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Hello from the U.P. of Michigan!


ScottyP

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Hello everyone. 2 years ago I opened a brake repair shop at my home and became The Brake Doctor. I have property that allowed me to do this and a large very nice shop with lift and all the toys. After 2 years it was time to move to a better commercial location so I rented a shop on the highway, renovated it and opened just 2 months ago.

 

I should mention I've been a general contractor for 25 years and while it's been a good business, I simply got tired of the headaches. My first love was always wrenching and I worked in a shop prior to contracting, not to mention all those years drag racing, building cars and engines, complete restorations, etc.

 

In addition to moving my brake shop I also opened U.P. Trailer and Hitch. The building I moved into was previously a trailer repair and hitch shop but the owner moved away roughly 4 years ago and nobody picked up the trailer work. I've been doing more trailer work and hitch installs than brake work, although I would rather do brakes. So far it's just me working the shop and my schedule is about half full. As we move out of this bitter cold winter I see that changing and most likely hiring help this spring. So anyways I'm here to learn and improve my business and hopefully make a few friends. :)

 

Scott

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Yes, in the 2 years I ran my brake shop at home I would get slammed come springtime and be very busy through November. Same thing with contracting, which I finally quit after I moved into my new shop. Nice thing now is I've got dealerships and other local businesses, including Lowes, Tractor Supply and other stores sending people to me for hitches and trailer repair. Word around town is the trailer shop has finally reopened. That work is keeping me afloat during the slow winter months. I have to start marketing the auto repair part of my business though to get those numbers up.

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

         5 comments
      I recently spoke with a friend of mine who owns a large general repair shop in the Midwest. His father founded the business in 1975. He was telling me that although he’s busy, he’s also very frustrated. When I probed him more about his frustrations, he said that it’s hard to find qualified technicians. My friend employs four technicians and is looking to hire two more. I then asked him, “How long does a technician last working for you.” He looked puzzled and replied, “I never really thought about that, but I can tell that except for one tech, most technicians don’t last working for me longer than a few years.”
      Judging from personal experience as a shop owner and from what I know about the auto repair industry, I can tell you that other than a few exceptions, the turnover rate for technicians in our industry is too high. This makes me think, do we have a technician shortage or a retention problem? Have we done the best we can over the decades to provide great pay plans, benefits packages, great work environments, and the right culture to ensure that the techs we have stay with us?
      Finding and hiring qualified automotive technicians is not a new phenomenon. This problem has been around for as long as I can remember. While we do need to attract people to our industry and provide the necessary training and mentorship, we also need to focus on retention. Having a revolving door and needing to hire techs every few years or so costs your company money. Big money! And that revolving door may be a sign of an even bigger issue: poor leadership, and poor employee management skills.
      Here’s one more thing to consider, for the most part, technicians don’t leave one job to start a new career, they leave one shop as a technician to become a technician at another shop. The reasons why they leave can be debated, but there is one fact that we cannot deny, people don’t quit the company they work for, they usually leave because of the boss or manager they work for.
      Put yourselves in the shoes of your employees. Do you have a workplace that communicates, “We appreciate you and want you to stay!”
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