By Joe Marconi
Having been a shop owner for 41 years, I have lived through many economic swings, both good and bad. I can tell you that increases in prices, from gas to food to new car prices, can prove to be a good thing for auto repair shops.
People tend to tighten their belts during tough economic times, but also understand that they need their cars in the best shape they can be to save on fuel and save on costly breakdowns.
How can you help your customers save on fuel costs and focus on preventive maintenance?
By Mike DelaCruz
A topic that I’ve become more and more interested in is the future of our industry, specifically when it comes to Technicians. I returned from the Spring Leadership Days in Orlando by Auto Care Association with an entirely new outlook, continuously reminding myself: What can I do to help strengthen our future?
As I scroll through my Facebook feed, reading through various forums and private group comments, I constantly hear about the Technician shortage and have been over the past few years.
Does that raise any concern that we’re still talking about this after several years?
As I read through the comments in hopes to find solutions, regrettably the majority of the comments are not solutions to the problem. So, my hope is to find a solution and identify what action I can personally take to help strengthen our future and do my part. I don’t want to spend anymore time talking about what we already know (tech shortage), and watch our industry reduce to rubble in the years ahead. Not on my watch… and I know a lot of you are with me! Days turn into weeks, weeks turn into months and months turn into years. Let’s not wait!
As I visit shops around the country, which is my favorite thing to do, I notice a common pattern in the workflow. Nearly 70% of the shops that I have visited in the past year have empty bays. For example, a shop in the Bay Area I visited recently had 8 bays, but 4 were empty. They had 2 Technicians, who both told me they’re extremely busy and this has become the “norm” until they hire more Technicians.
Of course, the owners have “tried everything”, but what does that mean? Have they really tried “everything”, or are they looking for a band-aid to fix the short-term problem and not thinking about a long-term solution and preparing for the future?
Shops are busy right now and business is booming for most. So even though they have the Tech shortage issue on their minds, it’s less of a priority right now because they’re busy! It reminds me of what one of my favorite industry coaches (and friend) told me one time about “Panic Marketing”. Business slows down, then we expect our marketing company to step up some SEO or Ads and get cars in today, when in reality you have to plan out your marketing 6-months or a year in advance.
So what do we do when we have empty bays and a Tech shortage? Many will simply place an Ad on Indeed, cross their fingers and hope for immediate applicants! That quick-fix strategy will never work. But what will?
There are shops out there with effective strategies that actually work well. Look at what they’re doing and get some ideas. Joe Marconi has some awesome tips on hiring great people. Having worked directly with Joe, I’ve seen the success firsthand.
But for me personally, I’m more interested in the long-term and getting the “younger generation” interested in our trade. I think this will help shape our future. But how do we do this? Someone once told me, if every shop ran an Apprenticeship program, this would help solve the problem.
Is that the silver bullet? If not, what is?
Was your mission statement created by yourself, or was it a collaborative effort from your employees? Is it listed on your website homepage? Do your customers know what it is? I’m with Bill Greeno at the 2022 Elite Invitational and he discusses how his team revamped its mission statement into a passion statement. Find out why affirmations were critical in starting the process.
Bill Greeno, Quality Automotive Servicing, Truckee, CA. Bill's previous episodes HERE
Key Talking Points
Renamed, rebranded, and changed the mission statement Dropped “Smog” from the name to add “Servicing” as an actionable word. Customers thought it was just a smog shop. “A mission statement doesn't work if you don’t talk to your people” you need meetings to establish expectations, discuss desires and direction, etc Meetings- setting expectations to arrive at a place to write the new mission statement together. Bill brought in another business coach to start. He explained the power of affirmations. The mind doesn’t know the difference between what is and what could be. What do you want to be? Are you affirming what you want to be every day? Every Friday after the meeting, they broke into pairs and wrote affirmation for themselves, and shared it with their partner. Their partner repeated it and wrote it down. Then the team would write words that defined them as a company and on their own, write 6 different mission statements. Collaborated together to create 1 mission statement, which became their ‘passion statement.’ “Whatcha know good?” Tell me the good news “We go beyond the obvious to educate customers with full disclosure and transparency. So you, the advisor, and the technician can find the best solution to keep your vehicle reliable for years to come.” Listed on the front home page at the top “Ideal Team Player” having the same values together Communication coordinator- handwritten thank you cards to every customer, receives public records when someone buys a house in the community and will send out a ‘welcome to town package.’ Handles email appointment requests, answers phone 25% of the time, does radio ads, internal communications, and marketing Advice- build your people
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By Joe Marconi
Yesterday, around mid-day, I headed out to run a number of errands. I first stopped for a quick lunch, then on to the hardware store, the beer distributor (for Father's Day BBQ), the grocery store, and then I went to Staples to pick up a few shipping cardboard boxes.
EVERY place I went to had a sign out in front: NOW HIRING!
I don't get it, where are all the workers? The unemployment rate is at 3.6%. Does that really reflect the number of people out of work, or is the number higher when we factor in those that don't want to enter the workforce or those that have left the workforce?
Something doesn't add up.
By Transmission Repair