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No matter how things change, service work remains key


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I have been reading another great piece by somebody by the name of Joe! Ha! Joe, this is a good one that I wanted to be sure that everyone saw. As some of you know I am president of the Joe Marconi fan club! :D

 

 

 

However, this article has sparked some thoughts that I want to talk about namely how we have to change to remain competitive. My shop has been open for 11+ years and we had never invested in any Eurpoean diagnostic software or equipment. Last week I broke down and made my first investment for the European software and connectors for our Snap-On Modius. It wasn't a huge expenditure (about $1100) but it was a first. Why did I do this? It use to be that the Eurpoean cars we saw (BMWs, Mercedes, VW, Volvos, Landrovers, etc.) were few and far between. Remember that Evansville is in the middle of nowhere and we do not have an Infiniti, Landrover, or Acura dealer. However, as our business and reputation has grown we are seeing more and more Eurpoeans and we have been working on a lot of VWs lately. I realized that if we are going to be servicing that customer base I have to become equipped to do it.

 

On the subject of change the two newest Car-x Franchisee stores that opened in Indianapolis have been built as 8 full service bay shops with three additional quick lube bays attached. These stores are doing $1,000,000 in their first year. The area manager there says they build the quick lube bays, run cheap oil changes to build a database, and then use direct mail to market their other services and it works. This last month the store in the whole Car-x system with the highest sales was a store in Champaign, IL, which has been open less than one year and it is built on some type of tire store model. Remember that Car-x started as muffler shops. My point is that change is a fact of life and something we all have to be open to. If hybrid technology becomes popular we are all going to be forced to look at our business model.

 

The business model you speak of with the new Car-X stores is the same model I used for my expansion. My traditional 6 bay "repair shop" performs all the heavy repairs and diagnostic work. It's where the traditional "meat & potatoes work" is done. But, in today's fast past world and changing demographics; I saw an opportunity that I was not capitalizing on. My new building (a standalone 4-bay facility) is primarily for walk in trade, while you wait service, tires, alignment and other basic service work. The model works and our car counts and sales have greatly improved.

 

The point is, and I know you realize this, is that we DO need to change with the times. We cannot conduct business the way we did 15 years ago.

 

Smith Corona, the great typewriter company, viewed itself as a typewriter company and could not adapt to change. Instead of making the bridge into the computer age, it stuck by its traditional product and went belly up in the early 1990's.

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