RR 308: Mike Bennett from Mike’s Kars and an ATI Coach

Mike Bennett has been in the industry since 1985. He is an ASE Master Tech who has worked for GM as Technician, Shop Foreman, Service manager and Service Director for 2 locations.

Mike bought his current shop, Mike’s Kars, in Gettysburg, PA in 1999. It is a a four bay shop with 3 technicians. In 2011, he became a full time coach with Automotive Training Institute helping shop owner’s to re-engineer and grow their businesses.

We sat down in Santa Barbara, CA at the AutoVitals Digital Conference for our interview.

Talking points:

  • Mike co-owns the shop with his wife Shelle who is also the General Manager.
  • He had his light bulb moment when he realized he needed more training on business and leadership.
  • He re-engineered himself so he could he teach his people.
  • He became an ATI client and fully immersed in it.
  • It started with learning leadership so he can teach the why and influence the people around him.
  • He started to gain control in his business and he found some additional freedom (time).
  • Best employees are empowered and understand their role. Great leaders show their people how to succeed.
    • Once Mike worked himself out of the business, his team prefers he doesn’t come around.
  • Two areas of struggle for owners today.
    • The business side of the business.
    • Be a leader of people
      • It is a state of mind, an awareness, to relate with people, understand yourself, to influence people.
  • There is some level of desperation that brings a shop owner to a coaching program.
  • An important part of building a great business is to have a quality culture. It can be a result of great leadership.
  • You are being shopped by potential employees rather than you are shopping for them.
    • They are researching you, your website, your reviews, etc.
    • The most powerful statement of the health of your business is when they come to you to find out if you have openings.
  • Books to read.
    • E-Myth and the E-Myth revisited by Michael Gerber.
    • Predictable Success by Les McKeown.
    • The Five Temptations of a CEO by Patrick Lencioni.
  • Accountability factor has to do with the owner’s beliefs in systems/processes.
    • Accountability is higher when there is the biggest desperation. Your clay is the ripest for molding.
  • Work life balance and a successful business.
    • If you don’t have a good balance at home, you won’t have one at work.
  • As shop owners we do not bring the same level of curiosity we had as techs to the business side of the business.
  • We will survive the tech advancements as we have every decade.
  • Heavy penetration of hybrids will not peak until 2040.
    • A smart business and entrepreneur will prepare themselves.
Shop Profile
Years in industry: 38
Number of technicians: 3
Number of service advisers: 2
Number of lifts: 4
Number of bays: 4
Days open: Mon-Thr
Technician productivity: 85%
Labor rate: $110.57
Performing hybrid repairs: Yes
ASE Blue Seal Certified: Yes
Succession plan: Yes – Working on
Business coach: ATI
Full-time business coach: Yes – ATI
Mastermind group: Yes
Biggest challenge in business today: Parts quality
Primary source for parts: Aftermarket
Primary source for electronic components: OE Dealer

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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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