May/June 2011 Archives - Shop Owner Magazine
Business Efficiency Before Expansion

How many of you have walked around your shop wondering how much better it would be if it just had more space? But the “ideal shop” isn’t always feasible. All shops are unique in certain ways, such as business influx, location, ordinances, etc. What you really need to ask yourself is, “Am I making the most of what I have?” Don’t believe the old saying, “If you build it, they will come.” Build the business and then build the shop.

Prioritize Your Service Recommendations

Most service advisors go over their technicians’ recommendations and categorize the repairs. They’ll put all the brake-related recommendations into one group, all the drivetrain recommendations into another group, etc. Sound familiar? There’s nothing wrong with this approach, but where they’re missing the mark, especially during these tough economic times, is by not understanding how to properly prioritize their service recommendations.

Score Points with Customers by Creating a Child-Friendly Waiting Area

Generally speaking, as long as we don’t feel uncomfortable or unwelcome, we adults don’t mind waiting a little bit for good work. Plush furniture, a flat-screen television, relevant reading material and a cozy atmosphere will keep parents pleasant while they’re waiting, but their children require a different sort of comfort.

Integrity, Family Atmosphere: Formula for Success at Marshall Motors

As a shop owner, hiring a new technician can be daunting task: finding the right recruiting avenues, narrowing down the applicants and, then, hopefully, making the right choice. But for Thom and January Marshall, siblings and co-owners of Marshall Motors in Dallas, the process takes a unique turn to ensure the right person is hired for the job.

How Fit Are Your Sales and Customer Service Efforts?

Have you ever considered the fitness level of your sales and customer service efforts? I’m not talking about some sort of employee exercise program. Rather, I’m asking if the employees who provide sales and service to your customers are functioning at peak performance.

Secrets to Hiring Superstar Techs and Service Writers

The most profitable shops in America employ technicians and advisors who are superstars. So, it’s no surprise that one of the most common questions we hear from our clients is, “How do you find and hire the stars?”

Green Initiatives, Quality Service Keep Customers Coming Back to Swedish Automotive

What started as a hobby for Swedish Automotive Co-owner Dave Winters has turned into a successful automotive repair business that keeps raising the bar in terms of customer service and quality repairs. Today, the Seattle shop caters to owners of Volvo, SAAB, Subaru and Mini Cooper vehicles in a new facility specifically designed not only with the repair process in mind, but to be environmentally friendly as well.

Attract Female Customers to Boost Your Shop’s Word-of-Mouth Power

Testimonials from customers who are raving fans of your shop are among the best methods for gaining new customers. And a major segment of that word-of-mouth promotion is made up of your female customers.

Recipes For Shop Success

I spend nearly every day talking to shop owners. While some seek my advice, others I encounter as I search for locations to open new shops. Despite the differences in their backgrounds, locations and individual situations, all of them inevitably ask me the same question: “What is the magic bullet that will take my business to the next level?”

Executive Interview: Jim Dirksen, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, North and South America, Vehicle Service Group (VSG)

Vehicle Service Group (VSG) comprises eight major vehicle lifting and collision repair brands, including Rotary Lift, Revolution Lift, Forward Lift and Chief Automotive Technologies. As vice president of sales and marketing, Jim Dirksen leads the teams that promote and sell all of VSG’s lift brands throughout North and South America.

On-line Group Discount Programs Guarantee New Customers

Imagine a form of marketing that’s 95% guaranteed to drive new customers to your shop’s door without any upfront costs. Believe it or not, there’s no catch. On-line group discount websites are making this scenario a reality for a variety of businesses, including automotive repair shops.

Good Interviewing Takes Time and Preparation, Part 2

In Part 1 of this article in the March/April issue, I discussed how investing ample time in the interview process can prevent hiring the wrong person for the job, as well as employee turnover, because you can get a more accurate assessment of a candidate’s qualifications. This article will continue with that discussion, zeroing in on how to properly assess a job prospect’s skill sets.