Automotive Repair Ownership: The Art of BalancePosted 2/6/2004
By B.J. Johnson
Kinney's Automotive is a subsidiary of Car Concepts Inc. and is one of four locations Stephenson and his partners own serving the Dallas/Fort Worth metro area. Stephenson began his career in the automotive repair industry following high school graduation. He performed repairs in the garage of his home. "I started from my garage, eventually moving to a 1,000-square-foot warehouse facility in 1985, and finally building my own 8,000-square-foot facility in the early 1990s," said Stephenson.
As many automotive repair facility owners have discovered, Stephenson soon realized making business decisions while still performing repairs was not always in the best interest of the business. "I decided it was time to broaden my education. I have completed numerous Automotive Management Institute accredited business seminars, along with other automotive management-related courses," Stephenson said. In addition to management education, he is a National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) master and L-1 certified technician. He also promotes continuing education to his employees. With this rounded knowledge, Stephenson understands what is required to be successful in both the technical and business sides.
While furthering his business knowledge and growing the business, Stephenson had the opportunity to purchase Kinney's Automotive in 2001. Following the purchase of Kinney's, Stephenson and his partners formed Car Concepts and began acquisitions of additional automotive repair facilities. Stephenson currently oversees the daily operations, which includes mostly administrative duties and strategic planning.
"Our shops range in size from 7,500 square feet to 26,000 square feet," Stephenson said. Kinney's is largest of the four facilities with 19 lifts in its 26,000 square feet. The facility, formerly a department store, was transformed into a state-of-the-art repair business. Among the four locations, the average weekly number of repair orders is between 80 and 120. "Our current 2003 revenue projection for the four locations is $6.3 million," said Stephenson.
According to Stephenson, the phrase "You will take better care of it when it is yours," seems to hold true. "We have seen our employee-owners take pride in their work, help control costs, and in general make good decisions to help improve overall profitability," Stephenson said.
To demonstrate its professionalism and strengthen its image, the firm is involved with the local Chamber of Commerce, local school district, youth sports associations, church groups and various other community groups. Industry participation is also a key to the success of Kinney's.
The business has been an ASA member since 2001. "ASA membership, to an automotive repair business, is like a toolbox to a technician. The research, information and connections ASA makes available provides those tools needed to improve and enhance our business," Stephenson said.
By finding the delicate balance between business, employees and customers, Kinney's Automotive Service has positioned itself to continue growing and prosper for many years.
Shop StatsName: Kinney's Automotive Service
Location: Hurst, Texas
Square footage: 26,000
Web Site: www.kinneyauto.com
On ASA membership: ASA membership, to an automotive repair business, is like a toolbox to a technician. - Ricky Stephenson, president, Kinney's Automotive Service
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