RR 251: Craig O’Neill form O’Neill’s Transmission Service

At age 34, Craig O’Neill is a proud husband and father of three kids. He married young and at age 20 he bought his first home thanks to the opportunities that hard work in the family business provided. Though he initially began college seeking a degree in history education and was heavily considering missionary aviation, it was obvious to him that his primary calling was to raise a family. Setting aside his full-time education, Craig committed himself to scaling the 3rd generation business to be successful in these exciting but challenging times.

An ASE certified technician and service consultant, he is visibly excited about the technological advances the industry is seeing and frequently can be heard speaking to clients sharing his enthusiasm.

Craig is committed to elevating the professional image of the automotive service community and consistently looking for ways to communicate with bright young people regarding the opportunities that exist in the automotive service profession.

Outside the shop, he enjoys hanging out with his wife and kids, reading all things history related and when time permits building computers and gaming.

Talking Points:

  • In business since 1960. Started by his grandfather.
  • He has a strong apprentice program in place with beginners with zero experience.
    • He looks at it as on the job training.
    • Can move these young people into the local community college auto tech program.
    • Looking for people that can communicate well with the right attitude and initiative.
    • Discover their natural area of interest so they can focus on special training that focuses on their individual strength.
  • They have a weekly radio show that helps market the shop.
    • He is proud to help build the image of the independent industry.
  • Craig is a millennial who is looking for an actionable succession plan.
  • His dad has complete confidence in his decision-making.
  • He is excited to embrace the opportunity that rapidly expanding technology will improve his business.
  • Craig and his Dad found his new business coach/consultant through going to specific aftermarket business management classes.
  • Implementing DVI and has had positive feedback from his customers.
    • Was not an easy sell to his technicians.
    • His young apprentices understand exactly how the software and tablets work. A smart move in his business to get his young apprentices to help implement.
  • He sees no relief in the tech shortage when it comes to finding transmission specialists. It may become a lost art or skill.
  • Shops must be able to bill for diagnostics. They were not good at billing for diagnostics, but not anymore.
    • They are no longer offering a deduction of the diagnostics time if the job is agreed to. This was a mistake that took him too long to realize.
  • His diagnostic labor rate is $30 higher than their regular labor rate.
  • No shop is an island. Their ideas are coming from networking. He is helping Standard Motor Products beta seminars.
  • He has learned to be a better delegator.
  • Craig’s wife is not involved in the business, however, contributes to Facebook and what he calls ‘the softer side’ of the business.
  • He feels that every business must develop a learning culture in your business. Get yourself and your team to be ‘always learning’.
Shop Profile
Years in industry: 20
Number of technicians: 3
Number of service advisers: 1
Number of lifts: 7
Number of bays: 8
Days open: Mon-Fri
Percent Repair vs Maintenance vs Other: 70-10-20
Technician training hours per year: 60
Specialty: Transmission Specialists and Advanced Driveability Diagnostics
Association memberships: ASA, ATRA, iATN
Supplier marketing program: NAPA Auto Care
ASE Certifications: ASE Certified in Automatic Transmission, Steering & Suspension and Certified Service Consultant
SMS: Mitchel 1 -Manager SE
DVI:Autovitals
Performing hybrid repairs: Yes
Succession plan: Working on one
Biggest challenges: Technician shortage, Changes in Technology, Profitability, Parts Quality, Marketing, and Identify
Entrepreneur hack: Saturday morning radio show
Staffing: A strong apprentice program that has helped grow their own technicians

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This episode is brought to you by Federal-Mogul Motorparts and Garage Gurus. With brands like Moog, Felpro, Wagner Brake, Champion, Sealed Power, FP Diesel and more, they’re the parts techs trust.  For serious technical training and support – online, onsite and on-demand – Garage Gurus is everything you need to know. Find out more at fmmotorparts.com  and fmgaragegurus.co

About the author, Carm Capriotto, AAP

Carm is the founder and host of the Remarkable Results Radio Podcast; the only one of its type in the automotive aftermarket. Carm calls on his 35 years’ experience in the aftermarket to bring engaging stories from his guests.

Listen to raw, unfiltered, honest, and sincere stories that include insights, trends, best practices and expertise. Each interview brings an opportunity to learn one new thing through the stories of personal achievement. Many podcast guests tell their story of transformation from working in their business to working on it.

As host, Carm uses his enthusiasm and passion for the aftermarket especially the service sector to take his listeners on a journey showcasing successful service professionals’ path to Remarkable Results. He also enjoys interviews with aftermarket industry thought leaders who bring their industry perspectives to his listener.