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Found 13 results

  1. The year was 1980 - the year I founded my company. And, like many new business owners, I didn’t have a clear understanding of what was needed to grow a successful business. I thought that success would be determined by my technical skills and my willingness to wear the many hats of the typical shop owner. It wasn’t until I began to let go of trying to do everything that I realized that success is not just dependent on what I do, but by the collective work accomplished by the team. I eventually discovered that I was not the center of my universe. After a few years in business, I began the transition from simply owning a job to becoming a businessman. And, while technology has reshaped our industry throughout the years—and will continue to do so—there is one constant that will never change: success in business rests largely on the people you have assembled around you. By the late '80s it was obvious that I was doing way too much. I looked at each role I had my hands on: shop foreman, service advisor, shuttle driver, bookkeeper to lot attendant. And, as long as I’m confessing all this to you, I need to disclose that I was also the shop’s maintenance person; making repairs to the bay doors, the slop sink and equipment. You name it, I did it. I was literally too busy to be successful. In order to lead my company, I had to first clearly define my responsibilities. These are working on the business, recruiting and hiring the best employees, becoming a leader of people and making sure that my business was successful. I also needed to fulfill the obligation I had to my employees. I realized that this required a deep understanding that putting people first is the best strategy for success. This was difficult at first because it requires working on things that have no immediate impact on the business. Unlike working in the trenches and having your hands on everything, working as a businessperson means that you need to spend time building for the future. The things that are most important to your success in business are the things that have a payoff down the road. I also clearly defined the duties I should not be doing and assigned those tasks to others. This is a critical step for any shop owner. Warren Buffett says that in order to be successful in whatever you do, it’s crucial to focus on the things that generates the greatest return and that you can’t do it all, and that means sometimes you have to say, “no.” By the late '90s it became clear that the most valuable role I played in my business was that of coach. All the best marketing plans and the best business strategies mean nothing without a team of great people around you all pushing in the right direction. And that takes a strong leader. Not just a boss, but a leader. Leaders inspire people. Leaders get others to reach down deep inside themselves and perform at their best because they are aligned with the leader’s vision. Leaders inspire others through praise and recognition for the work they do. When people feel their work matters, they have a purpose. People are motivated by the heart, not the wallet. That’s not to say earning a decent wage isn’t important. But a focus on money alone is not a strategy for success. Focus on people first and profit will follow. Spend time with your employees. Get to know them as people, not just the role they have in your company. Find out what their dreams and goals are. And then find a way for others to achieve what they want out of life. People cannot be motivated until they realize that what they do every day helps them to achieve what they want in their personal life. There are other people in our business world that we must never forget. And that’s our customers. If you were to ask me, who is more important, my employees or my customers? I would answer, “They are equally important.” You cannot have a successful business without the right employees and the right customers. One last bit of advice I can give you is to focus on your success, no one else’s. Be very clear about the pathways you take and never forget about the obligation you have to others. Build a company culture of teamwork, quality and integrity. Focus on what’s in the best interest of the customer and the people around you. Put people first, and everything else will fall into place. This story was originally published by Joe Marconi in Ratchet+Wrench on February 4th, 2020
  2. The year was 1980 - the year I founded my company. And, like many new business owners, I didn’t have a clear understanding of what was needed to grow a successful business. I thought that success would be determined by my technical skills and my willingness to wear the many hats of the typical shop owner. It wasn’t until I began to let go of trying to do everything that I realized that success is not just dependent on what I do, but by the collective work accomplished by the team. I eventually discovered that I was not the center of my universe. After a few years in business, I began the transition from simply owning a job to becoming a businessman. And, while technology has reshaped our industry throughout the years—and will continue to do so—there is one constant that will never change: success in business rests largely on the people you have assembled around you. By the late '80s it was obvious that I was doing way too much. I looked at each role I had my hands on: shop foreman, service advisor, shuttle driver, bookkeeper to lot attendant. And, as long as I’m confessing all this to you, I need to disclose that I was also the shop’s maintenance person; making repairs to the bay doors, the slop sink and equipment. You name it, I did it. I was literally too busy to be successful. In order to lead my company, I had to first clearly define my responsibilities. These are working on the business, recruiting and hiring the best employees, becoming a leader of people and making sure that my business was successful. I also needed to fulfill the obligation I had to my employees. I realized that this required a deep understanding that putting people first is the best strategy for success. This was difficult at first because it requires working on things that have no immediate impact on the business. Unlike working in the trenches and having your hands on everything, working as a businessperson means that you need to spend time building for the future. The things that are most important to your success in business are the things that have a payoff down the road. I also clearly defined the duties I should not be doing and assigned those tasks to others. This is a critical step for any shop owner. Warren Buffett says that in order to be successful in whatever you do, it’s crucial to focus on the things that generates the greatest return and that you can’t do it all, and that means sometimes you have to say, “no.” By the late '90s it became clear that the most valuable role I played in my business was that of coach. All the best marketing plans and the best business strategies mean nothing without a team of great people around you all pushing in the right direction. And that takes a strong leader. Not just a boss, but a leader. Leaders inspire people. Leaders get others to reach down deep inside themselves and perform at their best because they are aligned with the leader’s vision. Leaders inspire others through praise and recognition for the work they do. When people feel their work matters, they have a purpose. People are motivated by the heart, not the wallet. That’s not to say earning a decent wage isn’t important. But a focus on money alone is not a strategy for success. Focus on people first and profit will follow. Spend time with your employees. Get to know them as people, not just the role they have in your company. Find out what their dreams and goals are. And then find a way for others to achieve what they want out of life. People cannot be motivated until they realize that what they do every day helps them to achieve what they want in their personal life. There are other people in our business world that we must never forget. And that’s our customers. If you were to ask me, who is more important, my employees or my customers? I would answer, “They are equally important.” You cannot have a successful business without the right employees and the right customers. One last bit of advice I can give you is to focus on your success, no one else’s. Be very clear about the pathways you take and never forget about the obligation you have to others. Build a company culture of teamwork, quality and integrity. Focus on what’s in the best interest of the customer and the people around you. Put people first, and everything else will fall into place. This story was originally published by Joe Marconi in Ratchet+Wrench on February 4th, 2020 View full article
  3. I'm looking at opening an auto repair shop with a partner who is the mechanic and possibly another mechanic. I will be the sole investor in the venture never before been in the auto rapair shop business. I will most likely manage the whole thing. I need lots of help. How are mechanics paid? How do I pay myself and recoup my investment? Shop management software? Looked at MaxxTraxx, Alldatapro. What types of insurance must I carry? I've found a nice place with three bays to rent but will need to install lifts. Should I shop used or new? Etc etc etc. Thanks for any help you can offer.
  4. CLICK HERE TO JOIN THE SUCCESSFUL SHOP OWNERS FACEBOOK GROUP [transcription] Could Auto Repair Flat Rate Be Dead? TECHNICIAN shortage today is real. Last study that I saw said, for every eight shops that’s looking for a technician, there’s only one tech available so I know many of you watching this are experiencing that same thing. And I’ll also say one thing that I found: most technicians, when I mention flat rate, their cheeks kind of pucker up. They hate it. Why? There’s risk. They’ve been burned before. So often in the technicians starved market, what’s a shop owner left to do but put technicians on hourly or even maybe salary? And what that leads to is, really what I’m going to call an “uninspired performance.” Why? They get comfortable, they’re able to pay their bills without exerting a ton of effort. So what’s a shop owner to do? The answer I’ve uncovered recently in my shop is to have a Win Number. For every single employee. See one of the truths I discovered in my 30 plus years of being a shop owner is that often we don’t get the most out of our employees because we never really sat down and told them what we expect. I know that’s been one of my mistakes. So one of the things that I’ve done recently is I’ve given each employee a weekly Win Number, and that’s why it’s so important. For example, I recently sat down with each of my technicians and shared with them their Win Number. What do I mean by win number? What I expect out of them in parts and labor production for each employee. The numbers are based on my desired technician cost as a percentage of sales. It’s worked so well with my technicians that I now sent it out and established that win number with both my CSR and my service advisor. I’ve got to tell you the results have been incredible. Not only are my sales and profits up through the roof lately, it’s led to believe it or not, happier employees. Why? They drive home at the end of the day or at the end of the week knowing that they hit their goals. Knowing that they’ve contributed to a successful week for the shop and that certainly led to a happier shop owner! So, let me leave you with a question. Does each and every one of your employees on your team clearly know what you expect of them? If your answer is not a resounding YES, it’s time to put a pencil to paper and figure out each team employee or each team members weekly and daily Win.
  5. Can someone truly have two personalities? A real life Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde—the one you see, and the one everyone else sees? I had a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde employee a number of years ago; we’ll call him Dr. J. He was my shop foreman and helped the manager run the daily operations. Dr. J was employed about five years before things began to change. I first learned about Dr. J’s erratic behavior from a few of my employees. According to these employees, his behavior was destructive, disrespectful and rude. He never acted differently in front of me, so I had a hard time understanding what was going on. I talked to Dr. J about what others were saying, and he looked stunned. “Joe, I really can’t tell you why anyone would be unhappy with me. I get along with everyone,” he told me. I met with the employees who expressed concerns and let them know that I appreciated their feedback. I told them that Dr. J had been with us for a number of years and that I had never witnessed any unusual behavior from him. I tried to look at all sides and suggested that perhaps he was going through some personal issues, so let’s try to be a little more understanding. Out of respect, the employees agreed—but not for long. I was away on a business trip when I got a disturbing text message from one of my technicians. The text read, “Joe, if you don’t do something about Dr. J, we’ll deal with it ourselves.” It was late when I got the text, but decided to call the tech anyway. He told me in great detail what Dr. J was saying and how he behaved. I was shocked by what the tech told me. Could this person be a real life Jekyll and Hyde? It was early Monday morning, my first day back, when my office manager came into my office, closed the door behind her and said, “Joe, if you don’t do something about Dr. J, people are going to quit.” I knew at this point I had a real problem on my hands. I brought Dr. J into my office and told him everything that I had heard. I told him that the employees did not like the way he treated them and that the harsh words he used was causing a problem with everyone. Again, Dr. J was defensive and denied everything. However, this time he told me his perspective of the situation. According to Dr. J, the rest of the employees were not pulling their weight and that all he was trying to do was to motivate them. I tried to explain to him that criticism and harsh words are viewed as an attack. And if this strategy is repeated over and over, people will push back and shut down—the exact opposite of any intended good. I could tell by the look on Dr. J’s face that he really didn’t agree with what I was saying, but he told me that he would take my opinion under consideration. After that meeting, I paid careful attention to Dr. J’s treatment of others. All seemed good. Then one day, I witnessed the Jekyll and Hyde persona for myself. Dr. J didn’t know I was in the front office as he lashed out at one of the technicians. The tone and the words that came out of his mouth were unacceptable and appalling. I saw firsthand what everyone in the shop was experiencing. After repeated attempts to correct his behavior, his conduct never improved. It was time to let him go. I never found out what changed Dr. J, but I did feel confident that I gave him every opportunity to correct his behavior. While Dr. J may have fooled me initially, I have to admit that I did see that the mood of the shop was tense and morale was down. With Dr. J no longer employed, morale improved and everything went back to normal. The workplace environment is a delicate balance between culture and production. It’s also filled with emotions. People want to rally together for the greater good. But, they also need to know that their leader protects them from any threats that attempts to harm the team. It’s also wise not to readily dismiss the concerns your employees express to you. Be on the lookout in your shop. You just might have a Dr. J of your own. This story was originally published by Joe Marconi in Ratchet+Wrench on December 7th, 2018 View full article
  6. December spells the end of 2018, and hopefully you're wrapping up what was a fantastic year for your auto repair shop and business. Now… it’s time to start thinking about how to make 2019 an EVEN BETTER year. (Heck, let’s go ahead and plan on making it your best year ever! Right?) By attending for this special Live Online Webinar, you're going to get the proven 4-step process that will practically GUARANTEE 2019 to be a blow-out success for you. With these four steps, you’ll be able to… 👉 ==> DOUBLE your take-home pay (Yes, that’s not a misprint. I’ll show you how.) 👉 ==> Magnetically attract more (and even better!) customers to your shop 👉 ==> Easily sell your services at higher prices than your competitors 👉 ==> Find, hire, and keep that elusive tech you’ve been searching for 👉 ==> Put the fun back into running your shop! If you're interested... there is absolutely ZERO cost to attend this training. All you'll need is 45 minutes of your day set aside in order to watch this webinar live. For the dates, times, and registration details, CLICK HERE
  7. What are some pros and cons of having the service advisor for the shop also take the role of receptionsit/secretary, I am looking to hire a service advisor that could also take the place of our receptionist answering phones, checking customers out, keeping our side of the books and then of course writing services. Pros and cons of having this one position???
  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. Hello guys, First I want to say thanks to all that post such great thoughts and ideas! I just recently(within the last few months) took over my dads shop. He started a dealership about ten years ago and started the shop mainly to service his vehicles. We have had several people run the shop with absolutely no success. I am very new to the shop business. I currently farm with my brother and also buy cars for the dealership so I can't put all my time into the shop. I just have a few questions and would appreciate any and all advice! First off, what is decent pay for a tech? I have two flag hour techs that I think I pay very well. One gets 22.50 and the other gets $25 per hour, plus they get a 15% raise if they flag so many hours. What do you think? I also have an hourly guy (who is the best bang for the buck!) and a service writer/ shop manager who takes care of the daily shop business. Secondly, I've been reading about policies and procedures, which this shop has never had, and I was wondering where would be a good place to start. I guess I'll leave it at that for now. Thanks
  10. Hello everyone, I'm a recent college grad, former Toyota technician, and current software developer. I'm working on a shop management platform for a few shops in my area, but want to build it so it is useful for many others. The shops I'm building it for have limited budgets, and are currently using accounting software like Quickbooks and/or just doing it on paper. They are all profitable, established businesses, yet still use old accounting/ repair order tracking and billing methods. What features do you look for in software? I know there are many options available on the market, but it seems like many of them have too many features and look confusing to use. Any insight would be hugely helpful! -Jacob
  11. Get rid of the bad apple and improve morale I am a firm believer that the head of any organization is responsible for the culture of the company. And that culture will determine the morale of the organization. It’s no different for shop owners. If we walk around miserable, the whole shop will be miserable. If we convey an attitude of enthusiasm and maintain a positive attitude, morale improves and production goes up. Yes, that responsibility starts at the top. I am also a firm believer that employing the wrong person can undo any good the boss or manager does and can kill morale. It’s that old saying, “one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch.” You know the type; we’ve all had them at our shops. The employee that’s always in a bad mood, who complains about each and every job you give them, never wants to help his fellow employees, talks about everyone behind their back and thinks that boss does everything all wrong and that if he were in charge, things would run much better. Sound familiar? You have one those? Do yourself a favor, get rid of him or her. I recently had to make that choice, and I am kicking myself for not doing it sooner.
  12. 2014: Time for Review, Time to Move Forward It’s hard to believe that another year has passed. I guess my father was right when he said the older you get, the faster time goes by. If you haven’t done it already, you need to reflect on the past year. What were your accomplishments? Did you achieve your goals? Complete your review and plan to move forward. Did you complete your2014 business plan? If you didn’t, you should do it ASAP. And it must be written down. A plan is not a plan unless is written down. If it’s in your head, it’s nothing more than a dream. It’s a known fact that those with clearly written goals and a clearly written plan are much more successful. That’s does not mean you will always achieve those goals. But the odds are far greater when you have a plan and goals with deadlines. And please remember; a plan is a live document. You must review it often, tweak it as needed and modify it when needed. Please include life needs too, don’t make your plan all about business. We all want to move forward in our life. But, just like taking a road trip, mapping out the way makes it a whole lot easier.
  13. Publicity: Sometimes Better than Advertising I am a believer in “guerrilla marketing”, which is a strategy that allows us to compete with the big guys, without going head to head with them. It helped the colonies win their independence from the British. The British Army was more organized, larger, trained and better armed. Initially, unconventional warfare gave us an edge. Most of us cannot compete on the same level as a large dealership or national account, and we shouldn’t. It’s actually more important to find what the competition is doing and do the opposite. To think that I can compete with the Lexus dealer and have available 30 loaner cars is insane. But where I can compete is by branding my company in my local community, which will give me lots of publicity, which more times than not is actually more effective than advertising. Let me give you an example. When I opened my new facility I started doing consumer clinics. Eventually people began asking me to do the seminars at the local libraries. This branched out to the local Rotary, Chamber of commerce and recently at different local functions. Each time I do one of these, I get a lot of free press, which helps to boost my image and promote my brand. Remember, we may be in the auto repair business, but that’s not who we are and why we are in business. We all have a story to tell. Find WHY you are in business and tell that story to the world. It will become your brand identity. If you focus on the tools and equipment of your trade, you will reduce yourself to a commodity and become a “Me-Too” brand. Differentiate yourself from the pack. This will narrow your target audience, but will actually increase your market share. Give it a try, think about it. It works!


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