Lessons Learned

Climbing the Hill

Recently, I was leading a trail run in Moab, Utah, and came to the first difficult part of the 4x4 rail. The Jeep I was driving had been set up with the best equipment that money could buy, complete with…

Kelley: How’s It Going?

If you answered, ‘Good,’ but it’s not, here’s why you should reach out to others. By asking for advice, you might help them even more than yourself. Most of us, as business owners, have “driver” personalities. We will work countless…

The Boss’s Kids

In a perfect world, as owners, we all dream of running a successful business. We strive to work hard, hire great employees, provide the best benefits possible, have great customers, make a profit, give back to the community, enjoy family…

Oakes: Expect the unexpected

There are many “horror stories” that take place in the automotive industry. I mean, those that are fanned by media sensationalism. Just take your pick and run with a topic: “Woman accuses shop of stripping oil pan drain plug and…

Keller: Sync up for success

In 43 years of shop management and ownership, I’ve made every mistake possible. There was a year when my accountant had to prepare 102 W2s. Imagine how broken my systems and procedures were to go through that many employees in…

Turning the ‘Job’ Around

What’s the best tool for helping you work ‘on’ your business instead of ‘in’ your business? After selling my business in Buffalo, N.Y., in 2000, I moved to Maine seeking another business to acquire. I brought numerous businesses to the…

The Fine Print

What’s the worst that could happen if you don’t read it? I think we’re all guilty of checking the “I agree” button at the end of a full-page disclaimer, just to get an app on your phone or sign up…

Cheerleaders Welcome

As more Millennials enter the auto repair workforce, managers need to adopt a different leadership style. As a leader, I know a great leader’s traits must be learned. While there are many traits associated with effective leadership, I find that…

Great Day in the Morning

How one shop eliminated the hassles of ‘getting in the door’ by setting up their jobs in advance. One of the biggest dilemmas I’ve faced, and solved, as a busy small-shop owner was the stress of getting in the door.…

Risky Business

Why loaning cars instead of offering rides can create a safer and less-expensive customer service. It’s good to periodically choose one line in the shop’s profit-and-loss statement and analytically rip it apart. For the purposes of this column, I’ll focus…

Productive Pay?

Great techs love to produce billed hours, but do you know if you’re getting your money’s worth? Editor’s Note: The labor rates mentioned in this article are fictitious and, therefore, should not be considered industry standards. Many shop owners fall…

What about Bob?

He’s a talented but belligerent tech, and he’s ruining the morale in the shop. What you can do to make peace. I was finally able to hire a tech that I had been chasing for a few years. His knowledge…