Time to Shine Peter Esposito spent years developing his product while running a quick lube operation. Now heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ready to bring it to operators across the world.
CHANGE Find the focus and determination to bring a big idea to life PAGE 30
FAST TRACK BUILDING PLANS PAGE 42
WHY STAFF BENEFITS PAY OFF PAGE 40
FEBRUARY 2021 / NOLN.NET
EXPANSION STRATEGIES FROM THRIVING OPERATORS PAGE 38
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THIS IS YOUR INDUSTRY, STAY AHEAD OF IT • LEARN FROM THE INDUSTRY’S FOREMOST LEADERS & AUTOMAKERS • LEARN HOW TO BETTER EQUIP YOUR SHOP TO GROW • SHARE YOUR VOICE AMONG INDUSTRY PROFESSIONALS
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COVER STORY What does it take to invent a new
product while running a quick lube
business? Peter Esposito put in the work and has a story to tell. PAGE 30
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Start Strong Whether it’s shop No. 2 or 20, here’s your acquisition success blueprint.
Do brand names help sales? 12 EDITOR’S LETTER
The reality of expansion 13 BY THE NUMBERS
How high tickets affect KPIs
Keys to the Kingdom
16 INDUSTRY INSIGHT
In the fast-moving quick lube world, it’s good to be a transition expert. Here’s how it’s done. BY M AT T H U D S O N
Blaze a Trail
Peter Esposito wanted a solution to a common service issue, so he invented one. BY A B BY PAT T ER S O N
The new training landscape 18 AROUND THE INDUSTRY
SERVICE 36 PIT STOP
Retention begins online 38 LAW
Get the green light from local gov’t 40 CASE STUDY
Healthy growth strategies 42 LEADERSHIP
Investing? Start with your staff
Food bank fundraiser
22 FROM THE SHOP
BY A DA M TAT U M
Data as a top commodity 20 SHOP LOOK
Making the most of a corner lot
NOLN, VOL. 36, NO. 2 (ISSN 1071-1260), IS PUBLISHED MONTHLY BY 10 MISSIONS MEDIA, LLC, 571 SNELLING AVENUE NORTH, ST. PAUL, MN 55104-1804. COPYRIGHT ©2021 BY 10 MISSIONS MEDIA LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. NOLN CONTENT MAY NOT BE PHOTOCOPIED, REPRODUCED, OR REDISTRIBUTED WITHOUT THE CONSENT OF THE PUBLISHER. PERIODICALS POSTAGE PAID AT ST. PAUL, MN AND ADDITIONAL MAILING OFFICES. POSTMASTERS SEND ADDRESS CHANGES TO: NOLN, 571 SNELLING AVENUE NORTH, ST. PAUL, MN 55104-1804.
Selling more than an oil change 45 AOCA CORNER
Why your brand is a top priority BY MARK BOCHNOWSKI
50 LEADING EDGE
Success is all in your head BY LENNY SAUCIER
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EDITORIAL VP CONTE NT AND E VE NT S
E DITORIAL DIRECTOR
AS SOCIATE E DITOR
Matt Hudson STAFF WRITE R
SPECIAL PROJECT S E DITORS
Nora Johnson, Jordan Wiklund CONTRIB UTING WRITE RS
Abby Patterson, Kelly Beaton, Adam Tatum, Lenny Saucier, Mark Bochnowski
EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD
Lenny Saucier, Director of Retail Training, FullSpeed Automotive Pete Frey, Operator, Take 5 Oil Change Matt Webb, Operator, Premier Oil Change Jim Harrington, VP of Operations, Victory Lane Quick Oil Change Bill Floyd, Operator, Lucas Oil Centers
SALES VP AND PUBLISHE R
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CU STOME R SUCCES S RE PRESE NTATIVE
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ART AND PRODUCTION ART DIRECTOR
855-879-9995 Shinn Buildings - Nationwide
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HOW TO REACH US
571 Snelling Avenue North, St. Paul, MN 55104 tel 651.224.6207 fax 651.224.6212 web 10missions.com The annual subscription rate is $72 (U.S.A. only) for companies not qualified to receive complimentary copies of NOLN. Past issue single copies are $8. Go to noln.net/backissues Send letters to email@example.com. For high-quality reprints or e-prints of articles in this issue, call 651.846.9488 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Opinions expressed in NOLN are not necessarily those of 10 Missions Media, and 10 Missions Media does not accept responsibility for advertising content.
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BY T H E N U M B E R S
THE NOLN PODCAST
WHAT’S IN A NAME?
Does your shop exclusively use name-brand oil, or have you found success without the constraints of an exclusive deal? Steve Pittman says he has benefitted from a brand deal, which he added shortly after starting his business, PittStop 10 Minute Oil Changers in North Canton, Ohio. “One thing I thought that was maybe holding us back a bit was that lack of recognized national brands,” Pittman says about the early days of ownership. There’s a segment of customers who want specific brands and seek out those brand names in search of quality. On the flip side, if you operate in a market that puts the highest premium on low-price service, then it might be more advantageous for you to utilize some of the unbranded types of engine oil, which can still provide great quality at a lower price. Take a look at both sides at noln.net/agreements.
N O L N . N E T/ L I N K E D I N
N O L N . N E T/ F A C E B O O K
N O L N . N E T/ T W I T T E R
N O L N . N E T/ P O D C A S T S
Subscribe to The NOLN Podcast to get in-depth interviews on the latest news and issues affecting quick maintenance. Recent episodes include filing taxes after a year of Paycheck Protection Program loans and how different OEMs are approaching electrification. The NOLN Podcast can be found at noln.net/podcasts. You can also download them through Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify, as well as other platforms. Be sure to rate and comment on the podcast on your favorite platform, which helps us reach you better!
NOLN NEWS Have you subscribed to the newsletter? NOLN will send the latest industry news, strategies and profiles straight to your inbox. Sign up at noln.net/subscribe.
N O L N . N E T/ B L O G
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F E B R UA RY 2 0 2 1
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WE BUY QUICK LUBES
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You have questions.
Valvoline is here to help. We offer independent owners like you a variety of resources to help answer pressing questions for the future of your business. Contact us for a free, no obligation consultation.
Call Gayle McMillin at (859) 357-7303
Valvoline_NOLN_FullPg_062420.indd 4 11_VALVOLINE_0221.indd 11
Trademark, Valvoline or its subsidiaries, registered in various countries.
Service mark, Valvoline or its subsidiaries, registered in various countries.
6/24/20 9:07 AM 1/26/2021 10:50:58 AM
SURE, THE ANALOGY WAS MADE WITH
Finding a strategic, systematic approach to expansion
tongue firmly in cheek, and it did draw plenty of laughs from the group. There was a lot of truth to it, though. Scene: I was at a meeting with a group of shop owners just a few days ago. The guy holding court was asked just how he does it. After all, he has eight thriving, extremely profitable shops running like clockwork … and six children at home. (Editor’s note: I have no way of verifying that his home resembles anything close to “clockwork,” but seeing as both he and his wife were there with us, I have to assume it’s as under control as possible with that many children.) He laughed at the question, “Having multiple children is like having multiple shops: The first one, you just scramble, go day to day and find a way to get things done. Then No. 2 comes, and it’s a mess. You can’t figure out how you actually got things done with the first, you realize how chaotic it was, and how things need to change—fast. You start to get it down, you have a system; I’ll grab the screaming 2-year-old while my wife handles the baby, who just threw a bowl of spaghetti on the wall. You eventually get it all down. Then when the third comes, you have a bit more of that process you can repeat. “After that, it’s just step and repeat.” With locations and kids, his point was, the only thing added on each time is the investment, the refinement of your processes and systems, and the extreme lack of sleep. I found it all amusing, and it really did hit home for me. I’m not a business owner like you, clearly, but I have been part of a rapidly expanding company for nearly 10 years. I also have four kids. And I, too, rarely sleep. But it was his point about the systems and processes put in place that was the most spot-on to me. Our lead feature
this month is about this very topic— expansion, but through the approach of acquisition. Over the years of working on NOLN and its sister publications, our team has spoken with countless business owners who have shared a very similar sentiment to the shop owner I talked about earlier: Successful expansion requires a true focus on the systemization of your operation; if you can’t repeat the same processes day in and day out in a single facility, there isn’t a chance you’ll be able to repeat them across multiple locations. The story that Associate Editor Matt Hudson put together outlines the key factors any business owner needs to consider when looking at an acquisition, and hopefully, this can guide some of you toward reaching your expansion goals. As you’ll read every month in NOLN, there is an immense amount of opportunity in our industry. Those who have a clear, detailed approach to growth—whether that’s toward more locations or more output in your facility—will be the ones who succeed. It’s not easy or simple, but that’s not why anyone does it. No different than raising children, there will be long days, tossing-and-turning nights, and stress that comes with it. But if you’re in it for the long haul and focused on your process, you’ll get there. That’s what matters. And who needs sleep anyway?
B RYC E E VA N S
VP CONTENT & EVENTS, 10 MISSIONS MEDIA
1/28/21 9:02 AM
BY T H E N U M B E R S
TOP TICKET PERFORMERS KPIs FOR TOP TICKET AVERAGES TOP 10% COHORT: >$105 (Average shop in survey)
OFFER FULL REPAIR
Last month’s issue took a closer look at the shops that reported the highest car counts in the 2020 NOLN Operator Survey. This month, take a look at the KPIs for those that reported the highest tickets. The top 10 percent of tickets reported in the 2020 survey are at least $105. A shop with that ticket average might be different from a shop with lower tickets, but how does it affect other metrics? Find out here.
RETAIL PRICE, SYNTHETIC BLEND OIL CHANGE
FIND OUT MORE
Finding the right mix of services that bring in enough cars and high tickets is integral to a successful operation. These days, the ways operators are doing that are different than they were in years past. The November issue of NOLN dove into that topic and asked leaders what they’ve been doing differently. Learn more by visiting noln.net/MakeItModern.
F E B R UA RY 2 0 2 1
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1/27/21 9:32 AM 1/27/2021 9:54:58 AM
AROUND THE INDUSTRY
AEV REAL ESTATE PHOTOGRAPHYÂ®
SHOP LOOK Having a great location is nice, but
the details of this quick lube is what really draws in customers. PAGE 20
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Roses are Red Violets are Blue
Your Shop Deserves an Upgrade And we think so too!
How ASE adapted and found new opportunities in 2020 BY MAT T HUDSON
the automotive aftermarket, it was a journey to the organization that certifies technicians who work in the industry. Early in the year, the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) learned that it would be dealing with closures. The test delivery platform vendor closed all of its test centers for a couple months, according to Trish Serratore, senior vice president of communications at ASE. “The first thing we did was take everybody’s certification expirations
JUST AS 2020 WAS DISRUPTIVE TO
1/28/21 12:40 PM
Just using a phone, technicians looking to recertify their automotive credentials (A1 though A9) can complete the process via the app. Serratore says that ASE sends out one question per month, and they can be completed over a period of around eight months.
WE HAD A LOT OF INDUSTRY REQUESTS FOR SPANISH LANGUAGE AND WE’RE PLEASED TO BE ABLE TO SUPPORT OUR PARTNERS WITH THAT.” —Trish Serratore, National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) “It helped folks not having to go to a test center but could keep up to date with their ASE certifications,” Serratore says. First-time certification testing isn’t yet ready to be fully remote. Serratore says that it’s on the horizon for the organization, but it’s still working on a procedure. “That’s a lot more complicated because of the security issues around it,” she says. and move them to the end of the year,” she says. While expirations got pushed back, little else did. ASE accomplished a lot in 2020 that might have some impact on how you and your techs interact with the organization.
Remote Renewal One newer offering from ASE should ease certification renewals a bit, particularly in a time when remote services are at a premium. ASE’s certification renewal app had been in beta testing prior to 2020 but moved ahead quickly.
Expanding Access In 2020, four ASE automotive tests were translated into Spanish for technicians who primarily speak the language. As of January A1 through A8 tests, as well as G1, have been translated, Serratore says. “That’s really exciting. We had a lot of industry requests for Spanish language and we’re pleased to be able to support our partners with that,” she says. The final A series test, A9, should be translated by the end of 2021. Additionally, the online home of ASE has received an update. The organization worked through 2020 to update
the website, and that’s rolling out early this year. “It will be fresher and newer and less type-heavy, and more graphical and much easier to navigate,” Serratore says.
Military Testing The U.S. Army has used ASE professional-level tests for years to train service member technicians, but those tests related to American light-duty vehicles. “That doesn’t always translate into tanks,” Serratore says. “So the Army came to us and said, ‘How about we develop a program that’s just wheeled vehicle and tactical vehicles for us.’” ASE worked with officials at Fort Bragg and elsewhere to develop a threetier program for service members to work specifically on military vehicles. “The Army was great about providing technical support for that,” Serratore says. The military credential will be recognized by the private-sector industry as well, she added. ASE has heard from the Navy and Marines, which might also be interested in developing certification materials of their own. Get Involved Serratore encouraged shop owners to get involved with their local automotive education institutions, many of which are a part of the ASE Education Foundation. It has 2,300 accredited programs nationwide. “What would be really wonderful is if they could engage at some level with those schools and those students,” Serratore says. “It could be as simple as a virtual tour of a shop or a virtual presentation to the program, as much as getting involved and being a part of an advisory council.” Contact your local high school or college-level technical education center to lend your support and time.
F E B R UA RY 2 0 2 1
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AROUND THE INDUSTRY
QUICK LUBE DONATES TO LOCAL FOOD BANK
A franchisee of Express Oil Change and Tire Engineers in Columbia, S.C., raised and donated $10,000 for the Harvest Hope Food Bank. The network of six shops donated $1 from every oil change and accepted customer donations as part of the effort, according to a press release from the food bank. The fundraiser has been an annual event for the shops since 2015. In that time, theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve raised more than $50,000.
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Driven Brandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s initial public offering raised $700 million in early trading. According to a report by Renaissance Capital, the company first made a confidential filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in March to take company shares public. The company boasts 4,100 locations across all brands and brought in $798 million in revenue in the 2020 fiscal year. Driven Brands includes Take 5 Oil Change, Meineke, Carstar, Maaco and others.
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Grainger Grainger www.grainger.com www.grainger.com Heathwood Oil Co Inland Wholesale 1-800-255-0287 1-800-446-5263 InlandOil Wholesale International Glockner CoFilters 1-800-446-5263 1-800-872-2333 1-800-289-2979 John R Young Co International Filters Grainger 1-800-481-3889 www.grainger.com 1-800-872-2333 Inland Wholesale Keller Heartt Oil Co John R Young 1-800-446-5263 1-800-423-7513 1-800-481-3889 International FiltersOil Key Oil Co. Keller Heartt 1-800-872-2333 1-800-950-2645 1-800-423-7513 John R Young Co 1-800-481-3889 Keller Heartt Oil 1-800-423-7513 1 Oil Co. Key 1-800-950-2645
I Distributors AA&&I Distributors 1-800-829-7877 1-800-829-7877 ArizonaPetroleum Petroleum Arizona 1-800-580-5823 1-800-580-5823 Available From: ColoradoPetroleum Petroleum A & IColorado Distributors 1-800-580-4080 1-800-580-4080 1-800-829-7877 Complete Lube Supply Arizona Petroleum Complete Lube Supply 1-800-580-5823 1-800-461-0781 1-800-461-0781 BS Products Craneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Waste Oil Craneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Waste Oil 1-801-214-2550 1-800-272-6330 1-800-272-6330 Colorado Petroleum Dennis K.K. Burke, Inc.Inc. Dennis Burke, 1-800-580-4080 1-800-289-2875 1-800-289-2875 Complete Lube Supply 1-800-461-0781 Craneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Waste Oil 1-800-272-6330 Feb Dennis 19 Kafko half Inc. Ad V2.indd K. Burke, 1-800-289-2875
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Key Industries Oil Co. Kwik 1-800-950-2645 1-800-442-5368 Kwik Lard OilIndustries Co. 1-800-442-5368 1-800-738-7738 Lard Oil Co.Supply Levinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Auto 1-800-738-7738 1-800-655-7700 Levinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Auto Supply Mays-Shedd Sales Kwik Industries 1-800-655-7700 1-800-488-5823 1-800-442-5368 McGlaughlin OilSales Co Lard Oil Co. Mays-Shedd 1-800-839-6589 1-800-738-7738 1-800-488-5823 Levinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Auto Supply MSC Industrial Supply McGlaughlin Oil Co 1-800-655-7700 www.mscdirect.com 1-800-839-6589 Mays-Shedd Sales OaklandLubrication Lubrication Oakland 1-800-488-5823 1-800-828-1675 1-800-828-1675 McGlaughlin Oil Co 1-800-839-6589 MSC Industrial Supply www.mscdirect.com Oakland Lubrication 1-800-828-1675
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PrimeLube Lube Prime 1-800-634-4615 1-800-634-4615 RelaDyne RelaDyne Great Lakes Lakes 708-599-8700 Great 708-599-8700 Mid-South 318-368-3101 Mid-South 318-368-3101 Midwest 800-786-2803 Midwest 800-786-2803 Northeast 800-352-2776 Northeast 800-352-2776 Oklahoma 800-256-5017 Prime Lube 800-256-5017 Oklahoma South 800-256-2512 1-800-634-4615 South 800-256-2512 Southwest 713-747-7411 RelaDyne Southwest 713-747-7411 WestLakes 801-561-4251 Great 708-599-8700 West 801-561-4251 Reisner Dist Reisner Dist Midwest 800-786-2803 1-800-293-2197 1-800-293-2197 Northeast 800-352-2776 West Texas318-368-3101 800-588-4662 Rowleys Wholesale Mid-South South 800-488-8411 Gulf Coast 800-256-2512 Southwest 713-747-7411 West 801-561-4251 Reisner Dist 1-800-293-2197 Rowleys Wholesale 1-800-769-5397
Call 1-800-528-0334 for questions or samples Sampson-BladenOilOil Sampson-Bladen CoCo 1-800-341-9266 1-800-341-9266 S&E Distribution Service Champ 1-888-251-2609 1-800-221-0216 Service Champ 1-800-233-9041 1-800-221-0216 Steve Shannon 1-800-233-9041 Automotive Warehouse Sampson-Bladen Oil Co Steve Shannon 1-800-343-8473 1-800-341-9266 Automotive Warehouse S&E Distributors Service Champ 1-800-343-8473 1-888-251-2609 1-800-221-0216 Tyree Oil 1-800-233-9041 Tyree Oil 1-800-669-0760 Steve Shannon 1-800-669-0760 Whitfield OilCo. Co. Automotive Warehouse Whitfield Oil 1-800-343-8473 1-888-394-3835 1-888-394-3835 S&E Distributors 1-888-251-2609 Tyree Oil 1-800-669-0760 1/16/19 11:39 AM Whitfield Oil Co. 1-888-394-3835
Manufacturer and distributor Highline-Warren announced that it acquired BlueDevil Products, a provider of automotive and motorsport products. BlueDevilâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s products include stop leak solutions, fluid additives, repair and maintenance items, according to a press release. Brands include BlueDevil, Red Angel, and PJ1.
NEW JIFFY LUBE OPENS IN MISSOURI
A new Jiffy Lube location has opened at 889 N. Kingshighway in Cape Girardeau, Mo., the Southeast Missourian reports. Stonebriar Auto Service LLC purchased the property, which previously held the name of The Finish Line under owner Jim Mungle. Stonebriar operates several other Jiffy Lube centers in Missouri, including in Springfield and Joplin.
1/25/2021 1:02:02 PM
K E Y I N S I G H T S , T R E N D S A N D S T R AT E G I E S F O R T O M O R R O W ’ S I N D U S T R Y—T O D AY
FIND OUT EVEN MORE For many shops, ADAS work is not a matter of “if,” but “when.” Even if your business doesn’t want to take on the full responsibility of performing ADAS calibrations, your shop still needs to be “ADAS-ready.” Head to adaptautomotive.com /AdasReady to hear expert advice on the costs and preparation involved in making ADAS work a reality.
IS DATA THE NEW OIL?
“Data is the most important asset we have in a company,” said Florian Baumann, chief technical officer for Dell’s automotive and artificial intelligence divisions. Baumann spoke at a webinar hosted by Frost and Sullivan about data as a business-building commodity. Unlike oil, data can be used over and over again in a variety of ways. Not only is there new data being generated every minute, but the types of data vary across industries and levels of accessibility. Baumann says although data is the new oil, it does not come without its own challenges. “Which data do we collect? How do we collect it? How do we enable developers to locate the data?” Baumann said. One of the largest hurdles to data collection is the fact that it is aggregated from around the world. Data is collected across countries and continents, each having their own laws and regulations in place, which Baumann said makes sharing data difficult. Read the entire article at adaptautomotive.com/DataOil.
M A Y 9 –1 1 • N A S H V I L L E , T E N N .
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S H O P LO O K
MCPHERSON QUICK LUBE OPERATOR:
4 FULL-TIME EMPLOYEES SHOP SIZE:
AVERAGE CAR COUNT:
B Y K E L LY B E A T O N PHOTOS BY AE V RE AL ESTATE PHOTOGR APHYÂ®
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H AV E A N O U T S TA N D I N G S H O P T O S H A R E ? E M A I L N E W S @ N O L N . N E T
INVITING EXTERIOR Jon Jantz is a prideful native of McPherson, a town of roughly 14,000 in central Kansas. As a result, when he built the structure for McPherson Quick Lube back in 1998, Jantz spared few expenses on making the shop as attractive as possible. Calling upon the services of an architect friend, Jantz saw to it that the 3,750-square-foot facility featured three rooflines, and put full glass doors on his three-bay shop area, and positioned those bay doors so that vehicles can exit the side of the building fairly easily, on to Kansas Ave. Expenditures like that added up to a $100,000 investment meant to make the facility look as appealing as possible. “In doing that, it made for an attractive building,” says Jantz, whose overall financial figures have improved each of the last two years. “I wanted it to look [good] in my hometown.”
CATERING TO CUSTOMERS The customer waiting area at McPherson Quick Lube features no shortage of amenities. There’s free WiFi, a high-definition TV with seemingly every cable channel in existence, and a coffee bar that features soft-complemented blends from Prairie Fire Roasters of Wichita. Plus, there’s a “kids
corner” that features a truckload of Legos. But the amenity that really inspires long lines at the owner-operated facility is, somewhat surprisingly, the free air that’s available on the east side of the building. “That gets used an unbelievable amount,” Jantz says of the free air. “I do things like that because it’s my community. I’m the only on-demand oil change in (the) county. I’ve got towns west, southwest, and north of me and they no longer have a quick lube; they’ve all closed.”
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION Jantz’s shop sits on a corner location, near Main Street in downtown McPherson, right across the street from a refurbished and picturesque courthouse. The intersection is one of the busiest in town. If that weren’t enough to draw a steady stream of customers to McPherson Quick Lube, the fact the facility boasts glass bay doors also helps significantly. “People have figured out that they come by this location quite a bit, and they just look and see if they see cars in the bay and cars in line,” Jantz explains. “If they do, they keep going, because they know they’ll be back by here later that day or the next. Full bays keep them moving, and empty bays generate work, so it has really helped our overall workload.”
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FROM THE SHOP
We Do More Than Oil Changes The best add-ons build tickets, not bay times
Adam Tatum is director of operations for the Virginia Group, a Jiﬀy Lube franchisee with 11 locations. He has over a decade of experience in the industry with a proven track record of building customer counts and sales, as well as using innovative ways to bring a new look to the automotive field for both the customer and the employee. Performance comes from growing your business through people.
ATAT U M
services are a must to have a bottom line in the black. Let us think about it this way: Do you make money on an oil change? Once you add up the cost of your oil, the filter, the fluids that you use to top off, labor, and more, the profit you add could be less than a dollar. One claim or unseen repair, and you are losing money. Now, how you make the money is with the add-ons. But not all of these are good for your bottom line, unless you have a good mix.
Filters are King We can start by talking about the easy stuff, the things that the customer can see. Air filters are the most obvious here. They are easily pulled on most vehicles and can be shipped from a supplier for a decent price. In order to really get the most bang for the buck, these should be priced no more than 30 percent of the cost of goods. Now, many of you do not have the control of this part of the process, but you are the most important in it. The key to the sales is the pulling and presentation. Because the customer can see this, it’s usually really easy. Set a goal for your teams to hit and keep track of it daily. There is another filter in the car that can be even better on the profit side. Many are very comparable to the engine air filter in terms of cost, however we usually charge more for these filters. This is because of the locations of these cabin air filters. Many of these are in tough areas such as behind the glove box, under the cowl around the engine bay (and the awesome Nissan filter lodged in the middle of the lower dashboard). They are actually pretty easy to sell, though. What we do is explain two things to the customer with the filter out. One is that this could be a reason that you may have reduced air in the interior. The second is the most important reason that you have this filter.
“This is the filter for the air that you breathe. Would you like us to put a new one in?” Big tip here is YouTube for installation. Just search “cabin air filter in ____ car,” and here come 10 videos on how to pull it and install it.
Going Further Here is the best service that you can add on because it costs you absolutely nothing! A tire rotation has absolutely no cost of product, just cost of labor. This is why some shops add this on for free during promotional coupons or special services. It is also a service that the wrong crew will just hate, because it actually requires effort and work. Think about asking about this service at your initial greet and do it first. This will allow your teams time to look over other areas of the car and even the brakes if you do multicare-style work. Most of your sales people will try to focus on those big-ticket items, like fluid exchanges, and those are great. They also come with higher cost to you as well. This is due to the cost of that automatic transmission fluid or antifreeze. Many of these services come with a predesignated amount included, but that can still be upward of 40 percent or more in cost of goods. Some companies have set up goals like 2–3 percent. That means that they are only looking for two or three in every one hundred vehicles serviced. Likewise, air filters could have goals of 16, 18 or 20 percent. In the end, to make the most money and bottom line net income, you want a good mix of all of these. Work on being consistent in presentations and pulls. This is the start to increasing your ticket average, gross sales and bottom line profit. Everything still starts with that oil change that your customer drove up for, so get good at oil selections and these add ons and you can turn that $40 service into triple digits.
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Autel’s ITS600: Innovation in Form and Function New features to expand your shop services
The MaxiTPMS ITS600 is a sleek, lightweight touchscreen Android tablet that performs every aspect of TPMS service, including all-known sensor activation, system diagnostics, 1-Sensor programming with 99 percent vehicle coverage, and sensor ID and position Relearn procedures. Autel’s TPMS tools’ interface has for years enabled technicians to perform these tasks easily and consistently. And the ITS600 gracefully improves upon these TPMS services effi ciency. Still, greater innovation is found in the tool’s capability when paired with Autel’s TBE100 or TBE200 tire tread depth and brake disc examiners and the forthcoming on-board DOT tire registration to prioritize safety and the integrity of the service shops can provide to their customers.
Tire Tread Depth and Brake Disc Examination
Transform the ITS600 into a precisiondriven tire tread depth and brake disc examiner with the purchase of either the TBE100 or TBE200 laser-enabled wear examiner tools that wirelessly transmit data to the tablet enabling the technician to quickly identify if the vehicle needs new tires, new brakes discs, a tire rotation or a 4-tire alignment. The TBE100 has 0.95” high resolution AMOLED touchscreen display able to show just data, while the TBE200 has a larger 1.65” display that graphically displays the tire tread and disc wear conditions. Generate detailed
customer reports to visually inform customers of needed services and print them wirelessly to your network printer or on Autel’s new thermal printer.
DOT Tire Identification Registration
Upcoming software enhancements include optical Tire Identification Number (TIN) recognition to identify recalled or aging tires and customer service TIN registration with the Department of Transportation. The ITS600 is a perfect blend of form and function, offering new features that capitalize on the tablet’s design and speed including three modes of rapid VIN acquisition including VINscan that identifi es the vehicle make, model and year with an optical scan of the vehicle identifi cation number on the dash, an enhanced at-a-glance system status screen to enable technicians to immediately identify TPMS system faults on TPMS-equipped U.S., Asian, and European vehicles, and onboard instructional videos.
Improved Speed and Communication The tablet features the much-touted Android 9 operating system, measures just over seven inches in length, weights under a pound and boasts a 5.5-inch color touchscreen display, an embedded antenna for sensor activation and noncontact 1-Sensor programming, and includes a redesigned, wireless Bluetooth dongle, the MaxiVCI V200, with improved OBDII communication for faster relearns
and module diagnostics, and a handy fl ashlight so even the most obscure OBDII port will be easier to spot. The ITS600 also offers more U.S. vehicle-OBDII relearns than any other TPMS tool in the industry, can program up to 20 1-Sensors at once, and enables quick placard/TPMS threshold value resets
Code Reading, Live Data and Service Functions
Tools that exude power, versatility and, of course, intelligence, have always been the trademark of any Autel tool. And with the ITS600, Autel has given customers everything on their wish list and so much more, including quick access to four common vehicle maintenance services, Electronic parking brake caliper retraction, oil light reset, battery registration and steering angle sensor calibration, and free TPMS and service software updates for the life of the tool. Purchase the Pro software upgrade to read and clear codes, view code descriptions and live data parameter IDs from all vehicle modules, perform all systems diagnosis, and approximately 20 additional service functions for U.S., Asian and European vehicles, 1996 and newer. The ITS600 grants traditional tire and rim shops the opportunity to not only improve the effi ciency, and accuracy of the services they currently provide, but to expand into new services and to offer their customers greater confi dence in their vehicles’ safety.
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Make It Your Own The site of Checkered Flag Express Lube existed before John Wall took over, but careful planning and work made it into his own operation.
Nailing the Acquisition
MA K E A SPL ASH WITH YOUR N E W QUICK LUBE B Y M AT T H U D S O N P H OTO S B Y G E Y E R P H OTO G R A P H Y
ongratulations, you’re ready to acquire a quick lube shop! Whether you’re new to the business or growing your empire, there are a few things common among operators: they’re driven, and they know that their success is tied to the customer experience. Beyond that, you’d better be able to adapt to thrive. John Wall worked on the corporate side of the automotive aftermarket for a decade before transitioning into quick lube ownership. He had everything worked out—or so he thought. He worked out a business plan around moving home to Ohio and building a shop to his specifications.
“I came back to town and was getting ready to follow through with building,” Wall says. “I was getting all my ducks in a row and one of the local operators decided they were retiring.” That was a big pivot for Wall, but it ended up being the right choice, he says. He decided to take over the existing property. It comes back to adaptability—operators with the tools to succeed will be well-equipped to take on new challenges and rise above them. With the experience of two operators and the help of an expert business planner, here are the fundamental areas of focus for operators in their new shop acquisition.
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Focus No. 1: Property
This is your main asset. Think of it as a tool—a Swiss Army knife that allows you to develop a workflow, attract customers and guard assets. The best tools also save you money. In the case of Wall, who planned to build a new shop but ended up acquiring an existing quick lube from a retiring operator, the initial investment changed dramatically. “It ended up saving me at least $500,000 to buy their location, which is a good chunk of money,” he says. Wall has been successfully operating his acquired shop, Checkered Flag Express in Marysville, Ohio, ever since. Build new or acquire existing? That’s a major decision in launching a quick lube. While Wall saved money by acquiring rather than new construction, there were benefits to a new shop that he would have enjoyed. He says that he was able to hand-pick the location of the new construction, which had all the drive-by traffic he aimed to get. Wall determined that his existing location might have less traffic, it was still known well enough by area customers. Any operator who’s acquired an existing quick lube knows that there can be a lot of work needed to bring it up to speed. Steve Pittman runs PittStop 10 Minute Oil Changers in North Canton, Ohio. He took over an existing shop that was in rough shape. His biggest task was cleaning up the building which was the first step in cleaning up the shop’s perception.
F O U R - PA R T P L A N S Author, speaker and business expert Tim Berry lays out the four main parts for an operator’s business plan. 1. Strategy—A broad accounting of your business and what sets it apart. 2. Tactics—Identifying the assets that will win success, such as your marketing, service and pricing plans. 3. Numbers—The KPIs that you want to hit in the near term. 4. Execution—The specific, concrete actions that you want to happen in your shop.
“Just giving the place a facelift,” he says. “The biggest thing when you have a place like that, that maybe doesn’t have the best reputation, you want to do what you can to get the information to people that it’s different this time.”
Focus No. 2: Business Plan
Tim Berry wants business plans to be most useful to the owner. He’s a business plan expert, author, speaker, and founder of Palo Alto Software, which develops digital platforms for startups and business planning. He wants owners to think of business plans not as a long-winded prospectus to present to investors. Rather, it should be a simpler document that outlines what you consider success along the way. The
Continued Service A pit tech performs service at Checkered Flag Express in Marysville, Ohio. Owner John Wall planned to build new but jumped on an opportunity to acquire his shop building.
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plan should be checked against your work regularly and be revised as you hone your operation. “With the process that I recommend for all business owners, you’re going to start with a very lean, streamlined plan that’s written for yourself only,” Berry says. “So no extra work of describing your team or describing your services for some outsiders. Just bullet points laying out your key strategy and your tactics and your milestones that you want to reach.” The plan ensures that your operation is working toward the goal that you’ve outlined. The guideposts along the way are a mixture of real figures and conceptual goals. Berry says that the bullet points should still encompass all of your operations. That includes broad topics like services offered, sales goals and market information. It should also have more specific strategies to carry out those objectives—how you and your staff will achieve your goals. “For these business owners, every time they refresh their lean business plan, they look at execution as a collection of concrete things,” Berry says. “Specific things that are supposed to happen. I call them major milestones.” The key to this whole plan is that it’s being constantly revised. That’s a sign of success, Berry says. That means that your first projections might be educated guesses at best. After a few months in business, it’s time to revise and refocus. The next milestones will become more accurate and more ambitious. That way, you’re being proactive toward your goals rather than reactive to the day’s challenges. Berry’s company, Palo Alto Software, launched in the late ‘80s. He says that his leadership team has held monthly business plan revision meetings since then.
Transition with Ease John Wall, pictured here with his wife Cheryl, made sure to carve out time with the previous owner of his quick lube to complete a thorough transfer. This helped to avoid future headaches.
“That many years later, our business plan has never been finished because if your business plan is finished, your business is finished,” he says.
Focus No. 3: Brand
Your brand is your most important intangible asset. For new operators, it’s an incredible challenge to build a brand that’s recognizable and trustworthy to customers. When Pittman acquired his shop, he decided to rebrand it as PittStop 10 Minute Oil Changers. He says the shop didn’t have a stellar reputation in the past, and he had an uphill battle to win back those customers. Before he even saw customers, his messaging to the public focused on how he would
KEYS TO SUCCESS Operators say these small decisions had big positive impacts Maximize returns for all of your assets. Steve Pittman, owner of PittStop 10 Minute Oil Changers in North Canton, Ohio, has a car wash attached to his shop, but he doesn’t own it. But when he was getting established, his staff was able to greet customers at the car wash and let them know about the new ownership. “This is how we plan on being different, and just try to utilize what you have at your disposal to get the word out,” he says.
Relationships matter in an ownership transition. John Wall of Checkered Flag Express in Marysville, Ohio, found a lot of benefits by establishing a good relationship with the previous owner of his quick lube. They worked together on smaller transfer tasks that made for a smoother process. “We set up our own banking, but we worked together at his home and
contacted all those people and took it out of his name, put it in my name,” Wall says. Wall’s contract with the previous owner stipulated that they would have 30 days to work together. Even though Wall had a lot of knowledge in the oil and quick lube business, he still benefited greatly from getting a firsthand account of how operations went at the shop.
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improve operations. His people greeted customers at the adjoining car wash. He advertised new ownership on his digital sign. Pittman says that was the most challenging part. When customers did arrive, Pittman let his service do the talking. “You’re going to have customers trickle in,” Pittman says of those early days. “And if you can take those customers and give them the best experience, make it as enjoyable and honest as possible, then you get people talking.” When Wall took over his shop, he kept the name— Checkered Flag Express. But the previous owner was using unbranded “house oil” and filters. Wall changed that and signed a deal with an oil distributor, adding the national name to his signage. To Wall, that can be a beneficial part of a quick lube’s brand, whether it’s independent or franchised.
U N D E R S TA N D I N G YO U R M A R K E T Research these six items for the best market research, according to the Small Business Administration: 1. Demand 2. Market size 3. Economic indicators
4. Pricing 5. Location 6. Market saturation
“It worked out fantastic,” he says. “People wanted a brand name. They felt better paying the same for an oil change and the quality of product increased.”
Focus No. 4: Market
The market is where your customer base lies, and tailoring your business to the market gives you a big advantage. Researching the market is key to making your shop fit the area. There are lots of ways to do this. Many companies in the franchise space will work with franchisees to study and analyze the market. For independent operators like Pittman, the task fell upon him. Pittman says that his goal was to know more about who he was serving. The information he researched— mostly online—told him the median age groups, the gender splits, the population densities and more. He says the income information is among the most valuable. “If you know, roughly, the median income of families that live in your area, I think you’re better able to get a grasp on the type of cars they would buy. The types of services they would perform on those cars. What they can afford,” he says. “You tailor the services that you offer and the prices that you offer to those customers.” What else is in your market? Your competition. Pittman says that his nearest competition is half a mile away. He made it a point to go there, learn about their customer experience, their prices, and anything else he could understand about the business. Under the Hood “What I was able to do was A technician take my information, my services, checks a vehicle at my pricing, my everything, and Checkered tailor it around being able to beat Flag Express in Marysville, Ohio. them,” he says.
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Sweat Equity It took years of additional work, planning and investment to bring Eco-Plug to market. Now Peter Esposito is selling his product.
Through the Eyes of an Inventor One shop operator was tired of becoming the victim of circumstance. His drain plug invention could help eliminate a common tech headache. B Y A B B Y PAT T E R S O N P H OTO S B Y M I C H A E L E I N R E I N H O F
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ike many inventors, Peter Esposito, owner of Mountain Lakes Auto Wash and Express Lube in Hewitt, N.J., had a breaking point—an a-ha moment, if you will. Esposito says it’s easy to become a victim of circumstance. Oil pans and plug threads are sure to wear out, and it’s just a matter of when. If an operator is faced with telling his or her customer new ones are needed, a responsible shop would need to suggest a potentially expensive repair. Some operators just avoid it, so much so that Esposito says shops might rig the pans to get the car out of the shop without leaking, hoping to pass the problem off to someone else. “Odds are the vehicle goes to another shop and inherits the problem. That’s the victim of circumstance,” he says. “It’s the honest guy that usually ends up with the problem.” In some cases, Esposito noticed the oil pan damage went unchecked until the vehicle reached his shop, and he would relay that information to the customer with pictures to prove it. He knew there had to be a permanent solution for both the installer and the customer. The problem was in how he would reinvent 100-plus years of this process. With lots of time and money invested, Eco-Plug was born, and Esposito hoped to solve the problem with a $10 solution.
What is Eco-Plug?
It’s a threadless, magnetic, universal oil pan drain plug. It replaces conventional drain plugs and temporary thread fixes by eliminating threads all together. There are two types of Eco-Plugs: one to fix damaged aluminum oil pan threads and one to fix a stripped steel oil pan and drain plug.
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Long Nights Most of the development work for EcoPlug took place above Peter Espositoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s quick lube shop during long nights and weekends.
If The Walls Could Talk Peter Esposito built the first prototype by hand. The marks from that work still appear on his office window sill.
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Esposito wanted to find a way to innovate the process, and he quickly realized the issue he needed to eliminate. “The threads were the disease to the oil pan and the drain plug,” Esposito says. “My job was to eliminate the disease, or the need for threads.” According to Espositio, the threads are predisposed to wear and tear. The challenge for Esposito was changing the entire threading process, which took a long time to do. There were no examples that he could go off of, nor anyone that had ever attempted this to call and ask for help. The development process was intensive. Esposito says he worked a lot of 15-hour days in his office above the quick lube, keeping an eye on the operations below in the bays. It was tough balancing shop management and developing the Eco-Plug. If he didn’t have an office at the shop, he says the business wouldn’t have survived. After many tests, he found the key to his product. It was all with the help of magnetism. By using a magnet in place of threads, it eliminated the need for threads all together. Esposito first went through the process of patenting the invention, which was not cheap. In total, he says it was $80,000 to ensure the invention was his. Then he reached out to magnetic engineers and other engineers for the rubber components to manufacture the invention. After two years, he felt like he lived at his quick lube shop, but he had his final project: Eco-Plug. “Creating Eco-Plug was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life—probably took 10 years off of my life,” Esposito says. “You risk everything you have worked for all of your life.” In all, Esposito says it cost about $500,000 to launch Eco-Plug. The cost, he says, is something someone can’t forget. “Like everything else, I funded it through loans and credit cards,” Esposito says. “There was no way to foresee those expenses. They came as the product evolved.” Through the process, he says there’s a tremendous price to pay when someone is trying to get their product’s name out there. Esposito says he came close to losing everything, including the quick lube. “Sometimes you have to go to the worst place in the world to get to the best,” he says.
After perfecting his final product, it was now up to him
to sell it. He says the biggest obstacle was getting people to believe in it. Along with selling his product online, selling Ecoplug in his shop was a great start to get customers to see its value. Simply, he and his employees promote the product by showing customers the wear and tear on their threads, and then showing them Ecoplug and how it’s a one-and-done solution. After getting customers to buy in, he wanted to get the word out to other shop owners in his area. Every day, he would go out to local shops in the tri-state area (New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut) to sell them on his product. He’d load up his vehicle with all of his supplies, complete with an oil pan display to show quick lubes and auto repair shops how the product really worked. And once they saw it with their own eyes, local shops wanted in. Once Esposito sold local shops on the product, he knew he needed to take his product to shops around the country. He took his product to trade shows to bring his product to other shop owners’ attention. What really helped the product take off was attending iFLEX. “The AOCA show was the beginning of making contact and exposing the product to quick lubes,” Esposito says. And the attention they received paid off. Quick lube operators were sold. Esposito says the want for the product was so overwhelming, they stopped advertising the product because they couldn’t keep up with the demand. To keep up the pace, Esposito wanted to find an industry distributor. He says that proved difficult—he chased one national distributor for five years with no result. In the end, he decided to sell through online channels like Wal-Mart and Amazon, as well as his own online distribution platform. He also secured shelf space in Wal-Mart’s brick-and-mortar stores.
Reflecting on the Process
Eventually, Esposito wants to make his product the standard in quick lube and auto repair. What they don’t show you on shows like “Shark Tank” are the immense struggles inventors go through. Coming up with a brand-new, never-before-seen product takes a lot of time, money, and mental capacity. “If you have a great idea and you believe in it and want to see it thrive, you have to realize it will consume you financially, mentally, physically—in every conceivable way,” Esposito says. “You cannot be distracted. The process is so long and drawn out, you will never see it through if you lose focus.”
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FR ANCHISE+OPER ATIONS
CASE STUDY Improve your business by giving staff a boost. Hereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s how one operation
expanded staff values and benefits
during a successful transition. PAGE 40
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PI T STOP
Use online marketing tactics to get customers in and coming back for more
for the customer. Pulling up to a bay is the easiest way to maintain a healthy vehicle, and that’s the real selling point. “Quick lubes are now seen as a commodity,” says Tom Zoebelein, principal at marketing agency Stratosphere Studios. “It’s a matter of who can get me in. If I see one that’s busy, I move on to the next one available.” Particularly in busy markets, it’s paramount that shops make an impression on customers so that they’re less inclined to move on to the next nearest shop. It can be tough, but it can be done. “Customer loyalty is not something you can build easily,” he says. “The hardest thing is getting that first customer, then it’s about keeping them engaged.” Stratosphere Studios specializes in automotive marketing, and Zoebelein says there’s a way to target new customers while getting your current customers to come back. While it’s important to provide great service during the appointment, you can also attract and retain customers outside of the service through digital platforms.
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Targeting Future Customers Put yourself in front of them. If you want to beat competition, start targeting their customers. One way to do that? Start conducting Facebook Ads to target people, tailoring it to people within five miles of your shop, and run as many digital ads as you can put out. Utilize geofencing to target customers. There are a couple of ways you can target people with geofencing (a service that triggers an action when a device enters a set location). You can limit the geofencing geography to your town, county, or however far out you think someone would be willing to drive. You can also target someone searching for specific competitors or anyone searching your business category and then “near me.” The beauty of geofencing is that it even tracks your walk-ins, so when the customer is at
your location, it then tracks his or her activity in the future. Catch them when they need it. I think the trick is to stay in front of customers for when they need their next service. If customers go through your quick lane, it can capture their device ID. On Facebook Ads, you can then delay the ad to customers in your database for three months after their oil change so it will pop up around the time they are due for their next appointment. Targeting Current Customers Set up reminders. The hardest thing is getting that first customer, then it’s just about keeping them engaged. There are different systems out there that do this by estimating the last time an oil change was done on that car, making sure you are
just hitting customers at the right time before their due for another service. With this, you can set up email or text reminders. With text message reminders, you have to get opt-in permission. To do this, simply start having customers fill out an intake form to get permission and send out a text message to them, attaching a coupon to the message, like $10 off your next oil change. Add a scheduler. On your business website, set up a tool to help with convenience. You can set up a scheduler through your website, on Google My Business, and even on your Facebook business page. When you send out a reminder, you can even send out a reminder with the scheduler link in message. Customers would appreciate a timing reminder with a discount involved, too.
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F R A N C H I S E + O P E R AT I O N S
THE GROWTH MODEL
Do you have what it takes to expand your quick lube model?
LOOKING TO GROW YOUR SHOP
network? Ready to start franchising? There’s a lot to consider before jumping in. Let’s take a look at two different growth plans—one from an established franchise, and another from a relative newcomer. First up, SpeeDee Oil Change and Auto Service. Ralph Yarusso, chief development officer for parent company FullSpeed Automotive, says the goal from the start was to become a franchise. Since 1982, the brand has grown its network throughout the U.S. and
Mexico, with more locations on the way. In 2020, the brand was ranked No. 415 in Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500. Josh Bishop, on the other hand, feels his brand still has room to grow. His company, MAXI On-Site Oil Change, just passed two years in business. And while he earned six-figure sales within the first year of business, he wants to get to the five-year mark before even considering a franchise model. Here’s what led SpeeDee to adapt a franchise model from the start, and what MAXI still strives to achieve.
Have a vision. SpeeDee Back in the 1980s, the brand’s concept was fairly unique for the era, but common for modern-day quick lubes. Founders Gary Copp and Kevin Bennett wanted to blend two different models together: quick lube and auto repair. And while he wasn’t part of the company at the time, the founders wanted to blend the quick lube model with the repair model to differentiate from the other brands that did one or the other. Now, this is the model
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that many competitors are trying to migrate into today. “They really wanted to expand the quick lube model and that was their vision,” Yarusso says. “When you are able to have the cookie-cutter model in place, that’s the right time to franchise it.” MAXI Growing up, his grandfather had an old-fashioned oil change shop in the 1980s after retiring from the railroad. “I was 6 or 7 years old when I did my first oil change,” Bishop says. Before starting his venture, he was a college professor and took part in law enforcement part time, but he wanted something more. He wanted to start his own business that had a need—something no one else in the state of Ohio was doing. With the skills he accumulated in his youth, MAXI On-Site Oil Change was born, naming the company after his son, Maximus. But when Bishop started back in January 2019, he had no franchise goal in mind. He thought of it as having three part-time jobs to pay the bills. Don’t slow down. SpeeDee In 2008, Midas acquired SpeeDee, which had a different business model. SpeeDee saw more cars in a day or week, but Midas, a full automotive service chain, had a higher ticket average. So, they came up with a co-brand concept, putting together SpeeDee and Midas. “The strategy was to combine the two. Enjoy a better car count and blend it with a higher ticket average,” Yarusso says. Yarusso says when the acquisition took place, Midas essentially stopped growing the SpeeDee brand altogether. With the co-brand concept, Midas was only focused on growing the Midas brand or its new cobrand model. Even when Midas was acquired by Tire
Battery Corp. (TBC) in 2012, the SpeeDee brand remained in a state of slow growth. Yarusso says the only way to expand was through the SpeeDee-Midas brand. You had to be a current franchiser from this brand and want to open up more locations. Under this model, the SpeeDee growth was stagnant prior to FullSpeed Automotive’s acquisition. MAXI Within the first four to five months in business, Bishop soon realized his idea would turn out to be a lot bigger than he thought initially. “The demand is so incredible,” Bishop says. “I started the business to have more freedom in my life, but the company has been branded so well and I simply work off of my grandfather’s principles.” When he officially hit $30,000 in sales the first couple of months, he quit his other jobs to solely focus on MAXI. Now he services 1,000 residential customers, 30 fleet companies, and 50 food trucks, performing at least 100-plus oil changes in a week. Show a successful track record. SpeeDee So, what led Grease Monkey to acquire SpeeDee? Its original model. “You don’t want to offer a franchise model to a franchisee where the model hasn’t been vetted properly and shows a true track record of success,” Yarusso says. “You hope they follow that formula.” Like Jiffy Lube, Grease Monkey has grown its model from oil changes to full-service maintenance and other auto repair services. Grease Monkey saw its vision in the backbone of the SpeeDee brand and wanted to expand on that growth. “It was the right time to put that model out there and reinvigorate it because all of our competitors are trying
to gravitate towards that, that’s why SpeeDee was an attractive brand.” When FullSpeed Automotive acquired SpeeDee in 2017, co-branding with Midas ended, and the company brought the SpeeDee model back to life. Since then, the strictly SpeeDee brand went from 53 franchises to 76 in 12 different states, with more locations on the way.
“This vision that this SpeeDee had back in the 1980s, who would have known that everyone now wants to have this vision for their brand,” Yarusso says. “It’s the right vision.” MAXI For MAXI, however, Bishop says he’s not in a rush to franchise his operation. He says while his brand is successful, there’s not enough proof of its concept to offer it to others as a franchise. Bishop wants to see five years of solid working experience before making any moves. While he doesn’t have a solid model at the moment, he has an idea of what he’s looking for. For one, he has no desire to be the CEO of the company someday. His goal would be to not have a lot of employees, and instead take the owner-operator route, allowing someone who wants to be their own boss to manage their franchise.
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C A S E S T U DY
START WITH YOUR PEOPLE Investing in your employees can completely change your company image
mployees are the faces of any business. How they perform their jobs affects the entire customer experience. As the saying goes, if you love what you do, you’ll never have to work a day in your life. When Team Car Care, a Jiffy Lube franchise, came under new ownership in 2018 and assumed its current name, company leaders wanted to make sure they were making the right investments in their people. “If your employees aren’t happy at work, they won’t passionately serve the customer as we should,” says Lyndsay Lord, Team Car Care’s chief human
resources officer. “We had to start with our people first in order for that to transcend into the guest experience.” The Challenge With new ownership came a renewed focus on improving employee morale. Company leaders had an opportunity to reset their practices and create a stronger framework for team members. The challenge was in determining what that framework would be and how the company would implement it. The Solutions Setting Goals The first step was for leaders to establish company values and set goals that
align with them. Leadership defined their values with an acronym: RITTE. That stands for respect, integrity, trust, teamwork, and excellence. “If you don’t have the right people that are living by a standard set of values, all serving and motivating in the right way, you won’t be successful,” Lord says. While it’s always a good idea to set goals for yourself, Team Car Care wanted to take it a step further. In 2018, the executive team started to develop an integrated operating system to track the progress of each store and officially rolled it out in 2019. Basically, Lord says it’s a scorecard that ranks each location’s general managers and how their stores are performing.
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Providing More Opportunities Team Car Care wanted to invest back into its team. To start, they invested in their benefits, added a 401(K) match plan, rolled out a new store-level bonus plan, and reduced the cost of employees’ healthcare by up to 50 percent. The company also wanted to restructure its field leadership team within the company. Through this, the company established two senior vice presidents, eight regional vice presidents, newly established vice president roles, several district managers, and even created a full training team with a vice president of training and national field trainers. The best part of all of this? All of these positions were internal promotions. And every quarter, the company holds an internal promotion rate of 25 percent to get employees from technicians to higher-up positions within the company. Lord says it is truly possible to start as an auto technician and work your way up to a higher position like CEO. The company’s current CEO, Steve Warner, was a tech in Nebraska 30 years ago. “Nearly all of our leaders can tell their experience of starting out in the store,” Lord says.
NEARLY ALL OF OUR LEADERS CAN TELL THEIR EXPERIENCE OF STARTING OUT IN THE STORE.” —Lyndsay Lord, chief human resources officer, Team Car Care The scorecard is streamlined to measure every store and manager the exact same way, and looks over categories like traffic, ticket average, customer review scores, sales projections and actual sales compared to the year prior, email capture rates, and much more.
Implementing Training To grow their team further, Team Car Care invested in training courses across topics such as leadership, sales, and overall processes of the shop. On top of this, Lord says they want the company’s environment to be as inclusive as possible, so they invested in training focused on how to be an inclusive leader in a modern era. This training is focused on providing an environment that is free of bias, racism, sexism, stereotyping, and other discriminatory actions. “We needed to ensure that teammates understand what bias is and recognize it within ourselves to bring our very best selves to work,” Lord says.
The Aftermath Since implementing all of these changes at the beginning of 2019, Lord says the company has continued to get great feedback from employees and has seen immense growth in sales and a reduction in turnover by 20 percent from the year prior. The company’s comp sales have been positive every single quarter, excluding the onset of COVID-19, and have since rebounded. The Takeaway Overall, the company has increased employee morale. It means that employees understand what’s expected of them, they care about their role, feel they have a purpose within the company. All of that leads to dedicated, hardworking employees, which makes the Team Car Care experience what it is today.
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Tip No. 1: Hire an architect. Burt’s No. 1 piece of advice? Adding an architect as an extra set of eyes on your project. He says having one significantly helps in the beginning of the process, as most already know what the city requires from past projects they’ve worked on, and are the perfect liaison between you and the city. Burt Brothers has had the same architect for all of their buildings. Their architect has already worked within the areas they’re looking to expand in and knows the different guidelines of each. For example, in one city, Burt Brothers is adding on a three-bay lube center, where they learned they needed to get the neighbors’ permission for the add-on. Their architect helped in the process, instructing them to send out mailers to the neighbors to complete this step of the process. “Then they will send you down the path on what you need to do,” Burt says.
Tips for making the permit process a smooth one B Y A B B Y PAT T E R S O N
BRANDON BURT DIDN’T REALIZE
how difficult the permit process was until he had to deal with it firsthand. As a co-owner of Burt Brothers Tire and Auto, he’s been involved with building the Burt Brothers brand across Utah for the past nine years, and he says each project has been a completely different learning experience, some more challenging than others. When looking to expand into a new market, Burt says it’s helpful to talk to other business owners or city officials in the area before you make the deal. This way, you’ll be able to wrap your head around how hard it will be to get your business up and running, or add on to a current location. Burt realized the importance of this
after investing a little too much in an expansion before looking into it first. They thought it would be easy to simply remodel their showroom to make it just a little bit bigger, but Burt says the city wasn’t keen on the idea and made it harder to achieve their goal. “What happened is we got emotionally invested and wanted to grow in this particular city, but we didn’t realize it would take over a year to do and would cost a lot more than expected,” Burt says. “It doubled our time to do the add-on than we would have wanted and it hurt our existing business during that time.” Because of this, Burt says it’s important to keep these tips in mind to make the permit process as quick and smooth as possible.
Tip No. 2: Go to the city first. You may have a plan in your mind of what you want for your new development, but it all comes down to the city’s guidelines of where you’re building. Burt says if you work with your contractors and architects prior to going to the city to figure out their guidelines, it’s likely you’ll have to go back and re-evaluate your existing plans. “We like to go to the city first and then start working with them so we can do what the city wants us to do,” Burt says. “It creates a more realistic timeline.” Tip No. 3: Less is more. When talking with the city, keep it simple. In constructing a new building, you do have to outline every single aspect to keep up with code. With an add-on to your current facility, the same rules don’t apply as much. Burt realized on one project that they overstated to the city of all the detailed plans. In reality, they weren’t changing the original facility, but the city made Burt Brothers go through more
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inspections, more checkpoints, and made him retrofit—get your current building up to standard code—his existing building. “You don’t want to go into the city and talk about all of the grand things you want to do,” Burt says. “They are going to make you jump through more hoops.” For example, some stores have fire sprinkler systems in them, some do not, and if he wanted to add on to a store without them, the city will make him retrofit the whole building with fire sprinklers. It’s a huge additional cost to the business. For another project where they added on, he decided to take a different approach, saying the business was adding on three additional bays due to demand and needed a bigger space to do more work. The difference between this project and the other for Burt was night and day. There were little to no headaches involved for a much smoother process. Tip No. 4: Have a thorough plan in mind. Once you know what’s required of the city, have a thorough plan of what you want for your new development so you don’t have to make any changes and backtrack the process. Especially consider how long the process actually takes. “In some cities, it’s only been a month or so before construction can already begin,” Burt says. “In others, it can take five to six months to get through multiple committees.” In one particular city where it built a location, Burt Brothers had to go through six different departments, and each department could only take two weeks to forward the request. And if any changes arose, you had to go back to the city for approval, which could add an additional four weeks to the timeline. Tip No. 5: Overplease. Go out of your way to be helpful and attentive when working with the local jurisdiction. For Burt, that’s especially
true when it comes to dealing with city workers. “If you go in with a defensive attitude and want to fight them on everything, you’re going to make it extra hard for yourself,” Burt says. Burt says it’s not worth trying to fight
them on anything. They’re not going to budge, especially if you resort to anger and frustration. Instead, he suggests going in with a great attitude and make sure you’re not impeding the work of the city or county that has the final say in permitting.
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AO CA C O R N E R
More Than a Logo
A positive customer experience starts with how you craft your brand I’M A FIRM BELIEVER THAT A BRAND IS MORE THAN
BOCHNOWSKI Mark is the president of Lube ‘n Go of El Paso, Texas. He’s also president of the Board of Directors for the Automotive Oil Change Association (AOCA).
COURTESY MARK BOCHNOWSKI
@AOCA.COM O R 8 0 0 . 2 30 . 0 7 0 2
the sign on a building. A brand is an all-encompassing promise to your guests about what they can expect from you. The pieces and parts of your brand not only define who you are, they differentiate you from your competition. Ultimately, your brand is a living and breathing iteration of your company. Effective brand building starts with a wide-angle lens. First, ask yourself what you want a potential customer to think about when they hear your company name or drive past your center. Decide what kind of experience you want your guests to receive during their service. Adopt a culture of training and open communication for your team members to understand the brand and be able to present it in a way that your guests appreciate. Commit to answering the tough questions and begin to shape a cohesive and relatable brand. The name and tagline of your business are important as they are the most recognizable public display of your brand. The color of the signs on your buildings should be appealing and uniform. Your tagline should identify something important about your business and be understood and exemplified by those who work in your organization. Next, I would encourage you to focus on portions of your brand that have the most direct influence on your guests and your ability to earn repeat business. In my experience, the next points are what make Lube ‘n Go feel like Lube ‘n Go to our team members and guests alike. Branding has a lot to do with things beyond taglines and logos. For instance, how are your centers laid out to be both efficient for your team members and welcoming for your guests? Do they all have a similar footprint? Choose lobby paint colors that are inviting and comfortable and select the same chairs for each location. If you serve coffee or water, order the same brand for all your centers. At Lube ‘n Go, we offer water
bottles with our company logo and we use the same air freshener scent in every lobby. It may seem small, but these pieces add up to the whole of the brand. We have a service guarantee sign in our lobbies with the facility manager’s name and contact information prominently displayed. First, this is important so guests feel they have a voice to provide timely and direct feedback. We also feel this is a way to communicate our brand promise. Your team members are an additional, crucial representation of the brand. Implementing a training program, as I discussed here last month, is critical to relaying your mission and values. Do you have an appearance and uniform policy that showcases the professionalism and education of your technicians? Ensuring that your services are completed the exact same way, every visit, regardless of location or team members present, becomes part of your guest promise. Your brand comes through in the tone and manner your team interacts with your customers and each other. When your guests have a great experience with everyone they come in contact with, it will speak more about your brand than the sign on your building ever will. Taking all of the above into account will have your brand building off to a great start. Many times, I have found myself working on Lube ‘n Go’s brand from the perspective of our guest. I often ask myself, “What kind of experience would I want to have if it was my vehicle in the bay and I knew nothing other than the fact that this company can change my oil?” Remember, the heartbeat of your brand is the human experience and the lasting impression you leave with your guests. With consistent communication of your brand promise, a culture of team members that are invested in a stellar service experience, and an unfailing commitment to your guests, you have the driving force of your repeat business and the longevity of your brand.
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FROM OUR PARTNERS
Boost Your Bottom Line with Smart Inventory Management How managing your inventory drives customer satisfaction and increases efficiency while reducing waste BY DAVID BOOTCHECK, LEAD BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT SPECIALIST, CHEVRON LUBRICANTS, AND ERIC MONTANYE, LEAD BUSINESS CONSULTANT AUTOMOTIVE INSTALLED, CHEVRON LUBRICANTS
There was a time when a quick lube shop could handle all its customers’ Sit down with them a couple of times a year, share your sales history, needs with just a limited number of grades in stock, typically bought in compare notes, and discuss the product and package mix that makes bulk and stored in drums. It is a very different picture today. Considering sense for your business. Running advertised promotions is a good way advances in engine technology, OEM specific requirements, longer vehicle to market-test certain products and price points to gauge demand in life expectancy and the greater variety of cars on the road, it is a challenge your area. to make sure you have the right products to keep up with demand. You Employee training and product knowledge are critical. Know what need to be ready for customers that require synthetics, high mileage, the OEMs recommend so that you can educate your customer on their diesel, Euro-spec—and the list goes on. product options. Employee interactions with every Efficient inventory management is a key part customer can help you increase your sales mix to of running a profitable quick lube. Understanding higher margin premium products contributing to that it is impractical to maintain inventory for every growing gross profit. eventuality, you need to have the right products, Finally, take a look at your package mix. Many “Employee interactions in the right quantities and package styles to meet operators have moved away from both drums and demand. Why does it matter? One, you don’t want quart bottles into bag-in-a-box packages that allow with every customer to be in a position of having to turn customers away more flexibility to stock a wider variety of products can help you increase or make them wait longer for service because you in less space, speed up the oil change process, your sales mix don’t have the right product on hand. And two, improve shop organization and save a tremendous to higher margin concerning cash flow and profitability, you cannot amount of plastic waste. afford to have your cash tied up in inventory that “There are so many great attributes of Chevron’s premium products isn’t turning as quickly as it should be. A little extra PitPack ®, where do I start?” says Jason Berry, owner contributing to efficiency in inventory management can have a of two Havoline xpress lube ® locations in Cullman growing gross profit.” positive impact on your bottom line. and Hartselle, Ala. “I’m a stickler for a super clean So where do you begin? First, keep track of shop and PitPack is the solution for me. Maximizing historical trends in your facility. Are you seeing a storage space compared to quarts is also a great notable uptick in the use of synthetics, for example, benefit, as well as helping the environment.” and a corresponding downturn in opening price Continue to pay attention to your inventory point oils? Second, keep track of the types of vehicles coming into management practices to stock the right products and in the right your shop. Are you seeing more foreign cars, SUVs, pickup trucks, and packages to meet demand while addressing cash flow and profitability. sprinter vans? What are the most popular makes and models in your Cars change and consumer tastes change. Last year’s product mix may area? The prevalence of foreign versus domestic brands varies by not intercept current trends. Actively managing your inventory to keep region, especially in places where manufacturing and distribution are pace with the times can have the dual benefit of driving customer concentrated. These days, consumers are more knowledgeable about satisfaction and loyalty, while improving earnings through increased synthetics and less price sensitive. Plus, they are driving their cars efficiency and reduced waste. longer. Are you seeing more cars with 75,000+ miles come into your shop (a good high mileage synthetic sales opportunity)? Keep track of the mileage readings that your techs take on every car and see how that David Bootcheck has been with Chevron for 8 years and has more than 30 years of is trending. These are just a few basic tips that can help optimize the experience in Automotive Installed. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. product mix. Next, work with your suppliers, including your point-of-sale Eric Montanye has been with Chevron for 4 years and has over 20 years of experience in provider, as they may have broader insights into trends in your region. the Lubricants and Automotive Market. You can reach him at email@example.com. 46
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FROM OUR PARTNERS
Inform and Motivate Build customer loyalty and trust by educating on who you are, your quality services, and your brand BY AMBER KOSSAK, CEO OF SOLID START
How much do your coustomers know about your business? Are in our country—the auto industry—and simultaneously serve the they aware of the products you sell and services you provide? Do community by helping people’s vehicles stay on the road. they understand the benefits and why these services are important? The best way to educate is one-on-one when communicating Those who know me well, know that we have said: “Our best with the customer, however; there are many educational tactics customer is an educated buyer” for many, many years. We have felt and tools. Your waiting area can become one such tool, here this to be extremely important in helping make sure you have a captive audience. Good lighting and a we never assume the customer knows who we are, pleasant atmosphere can be enjoyable, but what if what all we do, what services we offer, how their you accomplish something more? It is nice to have vehicle works, and of course, the benefits. coffee and magazines, but what if you make it more There are many reasons why we need to like a showroom. Are all the products you carry “The more consistently educate. Informing only benefits both visible on the shelves? Do you have educational knowledge a parties, it can be called “relationship marketing”, material or posters from some of your suppliers which is effective because people need to feel like hanging up? customer has, the you care, and it is not all about the numbers for your Advertising is also a tool that can educate better decisions end-of-day tallies. regarding your services, special offers, events, they can make." The more knowledge a customer has, the better as well as your hours. Utilizing the Internet has decisions they can make. Whether it is positive or opened up many ways for advertising, educating —Amber Kossak, CEO, negative information you are sharing with them, and reaching new potential clients. Are you listed Solid Start know you are building trust. Once they realize you on Google My Business? Do you utilize social media? have their best interest in mind, your customers Creating educational videos and posting about your will look to you when they have questions, and daily specials are great tools that can help you stay you will be their “go-to” resource. In short, you are in consistent communication with your customers. reinforcing customer loyalty. When you educate and inform the customer, it does not guarantee they will purchase TODAY, but it does build NEVER ASSUME trust. My dad always says “it is not a race; it is a marathon”, you Never assume your customers know what products and services you still want to finish the race, you just understand it may take a little offer, what these products do, and the benefits your services deliver. longer. Continue to build customer loyalty and trust by educating on who you are, your quality services, and your brand. They may CONTINUE TO BUILD CUSTOMER LOYALTY not buy today but they will buy! Not only is it important to educate on the services you offer and their benefits, it is also important to educate your customers about your company story. Do your employees know your story? Do they Amber Kossask the CEO of Solid Start, manufacturer of True Brand Products. know your history and the motivations that impelled your owner to She has been in the automotive industry for almost 20 years and is serving on get into this business? Maybe it was simply because your company the AOCA board of directors. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. founder loved cars. Or maybe it was because your owner wanted For more information please visit solidstart.com. to play a role in one of the largest and most important industries F E B R UA RY 2 0 2 1
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EMPLOYMENT SELL A REVOLUTIONARY PRODUCT �REMOTE� Clix Wipers, the fastest growing wiper brand in the industry, is searching for an aggressive team member to lead our quick lube sales. Use your relationships and contacts to quickly bring this new and innovative product to the quick lube market. What is Clix Wipers? Clix Wipers is a premium all-weather wiper blade that can be installed by anyone in under 10 seconds. Clix Wipers is available in 30+ custom colors and designs. Clix Wipers resonates with owners, managers, tech, and consumers! We also offer competitively priced conventional, rear, and heavy duty wiper blades. To learn more, visit clixwipers.com. Want to talk? Call 800-692-3962. REGIONAL MANAGER Large quick lube franchise seeks a regional manager to oversee multiple locations in the Northwest US. We are looking for a highly motivated individual that has quick lube supervision experience. We offer competitve pay, bonus, benefits, 401K and opportunity for advancement. Those interested should send their resume to: resume. email@example.com. MARKET OPERATIONS MANAGER Large quick lube franchise seeks a market operations manager to oversee 20 plus locations in the Northwest US. We are looking for a highly motivated individual that has quick lube supervision experience. We offer competitive pay, bonus, benefits, 401K and opportunity for advancement. Those interested should send their resume to: resume.lube.nw@ gmail.com.
WE BUY QUICK LUBES! With over 130 shops acquired in 2019 alone, we know how to make it easy! Call or email Take 5 Oil Change today, or check out our website for more info. (980)-235-8380 firstname.lastname@example.org www.take5quicklubesales.com
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1/27/2021 4:23:45 PM
Choose Your Words Wisely Success starts with how you react to challenges
Lenny Saucier has been serving the automotive aftermarket and its future leaders since 2000. He serves as the director of retail training for Fullspeed Automotive.
section and then close your eyes. Imagine you are successful. Where are you? Imagine you are truly happy. Who are you with? What are you doing? Really dive down into the details! What are you wearing? What furniture is around you? What does the countertop feel like when you run your hand across it? It is all in the details! OK, now close your eyes, take a minute to focus on all the details of your visions, and come back. Welcome back! The ideas and detail that you are able to see in your mind can be manifested, according to many successful leaders. Motivational speaker Tony Robbins talks about his morning routine where he uses visualization techniques every morning to set the pace for the day to come as opposed to hitting the snooze button multiple times and then rushing out to grab breakfast and go. It is a way to channel your goals and get your mind straight to head down your path.
My Journey July 30th, 2019, was the day I truly understood what a path was. A few days earlier I had checked myself into the emergency room with radiating pain in my side. The original thought was an appendix, but the bloodwork did not match. A few days later I was wheeled into my room with my two young daughters at my side. The doctor told me I had a cancer mass in my stomach that was shutting down the digestive organs path. My body was quickly filling with toxins and if I didn’t get it removed quickly, it would be fatal. I cried as my daughters each took a shoulder to cry into. As I draped a towel over my eyes to hide my fear, I saw something. I saw a vision of me on the other side of the surgery, I was alive, I was successful in life, my family was happy. I stopped my tears, looked at my girls and told them I had a path and dying at that time was not part of that path. Since I know it is not the end, it is only an obstacle. I can’t say my recovery was easy, it was only made easier from the overwhelming support of family,
friends and work. I know in my heart that my path vision guided me through the obstacle.
Positive Words, Positive Mindset Your mindset dictates a lot of what happens to you. You know the person who grumbles through the day, complaining about every interaction only because they know that bad things will happen to them. And they are right. You know that person who whistles down the hallway, smiles at everyone, and talks positively when addressing situations? This person does actually receive negative actions throughout the day but is not fazed by actions as the first person was. This is because the person chooses to look for the positive and deal with the negative. This mindset is affected by everything you do and say and you must be careful not to choose your words and actions that go against your mindset. In a meeting with some very talented district managers, I challenged them to use the word opportunities instead of failures when addressing the executive board for their review. This simple substitution of words says, “I did not fail. I realized what I must do to succeed.” After all, failure is when something happens and you learn nothing from it. We replaced the negative mindset of outcome with a positive one to set the goals in their path. In my house we do not use the phrase “impossible” but “improbable” is acceptable. This lifts the barrier you placed on a goal as you were saying it could never happen. Now you are saying it could happen, and you can begin to work out the details. The phrase “I don’t know” is also banned from our vocabulary, as it should for everyone (especially your customer-facing team). Using a phrase like, “I am unsure” lets you open your mind to the options. I invite you to look at practices in your life that go against your path. Simple phrases and actions not only go against your goals, but they let others question your motives and abilities. Take time to visualize your success and happiness and identify things that you do now that go against that path. Then make the small changes.
COURTESY LENNY SUACIER
CLOSE YOUR EYES. ACTUALLY, READ THE NEXT
1/20/21 4:41 PM
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1/25/2021 12:57:34 PM
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