B&E Auto ServicePosted 3/11/2008
By Levy Joffrion
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."
"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.
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.
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 StatsName: 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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