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Hello from 23 year old shop owner, Central FL


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just wanted to say hello, tell my story, make new friends and ultimately, get help.


well my name is David, i have recently took over my father's auto repair shop this year after he passed on December of last year, its been the toughest year of my life. my old man was not only my father but my best friend, i grew up turning wrenches here at his shop since i was 16 during my summer vacations. i am not a master tech or anything but i am way past an entry level. the trouble ive run into is finding good help we are a small 4 bay shop and we have only had 3 techs, my father, my self and another tech. eventually the other tech we had for 4 years now, lost respect for me..well he stopped taking me serious and took advantage of me, sometimes saying to himself im 42 years old i dont have to listen to a 20year old. i am young, and i do admit i may not know how to manage a business yet, but at the end of the day i am the boss so after 4 years of working for us i had to let him go. now i cant seem to find a mechanic like him, it bite me in the ass. he obviously knew more than me and had more experience. im blessed that my father was a great and honest man and for that he left me a large and loyal customer base that watched me grow up around the shop over the years. but i need help from a more experienced mechanic.

im currently in business school at the university of central florida but have put that on hold because im at the shop 50hours a week


so in a nutshell thats my story of my tough life haha. its not easy but i enjoy it, i love the field and plan to expand my father's business one day

joined the forum to grab help and ideas


Edited by ricoexport
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I'm sorry for the loss of your father I too work with mine and could not imagine losing him. In some ways I am in the same situation, I have not lost my father but have taken the shop over at 26 and understand the challenges a young shop owner/manager faces. I'd urge you to find someway to keep your business classes going you'll need them in the road ahead, I know that the college classes I have had has made it easier for me. Like you I came to this site to gain more knowledge and wisdom and so far it has been very helpful.

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I'm sorry for the loss of your father I too work with mine and could not imagine losing him. In some ways I am in the same situation, I have not lost my father but have taken the shop over at 26 and understand the challenges a young shop owner/manager faces. I'd urge you to find someway to keep your business classes going you'll need them in the road ahead, I know that the college classes I have had has made it easier for me. Like you I came to this site to gain more knowledge and wisdom and so far it has been very helpful.


thanks for the advice jon, appreciate it

i definitely plan on returning to school next year, this year i just had to focus on the business

glad to have made a friend, cheers

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Welcome to the site. You will find that there are a bunch of "seasoned" shop owners on here that are more than willing to lend a hand when they can. We are all in this hard business together. I will agree that finding good help is very hard. Anyone that is truly good already has a great job and those that normally are looking you don't want by your side. I personally am a master technician turned shop owner. I can tell you that working on cars is the easy part for me. Running the business is the hard part. I am not sure how well you know the business side but I bet that most of your long time customers will be willing to work with you. I look forward to hearing how your business turns out. It WILL NOT be easy nor will it happen with 40-50 hrs a week. I routinely but 60-70 hrs a week into this shop. I am finally getting the business growing enough that I am looking for someone to add that can help with this but it takes time.

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Welcome to the site, David. Don't beat yourself up about letting that tech go. It sounds like if he had stuck around his work ethic would have continued to decline because he was unhappy and just would have given you more long term headaches. When I ran another business in a different industry (a LONG time ago), I had to let go of a really great guy with a lot more experience than me because he kept showing up drunk. It kept me awake at night for a while because I wished I could have found a better solution. It wasn't until after he was gone that I learned from my customers how much he was hurting the business. When your guys have problems, customers notice. Sometimes you can fix the situation with an employee, but sometimes you just have to end it and move on.


As far as the workload, all I can say is hang in there and don't give up. I have found in my own life that most of the time if I can break a problem down into smaller short-term goals and give myself a reasonable amount of time to do them, the situation as a whole doesn't seem so huge anymore. Maybe you can still find another tech in your area. There is a lot of folks looking for work everywhere. The right guy will come along eventually. Even if you have to settle for a guy that's a little less experienced than the one you lost, the main goal is getting you some time to finish school. Maybe you can take classes at a slower pace or something.


One of my worst tendencies when I was young and trying to run a business was the "it's easier to just do it myself mentality". Don't fall into that trap. If you've got people under you that you can trust a little, try delegating out a few more simple things and let them know you're doing it because you think they are trustworthy. The guys in your shop may begin to respect you more for it, and that will help with the "time crunch" you're facing.


Just my $0.02+...

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thanks guys really appreciate the advice, especially yours bobby


i actually had 7 interviews today, thanks to good ol' craigslist

i think i found my new tech, hes very promising and i liked the way he talked and i hope hes a man of his word and can really do what he says he can

some guys out there can talk the talk but very few can actually walk it, i hope i used that expression correctly lol

any who bobby like you said, customer's notice and mine sure as hell did, thats why i called it quits, enough was enough and slowly but surely ill know that it was for the best


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Sorry for your loss aswell David. The other guys are spot on. I am 44 and have ran my own shop with the help of my wife for 5 1/2 years I have been wrenching more than 27 years. I have worked by myself as far as wrenching goes mostly during this time. After employing a master tech...let him go..ego... and a guy my age who had 20 years under his belt.....back ground check= felon.....let him go....I hired a newly graduated automotive student who was fresh, willing and eager to learn.He has been with me a year now.

I recently ( July 30th) got hurt at work cut 4 tendons a nerve and one of two main arteries in my left arm. My 22 year old tech stepped up big time for me/us. He is still doing a great job I myself have to find a new role in my business. I can not work as I have for at least a year maybe longer who knows. That's hard for me however I may be of more value to my business at this point. I love working on cars and have for years now I may not agree with all this crapping stuff we deal with but I love it. Identifix will be beneficial for you and your business I promise..This is a great forum for advice...check a local tech school it did work more me..results may vary..lol..Be honest with your customer never BS them give them the very best you can mean while don't take no BS charge storage if you gotta! My name is John Brooks and my shop number is 706-485-9797 if I can try to answer any question you have just state who you are and your not selling anything....quitters quit and fighters fight! Keep up the good fight.

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Hi David and welcome to the forum. I started my business at the age of 22 and have been going for 23 years now. I'm sorry to hear of your loss. It is during these hard times though that our character will be molded and strengthened. When I started I had 5 years of full time wrenching and no business or customer interaction experience. So my advice to you would be to get as much business knowledge as possible. Good people are hard to find, but they are out there. Perseverance is the key. By the way I looked at the location of your building and saw it on Google Maps, it's a very nice shop. What is more amazing is how small this world is. I am up here in NJ and realized that you are right around the corner from my mother-in-law. She lives on 28th St. Next time I'm visiting I'll have to stop by and say hello!


Gary A

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

      Got your attention? Good. The truth is, there is no such thing as the perfect technician pay plan. There are countless ways to create any pay plan. I’ve heard all the claims and opinions, and to be honest, it’s getting a little frustrating. Claims that an hourly paid pay plan cannot motivate. That flat rate is the only way to truly get the most production from your technicians. And then there’s the hybrid performance-based pay plan that many claim is the best.
      At a recent industry event, a shop owner from the Midwest boasted about his flat-rate techs and insisted that this pay plan should be adopted by all shops across the country. When I informed him that in states like New York, you cannot pay flat-rate, he was shocked. “Then how do you motivate your techs” he asked me.
      I remember the day in 1986 when I hired the best technician who ever worked for me in my 41 years as an automotive shop owner. We’ll call him Hal. When Hal reviewed my pay plan for him, and the incentive bonus document, he stared at it for a minute, looked up, and said, “Joe, this looks good, but here’s what I want.” He then wrote on top of the document the weekly salary he wanted. It was a BIG number. He went on to say, “Joe, I need to take home a certain amount of money. I have a home, a wife, two kids, and my Harly Davidson. I will work hard and produce for you. I don’t need an incentive bonus to do my work.” And he did, for the next 30 years, until the day he retired.
      Everyone is entitled to their opinion. So, here’s mine. Money is a motivator, but not the only motivator, and not the best motivator either. We have all heard this scenario, “She quit ABC Auto Center, to get a job at XYZ Auto Repair, and she’s making less money now at XYZ!” We all know that people don’t leave companies, they leave the people they work for or work with.
      With all this said, I do believe that an incentive-based pay plan can work. However, I also believe that a technician must be paid a very good base wage that is commensurate with their ability, experience, and certifications. I also believe that in addition to money, there needs to be a great benefits package. But the icing on the cake in any pay plan is the culture, mission, and vision of the company, which takes strong leadership. And let’s not forget that motivation also comes from praise, recognition, respect, and when technicians know that their work matters.
      Rather than looking for that elusive perfect pay plan, sit down with your technician. Find out what motivates them. What their goals are. Why do they get out of bed in the morning? When you tie their goals with your goals, you will have one powerful pay plan.
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