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Hi All,


My husband and I own a small auto repair shop. We have been in business for approx. 3 years and things are going well..ups and downs as everyone else...

I have a question that I do not know how to handle..

What do you do with those people that think we are still just working out of our home and not for a living?

There are people that just come in the back door and just keep chewing off my husbands ear until I show up out there..tell them I need him for something then they leave...

He's nice and puts up with it..then I hear about it later how he can't get anything done..

We've tried putting employee entrance only signs up..but I guess no one feels like that pertains to them..

We are big on customer service so I don't want to completely shut these people out..but have some common courtesy...

Any help would be appreciated..Thank you


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Yeah its a story we all hear when we start at a grass roots level. It can be tough, I still battle with the this problem. My shop is long with only 1 roll down gate. Currently i have a metal roll down gate. When it is closed it looks like we are not open for business so I like to keep it up as much as possible. I have tried yellow safety chains which don't seem to help. People tend to literally wait by the chain until a tech asks them if they need help before they will walk into the office. I am looking into getting a inside roll down gate with windows so I can keep my metal gate up and the nicer looking window gate down.


I would probably say your biggest problem is having a Service Advisor that can handle customers. Sounds like you may be the only or main front end person? In my experience people want to talk to a knowledgeable person as well as someone with some sort of authority. Once you can take control of speaking to every customer before your husband or techs do I think you will start to win the battle of the back door customer war :)

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Like Joe said, be nice but firm. Explain insurance no longer allows people to come into the shop area. I have a few close friends that stop by from time to time, and I'll just be polite and say 'Well it was nice talking to ya, but I really have to get back to finishing this job. The customer needs their car back ASAP'. They usually get the point.


All great advice here.

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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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