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In Need of a Coach / Mentor


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Here's a little background info on my business.

 

My father purchased an existing body shop (just the customer base and equipment, the building was a rental) in 2009 for a very decent sum. Two months later we were informed that we had to pack up and leave, because they were going to build a CVS on that property. So we had to put the equipment (1 bend-pak lift, 1 paint booth, 1 mixing machine, and 1 frame machine) in to storage.

 

Fast forward to the end of 2012, a building opened up for sale on one a main street in town. My father and I signed the lease and moved in January of 2013. Almost 2 years down the road, here we are. My father is doing his own thing, I am left running the business. We have one technician, and one part time helper and myself. I do the management, front desk, phone calls, bills, cleaning, pretty much wearing all the hats. Business is growing steadily and surely but I feel like I need a mentor or coach. I pay myself only so often and not nearly enough by any standards. And I can't afford about 1,500 / month for coaching. Is there anything I can do for now? Thank you in advance!

 

P.S. Questions / concerns / opinions welcomed.

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Great Tire Deal

Here is my constructive criticism and I hope you will take it as such.

 

If you are in the auto repair business (as an owner) the excuse of "I just can't afford $XXX" is a crutch and its a lie. You are lying to yourself. How do I know this? Because I was lying to myself for years using the same excuse. The real question is can you afford NOT TO. You said your business is steadily growing which is great. In my opinion however if your business is growing but you can't afford $1500 on something you perceived to be a need and a necessity to grow your business something is terribly wrong. Some of us are blessed with mentors who never ask for a dime. Most of us however have to seek professional help that cost $. It is also in my opinion that I'd rather pay to have someone that is professionally accountable in helping me succeed that someone that is treating coaching as a pet project.

 

Every time I have invested in training I have seen gains. Since September I'd taken the RLO Guerilla Shop Management online course and have signed up with Elite as a coaching client. I've seen a 20-30k increase in sales a month since then. I have always had the philosophy if something costs me a $1 to make $2 then I'm with it. Since I have made the investment in my business and education I've seen far more than a $2 return.

 

Now I am far from perfect and I have a LONG way to go. These have been my personal experiences so take them for what you will. If you have a passion to succeed and you want to do the right thing then $1500/mo for a little direction is a drop in the bucket.

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Just to add to xrac's comment, starting with classes is a great way to break into training. I can only speak from my experiences but the first classes I partook were with WorldPac. They put on a Service Advisor's Class that last 2-3 days. It was incredibly helpful at the time since I had absolutely no idea what I was doing.

 

Elite's one day sales class is awesome as well. If you are lacking in sales skills you really need to check their class out.

 

Once you get an idea of what it takes to be profitable and to run a shop, I'd also suggest RLO's Guerilla Shop Management 12 week course. Great investment.

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Mspec's post is my story as well. $1500 is one good ticket each month. What is expensive is making mistakes until you are either out of business or finally forced to admit that good training is cheap. The best athletes in the world have coaches, so should you.

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First of all, I want to acknowledge you for having the awareness to realize you need help.
And then, having the courage to ask for help. This is a huge step you've taken here.

As others have already pointed out, coaches are necessary if you want to take your business
to the next level. It's because from a business owner's perspective... "we don't know - what we don't know."
We're just too close to the situation.

However, committing to a big monthly payment - without feeling certain that what
may have worked for others - will also work for you, can be scary, especially when
cash flow is already tight.

Here are some things I recommend business owners do when choosing a
coaching/training program...

The biggest thing to do is: to make sure you are in alignment with the core philosophies
of the program. In other words, all coaching and training requires a shift in your thinking
and doing things differently.

It just boils down to deciding if the program is a good fit for the way you want to treat
your customers and run your business.

Bottom-line: selling to today's customers in today's economy is way different than it was
just a few years ago.

Today's customers no longer tolerate all of the pushy, salesy, objection handling and
high-pressure sales tactics. And will not hesitate to take their business up the street
and/or tell others on the many review sites if they feel like they are being taken advantage of.

What that means to you is: I recommend before investing ANY money, you interview or
somehow get a taste of the core philosophy of any training company you might consider.

The last thing you want to do is to spend time or money - only to find out, the training
goes completely against how you want to run your business.

There's never been a better time to own an auto repair business than now. When you
position your business properly, you end up being known as the only shop in your area
that can be trusted when it comes to auto repair and tires. Once that happens, you

own your marketplace.

Again... congratulations on taking the first step in getting help.

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Congratulations on deciding to seek some outside help. Many professionals use a consultant. You need an objective viewpoint from an experienced and trusted advisor that has your best interest and the best interest of your organization at heart. An objective viewpoint is critical to understanding your shop beyond your in house staff and family advice. You must do something differently to effect real change. Time, money and effort spent on improving and learning is an investment. Your website is awesome, and lots of great reviews on Google plus. You obviously care alot about your shop and your clients.

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Thank you all for your great responses and constructive criticism. It's amazing having people like this to turn to and learn from. My business wouldn't be anywhere near what it is today without ASO.

 

P.S - If anyone is ever in Harrisonburg, VA or going through on I-81, please stop by. I'd love to meet as many of you as possible.

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I agree completely with what was posted above. I am the problem in my business. A bad year emotionally and financially has me completely upsidedown and its either pay the money and follow through and make the changes or let it go. You have to be willing to invest the time to actually do what the coaches say. That's a hard thing to do when you spend 60 hours a week at the shop trying to make enough money to keep the lights on. Forget getting paid yourself or keeping current on other bills. My advice to you, get the help now before you get yourself into my position or as Joe mentioned above you end up on that place. Its sucks big time. I have used and am currently using Gary Gunn at Turn Around Tours. Like was mentioned above, don't just pay someone with a hipe session if they are not what you really want your business to be.

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I know the collective mind yields the best ideas. Fresh perspectives and new ideas. I would like to make the same offer mspecperformance did, If anyone is interested in bouncing ideas off each other feel free to PM me. I enjoy working thru challenges and getting to the goal. I know there is so much we can learn from one another!!

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

         0 comments
      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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