Colorado shop owner reveals compound benefits of training, marketing … and ‘magic’
By John Clark / AutoInc. Contributor
Do you believe in magic? Judi Haglin, AMAM, does, and that’s one of the many reasons she enjoys co-owning Haglin Automotive, her ASA-member shop in Boulder, Colo.
As she sees it, each day is the same but uniquely different. People come in, her employees fix the cars and the shop sends them home with a working vehicle. But each of her customers has a different story, each vehicle has a different reason for being there and each of her techs has different skills.
Matching up those variables can be challenging, she says. “Every day has just eight hours. How do we get everything done? We seem to make magic happen every day! That’s what makes it fun because we provide a great service and keep America ‘On the Move.’”
A QUICK LOOK: Haglin Automotive
Which, these days, isn’t as easy as it must have been 38 years ago when Dana, Judi’s husband started the business shortly after the couple got married.
Both Judi and Dana hold degrees from the University of Colorado: hers in Elementary Education and his in Saxophone Performance. But repairing automobiles made sense.
“My brother owned and operated a machine shop, so I was brought up around cars most of my life,” she recalls. “My Dad made me change the oil, tune up the car and change a tire before I could drive.”
Still, before joining Dana in the auto repair business, which at that time was a one-man operation with no lifts, Judi completed a management-training program at McDonald’s and managed stores for three years before quitting to join Dana at the shop.
Since then, she’s earned her AAM and AMAM professional designations from the Automotive Management Institute (AMi), as well as taken advantage of the training opportunities offered locally by ASA. Why she’s done that should be obvious.
“Change is the biggest challenge that we face today,” Judi says of the auto repair industry. “Dana and I have our ‘Where will we be in five years?’ conversation every year because we’ve seen so many changes. Now, we’ve got GDI, car-key programming, hybrid and electric vehicles, advanced driver assisted systems (ADAS)
“… What will we be looking at in the next five years? More progress, more systems and more communication. Only by talking to our customers via cell phones, texting, emailing and links to their vehicle’s inspections, as well as ordering parts online and constant training for our technicians, service writer and ourselves, can we keep up.”
Through training, purchasing of equipment and coaching, Judi says, Haglin continues to make changes on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. She also believes in the opportunities for networking offered by ASA as a great way to meet other shop owners and learn more about how to run the business and keep up with new technology and proprietary information.
“As an ASA-Colorado board member, I work to see that we’re building strong partnerships for our members through our annual training event, ASA-Colorado Summit. In January, we are looking forward to hosting more than 400 owners, techs and service staff to our event.
“We think our training, which offers over 20 classes at a great location [Lincoln Tech], is the best in Colorado.”
Audio Interview with Judi Haglin, AutoInc.’s September 2019 ‘member profile’
ASA-Colorado also partners with the local NAPA Business Development Group and TechNet, to bring training to all its members at a reasonable cost. And ASA’s local board is working to create an all-inclusive training calendar so that shop owners, techs and service advisors can learn about training classes in their areas so that they can follow a more individual-training pathway to learn and grow in their careers.
Judi says she and Dana have been coached by the Automotive Training Institute (ATI) for 13 years and go to 20 Group meetings twice a year, along with weekly coaching phone calls. And she’s the founding member and co-leader of the Leading Ladies, an ATI 20 Group made up of female shop owners.
“Our technicians go to CARQUEST (CTI) training,” Judi adds, “our service advisors go to TechNet local training, with Service Sales Academy, and our entire staff goes to the ASA-Colorado Summit.”
As active as Judi is in ASA-Colorado, she also professes a passion for the marketing side of the business. She and Dana base their strategy on several major areas: the front office staff, the appearance of their facility and the shop’s online presence.
“We work very hard to make a great first impression over the phone, which we follow up with individual attention when they walk into our shop,” she says. “Online, we work on Google My Business and Facebook to encourage daily online reviews. I also track how each person found us, which helps me focus on which marketing programs work best for us and which ones we can drop, based on a program’s performance.”
Creating great relationships with their customers is how Haglin Automotive sets itself apart from the dealers and other independents, Judi says. “Our online presence speaks to our service and care, which is just like a friend’s referral.”
With all she has going on, Judi still finds time to work with Anthony Williams at the new Automotive Institute of Science and Technology high school in Colorado Springs. “As I mentioned, ASA-Colorado has a great relationship with Lincoln Tech,” she says, “and we have made connections for our members to have professional access to the school’s students.”
So, what is the secret to creating magic every day at Haglin Automotive?
“Working with Dana,” Judi says. “We’ve grown together as business owners, while being married and raising two very successful children. We know what we know, and we acknowledge when we need help.”
SHOP NAME: Haglin Automotive
SHOP LOCATION: Boulder, Colo.
SQUARE FOOTAGE OF BUSINESS: 7,000 of shop area and 2,500 of office area
NUMBER OF YEARS IN BUSINESS: 38
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: Five technicians, two service writers and one customer service rep
NUMBER OF MONTHLY REPAIRS: 260
PROJECTED ANNUAL SALES: $1.8 million
YEARS AS AN ASA-MEMBER SHOP: More than 20
HOW ASA IS DRIVING YOUR SUCCESS: “On a national level, we’re benefiting from its ongoing efforts on Capitol Hill. On the local level, we’re attending the training opportunities that ASA-Colorado offers.”