RR 233: Brian Weeks from atc AutoCenter

Brian Weeks is a third generation shop owner that teamed up with his brother Chris in 1999 and bought the family transmission business that was owned by his father and two uncles. Brian and Chris transformed the business into a full service automotive business with two locations.

Growing up in the family business allowed him to gain valuable experience at a very young age.  At the age of 12 he worked on his first customers car for his dad.  This experience led to building manual transmissions by the age of 14.

Chris & Brian Weeks

Racing has always been his true passion and was the reason for seeking an engineering degree.  Brian graduated in 1996 from Southern Polytechnic State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and Technology. He says that the degree continues to pay dividends as vehicle technology advances  at a rapid pace.

Brian and Chris implemented a re-man transmission program in 2004 that allowed them to back away from the bench; building transmissions. This allowed them to concentrate on business growth.

A big move for the business was to re-brand in 2010 from Augusta Transmission Clinic to atc AutoCenter. This allowed Brian and Chris to expand the business to more than just transmissions. Now as a full service repair center they opened their second location in September 2015.

They spent two years on the Jasper Advisory Council in 2012-2013 and was awarded Jasper Engines Top 100 independent shops the past three years. atc AutoCenter was also honored with the Elite Worldwide Ethics award in 2016.

Their second location turned $1MM in sales the first year it opened

Interview highlights:

  • Brian grew up with racing at a very early age. His dream was to be a race car driver.
  • Once Brian and his brother stopped building transmissions (stepped away from the ‘bench’) they could consider growth and scaling the business.
  • They committed to a major ‘re-branding’ strategy for the business because of their desire to grow and include repair in their business model (Augusta Transmission Clinic was too focused on just transmission work)
  • Rebranded the business with a new company name and logo. Brian takes us through the process of the selection of their new logo as a new representation of the business going forward.
  • He is quick to point out that a ‘true brand’ is how you live your life through your business. You need a true identity that includes a strong culture.
  • Created their ideal customer; their ‘Avatar’.
  • This industry gets a bad rap from a very few. And the many good shops suffer the consequences from it.
  • Brian talks about their mission statement and their ‘Why’.
  • They worked at setting themselves apart to be different as an automotive service business.
  • Those that are willing to make mistakes are the ones who are successful.
  • The tech shortage is real, but they are out there. You must know where to look and ask the right questions. Word of mouth. Turn over every stone.
  • Two of their service advisers came from the golf/hospitality industry and one was hired from the restaurant business.
  • They now employ an outside sales rep that is going to trade schools and high schools. They are talking up the trades. The position is about building the customer experience and being known and engaged in the community.
  • In college Brian would have paid more attention to sociology and psychology because we are in the people business.
  • Their second shop did $1MM in its first year of operation.

atc AutoCenter Profile

Years in industry: 31
Years in business ownership: 17
Locations: 2
Number of technicians: 10
Number of lifts: 20
Total number of bays: 22
Days open: Monday – Friday
Annual estimated volume: $2.5MM
Repair vs Maintenance: 65% / 35%
Technician training hours per year: 25
Service adviser training hours per year: 20
Specialty: Transmissions but perform service and repairs for all make and model vehicles
Associations: ATRA
SMS: Mitchell Enterprise
DVI: AutoServe 1
First cal supplier: NAPA
Hybrid Repair: Yes
Business coach: Elite Worldwide
Local community/philanthropy: Chamber of Commerce

atc AutoCenter website

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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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