The Inconvenient Truth About Your Shop

“So, you expect all of us here today, to be able to charge these unrealistic prices?” This question was posed to the ATI instructor by “John” while he was in an ATI service advisors class.

John is a service manager who has been writing service for over twenty years. He has been there, done that, and has the tee shirt to prove it!

He dominated the class conversations by sharing his wealth of knowledge relating to what can’t be done in the “real world.” Everyone looked at the instructor with curiosity, awaiting his reply to John’s question.

The instructor’s response changed the entire tone of the class. He asked everyone who was currently using the parts matrix at their shops to raise their hand. Every hand in the room went up except John’s!

He then walked over to John, looked him in the eyes, and said: “You see, I’m not trying to convince everyone in the room to charge correctly. I’m trying to convince YOU to charge correctly!”

John slumped in his chair and remained silent for the rest of the two-day session because he was forced to confront the inconvenient truth.

Here’s the big takeaway: There’s someone else getting different results while facing the same challenges as you. This truth is inconvenient because it keeps you from making excuses. 

Ideas to grow your businessNon-ATI Members: Discover more valuable tips and strategies for how to take action, improve your bottom-line, and grow your business in ATI’s shop owner events. Register at www.atievent.com.

The Inconvenient Truth

It’s convenient to blame the election, the pandemic, and the holidays, for the red colors you see in your portal. I get it. 

But how do you explain the other shop owner in your area, facing the same challenges as you, having the ability to hold margins at levels you believe to be impossible?

Now that you know the inconvenient truth, I will share two areas of your business where this knowledge can be applied to make the most of your holiday business.

Car Count

I recently asked a service manager why the business was down. He told me all about the pandemic, the holidays, and how his vendors said everyone was slow. I asked what he had done to improve business. He mentioned making follow-up calls.

I then asked how many calls he made. After a long and awkward pause, he replied: “less than 10.” Before blaming external factors for low car count, ask yourself the following question: “What five things have I done this week to make business better?”

For example, if you called 20 “declined service customers,” posted on Google My Business, gave out your seasonal gift cards, visited 10 fleets, and made all of your appointment reminder calls, you would have work, even though your customers are Christmas shopping!

Courtesy Checks

What was your courtesy check to car count percentage last week? Several members are singing the holiday blues from the 50% section of the choir! Let’s put this in perspective: if you average 40 cars a week with a 50% courtesy check percentage, 20 cars left your building without getting checked!

Please don’t tell me that all 20 cars were just inspected within the last 30 days.

Instead, find out who the technicians were and why the inspections weren’t done. I have gone through this process with several owners and we usually find it is one technician who’s not on the program.

I was just speaking with a successful shop owner named “Greg.” He confirmed that the three members in his 20 group with the best profit results also ranked in the top three in courtesy check to car count ratio!

By the way, the competitors in Greg’s area were slow last week, while he had one of his best weeks of the year! He attributes this to his increased focus on the courtesy check process.


So, there you have it. Owning your car count and courtesy check results will help you deal with the inconvenient truth.

You see, I’m not trying to convince everyone reading this message to change. I’m trying to convince YOU to change.

Non-ATI Members: For more tips on how to stop making excuses, take action, and run a productive, profitable shop, check out our shop owner events at www.atievent.com.