A jobber’s role is unique. You get to see the best, and sometimes the more challenging times, of your service centres. The relationship you have may span years, even decades, with one common thread: Trust.
You may not have hands-on experience operating a shop, but you do know the common elements that make a business thrive. The shop that buys parts from your store knows, likes and trusts you to deliver the correct parts when promised and help them in their business journey.
The good ones always seem busy and profitable. But how often have you asked yourself: Why they can’t pay their bills on time; or why do they have such a high return or defect rate?
You know it just doesn’t add up. Here’s a great shop owner, professional service advisor, Red Seal techs, great reviews — so why does it always seem like this place is always struggling financially?
What makes techs-turned-owners tick is the high level of confidence and skill required to service and repair vehicles running. That confidence pushes them throughout the day and, at times, late into the evening to seek the answers to the ultra-complex inner workings of the vehicle. And in almost all cases, they arrive at a solution.
When it comes to business ownership, that confidence in problem solving becomes a roadblock. Why? The systems they learned over the years of attaining their Red Seal are still the same. They access skills developed working as an apprentice to be a fantastic problem solver.
Most haven’t had the opportunity to develop business experience. They learned most skills as a business owner through on-the-job training as they operate their shop. The go-it-alone trait and the confidence they have to solve a problem now hold the growth of their shop back.
You see their pain and how their lack of business acumen negatively impacts your jobber store. Resources consumed handling defects, returns and restocking hamper your growth. And don’t forget, if a shop owner goes belly-up, you are left holding the note on their unpaid parts bill.
So what can you do? You can help shops grow, stabilize or be more profitable. Help them source foundational business management training. If you are part of a program group, you have built-in resources available to you. Some of these classes are held in person, online or pre-recorded.
A shop owner who utilizes best business practices is a gold standard among his peers. The relationship you have is based on trust and mutual respect. It’s not incumbent on you to have the answers on how to improve their shop operations but rather be the conduit for high-quality training that will take their shop to the next level.
If you are heading to AAPEX this year, check out the management training that will be held throughout the show. You might add that missing piece to what you can offer your customers.
Vic Tarasik has been an independent auto repair professional for more than four decades. He is the founder of Shop Owner Coach, a coaching and training organization He can be reached at vic@ShopOwnerCoach.com or by calling 713-826-2978.