Shop Credits Golden Rule for Its Success
No doubt about it: Aasby Automotive Service in Springfield, Mo., is a winner.
It was named the "2009 Facility of the Year" by ASA of Missouri/ Kansas.
Sheri Hamilton, executive director of ASA of Missouri/ Kansas, in announcing the award said: "Aasby Automotive exemplifies high standards in business practices, industry and community involvement as well as offering its customers first-class service facilities."
That Aasby Automotive Service is an award-winning shop probably isn't a surprise to those who know its owner, Doug Aasby, AAM. It's just further testimony to Doug's business philosophy. He adheres to the Golden Rule, making every effort to treat others as he would like to be treated. He also believes, "If it is worth doing, it is worth doing right."
That way of doing business stems from his years of training and experience.
Doug and his brother, Don, started the business in 1983. It opened with two bays; today it has five. At first there was just Doug and Don; today there are five full-time and two part-time employees.
Growing up, Doug had a solid mechanical foundation. His father was a mechanic who repaired everything from farm equipment to heavy equipment. Doug says he has always been interested in anything "mechanical." "Even when I was very young," says Doug, "I always wanted to be in the middle of whatever my father was repairing or building."
After graduating from high school, he enrolled in a one-year automotive trade school in Kansas City, Mo., and graduated first in his class. He then enrolled in Missouri State University, graduating from MSU in 1981 with a degree in industrial technology and a minor in management.
Doug says he chose automotive service and repair as a profession when he and his brother opened Aasby Automotive Service.
Very much a part of the business and working four to six hours a week as its bookkeeper is Doug's wife, Susan. Doug says he likes having her there because he knows he can trust her completely to take care of the job.
What does he like best about his job? "The people I work with," says Doug, "and being able to sincerely say I enjoy my work." As managing owner of Aasby Automotive Service, he enjoys the diversity of his job. He does everything from tallying time cards to helping out with service writing, mechanical or diagnostic issues and handling the payroll each week.
Owning and managing a shop has not been without its challenges, says Doug. One of the biggest challenges he has faced was his decision to buy the property where his shop is now and move to that location. He had been renting a facility across the street.
He sold gas for the first 17 years he was in business. After making the decision to discontinue gasoline sales, he had one year to remove the underground tanks and ensure the ground was cleaned up and environmentally safe. He had to pay the first $10,000 for cleanup (the Environmental Protection Agency/Missouri Department of Natural Resources covered the remaining costs as part of a program that Doug and other gasoline service station owners had paid into). He had to pay for removal of the underground tanks. The expense of all that was involved plus the uncertainty of what he would encounter in the process definitely presented a challenge, says Doug. "It was a risk making the decision to proceed with the program," he says. He made the decision, though, and the site has been given a clean bill of health by the EPA and Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
His most urgent goal currently? To improve the marketing of his shop's capabilities, says Doug. He has a marketing plan in place and intends to work this plan vigorously over the course of the next year. The first thing he's going to do is enhance his direct mail effort. One part of it, already established, is a quarterly newsletter that goes to customers.
Doug is an ASE master technician with L1 certification. He is also an Automotive Management Institute Accredited Automotive Manager (AAM). And he is president of the Springfield chapter of ASA.
Three of his employees are ASE-certified master technicians. His shop is a AAA-approved facility, and it is supported by O'Reilly Auto Parts and ACDelco's Total Service Support Program.
All our certifications and accolades are great, says Doug, but he believes his shop's strongest asset is how it treats its customers (remember his adherence to the Golden Rule?).
Obviously, it's paying off - in repeat business that has helped them prosper for 27 years and award-winning recognition by his peers.
Name of Shop: Aasby Automotive Service
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