Running a Shop

Being Open to Change is Half the Battle

Order Reprints

				Sean Porcher web

In an industry that is quite mature, many of us have learned the hard way that you either adapt and change, or you end up holding a business of little or no value. For all of the times I have heard, or even said, the words, “change is good,” I have resisted change equally as many! The reason for this article, though, is to encourage each and every reader to be open to change, embrace change and implement change to take business to the next level.

Ironically enough, one of the biggest changes I resisted for years was the introduction of engine and fuel treatments into my lube centers. Back in the early 2000s, we had a high guest count, an equally high ticket average and didn’t believe in pop-and-pour type treatments. At the time, there’s no way I would have thought these treatments would add $15 to my average ticket or that someday I would end up a partner in a chemical company. I was dead set against it.

Until one day, I was at a tradeshow in Las Vegas. In typical attendee fashion, I was walking the floor with my name tag backwards and avoiding contact with all the sales vultures. I was doing a great job walking the show without talking to anyone when this spry, animated woman jumped out in front of me and grabbed my name tag and turned it around. At this point I had two options, yell “assault” at the top of my lungs or laugh and engage. Those few minutes I spent chatting about fuel treatments with Ellie Pentland changed the course of my business. It added dollars to my ticket average, but, most importantly, to my profitability.

What made the decision to carry engine and fuel treatments such a successful change to our business was not simply the addition of another product or service, but the fact that we embraced the change. We crafted a strategy around the use of engine and fuel treatments and the packaging of those products with our oil change services to ensure the consumer uptake. Many of my peers and colleagues are stunned that over 75 percent of our guests choose a packaged service that includes a fuel or engine treatment. We have made it easy for our guests to see the added value these treatments bring at a minimal additional cost.

Another big change that I resisted for the past several months was the introduction of tires into our lube facilities. I was very hesitant to even consider this implementation, given the large investment in both equipment and inventory, and the reliance on a more expensive technician to be able to provide the service. My hesitancy was partially relieved when I found a deal on some used equipment that drastically lowered the cost of entry. But still, I was very apprehensive to roll something out with very little proof that it would actually work.

To my surprise, the implementation of tire services in one of my locations has been very successful. The first day we rolled out, we found several nails in tires that needed to be patched and several customers who were open to paying us for the repairs. While we have been successful in the sale of tires and several patch jobs, what makes it most surprising to me is seeing the opportunities that are there. No day has gone by where we don’t come across a car or two that needs tires and many more that need one patched. Unlike the sale of an air filter, where a customer may choose to wait another oil change, a tire repair is something they want done now!

Long story short; these are two success stories where I embraced change. I would love to hear your stories. Email me at: sporcher@myjlcc.com

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