I have a unique story as a coach here at ATI. I started out on the other side of the process as an auto repair shop owner with a “leg up” — my background included over 10 years in small business operations (customer service, marketing, accounting, etc.). With a great technician as my partner in business, I thought we had all the knowledge and experience we needed to have a successful shop. And we did! For about 6 years. For those 6 years, our overhead was extremely low; we had a tiny crew to manage and pay. Word-of-mouth brought just enough customers in the door that we were slightly profitable.
Then things started to slow down. Fewer calls, fewer cars, less profit, and our overhead was increasing year after year. I knew we needed to make changes, but I had no clue what those changes should be. I was at the end of my knowledge and experience. Right around this time, I attended a shop owner training class where I discovered new strategies to help me turn things around. The challenge was figuring out how I could successfully implement all that I learned back at my shop. I quickly realized that I needed guidance from someone with greater knowledge than myself to do this quickly, without wasting more time and money. So, I hired a coach and it was the best thing I ever did for my shop.
Non-ATI Members: Want more information about how a coach can you and your shop? Request here.
If you’re asking yourself, should you hire a coach, you wouldn’t be alone. As someone who has been on both sides of the auto repair shop coaching experience, here are my top 5 reasons why you should consider hiring a coach:
1. More personal accountability
Everyone knows it’s all too easy to break a promise to yourself. This alone is the reason you should have a coach, and why personal accountability is one of the most valuable parts of the coaching experience for shop owners. Owning a business brings challenges that your friends and family don’t understand. It can be lonely and stressful to make decisions in areas that you have no knowledge or experience. And making changes, even ones you know are necessary, can be difficult. A great coach helps you stay the course and hold yourself accountable for your goals and what you want to achieve. They provide the kick in the pants – and the encouragement to keep moving forward.
2. Personalized, proven Strategies
A great coach isn’t “winging it.” They share proven strategies and practices that have been time-tested to give you the maximum possibility of success. Whether it’s hiring, profit growth, retirement, car count, or otherwise – What’s more, they will help you personalize these solutions to your unique needs for your shop – unlike the one-size-fits-all ideas from standardized training and videos. Coaches will also help you create a plan of action to follow that will ensure the best results.
3. Identify and Track KPIs
If you’re going to set goals and work towards achieving them, you’ve got to have a way to track your progress. Otherwise, how will you know how well your tactics are working, where to adjust, and how far you have to go? A great coach will help you identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) for your shop, align them to your goals, and track them accordingly. They will help you use your own data to identify your shop’s strengths and weaknesses in order to make the changes necessary for you to experience more sales, higher profits, and continuing growth.
4. Leadership Development
The number one reason good employees leave is because of poor leadership and management. With the demand going up and the pool of quality automotive technicians going down, having strong leadership skills and a positive work environment are more important than ever. No one is born with leadership skills. A great coach will help you develop the skills to inspire and motivate your employees to be productive, efficient, and loyal.
5. Improved Marketing Results
I jokingly ask my members “how many of you started your shop with a degree in marketing?” Very few shop owners have sufficient knowledge of best practices for using the internet to find and be found by prospective customers and applicants. A great coach will save you time and money on failed marketing attempts by sharing best practices for navigating today’s digital world. You’ll make the shift from being dependent on haphazard personal referrals and expensive print ads to finding new customers by using tactics that drive customers to your door.