Auto Shop Coaching Blog

The Extra Inch

“Don’t be upset by the results you didn’t get from the work you didn’t do.”Unknown

I was recently thinking about what makes a baseball player great. I remembered sportscasters talking about the difference between a player with a .250 batting average compared to one batting .300.

The typical major leaguer gets 12 at-bats per week. A .250 hitter gets a hit in 3 out of the 12 plate appearances (3 divided by 12 = .250), compared to the .300 hitter who gets 4 hits for every 12 at-bats. The difference between a .250 and .300 hitter is one extra hit per week!

A recent study of players’ salaries concluded that the average .250 hitter was paid a salary of $1 million per year, compared to the .300 hitter making $4.2 million! In baseball, the failure to pick up the extra hit would cost you $3.2 million dollars a year. It’s a game of inches.

How much is the missing inch costing you? As you read on, you will learn two strategies to help you get that extra inch.

Ideas to grow your businessWant more tips for how to gain back the extra inch and fill your bays? Discover valuable ideas and strategies in ATI’s free webinar Beyond COVID—A 5-Step Plan to Rapid Recovery.


You can’t win the game if you don’t know the score. In baseball, the .250 hitter can’t improve until he becomes aware of his batting average. He has 3.2 million reasons to review his stats and compare them to the benchmarks.

The service writer has tools to help him understand his numbers as well. The top “hitters” in automotive sell at least 50% of what gets estimated.

66% or more of their customers that call, make appointments to come to the shop. They can measure their performance by using the daily estimate tracker and weekly phone logs.

If I called your shop and asked your writer what her conversion percentage is, would she know? Picking up the extra inch starts with awareness. The key is to set aside a day and time each week to review their performance with them.

Role Play

Have you ever heard of a big-league hitter who took his first at-bat during the game? NO! They spend hours in batting practice improving their swing and dealing with difficult pitches.

Sadly, we tend to practice on the customer.

I was recently speaking with a service writer who was struggling to sell maintenance. He attended the service advisor classes, watched the training videos, but never improved. Out of frustration, I asked him to sell me a brake flush as if I were a customer.

After an awkward pause, he admitted that he didn’t know what to say! If we hadn’t role played, I would have never found out. The practice session let me know where he needed to improve which led to him selling flushes to 30% of his customers over the next month.


Instead of looking to hit a “home run” with every car, focus on at least one improved customer experience per week. Reviewing your stats, and role-playing what you’ve learned will allow you to pick up the extra inch!

For more tips on how to bring customers to your shop and plan your shop’s comeback, check out our free webinar Beyond COVID—A 5-Step Plan to Rapid Recovery.

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Eric, the Accountability Coach, is an Executive Coach at ATI and has coached since 2009. Eric came to ATI having managed over 60 different automotive repair facilities and having supervised over 500 employees at a given time. He loves seeing members progress beyond what they thought was possible and improve their shop to the point where they can leave for weeks at a time and come back to a business that's better than when they left.