wants a win-win for staff and customers when she does
  • She realized she has a five-year window ahead of her
  • Kirk RichardsonHe was always a business person but sucked at it early on
  • Developing leadership, grooming, and choosing is painfulYou have to be worth following yourself
  • It is a perpetual process, it never ends
  • Understand that there is always lapses in judgment that you learn from
  • Being a leader can be a lonely place
  • Most discussions on this episode failure issues were mostly the people of the soft side of our business
  • Judy Zimmerman WalterTo lead her team she wants her people to know that:Judy worked in the quick lube and did a lot of light-duty work at the shop
  • She assumes that here people know that she has paid her dues. She has been there and done that
  • Dwayne MyersEarly in his career, he went into protection mode and he held onto it for too long
  • They had not grown in 10 years and he and his partners were holding their team back. It was fear and stubbornness
  • He realized that grow was what he needed to survive
  • Brett BeachlerHe regrets his priorities as it relates to supporting his wife or the business when she had a life-changing accident
  • He put the business ahead of his wife and that was a critical mistake
  • Jerry KezhayaDid not fire fast enough
  • Did not listen to his gut or intuition
  • He got stuck in the buzz that there is no one to hire
  • He needs to think of his business like a sports team who is working to get to the Superbowl. Always need to evaluate the talent to take you there


  • Thanks to Amy Mattinat, Judy Zimmerman Walter, Jerry Kezhaya, Brett Beachler, Kirk Richardson, and Dwyane Myers for their contribution to the aftermarket’s premier podcast.
  • Link to the ‘BOOKS‘ page highlighting all books discussed in the podcast library HERE. Leaders are readers.
  • The Queen's Code by Alison A. Armstrong
  • Leave me an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one of them.
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This episode is brought to you by AAPEX, the Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo. AAPEX represents the $740 billion global automotive aftermarket industry and has everything you need to stay ahead of the curve. With 2,500 exhibiting companies, you’ll see the latest products, parts, and technologies for your business. As a result, the event also offers advanced training for shop owners, technicians, warehouse distributors (WDs) and auto parts retailers, as well as networking opportunities to grow your business. AAPEX 2020 will take place Tuesday, Nov. 3 through Thursday, Nov. 5, at the Sands Expo in Las Vegas. Therefore, more than 48,000 targeted buyers are expected to attend, and approximately 162,000 automotive aftermarket professionals. They will be from 135 countries which are projected to be in Las Vegas during AAPEX 2020. For information, visit aapexshow.com

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

      Most shop owners would agree that the independent auto repair industry has been too cheap for too long regarding its pricing and labor rates. However, can we keep raising our labor rates and prices until we achieve the profit we desire and need? Is it that simple?
      The first step in achieving your required gross and net profit is understanding your numbers and establishing the correct labor and part margins. The next step is to find your business's inefficiencies that impact high production levels.
      Here are a few things to consider. First, do you have the workflow processes in place that is conducive to high production? What about your shop layout? Do you have all the right tools and equipment? Do you have a continuous training program in place? Are technicians waiting to use a particular scanner or waiting to access information from the shop's workstation computer?
      And lastly, are all the estimates written correctly? Is the labor correct for each job? Are you allowing extra time for rust, older vehicles, labor jobs with no parts included, and the fact that many published labor times are wrong? Let's not forget that perhaps the most significant labor loss is not charging enough labor time for testing, electrical work, and other complicated repairs.  
      Once you have determined the correct labor rate and pricing, review your entire operation. Then, tighten up on all those labor leaks and inefficiencies. Improving production and paying close attention to the labor on each job will add much-needed dollars to your bottom line.
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