RR 097: Jeff Ruffing from Ruffing Automotive Services
Can you relate to this: Jeff Ruffing from Ruffing Automotive in Kaukauna, WI, yes a Packers fan, started washing cars at a Buick dealership in 1985. Later that year he was asked to bring his tools in when a technician was injured.
When he started his own shop he got into business with ‘’training wheels” on as he started like many successful service professionals do; at night in a rented shop. You may relate when Jeff tells the story about buying his first lift on his credit card.
Appreciate his customer ‘Marty’ who bawled him out and how it changed his business forever. A very powerful lesson that you may have experienced before.
Learn about his training culture and how many hours his techs get each year.
Compare your marketing ideas to Jeff’s.
Realize after word of mouth what is his next best way to get new customers.
Jeff and his wife Karen have 4 children. Jeff’s first job was caddying at the golf course when he was 12 years old. He became a AA rated Honor Caddy. He moved up to being a locker room attendant, dishwasher, cook, and valet there. One of Jeff’s favorite memories from that job is shining one of Bart Starr’s shoes. The other locker room attendant shined the other one, so they would both always be able to say that they shined Bart’s shoe(s).
Jeff eventually became a Dodge/Chrysler technician. He was an ASE Master, a Chrysler Master, and an ASE L1 Advanced Driveability technician.
Jeff went to Cardinal Stritch College at night, while a technician. Jeff started his own shop with $700 in 1996. The first shop lacked running water, floor drains, a bathroom, and had a 9 foot ceiling. Jeff brought the water to work in the morning in a small barrel, and brought the ‘porta potty’ home at the end of the day to empty.
The shop has moved, grown and expanded over the years. Working out of a beautiful shop now, sales topped $700,000 last year for the first time. The shop is now ready to expand from 2 technicians to 3 technicians later this year.
Jeff loves to spend time with family in northern WI. The success of the auto repair shop has enabled the family to get into the vacation rental business. They own a vacation rental cottage, Haven by the Falls, in Mercer, WI. Jeff likes to improve and remodel the cottage. Jeff is an avid Musky fisherman, and the family snow shoes and ice fishes in the winter. After being on the season ticket list for 25 years, Jeff & Karen enjoy being season ticket holders at Lambeau Field and cheering on the Green Bay Packers.
Jeff and his wife are very active in their local Catholic parish, St Katharine Drexel parish of Kaukauna, WI. Jeff is a past Grand Knight of the Kaukauna Council 1033 of the Knights of Columbus.
Jeff has been a Hospice Volunteer at St Paul’s Elder Care nursing home in the past, and likes to visit older widowers who are lonely and just talk. Hear Jeff tell some great stories that may inspire you and enjoy the story about his first car (don’t miss that).
Ruffing Automotive Services Website here.
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