Greenwood: The Big Decision

What do you want to be? A full-time technician or a full-time entrepreneur? Your business depends on which you choose.

Many complexities of our business are now front-and-center. Consider the following:

  • The independent sector of the automotive service industry is experiencing a crisis of profitability, retailer attitude and public perception. Most shop owners have bought themselves a job, not a financially rewarding lifestyle. It no longer provides for their old age, but it certainly hastens its arrival.
  • Most shops base their businesses on pricing: How low can we go, and how fast can we get there? But this business model attracts only price-conscious customers rather than quality customers.
  • The number of vehicles on the road continues to increase significantly, and all of them must be serviced professionally.
  • Technologies have increased substantially, so more equipment is needed, which must be serviced or replaced more frequently.
  • Profit margins are decreasing, a trend that will continue, yet a shop’s gross profit must result in a minimum of 70 percent to keep a shop prosperous and provide management with a professional-level income.

Those issues are forcing one-, two- and three-bay shops to recognize that to professionally serve their customers and remain financially successful, they must grow to a minimum of six or eight bays over the final 10 to 15 years of the owners’ working lives.

With the shortage of competent people, the division between boss and employee no longer exists. Wages will continue to rise, and to manage this reality, employees must understand how the business works and how to make it grow and prosper.

So how do you properly deal with all those issues and be under a hoist at the same time? You can’t. You have to decide which role to play.

Today’s world requires specialization. Ask yourself, “Do I want to be a competent technician, or do I want to be a successful entrepreneur and learn how to manage and educate my staff, measure the state of the operation and deal with customers, clients, suppliers, etc.?”

If you choose the entrepreneurial path, you must mentally prepare by developing a flexible way of thinking so that change becomes a permanent state of mind. If you choose to become a competent licensed technician/diagnostic specialist, focus on studying to be the best in your field.

Now is the time to make a decision that’s best for you. I’ll leave you with this paraphrase of an anonymous quote:

“The road to success is not straight. There is a curb called Failure; a loop called Confusion; speed bumps called Friends; red lights called Enemies; caution lights called Family. You will have flats called Jobs. But if you have a spare called Determination; an engine called Perseverance; insurance called Faith; a driver called Enthusiasm, you will make it to a place called Success!”