Monday, November 16, 2015

Keys to Repairing Erratic Car Count By Robert Spitz

Robert Spitz
Snr VP Business Development

Keys to Repairing Erratic Car Count by Robert Spitz

Erratic car count is a situation all too common in many shops.  It creates cash flow problems, erratic production problems, not to mention the anxiety it causes for the owner of a shop.  Understanding what the causes are is the first step to repairing the problem.  Following are nine points for any shop owner or management team to address and fix.  These are not short-term solutions but lay the groundwork for long-term stability.

Marketing and PR knowledge

Most shop owners are not in the position to hire a marketing/PR firm to map out a strategy and plan for their business.  However, it is the first step to repairing an erratic car count.  This means anyone who is responsible for the success of a small business better understand the art of public relations and marketing.  They are big subjects with a lot of twists and turns, but they are learnable and must be embraced.  Taking a class in the subjects is the first place to start.

Having a marketing plan

There is an old saying that I find to be true: “A bad plan executed is better than a great plan that is left on the shelf.”  You must have a plan of action.  Who is your audience, and what are the demographics of your shop?  What do these people need and want from a vehicle service facility? When they shop for automotive services, how do they do it?  Most likely, they shop online.  This means you must have a strong internet presence consisting of a professionally-built website with well-managed social media.  This has got to be in your plan.  Most people in this industry are from a technical background and haven’t a clue as to how the average person thinks or what their needs are.  It is so easy to assume you know, which is a terrible mistake.  A casual survey with some pointed questions of the business’ existing customers can help in formulating a plan.  

Working the shop’s customer data-base

If you forget about your customers, they will forget about you.  Part of your marketing plan has to include working your existing customer data-base.  This is part of having a good customer retention marketing program.   This can be done internally if you have the time or the shop can utilize one of the CRM programs available in the market.  Either way, staying in touch with your existing customers and keeping your name and your face in front of them is a critical part of an overall marketing plan.

Word-of-Mouth Advertising

Anyone who has been in this industry longer than a week knows it is driven by word-of-mouth.  Today’s customers rely on social media for advice on where to purchase services.  Encouraging customers to leave positive reviews for your shop on one of the social media sites has to be done religiously.  Businesses thrive or die on referrals. 

Attractive Facility

There is a technical term used by female customers known as the “yucky” factor.  No one expects a repair facility to be a “pristine” show-case, but it has to be clean, orderly, and attractive. 

Sales Skills

Sales is an intricate part of any marketing plan.  A shop can waste a fortune on advertising if the sales aspect of the plan is missed.  Advertising’s job is to get the phone to ring and to get people stopping by.  Sales’ job is to get the potential customer to commit. Anyone working the front counter and answering the phones has got to be well-trained in communication and sales.  The people on the front have to have the right personality and aptitude.   

Technical Know-How

It is fine to have plenty of sizzle created by PR and Marketing, but it will be short-lived if the back does not have the steak.  A shop has to have the technical know-how to properly diagnose and fix the vehicle the first time.  This requires employing the best practices on inspections from the service writer through to quality control.  A shop can do a top-notch job, but if there is no standard process for quality control before the vehicle is delivered back to the customer, the shop can still lose the customer and end up with a bad review.

Customer Service

When it comes to customer service, the delivery of the vehicle is as important as the intake of the vehicle.  This is a golden opportunity to leave a great lasting impression.  Never just hand the keys to the customer and just thank them.  Walk them out to the car, and let them know how much you appreciate their business.  This is the time to ensure the customer knows the fine job you performed.  It is the time to resell the job and go over warrantees and features of new components.  This time also gives the shop an opportunity to schedule any work that is coming up in the future, and this is the time to ask for referrals and reviews.  Make the most of this opportunity. 


A shop can cut themselves out of the herd by doing the simple action of calling within a couple of days to ensure the customer is happy with the job. If there is a problem, the shop can be pro-active in getting any problem handled quickly.  The bottom-line is you have got to be more customer-centric than repair-centric with the modern day customer if you want to repair erratic car count. 

If you are not happy with your car count, Management Success! can help.  Give us a call at 818 500 9631, email us at or visit us on-line at  Wishing you success!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Mastering the Art of Auto Shop Management - 2015 Fall Convnention

Over 30 automotive repair shop owners earned shop management certifications at the Management Success! Fall Convention held on October 9-11, 2015 at the Glendale Hilton in Glendale, California. The highest honor, Master Elite of Shop Management, was awarded to Robert and Lynda Archer of Aardvark Automotive and Steve and Jennifer McNamara of H-Heaven Inc. Robert Spitz, Senior VP of Business Development, presented the shop owners with their awards.  

“The Master Elite of Shop Management award is the highest level of certification, given only to those who successfully complete a rigorous training program, which is then verified through on-site shop inspections and through KPI analysis against benchmarks to verify profitability, marketing, and production. The Management Success! qualification division passed Robert, Lynda, Steve and Jennifer with flying colors, and we are all very proud of their accomplishment,” stated Spitz.

Additional awards were given to Tony Lynn & Debbie Sawtelle of Advanced Auto Clinic, Scott Chase of Keith’s Body Shop, Dan & Sandi Antonelli of Antonelli’s Advanced Auto, Dusty & Roxy Kubly of Kubly’s Automotive, John Mason of Northdise Auto, Travis Sallee of Loren’s Auto Repair, Jeff Yokum of Yokum’s Auto Body and Jeremy Austrum & Shawn Kline of Next Generation Auto for Master of Shop Management.  

Lloyd & Janice Geroux were awarded and were certified as Sustained Masters of Shop Management.  This award is given to those who can maintain the highest level of proficiency and profitability year after year.

For more information regarding the Master Certification Program, please contact

Monday, November 2, 2015

Management Success! Fall Masters Convention Largest in Company History

Glendale, California: Over 300 auto shop owners participated in the 18th annual Management Success! Fall Masters Convention held at the Glendale Hilton, October 9-11, for three days of networking, advanced workshops, presentations, and an awards dinner.   

Friday’s activities started off with a talk on Transition and Succession Planning by Robert Spitz, Senior VP of Business Development, along with a presentation by Mandee Bradshaw, VP of Production, on the company’s newly released Social Media Service and the accompanying Mastering Social Media workshop.  

Friday afternoon, Jim Anderson, MS! Senior Shop Inspector, did a fun presentation, “Best of Shops,” based on inspections he conducted over the summer, and Dino DiGiulio of Body Best Collision did a presentation on Wheels to Prosper, a car giveaway campaign ( The evening topped off with the Masters Award dinner where a record number of shop owners received the Master of Shop Management award.

Saturday kicked off with a very lively open-forum Masters Panel discussion on best practices for marketing a shop.  Advanced workshops on Public Relations and Leadership Skill Development followed, and the day ended with an ‘80s-themed costume dinner party.

On Sunday morning, a special breakfast was held for the TOP 20 Group members followed by the conclusion of the workshops and more networking.

“The energy level of the convention was electrifying!  We are very proud of all the shop owners who have worked hard to obtain Masters of Shop Management and I know all of our clients left with great ideas for taking their shops to the next level”  Stated Spitz.