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  Shop Profile

B&E Auto Service

Posted 3/11/2008
By Levy Joffrion

Family Owned, Proud of It

Special
John Buchanan, AAM says the first thing he does when he gets to work in the morning is check the drop box for keys left overnight by customers who want their vehicles worked on. Then he begins filling out work orders and scheduleing the day's work. His favorite car? A 1966 Nova SS he restored and still drives.
Family owned. Maybe that best defines B&E Auto Service Inc. of Tucker, Ga. - just as it describes so many shops that are members of the Automotive Service Association.

Being family owned may sometimes present problems, but overall it can be a good thing - for customers, the shop and the individuals who own it.

John Buchanan, AAM, the president of B&E Auto Service, says, "I can see where running a business with family could sometimes present problems. In our case, we always felt like having family working together was an advantage. We all had a great working relationship and a common goal to provide honest and professional service to our customers."

He and his father-in-law, Bob Eaverson, started the business in 1976 and ran it together until his father-in-law's death in 2004. Buchanan's son, Adam, worked there while attending high school and college. Currently, Buchanan is the only family member at the shop every day. But his wife and mother-in-law do much of the paperwork at home, and the whole family often "sits down and discusses things."

Special
B&E Auto Service Inc. is at 3687 Lawrenceville Hwy. in Tiucker, Ga.
Starting up the business was not without its problems, says Buchanan. Both he and his father-in-law came from technician backgrounds and becoming managers presented some challenges. They bridged the gap through experience and training - including Buchanan's earning the accredited automotive manager designation from the Automotive Management Institute.

"Our business is unique because our customers come to us from families and friends telling each other about us," says Buchanan. "We now serve third-generation customers."

As head of the business, Buchanan manages it and, as he says, "sometimes get to do what I like best - repair cars."

He now has four employees who do 90 to 100 repairs a week and about $750,000 in business annually.

B&E Auto Service's first location encompassed approximately 3,000 square feet. It moved to its second location, which had 7,000 square feet of space, in June 1990 and remained there until it purchased its present location in June 2007. B&E now has 6,500 square feet of floor space.

The shop's business philosophy: "To provide our customers honest and professional service with a personal touch," says Buchanan.

Special
Staff at B & E Auto Service includes (from left) Jerry Alford, technician; MNarshall Johnson, technician; Jeff Layson, service advisor; and Eddie Blattner, technician/shop manager.
What does he like best about his job? "Being able to work in an industry that I love and being able to help people," says Buchanan. "I enjoy seeing the accomplishments of our technicians and the satisfaction in their work from our customers."

The head of B&E Auto Service says if there were anything he could change, it would be to lower the cost of technical training, information and special tools. His employees, some of whom are ASE certified, take advantage of training provided by ACDelco, O'Reilly Auto Parts and ASA. Buchanan pays his employees while they are in training. "I spend quite a bit on training," he says.

Access to service and repair information is another investment Buchanan makes to stay successful. He and his technicians use the OEM Web sites, which can be paid for on an "as-used" basis or as an annual subscription fee. Since they work on just about every vehicle there is, it can add up. B&E also subscribes to a third-party information provider, Mitchell OnDemand.

Special
Waiting area is clean, inviting, comfortable. Customers can watch TV or take advantage of wireless Internet, generally "make themselves at home." Vending machines are near by.
The fact they work on both foreign and domestic vehicles also requires a significant investment in scan tools. One scan tool can't be used on all vehicles. They have to have a number of different scan tools to repair the many makes and models that come to their shop.

Training isn't just for B&E's employees. Buchanan also has invested in training for himself. In addition to earning his AAM designation, he has attended technical college and a master tech program offered by Chrysler. He has served as vice president of ASA-Georgia and currently is in his second year as president of ASA-Georgia.

Regarding the future, he says he looks forward to serving the metro Atlanta area with quality car care for many years to come.

Why Buchanan Likes ASA

Buchanan likes being a member of the Automotive Service Association because "ASA raises the integrity of the auto industry by members operating their businesses by the ASA code of ethics.

"ASA provides us a voice between the national and state governments and the auto industry and it keeps us abreast of things we need to know that affect our industry. I've been particularly concerned about the right to repair, health-care insurance and shop licensing issues.

"ASA also provides many discounts on products and services that we use every day in our businesses through its many associate members who are approved benefit providers."

Shop Stats

Name: B & E Automotive
Location: Tucker, Ga.
Web site: www.beautoservice.com
What Shop Offers: Mechanical repairs, service on foreign and domestic vehicles.
Size of shop: 6,500 square feet
No. of employees: Four
Repairs per week: 90 to 100
No. of years in business: 32 years
Why he chose working on cars for a career: “I developed a love for cars as a senior in high school. I knew it would be a career I would enjoy.”


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