RR 259: Clint Dudley from Shade Tree Auto – Update

“Where Are They Now”. Clint Dudley was originally interviewed in Episode 5   in March 2015.

Clint Dudley from Shade Tree Auto in Grimes, IA is a disciplined goal setter. This is a very important update, as Clint has just completed building a brand new 13,000 SqFt service center.

Clint has won many national recognitions.  He recently received the bronze Stevie Award in the Company of the Year – Retail category from International Business Awards. (See shop profile below for a list of honors bestowed on Shade Tree Auto)

He has been recognized by the US Chamber of Commerce; as the only small business in Iowa to receive the Blue Ribbon Small Business Award for 2015.

It was great to catch up with Clint and find out what is happening with him since our last interview 41 months ago.

Talking Points:

  • Clint believes in taking care of customers better than they expect; especially in an automotive repair shop.
  • Regarding hiring: he had to improve his interview template to find the ‘right’ people.
  • He looks for team members that have strong values so their integration into his culture is easier.
  • Clint offers 4 Yr, 40,000 Mile warranty.
  • Moved from a rental into his own building. He built it from the ground up.
    • A 13,000 Sq Ft facility
    • Asked his team for their input so it could be as efficient as possible.
      • Heated floors.
      • Air-conditioned.
      • Two bays per tech.
    • Tablet and laptop for each tech.
    • Phones for each tech that keeps them hands-free to communicate.
    • He feels his facility will help with training young technicians who want to enter the industry.
  • His technicians are making close to six figures.
  • To make money in a shop you have to have patience. Respect that your customer has their own life. If they don’t reply back to you immediately, there may be a good reason.
  • When he got the right people on ‘the bus’ he started to run his business differently.
  • Clint is getting his new ideas by observing and listening. They do not have to be from this industry to adopt new ideas.
  • Great Habits:
    • Get in early and get things done.
    • Spend time with your children.
    • Take time to relax.
      • Do something non-work-related.
    • He writes a daily journal.
  • We will have issues with telematics, data and security in the future.
    • We can have access to the same information that our customers will.
  • He doubled his tire sales in the last year.
  • His new location made him more convenient to his customer base.
  • He is always updating his procedures.
  • He took his entire team to Vision in 2017.

Shade Tree Auto Website

Shop Profile
Number of locations: 1
Years in industry: 16
Number of technicians: 4
Number of service advisers: 2
Number of lifts: 10
Number of bays: 11
Days open: Mon – Fri
Annual estimated volume: $1.7MM
Percent Repair vs Maintenance vs Other: 70% – 30%
Technician training hours per year: 40
Service adviser training hours per year: 40
Specialty: 4 Year – 40,000 mile warranty on parts and labor
Association memberships: ASA, AAA
ASE Certifications: ASE Master Technician, L1, M1, X1, Service Advisor
Industry accreditations: AAR
SMS: Mitchell
Paperless: Yes
DVI: Bolt On
Primary supplier: NAPA
Supplier marketing program: NAPA Car Care
Performing hybrid repairs: Yes
Business Coach: ATI
Succession plan: Yes
Misson Statement: Helping our customers make informed decisions regarding the safety and longevity of their vehicles
Entrepreneur hack: Listen to people that have gone before you.
Philanthropy: Grimes Chamber of Commerce, Urbandale Chamber of Commerce, Greater Des Moines Partnership, Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute, Grimes Kiwanis, Grimes Volunteer Support Services, Cub Scout, Community Youth Concepts, Boy Scouts of America, MS Moments
Anything else: Shade Tree Auto has been the recipient of two US Chamber of Commerce Dream Big awards, Grimes Chamber Business of the Year, BBB Torch Award for Ethics, four AAA Top Shop Awards, and a 2017 International Business Award for company of the year- retail.

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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.com

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.