RR 355: Andrew Emery from Antero Automotive has The Best Job in the World

BIO:

Andrew Emery started in the automotive business like a lot of aspiring technicians do, changing Oil. His first job as a lube tech was at Wal-Mart in the Tire and Lube Express. In a short time, Andrew made friends with most of the guys there. Himself and two other lube techs knew that we wanted to better our careers so we packed up and headed to Goodland Kansas to attend Northwest Kansas Technical School(NWKTS). Andrew completed courses in automatic transmissions, manual transmissions, and steering/suspension and alignment. By then, Andrew was homesick and transferred back to Denver and completed the master program at Denver Automotive and Diesel College, now Lincoln Tech.

While attending DADC, Andrew was working full time at a heavy-duty diesel/diesel performance shop. It was here that Andrew learned about really taking care of the customer. Most of the trucks that Andrew worked on were not just a truck but, a source of income for the customer. Andrew was performing major engine and transmission repair on ¾ & 1-ton pickups, dump trucks, and RV’s.

Andrew learned very quickly to always perform at a high level. After graduating, Andrew wanted to pursue a different avenue and went to work for a shop that serviced all makes and models but nothing larger than a ¾ ton pickup. After a short time there, Andrew was offered to take over the shop that his step-father had been running. It was a small 2 bay shop on the side of a gas station located on one of the busiest streets in metro Denver. It was here that Andrew tried his hand at marketing and advertising. Andrew also had to hire employees, learn how to report sales tax, pay rent, do some accounting, etc. His career had just taken a drastically different path but, Andrew loved the way he felt after taking care of people and knowing that their cars were diagnosed and fixed correctly.

His rent doubled, so it was time to get out. His wife was pregnant with their first son and medical benefits took president. A large brake repair chain had been offering Andrew a position as an owner/manager of one of their locations. Andrew jumped on it. Although the business didn’t really do things the way Andrew would prefer, he stuck it out for about 4 years and learned a substantial amount about how to run a large shop with 9-11 employees.

His techs were being technicians. Replacing engines, transmissions, diagnosing electrical issues, they even performed a frame swap for a local body shop. The corporate big dogs noticed and squashed it all. At this point, Andrew decided that the time had come to part ways and start his own shop. Andrew found a building back in the neighborhood that Andrew started, ironically right across the street from the company Andrew recently left. Andrew signed the lease the day the stock market crashed in 2008, said a prayer and got to work. He had to borrow money from family to get going as nobody was loaning any money at that point. All of the equipment was paid for in cash and on October 1st, 2008 we were open for business.

Andrew continues to love what he does. He gets to turn a wrench when needed and he gets to serve others. Andrew started this business not to change the world but, to change the way people look at automotive repair shops. In the 10 years that Andrew has been in business, he has heard and continues to hear, horror stories of people getting taken advantage of and/or being overcharged for simple work on their vehicles.

Andrew feels that one of his most important jobs is to love on his employees and customers and make sure that everyone that comes through the door feels appreciated and treated with respect.

KEY TALKING POINTS:

  • Best job in the world: Work on cars and take care of people
  • Don’t focus on profit, focus on the people and the profit will come
    • Stepfather had full-service gas station growing up  
    • Watched how he treated customers
    • Be genuine
  • Initially propelled business by becoming friends with a used discount tire store
    • Agreement to take care of manager’s family’s cars for free if sent customers to store
    • Word of mouth launched the business
  •  2 million in sales in 2011-2012
    • What changed was a number of cars working on
    • From 5,600 invoices, following year sales stayed the same amount of invoices dropped and profit improved
    • Don’t try to be everything to everyone
  •  The secret to success- treating customers right
    • Every car that comes in the shop gets a car wash
    • Tins of cookies inside a car after doing
    • Always stay in contact with calls and texts and follow-ups
    • Be focused and present with each customer
  •  Digital vehicle inspection in 2015
    • Can’t be afraid of the change, helped push sales of repairs
    • Investment in business
  • Bonus program
    • Based on parts profit
  • 30 hours of training per year
    • Vision Conference, NAPA, Bottomline Impact Group
    • Pays for training for techs- another investment in business
    • Take care of employees and they, in turn, will take care of your customers

OTHER RESOURCES:

Antero Automotive Website

Shop Profile
Number of locations: 1
Total square feet of all facilities: 5,000
Years in industry: 22
Years business ownership: 10
Number of technicians: 4
Number of service advisers: 2
Number of lifts: 7
Number of bays: 8
Days open: M-F
Annual estimated volume: $2.2M
Labor rate: 123.75
Effective labor rate: 114.27
Average repair order (ARO) $: 625.32
Average car count: 288/month
YTD gross profit percent: 58.3
YTD net profit percent: 14.2
Percent Repair vs Maintenance vs Other: 65/25/10
Technician training hours per year: 100
Service adviser training hours per year: 30
CEO training hours: 30
Specialty: We don't just fix and maintain cars, we build relationships with our customers. We do our best to remove the stress and anxiety related to automotive repair.
Aftermarket association memberships: ASA, BBB, AAA, ASE Blue Seal, NAPA Auto Care, RepairPal
Personal certifications: ASE Re-certified Master
Shop management system (SMS): NAPA TRACS
Completely paperless? Will be soon.
Digital Vehicle Inspection: Bolt on Technologies
Website provider: Kukui
Supplier marketing program: NAPA Car Care
Primary supplier: NAPA, World Pac
Performing hybrid repairs: Yes
ASE Blue Seal Certified: Yes
Biggest challenges: Technician Shortage
Business coach: Ray Kunz with the ACT! Group
Mastermind group: Yes
Entrepreneur hack: Be selfless, try not to be solely focused on profit. Instead, build the relationship.

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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.