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Found 13 results

  1. As a young tech, there wasn’t anything I couldn’t do. I diagnosed every car with the accuracy and skill of a Greek god. My efficiency week after week was over 150 percent, and with no comebacks. As a shop owner, I sold every job, and at a profit. Each new day was better than the day before. Boy, when I look back, I was amazing. Those were days. OK, OK, perhaps I am stretching the truth a bit. The fact is my past was not a smoothly paved road to success, but rather an obstacle course riddled with emotional and financial potholes, with more ups and downs than the biggest rollercoaster. Was it amazing? Oh, yes. Amazing because of all the mistakes I made along the way. As the years have piled up in my life, I often find myself thinking back to the “old days” and judge people by how “perfect” I thought I was back then. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I was a good technician and somehow evolved into an accomplished businessman. But was I really as good as I remember? I was outside the bays talking with my manager when Nick, one of my techs, began his road test on a Chevy Tahoe. As he passed us I could hear that unique “squeaky” sound a seized, worn out u-joint makes. I yelled to him, “Hey, check the u-joints.” He nodded his head and drove off. About 30 minutes later, I walked over to Nick and asked him what he found on his multipoint inspection. He told me that the wiper blades were torn, there’s a little play in the right side outer tie road and he recommends a four-wheel balance with a wheel alignment. I asked him, “What about the u-joints?” Nick replied, “They’re fine; nice and tight.” I could feel the tension begin to rise when I continued with, “Nick, I asked you to check the u-joints because I could hear that something was wrong. How did you check the u-joints? Do you know how to check u-joints?” Nick was visibly upset, so I suggested another road test—this time with me. During the road test, I told Nick to roll down the windows and listen. I said, “Do you hear that squeaky sound? That’s a seized u-joint.” Nick listened closely and then said, “I never heard that noise before.” To myself, I said, “You must be kidding me! How in the world can this tech not know it’s a seized u-joint?” But, thankfully I paused, and replied with, “Nick, how old are you? He responded proudly, “Twenty-one, boss.” Nick is a recent graduate of a well known tech school. He comes to work on time, works hard, and learns every day. His production improves each month. He has a lot of raw talent and a great attitude. At 21, how in the world could he know what I know at 63? I often forget how young some of my employees are. I also need to remember that people will make mistakes and they need the time to hone their skills through years of experience. They don’t have the gray hair of knowledge that often comes with decades of experience. Allowing people to grow will mean making mistakes. A tech will make the wrong diagnosis. A service advisor will lose a sale or forget to sell the tire rotation. But, did you or I diagnosis every car correctly? Did we make every sale? Were we absolutely perfect in everything we did? Of course not. So let’s be a little more understanding. I am not suggesting we settle for mediocrity. People need to strive for excellence. But even the best home run hitter will strike out at times. As business owners, especially those from my generation, it’s our job to pass the baton, to teach others, to be a mentor and a coach. Don’t be too judgmental. If we are honest with ourselves when we look back on our lives, we will see triumphs mixed with a lot tough days. When you feel yourself losing your temper or getting upset over the mistakes or lack of knowledge from one of your employees, just think back and view your own past. Don’t look back with a skewed memory of your greatness, but with an honest recollection of your struggles and mistakes. And you never know, you just might help others avoid some of the mistakes you made. Oh, by the way, my approach with the way I handled the situation with Nick and the seized u-joint? Another mistake on my part. So even at 63, I am still making mistakes. Kind of humbling, right? This story was originally published by Joe Marconi in Ratchet+Wrench on July 6, 2018
  2. As a young tech, there wasn’t anything I couldn’t do. I diagnosed every car with the accuracy and skill of a Greek god. My efficiency week after week was over 150 percent, and with no comebacks. As a shop owner, I sold every job, and at a profit. Each new day was better than the day before. Boy, when I look back, I was amazing. Those were days. OK, OK, perhaps I am stretching the truth a bit. The fact is my past was not a smoothly paved road to success, but rather an obstacle course riddled with emotional and financial potholes, with more ups and downs than the biggest rollercoaster. Was it amazing? Oh, yes. Amazing because of all the mistakes I made along the way. As the years have piled up in my life, I often find myself thinking back to the “old days” and judge people by how “perfect” I thought I was back then. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I was a good technician and somehow evolved into an accomplished businessman. But was I really as good as I remember? I was outside the bays talking with my manager when Nick, one of my techs, began his road test on a Chevy Tahoe. As he passed us I could hear that unique “squeaky” sound a seized, worn out u-joint makes. I yelled to him, “Hey, check the u-joints.” He nodded his head and drove off. About 30 minutes later, I walked over to Nick and asked him what he found on his multipoint inspection. He told me that the wiper blades were torn, there’s a little play in the right side outer tie road and he recommends a four-wheel balance with a wheel alignment. I asked him, “What about the u-joints?” Nick replied, “They’re fine; nice and tight.” I could feel the tension begin to rise when I continued with, “Nick, I asked you to check the u-joints because I could hear that something was wrong. How did you check the u-joints? Do you know how to check u-joints?” Nick was visibly upset, so I suggested another road test—this time with me. During the road test, I told Nick to roll down the windows and listen. I said, “Do you hear that squeaky sound? That’s a seized u-joint.” Nick listened closely and then said, “I never heard that noise before.” To myself, I said, “You must be kidding me! How in the world can this tech not know it’s a seized u-joint?” But, thankfully I paused, and replied with, “Nick, how old are you? He responded proudly, “Twenty-one, boss.” Nick is a recent graduate of a well known tech school. He comes to work on time, works hard, and learns every day. His production improves each month. He has a lot of raw talent and a great attitude. At 21, how in the world could he know what I know at 63? I often forget how young some of my employees are. I also need to remember that people will make mistakes and they need the time to hone their skills through years of experience. They don’t have the gray hair of knowledge that often comes with decades of experience. Allowing people to grow will mean making mistakes. A tech will make the wrong diagnosis. A service advisor will lose a sale or forget to sell the tire rotation. But, did you or I diagnosis every car correctly? Did we make every sale? Were we absolutely perfect in everything we did? Of course not. So let’s be a little more understanding. I am not suggesting we settle for mediocrity. People need to strive for excellence. But even the best home run hitter will strike out at times. As business owners, especially those from my generation, it’s our job to pass the baton, to teach others, to be a mentor and a coach. Don’t be too judgmental. If we are honest with ourselves when we look back on our lives, we will see triumphs mixed with a lot tough days. When you feel yourself losing your temper or getting upset over the mistakes or lack of knowledge from one of your employees, just think back and view your own past. Don’t look back with a skewed memory of your greatness, but with an honest recollection of your struggles and mistakes. And you never know, you just might help others avoid some of the mistakes you made. Oh, by the way, my approach with the way I handled the situation with Nick and the seized u-joint? Another mistake on my part. So even at 63, I am still making mistakes. Kind of humbling, right? This story was originally published by Joe Marconi in Ratchet+Wrench on July 6, 2018 View full article
  3. The day to day operations of running a business can take its toll on anyone. To be a business owner means to address problem after problem and finding the right solutions. Sometimes the decisions we make will be the right ones, sometimes not. If we are not careful, this emotional roller coaster we call being in business, can make us focus too much on the negative, and not the positive things that happen in our lives. With nearly 4 decades as a business owner, I can say with certainty that one of the basic building blocks of being successful in business is having the right team of people around you and getting yourself in the right frame of mind. You need to find and hire great people. But once you have them, you need to do all you can to take care of them, train them and make them successful in order for you to be successful. Is it easy? No. But it is essential. Most important; you need to treat each day as if it were a gift from the heavens and base your entire perspective from a position of strength and remaining positive. I know it’s not easy, but I can tell you, it works.
  4. As shop owners, our focus is on business, for the most part. There is nothing wrong with this mindset, but it may push employees away from you. Whether you like it or not, people are more concerned about their own lives and what’s important to them. When speaking to your employees, find ways to engage in conversation that has nothing to do with business. Find out about their interests, and what’s going on in their lives. Simply asking, “How was your weekend? Do anything special?” can work wonders to motivate people. When speaking with employees, be more concerned about them, not you. This will send a message that you care about them as a person. In turn, they will care more about your business.
  5. Perhaps one of the best ways to motivate employees is to give them regular positive feedback. Too often, employees only hear when things go wrong. And while we all need to know when we fail, it’s more important to recognize when things go right. People want to know when they win. People also like to be included in on the progress of the company. It’s important that everyone in your shop feels that what they do really matters to the success of the company. This also promotes the right culture and builds a strong team. Create a strategy where you give your employees feedback on their progress, especially positive feedback. Look for things you can point out that recognizes an action by an employee that resulted in recent success. This will help to reinforce the behavior you are looking for and will increase the odds of repeating that same behavior. The feeling of accomplishment and being recognized for it is a powerful motivator in the workplace, perhaps stronger than money. People want to feel good about themselves. As shop owners, implement this strategy and ignite your workplace toward success. Remember, your success is dependent on the success of the people around.
  6. Source: Repair Shop Owners; Please dont lead by example!
  7. Perhaps one of the most difficult things to do as a shop owner is to consistently present yourself with a positive and upbeat attitude. Let’s face it; your life is filled with issues; from bounced checks to complaining customers, to comebacks and employee problems. But the fact is you are the boss and the leader of your company. And everyone is watching you. What you do and what you say is seen and heard by everyone. As the leader, you set the tone, the mood and morale of the shop. If you are negative, everyone around you will be. One of the best ways to lead is to set an example by being positive at all times. I know this may be hard at times, but to walk around with a doom and gloom attitude will actually makes things worse. People react to the emotions of the leader. It’s far better for the long term success of the company to have the people in your shop feeding off your positive energy, then being brought down by doom and gloom.
  8. What is the single one stand out thing you want to improve at your shop? Is it ARO, car count, G.P. %, Branding your company, Hiring better people, or what? Whats the most important thing you want to accomplish this year? Whats is you action plan to make it happen? Just curious what's on the collective ASO mind!
  9. One of the toughest things to do as a business owner is to step away and let the people you have put in charge make key decisions and take control of your business. Business becomes part of your life, maybe not your entire life, but a big part of it. You still value family and friends, but for shop owners, business becomes an integral part of one’s life. As a shop owner, your thoughts are never far from family and from your business. This is not the first time I have spoken about how hard it is to let go, and it will not be the last. I have put people in levels of management and built systems to take care of the tasks that should not be done by me anymore. But, in order to have real control and to keep moving the business in the right direction, we need to ignore certain things, and trust not only the people we employee, but the systems that we have put into place. The other day I walked into the shop at 11:50am and saw two techs having lunch, while the other techs were working. Normally lunch is a 12noon. I was annoyed and visibly showing it. My manager made the decision to have these two techs take an early lunch since their ordered lunch had arrived early. I made no comment, just walked away. While I may not be in agreement with his decision, it is his decision. I must not and cannot undermine, prejudge and take away his authority by stepping in and forcing my opinion on this matter. As business owners, we need to build the systems, polices, and the procedures that will allow our businesses to run and grow with or without us. We need to put into place a system of checks and balances to insure success. Most of all, we need to hire the right people, assign them to the right position, train them, mentor them and then leave them alone and let them do their job.
  10. As shop owners, what we say to our employees and how we act is important in how others view our ability to lead. It’s crucial to be consistent with your policies and with everyone you employ. Never show favoritism and follow through on all promises and commitments. The morale of the shop starts at the top. The shop owner, the leader, sets the tone. We all know how hard it can be to remain positive and find the good in people and that silver lining each and every day. But, if we are poor leaders, inconsistent and convey a negative demeanor, the results will be damaging to not only to morale, but to the success of the company.
  11. Focus on People, not Numbers Legendary UCLA Basket Coach, John Wooden, never focused on the score of a game. John Wooden believed that success is achieved by paying attention to the details of the game, not concentrating on the score. He also knew that well-trained players, executing a plan and paying attention to personal performance and team work, will ultimately lead to success. Under his leadership, the UCLA Bruins holds the record with 11 Division 1 NCAA Championships, 10 national titles in 12 seasons, including 7 straight wins from 1967 to 1973. His strategy, a focus on people and team spirit, brings out the very best someone has to offer to the team. His record is a testament to his strategy. As business owners, we often get caught up in the numbers of the business. I am not suggesting the numbers are not important. Shop owners need to understand all the financial aspects of business. But a business, just like any team, will reach high levels of success if the organization has the right people in place, that pays attention to all the details, and are in an environment where the focus is on team spirit and achieving the personal best of each individual. With this strategy, the numbers, the score, will take care of itself.
  12. Cell phone use and too quick to judge I was in a clothing store at the local Mall yesterday with my wife. How she convinced me to go to the mall is another story for another day. I spotted a woman on her cell phone between racks of clothing, as if she was hiding. Immediately to myself I thought, “This woman has got to be kidding. The store is packed with customers and the line at the register is a mile long, and she is on her cell phone?” A few minutes later, the same woman was at the register and someone walked in and asked her, “How’s your husband doing?” The woman replied, “I just got a call from the doctor and he is still in critical condition, but it looks like his liver is not as bad as they thought.” At this point, I realized that her time on her cell phone was not to duck work, but was actually something of grave importance. Sometimes there are extenuating circumstances, a lesson for all not to be too quick to judge until all the facts are in.
  13. Shop Owners: Time for thanks and to look forward Thanksgiving is the start of the holiday season and it also means that another year will be ending soon. We all know how tough business has become, and with each passing year, it becomes increasingly more complicated. But, when you reflect on the big picture, we need to be thankful for a lot of things. Oh, I know there are shops and areas of the country that are still feeling the affects of the recent recession. But, if you are reading this, you are still around, and that alone is a testament to your resilience. As the year comes to a close and we enter into the holiday season, focus on the positive and on the things that make life worth living. Disregard what went wrong and live by the principle my father preached to me. “Make today better than yesterday, and work hard today to make tomorrow better than today.”


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