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From Storytelling to Brand Presence: How to Thrive in the Automotive Repair Industry with Chris Jones - The Auto Repair Marketing Podcast

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Thank you to our friends at RepairPal for providing this episode. RepairPal’s Certified Network of Shops are trusted by millions of customers each month. Learn more at RepairPal.com/shops.

In this podcast episode, Brian and Kim interview Chris Jones, editor of Ratchet & Wrench magazine. They discuss their excitement about the upcoming Ratchet & Wrench Management Conference. Chris shares his interest in podcasting and video content creation, and they discuss the ease of incorporating video into podcasts using the abundance of modern streaming tools. They also discuss the passion and growth potential in the automotive industry and the importance of finding like-minded individuals and seeking coaching and consulting. The episode concludes with a discussion on the impact of brand presence on automotive repair shops.

Show Notes With Timestamps

  • Meeting for the first time in person (00:00:55) The speakers discuss their first in-person meeting and how social media played a role in their relationship.
  • Chris Jones' career aspirations (00:02:56) Chris Jones talks about his career achievements and expresses interest in doing a YouTube show or live interviews.
  • Passion for the Automotive Industry (00:06:52) The speaker discusses the passion and care that people in the automotive industry have for their work and customers.
  • The Importance of Community and Support (00:08:12)The speaker talks about the sense of community and support within the industry, and how it can help shop owners feel less isolated and overwhelmed.
  • Powerful and Inspiring Stories (00:11:41) The speaker mentions some of the impactful stories they have covered, including a diversity story, the journey of a shop owner named John Kerr, and the rebuilding of a company after COVID-19.
  • Importance of Brand Presence (00:14:00) Discussion on how shop owners often overlook the impact of their brand presence on potential customers.
  • Personalized Marketing for Auto Repair Shops (00:15:17) Exploration of the misconception that all automotive repair shops are the same and the importance of showcasing each shop's unique personality and culture.
  • Restaurant Management Conference (00:18:50) Information about an upcoming conference for shop owners and managers focused on education, networking, and improving shop management skills.
  • ChatGPT and its impact on editorial calendar (00:20:49) Discussion on how the launch of ChatGPT impacted the editorial calendar and the use of AI in the industry.
  • Writing as a valuable skill for shop owners (00:23:40) Importance of writing and communication skills for shop owners, with personal experiences shared.
  • Tips for learning copywriting (00:25:36) Recommendations for shop owners to learn copywriting, including starting with simple writing and utilizing dictation software.
  • Writing and Editing Blogs (00:27:14) Discussion about the process of writing blogs, the role of editors, and the upcoming blog-turned-class.
  • AI and Grammarly for Writing (00:28:22) Exploration of the benefits and potential dangers of using AI tools like Grammarly for writing content.
  • Honor Your Processes (00:29:14) The importance of focusing on processes and systems to achieve business goals, with a mention of implementing EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System).


Lagniappe (Books, Links, Other Podcasts, etc)



How To Get In Touch with Chris


Website - https://www.ratchetandwrench.com/home/contact/11461922/chris-jones

How To Get In Touch with Shop Marketing Pros


Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio


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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

      Auto shop owners are always looking for ways to improve production levels. They focus their attention on their technicians and require certain expectations of performance in billable labor hours. While technicians must know what is expected of them, they have a limited amount of control over production levels. When all factors are considered, the only thing a well-trained technician has control over is his or her actual efficiency.
      As a review, technician efficiency is the amount of labor time it takes a technician to complete a job compared to the labor time being billed to the customer. Productivity is the time the technician is billing labor hours compared to the time the technician is physically at the shop. The reality is that a technician can be very efficient, but not productive if the technician has a lot of downtime waiting for parts, waiting too long between jobs, or poor workflow systems.
      But let’s go deeper into what affects production in the typical auto repair shop. As a business coach, one of the biggest reasons for low shop production is not charging the correct labor time. Labor for extensive jobs is often not being billed accurately. Rust, seized bolts, and wrong published labor times are just a few reasons for lost labor dollars.
      Another common problem is not understanding how to bill for jobs that require extensive diagnostic testing, and complicated procedures to arrive at the root cause for an onboard computer problem, electrical issue, or drivability issue. These jobs usually take time to analyze, using sophisticated tools, and by the shop’s top technician. Typically, these jobs are billed at a standard menu labor charge, instead of at a higher labor rate. This results in less billed labor hours than the actual labor time spent. The amount of lost labor hours here can cripple a shop’s overall profit.
      Many shop owners do a great job at calculating their labor rate but may not understand what their true effective labor is, which is their labor sales divided by the total labor hours sold. In many cases, I have seen a shop that has a shop labor rate of over $150.00 per hour, but the actual effective labor rate is around $100. Not good.
      Lastly, technician production can suffer when the service advisors are too busy or not motivated to build relationships with customers, which results in a low sales closing ratio. And let’s not forget that to be productive, a shop needs to have the right systems, the right tools and equipment, an extensive information system, and of course, great leadership.
      The bottom line is this; many factors need to be considered when looking to increase production levels. While it does start with the technician, it doesn’t end there. Consider all the factors above when looking for ways to improve your shop’s labor production.
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