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Absentee Owner?


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Anyone else an absentee owner here? If so, how do you handle employees and daily work when you are not present? Things seem to be the complete opposite when I am not at the shop- cars are not check throughly, no motivation to sell additional services, cell phones used, techs sit around and relax when not busy, messy work environment etc.



Also, what do you do when the cash is short at the close of the day or when a tech renders service on a vehicle but does not charge for it- taking longer on the job than what we charge the customer?



Any thoughts or opinions regarding this matter are greatly appreciated.










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I am here almost everyday and sometimes find it difficult to run this type of business. I cannot imagine being an absentee owner and expecting someone else to watch over my business the way I do. With that said, many auto repair facilities are run in that manner and flourish. I think Joe give some good advice in regards to clearly defined positions and your expectations in regards to those positions. Make sure everything is written out, never assume, it is a killer~!

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  • 1 month later...

I also recommend reading the "E Myth", by Michael Gerber. It's a book that explains; Just because someone is a great mechanic or a great chef, does not mean they can run a business, the skills of running a business are vastly different.


Thanks, Joe. Just ordered this off Amazon ($1.99 !!).


To add to your advice and franchise comment ... it's all about setting up systems and expectations. The reason that franchises and chains have taken off so well is that they have fine-tuned systems in place on how to do EVERYTHING. How to greet customers, how to answer the phone, how to move the work order through the system, how to sell additional work, etc etc etc.


One thing you may have noticed about franchises is that they rarely hire the best. Typically, they hire the mediocre. Not the best, not the worst. Just your average employee. And they make a TON of money this way. Why? Simply put, franchises have developed systems. They have expectations for their employees. They are not "winging it" every single time. Rather, they know their process and the follow it, day in and day out.


This means that an owner can have 15 different franchises and only spend 10 minutes a month in each one of them. They run themselves. I know a franchise owner with 15 different oil change shops that he calls his "mini oil wells." Whether he is awake or asleep, these little "oil wells" are always pumping money. His store managers know what he expects of them, and he gives them the freedom to do it.


I'll end this monologue with an example. I worked as a tech under the manager of a franchise who would go on vacations every so often. Every time he left, the front counter sales team would fall apart. The shop would get dirty. Techs would lose motivation. etc. etc. You've experienced it. Every time he came back from vacation and saw it all, he would say, without fail, "Man!! This place just falls apart without me!!" And I would always reply to him, "The mark of a good leader is how things run when you are not present." He didn't like that much ...

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

      A recent study, done by Harvard Business School, concluded that the real problem with attracting and retaining employees has more to do with the workplace environment, not pay or benefits. While the study did find that an adequate pay plan and offering an attractive benefits package did help with recruiting and retention, it’s not enough to satisfy the needs of employees, especially those of front-line workers.
      The study also stated that in 2021, many companies were convinced that giving raises, sign-on bonuses, and other perks would solve the worker shortage problem and prevent people from quitting. However, this strategy did not work. So, what does work regarding attracting quality people and keeping them employed?
      Essentially, it all comes down to the culture of your company.  Management: do all it can to consider the individual needs of your employees. Your employees want to feel that they have a voice, that their opinion counts, and that their role in your company is both respected and recognized. Yes, pay and a great benefits package will go a long way toward making your employees feel secure, but that’s only financial security. People want more than money.
      To attract and keep top talent requires creating a company that people feel proud to work for. You need to reach the hearts and minds of your employees. Become a leader that people are enthusiastic about working for. You want your employees bragging to their friends and family that your shop is a great place to work!
      Step one to attracting and retaining quality employees: Create an amazing workplace environment for your employees!  Trust me, happy employees make happy shop owners too!
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