RR 270: Leon Anderson from Integrity Auto Care

Leon Anderson was in the Marine Corps during Desert Storm. After his service, the country was in recession and the unemployment was high. He took a job working on cars and found out he was pretty good at it.

He worked at a Ford dealership and worked his way up through service to eventually be the General Manager. The dealership won many customer satisfaction and quality awards along the way.  In 2007, Automotive Manufactures were closing stores and Leon decided it was time for his next adventure.

In March of 2008, Leon started his own auto repair shop. Integrity Auto Care,  South Beloit, IL. Four months later, the 2008 crash hit. Fortunately, he had a great business plan. The plan was to cater to women and baby boomers in his marketing area with a clean spacious facility. The waiting room was beautiful, often compared to a doctor’s office. Then tragedy struck.

Leon lost two of his children. He hit rock bottom. The store was not producing, everyone was depressed.  He was destroyed, and the bills kept coming in. Leon made a decision to support the rest of his family and employees that had been loyal to him.

Leon started taking classes. He trained his service advisors and his technicians. He changed the culture to a training, always learning, culture.  The more education everyone got, the more confident they all became.  Confidence bred success.

Leon trains his team to become so valuable that they have options. They become more valuable to Leon and his business. Now this means he may lose some to other dealers or shops, but he can bring in new younger technicians and groom and grow them into this learning goal-driven company.

Leon now hires people for their head, heart and their hands.  Training will groom them to the needs of the company.  He says that the team of 4 technicians and 2 service advisors are the best he has ever had, in his 20 plus years of service management.

Leon has written processes that provide standardization of all they do. He has literally trained his employees to run the shop without him.

His culture and passion led to the shop winning the WIX Filters’ Driving Performance Award in 2016.

Talking points:

  • Went through a boot camp with Management Success
    • Found inspiration through his trainer
  • He heavily invested in training. It became a big part of his culture.
    • Consistent and continual,
    • Service advisor training is very critical. Understanding personalities.
    • Being sure the techs stay as current as possible. You can tell when your techs are behind.
  • Processes are big in the shop. His Marine Corp training showed the importance of this.
  • Digital Vehicle Inspections,
    • ARO growth was evident.
    • The sales process with each customer is easier.
  • He advertises to people who can afford it not to ones who can’t.
  • Last year his sales were up 30% this year 12%.
  • Goal Posters are important to Leon and his whole team.
    • Keep a written goal poster to include pictures.
      • Everyone sees it.
    • Leon tries to help his team accomplish these goals.
  • Leon helps younger homeless people in his community.
  • He serves on high school and college advisory boards.
  • Be ready to lose an A tech. Always be training to help you overcome that.
  • Finding new techs, Leon is looking for what he wants not necessarily on their experience. He looks carefully for qualities.
    • Personality test.
    • Test what they know and what they do.
  • He is working on his exit strategy.
Shop Profile
Number of locations: 1
Years in industry: 30
Number of technicians: 4
Number of service advisers: 2
Number of lifts: 6
Number of bays: 8
Days open: Monday – Friday
Annual estimated volume: $1M
Percent Repair vs Maintenance: 75% vs 25%
Technician training hours per year: 400 for entire team
Service adviser training hours per year: 200 for entire team
Specialty: We cater to women and baby boomers
ASE Certifications: ASE Master
Industry awards: Wix Service Excellence Shop of the Year 2016
SMS: Mitchell
Paperless: No
DVI: Yes
Primary supplier: Auto Value
Supplier marketing program: Bumper To Bumper Service Center
Performing hybrid repairs: Yes
Passionate about: Training
Special entrepreneur hack: Constant training and find people with the hands and heart to learn and train to be the best
Succession plan: Yes working on
Something else: People can do amazing things with a chance. When you are at your lowest there is nowhere else to go but up. So pick yourself up and do it!
Biggest challenges: Technician shortage
Business coach: ATI – Kim Hickey
Philanthropy: Help the homeless and feed the poor

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This episode is brought to you by Federal-Mogul Motorparts 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 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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