Lots Of Cookie Jars, Not Enough Hands

Jan. 13, 2023

Approach the new year with a strong grasp of operations.

This month, NOLN has given advice on some key action items for this new year. I think that many of us have ideas to make our locations better but fail to put them into motion. I do this all the time, but I have a hundred ideas a week on ways to be the best, some short term and some long term. So, this month, I will share some of the ideas that I have been putting into place in my locations in 2023. 


Maximize Your Management Team 

This year I am moving my lower management teams into salaried positions. As these assistants are your future store leaders, you strive to get them as much learning time as you can. You get your valuable management in the stores when you need them. 

This could mean extra hours for the assistant, but you can use that time to build their skill sets and use them to train their replacements as they look to move up. You can pay for this. Just lower your hourly labor expectations a bit. Think about the ROI of having your next best employee on your clock a little longer each week. 


Look at Your Pricing Matrix 

As the costs of inventory have risen over the last few months and more competition moves into your markets, you may be feeling the pinch of these on your bottom line. It is time to make a few changes to your pricing internally. Now, the easiest way to do this is obviously by altering the price of your oil change service. However, a more effective way to gain the outcome that you desire may be accomplished by thinking smaller. Air filters, cabins, light bulbs, and wiper blades are all preventative maintenance items that everyone offers. Raise the price a dollar or two. Try it and see how many complaints you get versus raising your core service price.  

Most people do not notice the slight increase and expect this from time to time. Now call a dealership and ask for some pricing on these services. Wow, that cabin is $25 more there? If you want to get more from less, this could be the way to go.  

Now if you must raise your core service prices, do your homework. Don’t outprice your competition, that is likely moving into your markets recently. If you give a customer a reason to try the place that costs less then you now, you give them the opportunity to take your customer going forward. Stay competitive, but don’t go overboard.  


Spend on Capex Projects 

If you have the means to do so, this is an excellent way to build and expand your brand without spending millions on relocations or new builds. I am sure that if some of you step back and look at your stores from the eyes of a customer, you may see that you are dated. If the new clean, shiny building down the street is grabbing your customers, it’s because you are old and tired. How can you get that pizazz back? Paint your locations and change your signage, add some banners to the building or update your landscaping. 

Now inside the stores, you can add equipment to add speed and opportunities. Do you have lifts on each of your bays? They are anywhere from eight to twelve thousand for a new set to be installed. How many more tire rotations can you do when you don’t have to move cars around or knock out a brake job on any bay. Another investment is to add a new AC machine to your location. We all know that the new vehicles that you are servicing are using the new freon. Look into what the dealers charge to service these units and you will see how fast you can see an ROI on the new service addition.

As you can see, I am putting my hands into many cookie jars this year. When January rolls around next year, my stores will be able to service more customers faster, profitably and add long term value beyond 2023. I will be opening new locations and making my old ones look like they are new. These are the things that I am doing to take my stores and operation to the next level. What are you going to do in this new year to take yours there?

Courtesy of Glenn Ables
River Underwood Photography
Photo 90925830 | Auto Mechanic Team © Vadimgozhda | Dreamstime.com