Auto Shop Coaching Blog

Measure and Manage the Holiday Season

It’s the most wonderful time of the year — or is it? As an auto repair shop owner, you may be looking at your holiday planning with trepidation. Either you’re busier than ever and trying to figure out how to manage the workflow while at the same time honoring employee requests for time off, or you’re already starting to see a seasonal downturn.

Whether you expect your busiest holiday season ever or break into a cold sweat thinking about paying the bills in the next few months, the best plan of action is the one you prepare for — by measuring and managing your shop’s productivity.

Ideas to grow your businessNon-ATI Members: Discover more valuable tips and strategies to measure and improve productivity, increase your bottom-line, and grow your business in ATI’s shop owner events. Register at

First Measure

For example — do you know what your average car count is? Do you know what your average repair order amount is? What does your team crank out in billable (flagged) hours each week? Are they maxed out, or could they do more if the work was there?

By measuring your team’s performance to this point, you can now make a plan to manage the holiday season.

Then Manage Strategically

Once you have a good grip on your team’s performance, you can target opportunities with specific strategies to improve operations or grow the business. Consider the following examples:

  • Has car count dropped recently? Then, create a strategy to get more cars in the door ASAP. The strategy may be different for current customers than new ones, but you have to get one going.
  • Is car count high, but sales are mediocre? A low average repair order means we are probably missing opportunities. Talk to your team about the most common maintenance recommendations, when to make them, and practice educating the customer so they say yes.
  • Is your highest-paid tech also your least productive? Then, put an apprentice on their hip to increase productivity while training up a promising new technician.
  • How often is your front counter booking customers out a week or two? Could your technicians get more of that work done in the same week? Is there a training issue to address? Are we truly maxed out, and it’s time to hire? The answers to these questions will tell you what your next step needs to be.
  • Slower seasons are also the best time of year to develop your team through training, team building, and mentorship. Take advantage of what you have and look for opportunities to grow your team.

Plan for the Big Picture

Tens of thousands of auto repair shops closed their doors between 2020-2021. Will you capture more customers as the demand for your services goes up? Will you be ready for the next five years in our industry? Working with a coach puts you face-to-face with an industry expert, ready to help you face those challenges with proven strategies that work.

At ATI, we teach shop owners how to achieve their dreams by implementing best practices in their shop. Want to learn more? Start with a shop owner event at

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Charlene is an Executive Coach at ATI, a Certified Profit First Professional, a former shop owner, and has been coaching since 2014. Charlene helps clients find the right solutions to their challenges and encourages them to make the changes that result in having the life they dreamed about when they got into business ownership.