As a shop owner, you’ve probably got a great relationship with your parts jobber. When they come by your shop, you chat about sports and hunting, and have probably shared and heard some pretty good fishing stories.
Relationships like these can span decades and, in many cases, go beyond the four walls of the shop. You may have been invited to weddings, recitals, funerals and more by your jobber, reflecting the closeness of the relationship.
Your journey to shop ownership was perhaps a lot like mine — you gradually learned your technical skills from a mentor over many years. One of the things I admire about the path you took is the formal path from apprentice to Red Seal Tech.
One key similarity between U.S. and Canadian techs-turned-shop-owner are the skills we need the day we open our shop: To become well versed in business skills. Expertise in marketing, accounting, negotiation and leadership are a few skills required to successfully run a profitable shop.
Your jobber doesn’t need to understand the relationship of car count versus the sold dollars of an average repair order, but they do understand the KPIs related to a profitable parts store.
Even after selling my shop 6 years ago, I stay connected with one of my jobbers, David Wofford. Our careers have taken different directions; he is part of a large North American program group while I run my coaching business.
Wofford was my jobber for a long time. He started selling me parts in the early 2000s at a point when we were looking to change suppliers. As we got to know one another and our sales grew, the relationship moved in the same direction. He was constantly looking for ways to help my shop grow. He shared details of the technical classes they had available.
But one key area I leaned on him for was business management training.
Our proficiency in problem-solving and repairing vehicles creates an opportunity to get to the next stage of business: Shop ownership. Unfortunately, time spent working on cars does not prepare us to be an owner. This is where your trusted partner, your jobber, comes in.
Many jobbers have a strong business acumen with the ability to access training resources versed in running a service centre. Your jobber doesn’t need to understand the relationship of car count versus the sold dollars of an average repair order, but they do understand the KPIs related to a profitable parts store.
This is where the trust factor comes in. All service centre owners, even the best shops in your province, can benefit from an ongoing business management training program. Asking your jobber what classes they have on the schedule or a referral to a training program is the start to better days in your shop, no matter the level of your sales or profitability.
Look to your jobber to see if they are part of a program that will give access to management training. Under the hood, you’re an expert. You know where to find the information to fix a complex problem. Your business is no different. You need information and training to make your business hum. Your jobber might have the key that opens the door to the next stage of your business growth.
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.