Owning and running a business can be rewarding and profitable. It can also be stressful, unprofitable, and challenging in ways that we could never imagine before we started our business. I think that owning an automotive repair shop has additional challenges that other businesses might not face. Every person who goes into business for themselves goes into business with the best intentions. We go into business to make more money than we would as an employee for someone else, we want to benefit from our own hard work. We start our own business to set our own destiny; we want to be our own boss. And we go into business to have more flexibility with our time than we would as the employee of a company. But even though we went into business with the best intentions, many of us in the automotive business are not as profitable as we thought we would, we are now slaves to the business, and we work longer hours than we ever did before.
If this resonates with you keep reading. There is hope for automotive shop owners everywhere. My early years in business were a disaster till I met Bob O’Connor. In fact, the first course in shop management training that I took from Bob was sponsored by the A.R.A. The training saved my business, and my family. Within a few years I had all the staff in place that the business required, became profitable, and was able to take regular vacations. I was even able to attend all of my children’s school events and be available to support the love of my life when she went back to university to finish her degree. All of this started by taking the risk of giving one evening of my time to be introduced to the training. Then I had to commit to one day a month during the day, and yes I actually had to leave the shop in the hands of my employees for a whole day. At a time where cell phones were not common yet.
I currently have the privilege of working with hundreds of shop owners across North America that take regular shop management training. They now earn the money they deserve, have the flexibility with their time they want, and feel like they have control over their destiny. With all these success stories to tell, all automotive shop management trainers and coaches still report that close to 80% of shops take no management training. It boggles our minds to think that there are so many shops that could benefit from training and for some reason don’t or can’t take it.
The most common reasons given are that they are unable to take the time, or cannot afford it. Four other reasons that surface when I probe a little bit deeper are as follows. 1. I have been doing this for 20 years; if there were a better way I would have figured it out by now. I work hard, I am honest, and I have tried everything. It is almost like they feel they have failed if they admit they need training. 2. I went into business to be my own boss; I don’t want someone telling me how to run my own business. Good coaches and trainers are not here to be your new boss. We know that you are smart, and that you work hard, but none of us knows what we don’t know. Our job is to bring you information you may not have been aware of, and to coach you in implementing it. 3. I don’t want to take training from some slick sales type trainer; I don’t want to learn how to be a rip off artist. That is not my style at all. Learning how to charge properly for your skills and knowledge and then presenting the value to the customer is what makes profitable shops profitable. And 4) It is different in my town, or my shop. That training will not or cannot apply to my shop or my customers. I always acknowledge each of my client’s individuality when I am training and coaching, but 99% of the principles apply anywhere in the world.
If you are an automotive shop owner that currently takes training or has a coach or is part of a coaching group, fantastic. If you have taken training or been coached and are looking for something more local, take a look at the training offered through the ARA. And if you have never taking shop management training, and would like to get more information you can contact me through the ARA. Change is difficult for everyone, nothing I train is a silver bullet, but with hard work and coaching, the results a worth every minute and every dollar spent in training. Please ask me for references and testimonials if you want them.