Being Owner Instead of Partner
|William P. “Bill” Moss, AAM, (above), sees himself as his clients’ automotive service advocate. It’s his job, says Bill, to explain why a repair may be needed and help the client make an educated decision. “We try to give a client the big picture and help them through the decisions and priorities,” says Bill. “In sales ‘speak,’ we try to offer ALL our products to ALL our customers ALL the time. We just try not to overwhelm them.”|
Bill Moss has been a partner in a business and now he’s the owner of a shop.
Is being the owner much different from being a partner?
It’s bittersweet, says Bill. You get to make all the decisions, and that’s great. But you rise or fall on those decisions. If you make a good decision, you reap the benefit. And if you make a bad one, you pay the penalty. You don’t have the luxury of a second opinion that you enjoy with a partner.
So it’s little scary, he admits. But he’s thankful for all the ASA members he knows. He looks on them as “substitute partners,” people from whom he can get a second opinion.
Networking with others, taking advantage of their wisdom and advice, is just one of the benefits of belonging to ASA, says Bill.
|Rod Marshall has more than 20 years’ experience as a technician. He is regarded as a very capable electronic diagnostician and enjoys keeping up with technological advances in European vehicles.|
Bill, the owner of EuroService Automotive in Warrenton, Va., knows a lot of members from being active in the association. He was a member of ASA’s Mechanical Division Operations Committee from 2003 to 2008. Since 2010, he has led the operations committee as Mechanical Division director, a national board position.
Bill grew up in Arlington, Va., just across the Potomac River from the nation’s capitol. As a youngster, he fixed his neighborhood’s bicycles and lawnmowers. By the time he got his driver’s license, he was passionate about cars and spent his money and spare time fixing up whatever he was driving. He got a job in a local service station pumping gas and cleaning up the shop. And when he came home from his first year in college, he was offered a job at a Volkswagen shop. He has been in the automotive field ever since.
Bill has provided specialty services, sold auto parts, managed a 24/7 service station, and converted cars and trucks to run on compressed natural gas. He also spent 14 years as a partner at Auto Advantage Inc., doing business as Advantage Certified Auto Group. He founded and developed the service department for the firm, which is one of the largest BMW resellers and service facilities in the nation.
|Joey Moss, Bill’s 21-year-old son, recently joined the firm. Says Bill: “Joey has grown up around cars and the automotive service and repair business and he is proving to me that he was paying attention to what he was seeing a lot more than I thought he was.”|
Three years ago, he bought Ferris Automotive. Its founder, the late Dan Ferris, was a technical trainer for Volvo who left Volvo USA and opened his own shop in Warrenton. After he passed away, his widow and son continued to operate the business until they sold it to Moss.
Bill added Audi, BMW, Mercedes and Volkswagen to the Volvo brand. He also brought along Rod Marshall, a good friend and extremely talented technician who was also looking for a change. After about a year, Bill adopted Ferris EuroService Automotive as his shop’s business name. This month, it’s dropping Ferris and becoming just EuroService Automotive.
The town in which his shop is located has approximately 15,000 residents. It’s about 40 miles outside of Washington, D.C., and just minutes away from Gainesville and Haymarket, Va.
Bill and his wife, Patricia Ann, live in Gainesville. Their daughter, Sarah, teaches middle school in Prince William County and their son, Joey, has joined his father’s
Bill is an ASE master automotive technician, certified as an advanced level diagnostician, parts specialist and service consultant. He is also a Bosch certified technician and has earned the Automotive Management Institute’s (AMI) Accredited Automotive Manager (AAM) designation. And his business is an ASE Blue Seal of Excellence shop.
|EuroService Automotive has three lifts plus an alignment rack. Bill, Joey and Rod service and repair about 25 vehicles a week.|
He is a member of BIMRS, a nonprofit association of independent BMW service professionals dedicated to education and training, and serves on that organization’s board of directors. He is also a sponsoring member of the International Automotive Technicians’ Network (iATN).
Bill considers training as an integral component to growth. He says his firm takes advantage of training opportunities from AMI, industry associations such as ASA, equipment manufacturers, parts suppliers and industry training groups.
If he could change anything about his business, says Bill, it would be its location. “We are a destination location with essentially no drive-by traffic at all. We have videos on our website that drive people from the nearby main road right up to our front door. That is in response to people calling us from our parking lot, telling us they can’t find us.”What’s ahead? “We’ll continue specializing in the brands we enjoy,” says Bill. “And with the help we get from our ASA membership and the relationships with ASA members who have done what we are doing and more, we will continue to grow. After all, I’ve got a lot of ‘partners.’”
Name of Shop:Ferris EuroService Automotive
Location: Warrenton, Va.
Square Footage of Shop:Approx. 4,000 sq. ft.
Number of Employees:Three
Annual Sales: $650,000
Website Address: www.ferrisautomotive.com
Why Bill Moss Joined ASA: “I joined ASA because it is a forward-thinking organization that attracts the best in the industry. The networking opportunities, government representation and industry awareness are all good reasons to be a member.”