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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?

      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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      Show Notes
      First: who is your audience? What are they looking for? Listen! Make notes of their questions Read - They Ask You Answer Where to find content: In your shop! Haha Personalize content based on what’s going on in the shop Your niche, club, or group Questions asked in local community groups Your community! Show off your roots - the things going on in the community (Chamber, BNI, local government, tourism, clubs, education, etc) Hiring + Promoting Customer reviews The obvious: Name, address, phone, scheduling link, and website Blog content  Promoting other social media platforms you are on What you’re all about…who you are…. Company culture stuff Trainings you attend or host and completions/certifications What’s going on? Promotions, events, contests, birthdays, celebrations, sponsoring anything? Spotlights: new products, equipment, team members The not-so-obvious: Videos - give yourself and entire month of marketing from one video! Creating a ‘content machine’ for yourself. Blogs Canva tips and templates Practical Tips: Use your brand Use Canva for quick/easy/effective Make a plan/schedule Website traffic Tips on Tuesdays/Tech-Talk Shop culture  Promote services, sales/offers, appointment booking link Fun on Friday  
      How To Get In Touch
      Group - Auto Repair Marketing Mastermind
      Website - shopmarketingpros.com 
      Facebook - facebook.com/shopmarketingpros 
      Get the Book - shopmarketingpros.com/book
      Instagram - @shopmarketingpros 
      Questions/Ideas - [email protected]
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