RR 370: Darren Garlock Treating Company Culture and Customer Retention Alike!

Darren Garlock started his career in the shop pushing a broom, pumping gas and washing cars.  At 18 he started full-time and worked his way up through the company from Lube Tech, Towing Operator, Mechanic, Service Advisor and now Owner.   In 2015, Darren and his brother, Dan, bought the business from their father and have expanded it into 3 locations. Now called Silver Lake Auto & Tire Centers, the company focuses heavily on both employee culture and earning customers’ trust – treating their employees and customers the way they want to be treated themselves.

Key Talking Points

  • Advice on succession planning inside the family business
    • Have patience, work together and keep the family as number 1 priority, be ready for it  
  • Expanded to 3 locations total
    • Keep locations uniformed so employees can interchange if needed
    • All 3 locations have own concierge service
      • 20+ free loaner cars between all locations and concierge driver at each location
  • Culture and values within the company
    • Trust- Employees and customers
  • An early adopter of DVI that is now a  key of their marketing
    • An early adopter with Autovitals when DVI came out
    • Customer’s love the feedback about their car- helps them understand and put value in maintaining a car and keeping up with repairs when they can see pictures
  • Invest in employees
    • Minimum of 40 hours of training per year- paid training and in-house training
    • All service writers/advisors have gone through ATI Training
  • Customer retention
    • Scheduling the next service appointment when they leave- call a week ahead to remind the customer about an appointment

Resources Mentioned:

  • Link to Silver Lake Auto and Tires Center Website HERE
  • Thanks to Darren Garlock for his contribution to the aftermarket’s premier podcast.
  • Leave me an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one of them.
  • Link to the ‘BOOKS’ page highlighting all books discussed in the podcast library HERE. Leaders are readers.
Shop Profile
Number of locations: 3
Total square feet of all facilities: 18500
Years in industry: 40
Years of business ownership: 10+
Number of technicians: 16
Number of service advisers: 8
Number of lifts: 20
Number of bays: 24
Days open: MON-FRI
Annual estimated volume: 5M
Technician efficiency: 90
Technician productivity: 80
Labor rate: 127.19
Effective labor rate: 108.49
Average repair order (ARO) $: 582.94
Average car count: 177
YTD gross profit percent: 40.76
YTD net profit percent: 15
Percent Repair vs Maintenance vs Other: 45/45/10
Technician training hours per year: 40
Service adviser training hours per year: 40
CEO training hours: 100+
Specialty: We are an early adopter of technology and advanced practices.
Aftermarket association memberships: ASA/BBB/Napa Autocare/AC Delco-TST/Hybrid Shop
Special accreditations: My Brother Dan Garlock-AAM Master for AMI.
Shop management system (SMS): RO Writer
Completely paperless?; Yes
Digital Vehicle Inspection: Autovitals
Website provider: Autoshop Solutions
Supplier marketing program: Aftermarket
Primary supplier: Aftermarket
Performing hybrid repairs: Yes
Engaged with a supplier advisory council: Yes
ASE Blue Seal Certified: Yes
Succession plan: Yes
Biggest challenges: Technician shortage/Changes in technology/Profitability/Parts quality/Marketing/Profititability
Business coach: Yes
Mastermind group: Yes
Philanthropy: Ruth and Naomi/Krueger Classic

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This episode is brought to you by Federal-MogulMotorparts 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.