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AutoShopOwner.com Celebrates its First Year


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AutoShopOwner.com Celebrates its First Year!

 

This month, AutoShopOwner.com celebrates its first year anniversary as a web-based forum, dedicated to the success of automotive shop owners around the world, through networking and the exchange of ideas. I want to take this time to thank all members, welcome new members and wish everyone great success in the coming year.

 

We all know that 2008 has brought many economic challenges to not only our industry, but also to industries around the globe. It appears that the economy will not begin to recover for a while. It seems that every sector of the economy is affected. We haven’t seen a downturn like this, since the great depression. Whether you are for or against the “bail out” of American corporations, the fact remains that, what ever happens in the short term will greatly affect us all, well into the future.

 

Many businesses, large and small, will fail in 2009 and more people will loose their jobs as companies trim the fat and become leaner; something that should have been done years ago. More domestic new car dealerships will close their doors. For many of them, they have no choice. Their business model just doesn’t make sense anymore.

 

Is there only bad news? Not really. We happen to be in an industry that prospers in any economic climate: good and bad. 2008 was a terrible year for new car sales and ALL manufacturers, resulting in the greatest opportunity for service and repair work we’ve seen in decades. People may have held back spending money in “08”, but eventually they will need to get their cars in to you for service. And you need to be ready.

 

Now is the time to be aggressive in your marketing and advertising. Create ways to offer cost savings services to your customers. Give them options and be flexible. You don’t have to hit home runs to win the game. I understand money is tight, but the shops that stay strong and invest today will reap the benefits when the economy turns around. History as proven that the companies that maintain a positive outlook, continue to advertise and adjust to the changing times, are stronger after the economy picks up.

 

Maintain a constant watch on all the businesses in your area that are suffering, especially other automotive chains and new car dealerships. As these companies fail, this will create opportunity for you. Watch your overhead, but continue to invest in training, tools and equipment. You can’t afford to be left behind technologically these days. Playing catch-up may not be that easy. And of course, be accommodating to your customer and provide outstanding world-class service, anything else won’t cut it. In tough times, consumers can become fussy and demanding and won’t settle for sub standard service.

 

From the dialogues I have had on AutoShopOwner.com, throughout this past year, I am impressed by the resolve and strength of the typical shop owner and see a positive future for our industry. As a group, we are strong. Failure is not an option for us. We find ways everyday to solve the most complicated mechanical problems and that determination will be the reason why we will not just survive in the coming years, but thrive. The best of luck to all shop owners in ‘09’ and look forward to the forum discussions.

 

Written by Joe Marconi

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

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      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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