Archive for the ‘Growing Your Business’ Category
Red’s Garage in Port Chester, New York, is one of the Tri-State area’s complete full service auto and truck repair facilities.
Located at 25 Midland Avenue, near the New York-Connecticut line, Red’s Garage started as a one bay shop in 1944 by Anthony “Red” Zaccagnino. Red’s nephew, and current owner, Joe Sandarciero lived in the house behind the shop and began learning the business at age 15.
In 1976, at the age of 18, Joe purchased Red’s Garage and in 1981 moved the business to its current location on Midland Avenue. At that time, Red’s was a three bay gas station. In 1998, 12,000 square feet was added to the building to accommodate their growing truck repair business.
Seven years later, Joe’s son, Joe Jr., joined the Red’s Garage staff as sales manager handling the sales of snow & ice equipment, trailers, truck equipment and accessories as well as starting and managing their three e-commerce websites (Redsgarage.com, GotPlowParts.com and GotTruckAccessories.com).
In 2011, Red’s Garage expanded again to include a new showroom and parts department. This recent addition brought the total workspace area to 19,000 square feet with 15 bays. Their services range from general automotive to medium and heavy-duty truck repair.
Red’s Garage is also a snow plow dealer for Western, Boss, SnowDogg, and spreader dealers for SnowEx, Torwel and Downeaster. They also sell a full line of truck accessories and are an authorized Rhino Lining dealer.
Red’s Garage employs 15 full-time technicians, two shop foremen, two office managers, one parts manager and a sales manager. Ten of their technicians are ASE Certified, including brakes and hybrid Certification. Red’s Garage pays for their technicians’ additional training to advance their automotive knowledge, so important with today’s modern vehicles.
For the past 14 years, Red’s Garage has been an installer of JASPER quality remanufactured products. Red’s uses JASPER because of our warranty and product reliability.
“JASPER gives the customer peace of mind that if something were to go wrong, JASPER will stand behind their product,” says Joe, Jr.. “With JASPER products, we know we are getting a quality product. The customer is not only buying an engine or transmission, they are buying a company, and with a company like JASPER you know you’re getting quality.”
Honesty and integrity are the two cornerstones behind Red’s Garage and their business philosophy. They remain the best way to retain their customer base.
“Our customers are what keeps our shop going,” says Joe, Jr.. Our work environment is family oriented, and we treat our customers like family.”
Since the company’s start in 1994, J.D. Automotive & Truck has been an installer of JASPER remanufactured products. “What originally steered me to JASPER was the updating of original equipment and the improvement of common failures,” said Jim. “JASPER is the best product in the market and the best warranty available.”
Often referred to as a dealership alternative, J.D. Automotive & Truck provides customer follow-up after work is completed on their vehicle. This method of customer retention ensures the business provides the best service possible for future maintenance. “We are the only Tri-County shop to receive 100% customer satisfaction for three consecutive years,” said Jim. “We want to be the best in the industry, not the biggest.”
In 2006, JASPER’s Drive Line Newsletter highlighted Ewing Automotive in Snellville, Georgia.
Ewing Automotive was founded in 1976 by NHRA and IHRA Pro Stock Drag Racing legend, Billy Ewing. What started as a home-based business for the first 14 years, Ewing opened his first location in Snellville in 1990. The company expanded in small increments over the years, with an emphasis on retaining their current customer base. A BIG expansion took place this year.
“We opened up another shop (in 2012) to work on cars and heavy-duty trucks,” says Ewing. “Our workload was growing too much for one shop to handle, and we had customers coming to see us from long distances. So, we went to our customers.”
2012 was the right time for Ewing Automotive to open a second location on five acres of land along Highway 78 in Monroe, Georgia. This new facility, approximately 20 miles east of Snellville, has eight service bays in 5,500 square feet of work space, including two truck bays and an alignment bay. Ewing included a spacious front waiting room for customers, along with a kitchen and a master office. A mezzanine above the office is used for parts.
Ewing’s Monroe location has six employees, including four ASE-Certified technicians in varying disciplines ranging from Master Technician to Durability Expert, Differentials and Transmissions. Ewing supports his technicians attending seminars and other classes to stay on top of advancements in automotive technology. “Each technician is required to have 20 hours of training every year,” says Ewing.
Just like in Snellville, Ewing says his Monroe location will do more in-house repair than a dealership. “By doing this, we can save the customer money and time,” he said. “We can repair more jobs quicker, and more efficiently, because of our skills and equipment and the drive to make it work. We’ll do jobs other shops turn down.”
Ewing Automotive has been an installer of JASPER remanufactured products since 1999. “Good people make a good product and JASPER is both,” says Ewing. “JASPER stands behind their product, which allows me to stand behind the job I did for my customer.”
For Billy Ewing, his future plans include passing down the business to the next generation. “Our shop is a family business,” said Billy. “That pulls us all together.”
Ewing Automotive’s business philosophy remains ‘Quality work at a fair price.’ “The customer is the most important thing to us,” he said. “Our customer base extends 36 years, and that means a lot. We take care of our customers to build a relationship and to make them feel like a person, not a number.”
Because of today’s advancements in automotive technology, it has become increasingly important for new advanced technical training to maintain your customer’s vehicle and your customer’s confidence that you’re doing the job right. That’s why JASPER, working with our nationwide customer base, has developed five distinct technical courses. Each of these courses will give your technician the opportunity to apply newly-learned diagnostic strategies either in a classroom setting, or on a live-run vehicle.
• Strategies for Gas Engine Diagnostics
• Strategies for Transmission Diagnostics
• Strategies for Diesel Engine Diagnostics
• Strategies for Allison Transmission Diagnostics
• JASPER’s Advanced Diagnostics Course
“The courses I teach are not sales oriented, but true technical courses,” says Jim Davenport, JASPER Technical Trainer. “Across the country, technicians have told me the classes are way more than they expected. If you’re not 100% satisfied with these technical programs, JASPER will provide you a full refund of your class fees.”
For more information on any of these technical courses, please contact your JASPER Factory Representative.
San Antonio, Texas, is the home of Alamo Heights Garage. This is a general auto repair facility that knows how to give back to a community and keep the business in the family.
Alamo Heights owners, Gary and Darla Pundt, are second generation owners. The business was started in 1958 by Gary’s parents, John & Lee Pundt. In 1997, Gary and Darla purchased the business from Gary’s mom, and focused their efforts on running the business and raising their family.
Gary and Darla compliment each other’s strengths. Darla is a Certified Public Accountant. She is the financial counter balance to Gary’s extensive automotive background and allows him to focus on vehicle diagnostics and service. “Darla’s skills are an asset to this business,” says Gary.
Gary has worked in the automotive industry since he was 16. He graduated at the top of his class, receiving a degree in Automotive Technology. Gary is a member of the Texas State Technical Institute Advisory Board and is serving his second term as state president of the Texas Independent Automotive Association (T.I.A.A.).
When Alamo Heights first opened 52 years ago, their original location had room for just six cars. The business has moved three times over the years and has been located at 8719 Broadway since 2006. This facility has 20 service bays in two buildings, with a combined 10,000 square feet of work space.
Of the eight employees at Alamo Heights, four are ASE-Certified and two are Master Technicians with L1 Certifications. The other two are Certified in brakes and chassis. Alamo Heights pays for all of their technician’s additional training. They also utilize web-based training and offer incentives to technicians for self-continuing their education. The company also implemented monthly safety lunch meetings with their employees.
When it comes to using JASPER for remanufactured products, Alamo Heights has been a customer for the past three years. They average 12-15 purchases a year, including engines, transmissions, coolers and installation kits.
“After touring the facility in 2009, I saw the different processes and quality that goes into each and every product,” says Gary. “JASPER truly builds a superior product and has a great warranty.”
Gary is very appreciative in the way JASPER strives to make the independent garage owner a successful entity. “JASPER continues to support our industry and the T.I.A.A.,” adds Gary. “This makes it very easy for me when deciding where to spend my money.
When it comes to customer support, Alamo Heights Garage takes the time to provide exceptional repair service to their customers at a fair price. Additional services include quarterly newsletters sent to customers, and Alamo Heights sponsors a car clinic geared toward the growing women’s market. They offer their own shuttle and wrecker service, as well as a courtesy multi-point inspection of all vehicles that roll through their shop. Plus, the company participates in a yearly vehicle repair program for the city’s Battered Women’s Shelter.
Added Gary, “The relationships and friendships developed over the years have built values that allow us to provide honest service for multi-generations of families.”
Welsh’s automotive career spans 30 years, originally working at several dealerships. Rick later owned a couple Meineke franchises in the 1990’s. Wanting his own business, Rick approached retiring shop owners Marvin Hiner and Michael Cunningham about their shop at 11508 Schuylkill Road. The rest is history. Marv and Mike’s originally started as a transmission shop. But the business model slowly evolved with the ever-changing market. Marv and Mike’s has eight service bays and 5,000 square feet of working space. The shop is full-service, including fleet vehicles and front-end alignments.
Rick constantly advertises, promotes a clean work facility, and a customer-friendly shop. No detail is too small, right down to the clean parking lot and immaculate restrooms. “If I were a customer, I would want to take my car to a clean repair shop that has competent technicians,” says Rick.
Marv and Mike’s has embraced technology, with the ability to search the repair history of a customer’s vehicle, and determine which technician did the work. They also utilize Identifix to help diagnose vehicle issues. Rick has also invested in Visual Inspection Plus. This allows him to upload images of the repair on his website, which can be reviewed, along with repair information, by the customer.
Marv and Mike’s has six employees. Four are ASE-Certified Technicians and two are Master Technicians. Rick encourages his technicians to learn all they can about the changing automotive field. “My technicians have to show a willingness to learn, and I will pay for them to learn,” says Rick. “I feel it creates loyalty with the technicians.”
As a JASPER installer of remanufactured engines, transmissions and differentials, Rick believes in the quality of the product. “In my opinion, they (JASPER) are more in tune to problem solving versus companies that slap it together,” says Rick. “When a flaw is found with the product, JASPER fixes it to benefit the customer. They are a customer service company.”
The following tips could help improve closing percentages on repairs both large and small as well as increasing the average Repair Order:
1. Spend more time with the customer when quoting a big-ticket item. Remember, it is an emotional time for our customer, as they will need to evaluate their decision based on downtime, inconvenience, value and cost. Often times a knee-jerk reaction is made to junk the vehicle or look for another means of transportation. This sometimes is the right choice, but also a great opportunity to explain the importance of proper maintenance to make the most of their vehicle investment.
If it’s a major repair, it will require additional quoting time to help the customer make an informed and logical decision. If the major component had not failed, ask the client if they expected to drive the vehicle another three years. If they said “yes,” and regular maintenance was performed, ask the client if the vehicle served its purpose? Be empathetic and invite them into the shop, along with any other decision maker, so you can sit down with them and explain the proper repair for the vehicle. There are some great items on the JASPER website to assist you with the quote and product information. Make sure you have answered all of the customer’s questions and refer them to the jasperengines.biz website if they would like to continue to research the product. Ask your JASPER representative for additional help and brochures to help you close the sale.
2. A follow-up phone call is a great way to build great customer service and gain additional sales. All follow-up calls should be performed within 48 hours to review both quotes and repairs. We have found that repair shops that make follow-up calls close more sales, as the customers may have additional questions, or just did not get around to making the appointment. As for the after the repair follow-ups, shops have discovered opportunities of improving their customer service, as many customers will never complain before going somewhere else. The majority of after the sale follow-up calls result in high customer service and the majority of clients appreciate your concern for them and their vehicle. Remember that both calls must be made within 48 hours for the best results.
One of our industry associates, Bob Cooper of Elite Worldwide, is offering a $50 gift that can be used toward any of their downloadable sales, marketing and shop management training. This $50 coupon code comes with no strings attached; Elite is hoping that after providing you with this risk-free sampling of how they can help you build a more successful shop, you will reach out to them for your future sales, marketing or shop management needs.
If you have any associates in the industry who you feel can benefit from this training, please feel free to pass the below coupon code along to them.
$50 Coupon Code: Elite50j
Offer Expires: 6/30/12
Redeem at: www.EliteWorldwideStore.com
*Available only to businesses whose policies do not prohibit such programs.
With 11,000 square feet, and 12 service bays, Hale’s Automotive in Marion, Illinois,
can take care of any repair from cars to medium-duty trucks and fleets.
Marion, Illinois, is home to Hale’s Automotive, our May Customer Profile. Located at 1503 East
Main Street, Hale’s is a family-owned, full-service, automotive and truck repair center.
Joe Hale started his automotive career in 1973 as a senior in high school working on his own
vehicles. After enrolling in a college automotive program in 1974, Joe spent the next several
years at various independent repair facilities and later at an underground coal mine. After
leaving the mine in 1987, Joe worked for an independent shop owner. Joe took over the
business when the owner retired, and in 1988, Hale’s Automotive was born.
Three years after taking over, Joe constructed new truck service bays and a wash bay. In
2002, a front-end alignment and tire shop was added. In 2007, alignment services were
added. And in 2010, a new office was added, with a waiting room and handicap-accessible
restrooms. This brought Hale’s Automotive to 11,000 square feet; including 12 service bays.
Hale’s Automotive considers themselves one of the largest independent shops in the area,
and can take care of any repair from cars to medium duty trucks and fleets. “We do a lot of
vehicle pickup and delivery,” says Joe. “We provide a one-stop shop, and everything can be
There are seven employees at Hale’s Automotive, including four full-time technicians. Hale’s
pays their technicians to further enhance their education through after-hours classes.
For the past 17 years, Hale’s Automotive has used quality JASPER remanufactured engines,
transmissions, and the occasional diesel engine and differential. The main reason is because
of JASPER’s warranty program. “It’s the best program for both the shop owner and the
customer,” says Joe. “JASPER knows how to keep their products updated.”
As for the future, Hale’s Automotive plans to continue remodeling the older sections of
their building. Joe also plans to stay up with automotive technology and to serve his
community and customers well. “Without our customers, there is no Hale’s Automotive,”
Joe added. “They are the livelihood of seven families, and we need them to feel like they
are wanted and being taken care of. We perform the best work possible for the best
competitive price, but still use quality parts.”
When it comes to gas engine remanufacturing at Jasper Engines & Transmissions, the subject of valve seat concentricity is taken very seriously.
JASPER is moving toward seat and guide machines with a “dead pilot” design that remains stationary in the guide as the cutting head rotates around it. This design will replace machines with a “live pilot” setup that spins with the cutting head in the guide.
Concentricity, as we are discussing here, is the relation between the centers of the valve guides and the centers of the valve seat surfaces. “If two circles, one within another, share the same center, they are considered concentric,” says Randy Bauer, JASPER Gas Engine Division Manager. “The circles are non-concentric if one of the circles has a center that is not equal to the other.”
Valve seat concentricity is calculated by the variance between the two centers. “JASPER’s valve seat concentricity specification is .002 of an inch for every 1½ inches of valve seat diameter,” says Bauer. “The dead pilot setup has proven to give JASPER concentricity values into the tens of thousandths of an inch, well within our specifications.”
If the valve seats are not concentric to the valve guides, the valves will not seal effectively. “Non-concentric valves affect proper heat transfer from the valve to the valve seat and put undo stress on the valve head itself,” added Bauer. “Over time, the valve will fatigue as it tries to conform to the seat. Eventually, the valve stem will break, dropping the valve into the cylinder.”
For more information on the remanufactured gas engines of Jasper Engines & Transmissions, please call 1-800-827-7455.