Auto Service World
News   September 14, 2023   by Adam Malik

The emotional component of being a shop owner

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If you’re looking for someone within your ranks to take over your business, you need to place a lot of weight on their emotional competencies, advised a coach.

In fact, the best shop owner may be someone who’s never even worked on a car, said Greg Bunch, a speaker trainer with Transformers Institute, and multi-shop owner.

Just because someone is a good technician, that doesn’t mean they’re good enough to take over your business or be a leader within your shop. They may be good at fixing cars but they’re not good at dealing with customers or even you as the owner.

That’s a red flag, Bunch said at this year’s Midwest Auto Care Alliance Vision Hi-Tech Training and Expo. Your successor needs to have other skills, qualities and competencies beyond being good at fixing cars.

“In our position [as an owner], my technical abilities don’t mean anything anymore. I mean, the fact that I know some basics about a car, [that’s] probably helpful. But some of the most successful shop owners now have never wrenched on a car. And people think that’s crazy,” he said during the session Executing Successful Acquisitions. “How could they be in this industry and never [done that]? Because they have high emotional competency. They’re leaders, they know how to build a team. They know how to motivate people.”

A bad people person taking over a good shop will quickly find themselves without much of a staff.

“We all have to be working on our emotional competencies — be able to connect with people, sell our vision, those kinds of things,” Bunch said. “Or else, you’re going to buy the store and then all sudden, you come to work the next day and nobody’s there. Because nobody wants to work for you.”

Think about these factors even when looking to buy another shop. Keep in mind the fact that you’re applying to be the CEO of that company. If they don’t like you or think you’re arrogant, you’re not going to get the job — or see the business fail. Bunch said he’s seen owners sell at a lower price because they have more faith in the person behind that lower offer in not destroying the culture and ensuring the people working there will be better off.

“They feel more comfortable,” Bunch said. “Their baby is going to be taken care of better by this person than by that person.”

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