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[Podcast] RR 398: Shop Talk 9 – Hitting The Brick Wall – Business and Leadership Transformation

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Corey Evaldi grew up in Buffalo, NY (Lackawanna).  His dad had his own auto repair shop before Corey was even born.  In 1988, he built the shop that is still in business today. As a kid, Corey grew up in the house next door to the family garage. The older he turned, the more interested he became in the shop and cars in general.  By the age of 12, he began working for his dad. The 1st week he worked there, he would come in whenever he felt like. On Friday his pay was less than half of what was agreed upon and his dad simply said: “you didn’t come in on time”.  Never was he late again.

He started to enjoy the electronics and troubleshooting of vehicles really young.  During his junior and senior year of high school, He went to Potter Road Career and Technical Center and took the Automotive programs. His senior year had an automotive competition at ECC, local community college. He and his partner won 1st place in the competition and were awarded full-tuition scholarships to various schools.  They both ended up choosing Ohio Technical College. 

Job hunting landed him at a gas station attendant position at BP. After 6 months or so, his manager told him he knew someone that had a garage that was looking for some help. That brought Corey to Olmsted Auto Care. From 2006 to 2014, he worked his way up from lube tech, to the service tech, to lead diagnostic tech.  At that point, he was looking for his next step. He left Olmsted Auto Care to build a relationship with another shop owner who was looking to sell his business in the next few years. After 6 months or so the partnership at Olmsted Auto Care was no more and the partner left with the business was looking to retire. His feelings for Olmsted Auto Care were still pretty strong so he agreed with the owner to return as shop manager until a Buy-Sell Agreement would be done.

In 2015 he returned and was overwhelmed with the responsibilities of running a shop. he was a technician, service writer, accountant, clean up person, the fireman that extinguished fires all over. Beginning of 2016, he and his wife expected their 1st child. He could not keep doing what he was doing. He produced 40% of the billed hours out of 4 techs. He looked for help. Found a coaching firm that really showed him what a business owner looks like. After implementing the changes, there was extreme pushback from the existing crew.  After standing firm on most things, change over was inevitable.

Most of Corey’s employees he has now had only been with him 3 years. At this point, he still needed more help with the business. Dave Justice from RSOT knew his now business partner and talked with us on joining RSOT. They agreed and was the best decision yet.  He learned how to behave like a professional; helping him become a better leader every day. They implemented different marketing strategies, SOPs, learned how to measure and manage KPIs.  Now Corey has a great team that is behind him and the decision he brings to the table. They are currently looking to add another bay. Eventually, Corey would like to grow to multiple locations.

Chris Machado

  • Grew up in the dairy industry
  • 1987 could not weather. Bellyup.
  • Started buying and selling hay.
  • After college. Commodity sales. Diesel trucks.
    • Been around diesel trucks.
    • Always used an outside shop.
    • He came to work in 2005
    • Other ways to maintain the fleet.
    • He had an idea to build a business out of this.
    • To prove he started with his dads fleet.
  • 2012
    • Started developing Circle M Truck and Automotive
    • Not a tech by trade.
    • Selling his business.
  • 2016
    • Built up to 7 techs
    • The 5-year goal was to have 10 techs
    • Had to learn how to run the business better
    • Had to understand production and he reaches out to his NAPA people
    • Measure and manage his labor.
    • LPM. Labor Profit Management
  • He implemented in June 2016
    • Within 2 weeks he had a grip.
    • Peace of mind.
    • He started to tweak the bus and fine-tuned.
  • Repair shop of tomorrow has been great
  • They are being molded into strong business people
  • Tripled in size revenue
  • Increased net profits.

Key Talking Points

  • Chris Machado became a master recruiter instead of master technicians
    • He had to re-engineer what he had to do for his people. He realized his people were just not a number.
    • Chris had to strengthen his bottom line so he could build his pay and program. His benefits package is worth $14.50 per hour.
    • Chris is using radio besides social media to recruit. He is always recruiting.
    • Chris hit his brick wall. H  says everything was in need of ‘repair’; the full spectrum: sales, costs, profit, people, techs, QC, comebacks
  • Corey’s transformation included working with his team to understand his goals and changes. He did have resistance.
    • He realized that the business was running him.
    • A big change was a hybrid change to individual compensation.
    • It is in his blood to be in the bays, but he causes more havoc when he is there.
    • He loves perfection and is addicted to winning.
    • Entreleadership from Dave Ramsey is a favorite book
    • Holds meetings with his people where their input is critical to the running of the business.
    • Corey has taken on an apprentice.
    • We all must dedicate some time to support education
    • Will create a tool allowance based on continuous technician education and ASE Certificates.
  • Chris likes to lead his life with no excuses.
    • Use your energy to help people.
    • He believes his generosity, kindness and his willingness to listen are his strong leadership traits.
    • He has created a family culture with a strong vision.
    • His family culture is work. It makes them feel good.
  • A huge learning curve when they audited a shop on their recent trip to St. Louis.  See Shop Tour Academy Episode 092- HERE
    • They looked at all aspects of the shop visit.
    • Allowed 8 hours on day one and then 4 hours the next day to discuss
    • All areas of the shop were visited


  • Thanks to Chris Machado and Corey Evaldi 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.
  • 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 AAPEX_logo_CMYK_with_tagline-1440x621.jpglobal 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. 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 2019 will take place Tuesday, Nov. 5 through Thursday, Nov. 7, at the Sands Expo in Las Vegas. More than 48,000 targeted buyers are expected to attend, and approximately 162,000 automotive aftermarket professionals from 135 countries are projected to be in Las Vegas during AAPEX 2019. For information, visit aapexshow.com


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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

         1 comment
      Have I got your attention? Great.
      Let me start by saying that I believe in giving praise when deserved and letting employees know when they dropped the ball. However, the truth is that no one enjoys being reprimanded or told they messed up.  
      The question is, what is the appropriate balance between the right amount of praise and the right amount of critical feedback? According to studies done by Harvard Business School, the ratio of praise to critical feedback should be about 6:1 – Six praises for every critical feedback. I am not sure if I agree with that.
      From personal experience, I would recommend a lot more praise. The exact ratio doesn’t matter. What’s important is that before you consider giving critical feedback, ensure you have given that employee a lot of recent praise. If not, whatever you are trying to get through to an employee, will fall on deaf ears.
      When you do have to give critical feedback, remember a few things:
      Focus on the issue or behavior; never attack the person, and remain calm in your actions and words Ask the employee for feedback, their side of the story Speak to the employee in private Address the issue soon after it happens; never wait Don’t rely on second-hand information; it’s always better if you have experienced the situation yourself that you want to correct Have an open discussion and find things that both of you can agree upon Have an action plan moving forward that the employee can take ownership of Use the experience as a learning tool Make sure you bring up positive attributes about them Remember, you don’t want the employee to be angry or upset with you; you want them to reflect on the situation and what can be improved. One last thing. Everyone makes mistakes. We need to be mindful of this.
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