RR 149: Carolyn Coquillette from Luscious Garage

Carolyn Coquillette discovered wrenching in 2000, shortly after graduating from college. A rare female mechanic, her nickname at the service station and in professional circles became “Luscious Garage.”

Carolyn owns Luscious Garage, a hybrid specialty shop in San Francisco and probably the best known hybrid shop in the country. She also owns Shop-Ware, a software company that allows repair shops to run online and paper-free.Luscious-Garage-Official-Logo-4x1.5-at-300dpi

She opened Luscious Garage in September 2007, became certified as a Benefit Corporation August 2012 with nine full time and two-part time employees. Luscious Garage is currently open 80 hours per week, spanning day and night shifts. The shop averages over 700 jobs per month.

Hybrid Focus.
Interest in hybrids and advanced diagnostics took Carolyn from Ann Arbor, MI to the San Francisco Bay Area. Extended study in those fields (and the pitfalls of the industry) convinced her it was time to open her own shop inspired by the hybrid: to be green, high tech, and cutting-edge.

Luscious Garage was the first shop in the country dedicated exclusively Luscious Garage 3to hybrids. It was named Small Green Business of the Year within its first year of business by the SF Bay Guardian. Its innovative philosophy has garnered local, national, and international press. Luscious Garage believes in hybrid automotive technology and applies this new paradigm to everything they do.

Carolyn Coquillette also owns Shop-Ware, a comprehensive shop management system. She discusses how that came about and why she is currently working full time on this company.

The discussion includes:

Labor Rates. The need to raise them and her prediction for the next five years.

How to bring the customer into the repair experience.

Luscious Garage is more responsive, and fun to deal with, over the dealerLusciuos Garage 1

Carolyn shares her inspiration on how to improve what we do and how to make it better.

Plugging into community college and looking for star technicians.

The car is a rolling iPhone. Consumer has no concept of the complexity or how it works so having a collaborative conversation with the customer is critical.

Carolyn would argue that the reason we don’t have great resources and technology is because the industry benefits if the shops are disorganized. If we were more organized, we could charge more money.

Luscious Garage website here.

Shop-Ware website here.

About Luscious Garage

Years in industry: 15
Years in business ownership: 10
Number of technicians: 5
Number of lifts: 5
Number of bays: 5
Other team members: General Manager and Parts Manager
Days Open: M-F
Annual estimated volume: $1.8MM
Specialty: Hybrid Specialist – Certified Benefit Corp – Software allows collaboration between staff and with customers.
Industry involvement: Service Center Scholars – ASA – ASCCA – iATN – ACA – Women’s Board
Special Accreditation’s: BS Physics/English – University of Michigan
Trainer/Coach: Service Center Scholars is the original NCM 20 group
Certifications: ASA Master – L1 – L3
Philanthropy: Golden Gate Electric Vehicle Association – Plug-In America

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About the author, Carm Capriotto, AAP

Carm is the founder and host of the Remarkable Results Radio Podcast and the pioneer of automotive aftermarket podcasts. Carm calls on his years of 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 of over 1,000 episodes, Carm uses his enthusiasm and passion for the aftermarket especially the service sector to take his listeners on a journey showcasing successful service professionals’ paths to Remarkable Results. He also enjoys interviews with aftermarket industry thought leaders who bring their industry perspectives to his listener.

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