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Considering a shift to specialize

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Hello all! I am fairly new to ASO and its been a great resource, Thank You!


I am part way into my third year of business and looking to continue development and progress of my business. The first year was a lovely rollercoaster full of the perils and victories many of you have faced. The second year saw some traction and althought not a lot of profit, an understanding of what needed to be done to make it. Now for the third year, starting to make some money and run the business rather than that clawing on for dear life I experienced earlier.


So, I am seeking opinions and advice from the community on the idea of creating some specialties within the full service scope of my shop.


Some background. We are very full service, Domestic, Euro, and Asian. Good selection of scan tools, info, programming, etc. I do have a niche that we have been developing-- hybrid cars. We are one of the only shops in the state that does any serious work to them, battery rebuilds, transmission, inverter, etc. I plan to continue chasing these customers and giving them an alternative to the dealers. But! I also have a decent base of euro customers and I like those cars and customers, both profitable niches on there own.


I just made some moves with my techs and I have in place a team that could specialize in both with some investment in tooling for the german cars.


How do you guys go about courting a specific group without losing the other?

Is it worth specializing in one area versus trying to be everything to everyone?


I initially was shooting to be a hybrid specific shop, but the german cars followed me as well as all the general repair work, and I'm grateful, but I would like to define who we are and be the best at that.


I appreciate the comments and advice given.


Thanks! Josh

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

      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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