We talked to three different owners to find out the difficulties they had in their shop before they attended the “How to Increase Your Profits” seminar. Here’s what they told us:
Dino Di Giulio
Body Best Collision
2nd To None Svc.
Q: What was happening in your shop that prompted you to go to the seminar?
For me it was lack of control in the shop and not knowing where to turn to for the answers. I would be with a customer and the techs would just be standing around. I would finish selling the job, then would walk out and ask why they weren’t working on cars. They would say, “Well, I don’t know what to do next, boss.” And I would explain to them what needed to be done next with every car. “Well, I don’t know how to fix this one, boss, what do I do now?” they’d say, or “Well, I’m waiting for a part, the part’s not here yet.”
At the end of the day everyone would leave and I’d be stuck there working on cars at night.
I could fix a car alright, but I just didn’t know where to turn to for the answers of how to run my business. I knew for sure this wasn’t the way to do it.
The reason we went to the seminar in the first place was that Management Success was able to completely describe our shop operation without even being there. I was doing service writing, being the mechanic, outside sales, managing. I was doing everything and was working from 14-16 hours a day.
I’d spend most of the morning writing up service, getting the customers checked in, and then the afternoon I was writing estimates, doing phone calls and trying to get parts ordered—all while trying to work on vehicles at the same time! Then I would make sure the customers that had to be done and gone by the end of the day were finished. Then I worked on everything else from 5pm to 10 or 11pm at night trying to keep up with the work. And I did have two other techs working with me.
I had no time with my family, I spent all my hours up at the business and all I was making was mechanic wages.
I just needed help. I was at my wits end. I was not in a good place health-wise, I wasn’t in a good place mentally, very tired when I got home every day—especially on those days when we were really busy. We weren’t organized, that’s the simplest way to put it. My shop was very clean, but organization wasn’t one of the things that was in place. I was the owner running all the time from the front to the back. And if I added a new employee it seemed like things got worse. We were getting busier and busier and I just didn’t know how to deal with the workload like an owner should.
I was tired of chasing my tail and a friend had done the seminar and told me that it was great, he really got a lot from it. And this was someone who owned multiple shops. So—I went to the seminar.
Q: How was your point of view changed about what was going on in your shop after you went to the seminar?
I sat there for two days at the seminar trying to figure out how the speaker knew every single thing that was going on in my business! How did he know all the problems I was having? If he knew that much about what was going on in my shop and he’d never been there, then obviously he knows his stuff about running a shop. When I sat with the consultant to go over my business analysis you get with the seminar, he really broke it down for me. Between the speaker, the consultant, and talking to the shop owners who had actually been to the seminar before I realized there were real people out there with real shops that changed their business with the seminar. I could believe it. I got the confidence that Management Success would be able to help me repair my shop. And they did!
After I heard everything the seminar speaker had to say and the seminar was over I realized I had to make some changes in the shop or we weren’t going to make it.
One of the first things that we did was improve the organization and work flow system in the shop. We had a system before but it was all verbal, whoever was doing the job did all the details verbally, we would end up doing the invoice with the customer standing in front of us. Sometimes we could only guess what should be on the invoice, and who knew how much we were losing there!
Now all the billing is done before the customer gets there. The Service Writer keeps track and everything is double-checked as it goes through the system. We also have Quality Control as part of our service now, to ensure everything is running smoothly before the customer is called.
I was able to get off the floor and was no longer working on mechanical stuff. I’m spending more time doing outside sales, bringing in new customers. Now I come in at 9 a.m. I’m off by 5 p.m. I have my weekends off and if I choose to go out of town I can just pick up and go and the shop runs itself, nothing to worry about.
Before Management Success the business was running me completely. I was at its mercy. Whenever customers showed up or called, I was on call 24 hours a day. I was in the shop more than I was at home. There were many nights I spent sleeping in the shop because it wasn’t worth my time to go home to sleep.
Now WE run the business. What a difference!
After the seminar, I looked at my business differently. I started on the road to getting things organized, putting systems in place, making people accountable for their area. It’s as simple as that! I didn’t see the shop as a problem anymore. Before, I would go home after a long day and just go “holy crap,” you know? I mean there were days when I wished I had never gone into work. At the seminar, I was given this “toolbox” for my business and I knew I had to open it up and use it and fix my shop.
I had things I changed right away, including putting the correct work flow in the shop to handle the jobs. Putting everything in writing instead of being verbal was the first major shop policy that I put in and boy did that help, cause I was probably the worst of all at putting things in writing!
It was a change for my business, but also a personal change. Because of all the things I learned from that weekend at the seminar and after, my entire life changed. It changed the way I look at a lot of things for the better and the shop is now the best that it’s ever been.