THA 081: Niche. Should We Find Specialties and Create a New Business Model or Services?

 

 Your Learning Curve Never Sounded So Good

The Panel:

Greg Buckley is the CEO and the 50 + year young of  Buckley Personalized Auto Care in Wilmington, DE. He’s a member of ASA, an ATI Coach, a member of the Delaware Automotive Service Professionals, past member of the NAPA advisory board council, is vice-president of NAPA business development groups, and is involved as an advisory board member of Kukui, along with AutoVitals. Hear Greg’s previous episodes HERE.

Chris Chesney is the Senior Director of Customer Training, CARQUEST Technical Institute, and a NASTF board member and a member of the ‘Road To Great Technician’ project.  Listen to Chris’s previous episodes HERE.

Jeremy O’Neal  President and lead sales trainer for Advisorfix, began his career as a Service Advisor and moved into Service Management at the dealership level for VW, Audi, and Porsche. He consistently placed in the top 3% of Service Advisors across the nation. With a passion for helping others, Jeremy started coaching Service Advisors in 2007. Jeremy also owns an independent auto repair shop, Freedom Automotive in Hesperia, CA. Jeremy’s previous episodes HERE.

Key Talking Points

  • Chris Chesney: Exciting times to be in the industry.
  • Niche vs Specialty
    • With ADAS on the horizon a big opportunity
    • Differentiate yourself by doing the job right the first time. Do the basics right.
  • Niche
    • Offer your service in a way that no one else does.
    • A segment in your service that distinguishes yourself so the customer comes back for more.
  • Get your act together in your core services before expanding into other services and specialties.
  • Tough to give full service and to be the best serving all platforms in the future.
    • Equipment investment and training are factors.
    • Unless you have a specialist in each platform on your team.
  • Greg Buckley’s shop is qualified as a child safety seat center and works with many hospitals, companies, and police services as a go-to as an authorized child seat fitment professional.
  • Greg also started an up-fitting services division (specialty) working with fire rescue, police and commercial vehicles. He recently up-fitted a fire and rescue gator.
    • He is an automotive services enterprise not just a repair shop and will invest in the right equipment and people, but will always research the opportunity before ever jumping in.
    • Market research based on opportunity and investment is critical.
  • Do not bring your hobby to your company. It is tough to make money with your hobby. There are very few exceptions.
  • ADAS will be a specialty as we get to move through time.
    • Very precise type of work that will require a large investment.
    • You can serve the collision industry as a local ADAS expert.
    • Five to ten years ADAS will be core.
  • Many small business owners get stuck on what is working today.
    • Your current market may get depleted.
    • By looking at emerging market opportunities you can be first to market and dominant player in your market.
  • Greg likes to look at the money trail.
    • Apple will be in the mobility business.
    • Europe says that may just have hit peak car sales!
    • We have given up opportunities, as an industry, such as doing radio installs, tinting, and glass as examples. We just want to fix cars, why not everything automotive?
    • Ask your customer. What can I do to help you?
    • Establish the different service points that our clients want help with and to find what the market is telling us.
  • Your comfort zone may be holding you back.
  • Product based Niche vs. Service Based Niche – Huge Difference.
    • Product Niche’s typically taking more capital and specialized labor
    • Service Niche’s typically required less capital and is easier to shift.
    • Examples:
      • Honda Specialist – Product
      • Brake Specialist – Product
      • Same Day Service Guaranteed or your service is free – Service
      • Emergency 24/7 service – Service
      • Talk to a technician hotline – Service  (interesting idea from Jeremy)
  • Chris Chesney:
    • Need to flip education for techs to the mastery of competencies rather than outcomes. One person can’t possibly be an expert at everything. Growing techs need to consider this. So a technician should have mastered diagnosing load carrying electrical circuits. A Senior technician should have mastered diagnosing inputs and outputs along with logic and strategy while a Master technician should have mastered all things and circuits that carry data via a network.
    • Competency-based education takes the content you’ve been given and putting it into action. The ability to apply a skill to feed your family and be productive.
    • Outcome-based education is to pray that the training you went to will be able to apply that training in the bay.
    • Need to flip education for techs to the mastery of competencies rather than outcomes. One person can’t possibly be an expert at everything. Growing techs need to consider this. So a technician should have mastered diagnosing load carrying electrical circuits. A Senior technician should have mastered diagnosing inputs and outputs along with logic and strategy while a Master technician should have mastered all things and circuits that carry data via a network.   
  • How to consider a specialty:
    • Review your three-year strategic plan every year.
    • What is your talent for telling you? Their strengths and weaknesses.
    • Your current investment in people, facility, tools, and equipment.
    • Look at market potential. Do market research.
      • Opportunity. Customer. What do they need   … can you deliver?
      • Competition
      • Margin
      • Profit potential
      • Marketing
      • Availability to parts
      • Technology challenges
      • Create a business case and/or business plan, with a P & L Proforma. You cannot go in blind.
  • Keep your eyes open. The shift is coming. Toss out those unprofitable jobs. Clean out your closet.
  • Review your current business model. We will survive doing what we always have done.

 

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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.