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<em>Motor Age</em>, July 2018 - The Fastest Way to Fail as a Shop Owner

The Fastest Way to Fail as a Shop Owner

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, August 2018

When I started coaching and training shop owners decades ago, I learned a very valuable lesson about something that was slowing down my effectiveness in driving profits and derams home to these owners. I would teach them all the same techniques and strategies, but I never understood why some just wouldn't drink the water.

MarketingSales

<em>Motor Age</em>, July 2018 - Your Future is Based on Growing Your Own

Your Future is Based on Growing Your Own

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, July 2018

Many times when you have a lack of accountability or performance in an employee, you want to blame them first. There is a good chance you could have done something different to change that outcome. If you really believe there is a technician/service advisor shortage, you better start growing the ones you have already hired.

Staffing / Hiring

<em>Motor Age</em>, June 2018 - What To Do When What You Want To Happen Doesn't

What To Do When What You Want To Happen Doesn't

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, June 2018

In the coaching business, many times you come across a shop owner who knows what to do but just can’t seem to get the strategy implemented. Let’s listen to how veteran ATI coach Brian Hunnicutt accomplished this with his members.

Shop Operations (Management)

The Secret to Successful Selling at Your Shop

The Secret to Successful Selling at Your Shop

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, May 2018

Selling at the front counter can be extremely difficult when customers are in a hurry and frustrated with even having to bring their car into your shop. I was listening to veteran coach Eric Twiggs explain what many a great service writer can forget: the real secret to successful selling.

Sales

Your Next Technician Is Working For a Competitor

Your Next Technician Is Working For a Competitor

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, April 2018

We are all aware of the technician shortage in our industry. There are likely more shops out there looking for a tech than not. One thing we need to realize is that the tech we are looking for is currently working for someone else. So how do we attract them to come to us, and away from where they are? Let’s listen to veteran ATI coach Steve Privette explain how it is done.

Staffing / Hiring

<em>Motor Age</em>, March 2018 - Use a Bad Review to Get the Customers You Wish You Had

Use a Bad Review to Get the Customers You Wish You Had

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, March 2018

Do you want to have a mediocre 4-star or a mindblowing 4.8-star average review rating? Will you put in the work to make that happen, or will you be mediocre like the shops out there that are fighting to stay alive? To get something you’ve never had, you must do something you’ve never done, so what will that be?

Customer Service

<em>Motor Age</em>, February 2018 - Train Staff to Improve, or Train Them to Leave You

Train Staff to Improve, or Train Them to Leave You

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, February 2018

What exactly is the purpose of an employee training program? Do we throw them an employee handbook and put the signature page in the middle of it to see if they have read it or not? Too often there is no real focus or plan for what you are trying to train this person for. We show them where to put their box, which bay is theirs, the equipment they’ll need and so on. I’m confused. What is our commitment to training?

Staffing / Hiring

<em>Motor Age</em>, January 2018 - How to Know if You've Made a Bad Hire

How to Know if You've Made a Bad Hire

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, January 2018

In 2004, Sony released the hit movie 50 First Dates. Henry meets Lucy in a restaurant and after years of searching, he believes he has finally found the right girl. But there’s one slight problem: Lucy suffers from short-term memory loss, and can’t remember anything that happened from the previous day. As a result, every date is like the first date. Does your experience with your latest hire feel like this?

Staffing / Hiring

<em>Motor Age</em>, December 2017 - Looking for More Free Time and Longer Vacations?

Looking for More Free Time and Longer Vacations?

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, December 2017

You need someone to fill the role of three managers wrapped into one. I get it. You started this business on your own and grew it all by yourself. Now, you want to have time off — some time for yourself and your family. But one important question remains: Who can you trust to run your baby?

Shop Operations (Management)

<em>Motor Age</em>, November 2017 - Don't Let Your Shop Staff Control Your Destiny

Don't Let Your Shop Staff Control Your Destiny

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, November 2017

It never fails. You finally start making money and then one of your key performers tells you they're leaving. You must start the interviewing process all over again! Meanwhile, the business starts to slip, and you stop making money, which affects your business and personal life. There must be a way to keep this from happening again and again.

Staffing / Hiring

<em>Motor Age</em>, October 2017 - Three Symptoms of a Service Advisor Problem

Three Symptoms of a Service Advisor Problem

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, October 2017

It’s easy to look back and see it, and it’s easy to give the advice. But the sad fact is, most people don’t look beneath the surface until it’s too late,” said Wendelin Van Draanen. I have the greatest respect for anyone engaged in selling service at the front counter. It can be the most exciting and frustrating position in the shop.

Shop Operations (Management)

<em>Motor Age</em>, September 2017 - Are Customers Taking a Swing at You?

Are Customers Taking a Swing at You?

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, September 2017

All of us have encountered unhappy customers from time to time. Some of us can recover quickly and some seem to make it worse. I was listening to Coach Geoff Berman tell a story he learned from his kids that usually works for anyone. Geoff began the story by saying: I bet you remember as a kid playing the “Punch Buggy” game. How awesome was that for Volkswagen’s marketing!

Customer Service

<em>Motor Age</em>, August 2017 - Three Marketing Musts That You Can't Just Hire Out

Three Marketing Musts That You Can't Just Hire Out

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, August 2017

Every shop owner I know is constantly called by people trying to sell them the latest and greatest in marketing solutions. As in life, not all things are created equal. I’m not saying that some of the marketing companies aren’t great. They are. We use a lot of them and recommend them to our members.

<em>Motor Age</em>, July 2017 - How to Attract Your Ideal Customer

How to Attract Your Ideal Customer

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, July 2017

Very few shop owners are in a position of having too many customers. The majority of us have to fight for every customer. Last week I overheard a conversation between ATI Coach Eric Twiggs and a shop owner on attracting your ideal customer.

Customer Service

ABRN, July 2017 - Use Production Status Boards to Drive Results

Use Production Status Boards to Drive Results

By Keith Manich
ABRN, July 2017

Identifying financial and production goals should be the first step in developing employee production expectations for any collision repairer. These goals need to be identifiable, measureable, and most important, continually monitored. Each employee must acknowledge their task requirements and process responsibilities. Production status boards then become a tool identifying production variations.

Collision Shop Bay/Tech Productivity

<em>Motor Age</em>, June 2017 - Behavioral Interviewing for Technicians, Management

Behavioral Interviewing for Technicians, Management

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, June 2017

I’ve conducted thousands of interviews throughout my career, and the only secret that has come to light is that preparation is key to a successful interview process. On average, potential employees have had between 8 and 16 employers in their lifetime. By the time they reach you, many have been “trained” to interview and have heard all of the potential questions and their outcomes.

Staffing / Hiring

<em>Motor Age</em>, May 2017 - What is wrong with people? Or is it just me?

What is wrong with people? Or is it just me?

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, May 2017

We all have our own opinion on the answer to the first question, but very few ever think they are the problem. When we started coaching shop owners, one of my favorite competitors told me he had no interest in coaching and he just wanted to train. When I asked why, he told me it was because the biggest problem is usually them, though you will never convince them of it.

Staffing / Hiring

<em>Motor Age</em>, April 2017 - Emergency Marketing Strategies for Car Count Lulls

Emergency Marketing Strategies for Car Count Lulls

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, April 2017

If your shop’s car count could be better, you might want to listen to Pennsylvania shop owner and ATI coach Mike Bennett explain how he keeps shops as close to capacity as possible. Most smart shop owners have a comprehensive marketing calendar that includes a balance of new customer acquisition efforts in concert with tried and true customer retention efforts.

Marketing

ABRN, April 2017 - Reduce Friction, Boost Efficiency in Preproduction

Reduce Friction, Boost Efficiency in Preproduction

By Keith Manich
ABRN, April 2017

Last month, in “Building a production compliance model,” we began our discussion on how to create a step-by-step process in your preproduction area. So what steps are required to take place to get the vehicle into production?

Collision Shop Operations (Management)

<em>Motor Age</em>, March 2017 - Expecting the Worst Stifles Success

Expecting the Worst Stifles Success

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, March 2017

Over my past 40-plus years helping shop owners grow their business, I've found that one thing will never change — your beliefs based on the experiences you have witnessed or heard of in business. The problem with belief systems is that you might have developed a belief that a certain strategy doesn't work because you tried to implement it at the wrong time or simply incorrectly.

Shop Operations (Management)

ABRN, March 2017 - Building a Production Compliance Model

Building a Production Compliance Model

By Keith Manich
ABRN, March 2017

Over the next several months, I will detail the process of building a production compliance model for collision repair facilities. I will focus on the steps necessary to identify who, what, where, when and how things need to be accomplished within the repair facility to maximize customer service and production efficiency. There is a process that, if followed, improves performance across the board.

Collision Shop Operations (Management)

<em>Motor Age</em>, February 2017 - Changing the Industry Starts with Our Own Shop Practices

Changing the Industry Starts with Our Own Shop Practices

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, February 2017

You might not have yet had the pleasure of trying to hire a millennial technician, but someday you are going to have to. As the proud grandfather of 16 grandkids, I have had the privilege of watching a few of them thinking about careers. I was listening to a former shop owner and now ATI coach, Kim Hickey, tell a funny story, and I thought her suggestions might help you.

Staffing / Hiring

<em>Motor Age</em>, January 2017 - How to Sell the Complete Estimate in Your Shop

How to Sell the Complete Estimate in Your Shop

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, January 2017

Every shop owner in North America has witnessed their front counter staff going into a sales slump from time to time. If you don't catch it quick, the result is a severe drop in sales and gross profit. I was watching ATI coach Eric Twiggs teach his clients how to diagnose where the problem could be with their front counter.

Sales

Motor Age, December 2016 - A How-To Guide to Losing Your Best Repeat Customers

A How-To Guide to Losing Your Best Repeat Customers

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, December 2016

Tying to make sure all of your customers return and are con-sistently loyal can be more than just fixing their car right the first time. Let's listen to a shop owner and ATI coach, Rick Johnson, explain how easy it is to lose even your best re-peat customers.

Customer Service

Motor Age, November 2016 - Why Does Labor Profit Matter to Everyone?

Why Does Labor Profit Matter to Everyone?

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, November 2016

Over the last 40-plus years helping shop owners grow, the biggest challenge I see is consistently holding labor profit. Trying to make your customers, technicians and service advisor happy while remaining the best shop in your market can be extremely difficult.

Parts & Labor Margins

Motor Age, October 2016 - Can You Afford to Hire Great Techs and Writers?

Can You Afford to Hire Great Techs and Writers?

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, October 2016

I overheard veteran coach Brian Hunnicutt explaining to his 20 Group his feeling on the future of hiring and retaining great employees in the years to come. Brian began his talk by saying, "The topic that gets the most reaction from my clients when I bring it up is labor rate. It is always followed by silence."

Parts & Labor Margins

Motor Age, September 2016 - Are You Profitable? The Answer Is In Your Repair Orders

Are You Profitable? The Answer Is In Your Repair Orders

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, September 2016

Many successful shops across North America have been noticing a reduction in car count this year - even those with huge marketing calendars. While there are many opinions on what is causing this trend, from weather to a decrease in sales of cars during the Great Recession, the reality is that we have to do something about it or experience a reduction in our income.

Sales

Motor Age, August 2016 - How Do You Know When The Price Is Right?

How Do You Know When The Price Is Right?

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, August 2016

What should you charge for the parts you are putting on someone's car? Too many shops just don't charge enough. When I talk to shop owners and this subject comes up, many times I hear, "I can't charge more than list price in my area." Let's listen to Head Coach George Zeeks explain how to solve this problem.

Parts & Labor Margins

ABRN - Auto Body Repair News, August 2016 - Back To The Basics

Back To The Basics

By Keith Manich
ABRN, August 2016

In business, we're always looking for the latest and the greatest, the newest thing to come along in hopes that it will create the change needed to take our business to the next level. We often forget that the basic business concepts we learned when starting our businesses still have to be maintained, audited and adjusted as needed.

Collision Shop Operations (Management)

Motor Age, July 2016 - The Importance of Job Descriptions In Your Shop

The Importance of Job Descriptions In Your Shop

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, July 2016

We have all heard the benefit of working on your business rather than in it. Not only will profits increase but your free time will increase, and staying the best shop in your market forever is a distinct possibility. Let's listen to how shop owner and coach Rick Johnson recommends getting started or staying on this journey.

Shop Operations (Management)

ABRN - Auto Body Repair News, July 2016 - Negotiation Preparation to Ensure Fair Pay for Services

Negotiation Preparation to Ensure Fair Pay for Services

By Keith Manich
ABRN, July 2016

I have been developing a negotiation skills workshop for my clients, and it occurred to me that there are significant differences between the quality measurements used by the insurance companies and those used by repairers. These differences are driven by many things, with the key difference being price.

Collision Parts & Labor Margins

Motor Age, June 2016 - Maintenance Mix

Maintenance Mix

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, June 2016

Should your techs be responsible for recommending maintenance? Should your front counter be responsible? Should your customer be responsible? It is their car, after all.

Sales

ABRN - Auto Body Repair News, June 2016 - Develop A Collection Culture

Develop A Collection Culture

By Keith Manich
ABRN, June 2016

In last month’s column, “A New Collision Blueprint for Pricing and Payment Reform,” I suggested that shops, in order to remain profitable, will need to turn to customers for service payments when insurers aren’t footing the full bill. Let’s now take a look at how you can realistically implement this practice in your shop.

Collision Landscape

Motor Age, May 2016 - FInding A Profit Boost

Finding A Profit Boost

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, May 2016

All of us have been in a position where sales or profits need an immediate boost, and we look for anything that we might be missing in our processes to get back on track. It doesn’t matter whether you have been doing maintenance and repairs for 40 years or four years; it happens to all shop owners at one point in their lives.

Sales

ABRN - Auto Body Repair News, May 2016 - A New Collision Blueprint

A New Collision Blueprint

By Keith Manich
ABRN, May 2016

The insurance industry has been very successful at controlling its own costs in the automotive and healthcare industries, in part due to the suppression of rates.

Collision Landscape

Motor Age, April 2016 - Continuous Learning

Continuous Learning

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, April 2016

If you want good people on your team you better learn how to grow them. Unless you have talented associates, you will never be able to enjoy much free time with family or your own interests.

Staffing / Hiring

ABRN - Auto Body Repair News, April 2016 - Create A Priority List of Duties

Create A Priority List of Duties

By Keith Manich
ABRN, April 2016

To ensure your employees know their tasks and prioritize them properly, you must rely on standard operating procedures (SOPs) to guide them. Once you communicate what an employee's expected duties are, you've completed step one of creating an accountable employee.

Collision Shop Operations (Management)

Motor Age, March 2016 - Are You Playing Checkers Or Chess?

Are You Playing Checkers Or Chess?

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, March 2016

As I reflect on the topic of finding the right people, I am reminded of something that happened to a guy that I know. He was the district manager for a chain of video stores back in 2005. He had one store in particular that was staffed with the following four positions: store manager, assistant manager, shift leader and salesperson.

Staffing / Hiring

ABRN - Auto Body Repair News, March, 2016 - Making Your Staff Accountable: Part One

Making Your Staff Accountable: Part One

By Keith Manich
ABRN, March 2016

In all operations within the store, tasks have to be identified and placed in an order of importance. Why? Because some tasks have significantly more importance to the operation than others. Some are critical while some are routine.

Collision Shop Operations (Management)

Motor Age, February 2016 - Technology Can't Fix Everything

Technology Can't Fix Everything

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, February 2016

We all have witnessed the benefits and sometimes disadvantages of new technology in our careers as shop owners. I spent almost 35 years helping shop owners invest in new technology, so I believe I know a thing or two about it.

Shop Bay/Tech Productivity

Motor Age, January 2016 - Don't Lose Good Customers Over Price

Don't Lose Good Customers Over Price

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, January 2016

In my 40 years plus in the automotive business, the one thing that still tears me apart is the slow death of an automotive repair shop. I take it personally when it happens on my watch or even when I was not involved in helping that owner with his or her business.

Sales

Motor Age, December 2015 - Are You and Your Team Prepared?

Are You and Your Team Prepared?

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, December 2015

Have you ever heard the expression "Never do something permanently foolish just because you are temporarily upset?" I have, and I keep that quote right on my desk where I can see it all day, every day.

Shop Operations (Management)

ABRN - Auto Body Repair News, December 2015 - Develop and Maintain Standard Operating Procedures: Part 3

Develop and Maintain Standard Operating Procedures: Part Three

By Keith Manich
ABRN, December 2015

When building your workplace SOPs, always keep focus on the fact that your procedures should reduce waste, increase workplace efficiencies and streamline work processes.

Collision Shop Operations (Management)

Motor Age, November 2015 - Proactive Vs. Active Leaders

Proactive Vs. Active Leaders

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, November 2015

Have you ever wondered why some people are just lucky, and everything goes their way? They seem to win at everything they do, and never really fall upon hard times. They are the happy ones that make you feel good around them, and they usually don’t ever have anything bad to say about anyone else.

Leadership

Motor Age, October 2015 - Millennials Are Your New Customers

Millennials Are Your New Customers

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, October 2015

The future of your business hinges upon your successful attainment of millennial clients. Often ignored and discounted due to their unwillingness to get a license, a car or even a job, they are now coming out in force.

Marketing

ABRN - Auto Body Repair News,  October 2015 - Develop and Maintain Standard Operating Procedures: Part 2

Develop and Maintain Standard Operating Procedures: Part Two

By Keith Manich
ABRN, October 2015

Last month (Develop and maintain standard operating procedures: Part 1), we looked at the ease of use of standard operating procedures (SOPs) and how to simplify their creation. The focus was how to work with customers and ensure the customer experience was as seamless and productive as possible.

Collision Shop Operations (Management)

Motor Age, September 2015 - Recruit and Succeed

Recruit & Succeed

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, September 2015

Think about it: being without a key player in your business is just painful for you, the other employees, and most of all, for the customers. But rarely when I talk to shop owners do I hear them say, "An employee gave me notice, so I have set up four quality interviews for next week."

Staffing / Hiring

ABRN - Auto Body Repair News,  September 2015 - Develop and Maintain Standard Operating Procedures: Part One

Develop and Maintain Standard Operating Procedures: Part One

By Keith Manich
ABRN, September 2015

How much of your day is spent answering questions about procedural items that could be answered just as easily by a chart, worksheet or other method that clearly identified the necessary requirements or steps?

Collision Shop Operations (Management)

Don't Let Your Sponges Dry Out

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, August 2015

Have you ever tried to introduce something new to your staff? A new tool, a new way of doing things, a new product or a new process? You were excited about how this would benefit the business, the staff and the customers, and you couldn’t wait to get started.

Staffing / Hiring

Motor Age, July 2015 - Help Your Customers Say Yes

Help Your Customers Say Yes

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, July 2015

We all want to help our customers see the value of investing in their car. I overheard ATI coach Mike Bennett teaching a client exactly how and when to sell value. I have also included a link to the ATI Service Advisor Checklist to help you and your staff present estimates better.

Sales

Motor Age, June 2015 - A Motivation Bullseye

A Motivation Bullseye

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, June 2015

It is getting harder to find good people. So if you have employees who are not producing the way you want, you need to determine why. I was listening to Steve Privette, an ATI coach, explain how he helps shop owners with different motivational challenges.

Shop Bay/Tech Productivity

Motor Age, May 2015 - Are You  Compassionate Leader?

Are You Compassionate Leader?

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, May 2015

Is it compassion or fear that is residing in you that is the overriding component in your decision-making process in holding your employees accountable? That is the real question.

Leadership

Motor Age, April 2015 - The Search For A Good Technician

The Search For A Good Technician

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, April 2015

We all have difficulty finding good technicians. One of my recent ideas was to create a video showing parents the financial opportunities that are possible for their children in owning a successful independent automotive repair shop.

Staffing / Hiring

ABRN - Auto Body Repair News,  April 2015 - Making Money On Paint And Materials

Making Money On Paint And Materials

By Tom McGee
ABRN, April 2015

How much profit are you making on paint and materials? Increasing profit on paint and materials can be as easy as focusing on the details in the repair plan.

Collision Parts & Labor Margins

What An Easter Egg Hunt Can Teach

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, March 2015

When you have been working with shop owners and their businesses for more than 40 years, you see lots of change. The one change I hate to see is when a shop that was admired by everyone in the area slips into half as good as what it once was.

Landscape

ABRN - Auto Body Repair News,  March  2015 - Support Your Local First Responders

Support Your Local First Responders

By Tom McGee
ABRN, March 2015

A few years ago, I was making sales calls with a rep. Early in the day, I realized we were basically visiting the same shops I had visited with the previous sales rep in that territory. We pulled into the parking lot of a shop. I told him, “I’ve already been to this shop. Here’s what we’ll encounter..."

Collision Marketing

Motor Age, February 2015 - How Badly Do You Want Your Auro Shop To Succeed

How Badly Do You Want Your Auto Shop To Succeed?

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, February 2015

Shop owners come to us for many different reasons. Some want to stay the best shop in their market and some simply want to increase their bottom line profit. Some want to develop a second in command so they can enjoy more free time in their life or prepare for retirement.

Shop Operations (Management)

Motor Age, January 2015 - Show Me The Money

Is Labor Free?

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, January 2015

In my 40-plus years of helping shop owners become more profitable, typically the biggest pricing problem is labor margin. If you want to stay the best shop in your market, you have to be profitable enough to deliver the best experience today's customers desire, and that takes money.

Parts & Labor Margins Shop Operations (Management)

ABRN - Auto Body Repair News, January 2015 Pouring Green Cash Into The Radiator

Pouring Green Cash Into The Radiator

By Tom McGee
ABRN, January 2015

At this time of year, we see many vehicles that have minor front-end damage. It is pretty common to be at an intersection and see a car slide on the snow or ice and hit the car in front of it. And this makes great work for collision repair shops.

Collision

ABRN - Auto Body Repair News, December 2014 Finding Future Technicians

Finding Future Technicians

By Tom McGee
ABRN, December 2014

I couldn't tell you how many times I’ve heard: "I've been doing this for more than 20 years, and I know how to create a damage report, repair plan or perform the repairs." Today we have many highly qualified individuals working in the collision industry.

Collision Staffing / Hiring

Motor Age, November 2014 - Show Me The Money

Show Me The Money

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, November 2014

I am sure there have been times in your life when you had to pay taxes on profits that you didn’t think you had earned. And if you did earn it, where had the cash gone?

ABRN - Auto Body Repair News, November 2014 Do You Have A Staffing Problem?

Do You Have A Staffing Problem?

By Tom McGee
ABRN, November 2014

As a shop owner or manager, you have probably felt like you needed to hire additional staff to solve a problem or replace someone already working for you because they are not meeting your expectations. Shops face these decisions on a frequent basis.

Collision Staffing / Hiring

Motor Age, October  2014 - Time To Get Pushy

Time To Get Pushy

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, October 2014

Shop owners have a difficult decision to make when it comes to how aggressive they want service advisors to be with customers. I was listening to Kim Hickey, a former shop owner from Arizona and current ATI coach, suggest a strategy to her clients that made a lot of sense.

Customer Service

ABRN - Auto Body Repair News, October 2014 What Route Are You Taking?

What Route Are You Taking?

By Tom McGee
ABRN, October 2014

Remember when you went on a trip and you used a paper map to plan the route you were going to take? Today we enter where we want to go into our phone or GPS, and we are provided with verbal instructions on how to get to our desired location. So where are you on your route to retirement?

Collision Work / Life & Succession Planning

Five Big Marketing Mistakes

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, September 2014

Over the past several years, stabilizing car count has been one of the biggest challenges, even for the shops typically loaded with cars. I overheard one of our long-term coaches, Eric Twiggs, tell a story in our marketing class.

Marketing

ABRN - Auto Body Repair News, September 2014 Doing The Parts Profit Math

Doing The Parts Profit Math

By Tom McGee
ABRN, September 2014

Every week I have the opportunity to look at several profit or loss statements for shops in different parts of the country. When we do a shop analysis, one of the areas that we look at is parts margin.

Collision Parts & Labor Margins

Motor Age, August  2014 - The Secret To Selling Maintenance

The Secret To Selling Maintenance

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, August 2014

If you want to stabilize your car count and hold onto customers through their purchase of new cars, you are going to have to be proficient at selling maintenance. ATI coach Rick Johnson explained how he coaches service advisors to learn the secret to selling more maintenance.

Sales

ABRN - Auto Body Repair News, August 2014 Technology Equals Opportunity

Technology Equals Opportunity

By Tom McGee
ABRN, August 2014

Just like cell phones, cars have added technology over the last several years. While there have been tremendous advancements, I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve heard: “I’ve been doing this for more than 30 years, and I know how to perform the repairs.”

Collision Landscape

Motor Age, July  2014 - Til Death Do Us Part

'Til Death Do Us Part

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, July 2014

Until death do us part. That sounds kind of scary, but we all have heard that expression before. Most of the time, it refers to marriage. Marriage is defined as a formal union, a combination of two or more elements, a state of being united.

Staffing / Hiring

ABRN - Auto Body Repair News, July 2014 Adding A Sales Rep To Your Team

Adding A Sales Rep To Your Team

By Tom McGee
ABRN, July 2014

I conduct several shop owner events across the country every month. When I ask, "How many of you have a sales representative on your staff?" Almost none raise their hand. In fact, they all do!

Collision Staffing / Hiring

Motor Age, June  2014 - You Didn't Set Any Goals This Year, Did You?

You Didn't Set Any Goals This Year, Did You?

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, June 2014

I have often wondered why some years I achieve my goals and some years I don't. Sometimes I blame it on the goals being too lofty, or someone or something got in my way. I was listening to one of our senior coaches, Geoff Berman, explain it to a client and it helped me, so I wanted to share what Geoff had to say.

Leadership

ABRN - Auto Body Repair News, June 2014 Following Cues From Fast Food

Following Cues From Fast Food

By Tom McGee
ABRN, June 2014

It's not hamburgers. It's systems. Fast food restaurants have developed phenomenal systems that result in a consistent, reliable and efficient product.

Collision Shop Operations (Management)

Motor Age, May  2014 - WhenThe Right Choice - Hiring A Veteran - Is Wrong

When The Right Choice - Hiring A Veteran - Is Wrong

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, May 2014

I have dealt with shop owners for more than 30 years now, and the one thing almost every one of them had in common was how they hired people. If you lose an "A" technician, or even a "B" technician for that matter, with what skill level do you want to replace them?

Staffing / Hiring

ABRN - Auto Body Repair News, April 2014 We Only  Really Wanted To Fix Cars

We Only Really Wanted To Fix Cars

By Tom McGee
ABRN, April 2014

I work with many shops and owners, and it is common to come across an owner who started in the industry as a technician. This is great, as we keep the knowledge and skills gained over the years in the industry. But many times they find their dream of being an owner is not as glamorous as they had thought.

Collision Shop Operations (Management)

Motor Age, April 2014 - Breaking The Rules

Breaking The Rules

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, April 2014

If I could teach you how you and your people could become more productive by just reading this article, would you consider it? I am sure this is not your first rodeo; however, this might be an approach you have not considered working on to increase profits in your business.

Sales

Motor Age, March 2014 - Are We The Problem?

Are We The Problem?

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, March 2014

One of the most important people in a shop is the one who communicates with the customer. He or she has a direct effect on customer retention and visit frequency for your shop. Last year we trained more than 1,000 service managers on relationship- based service advisor skills...

Customer Service

ABRN - Auto Body Repair News, February 2014 Addressing the Parts Challenge

Addressing the Parts Challenge

By Tom McGee
ABRN, February 2014

Recently, the industry has been focused on the parts pro-curement process. While this has created tremendous controversy and debate at just about every turn, the procurement of parts is really just a component of the parts challenge that shops need to address.

Collision Shop Operations (Management)

Motor Age, February  2014 - Is OK Good Enough?

Is OK Good Enough?

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, February 2014

Employees know what's expected of them in their jobs, and of course they know what’s good enough, right? How many times have you thought, "You’re a professional, you should know what the job is, just do it!"

Shop Operations (Management)

Motor Age, January 2014 - Why In The World Do I Need A Coach

Why In The World Do I Need A Coach?

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, January 2014

Most of us sleep with a great coach; but if you won't listen to him or her, let me give you some suggestions before you hire a coach. Whether you want to stay the best shop owner or the best athlete, remember you are in the game, and you can't see the whole field or the big picture when you are in it.

Leadership Shop Operations (Management)

ABRN - Auto Body Repair News, January 2014 The Power Of Two

The Power Of Two

By Tom McGee
ABRN, January 2014

How many times have you watched your son's or daughter's game, or even you favorite college or professional team lose with a final score of 1-0? With a score of 1-0, most likely the game was competitive and the game was exciting.

Collision Parts & Labor Margins

ABRN - Auto Body Repair News, November 2013 Making Time To Grow Your Business

Making Time To Grow Your Business

By Tom McGee
ABRN, November 2013

Having the opportunity to visit and work directly with several collision repair facilities each week, I am seeing a few common themes in the industry. As you read this article, ask yourself if this is occurring in your business. If you answer yes to any of them, it is time for you to make a change.

Collision Shop Operations (Management)

Motor Age, November 2013 - Want To Grow Your Auto Shop? Cook A Potato First

Want To Grow Your Auto Shop? Cook A Potato First

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, November 2013

If you have been in business more than 10 years, you are well aware of how hard it can be to keep growing your customer base. Our most successful clients spend a great amount of time focusing on growing their customer base in the hopes of simply stabilizing car count for their people.

Shop Operations (Management)

ABRN - Auto Body Repair News, October 2013 Firefighting and Collision Repair

Firefighting and Collision Repair

By Tom McGee
ABRN, October 2013

My son, who is a junior in high school, started school last week. This year he started a new program at school that takes him off campus to a local career center where he attends a Fire Science course five days a week for three hours each day. While he has his heart set on joining the Marines when he graduates, I am seeing a tremendous amount of excitement and passion in him regarding this Fire Science program.

Collision Shop Operations (Management)

Motor Age, October 2013 Are You Asking the Right Questions

Are You Asking the Right Questions?

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, October 2013

I think everyone will agree the interview process is one of the more uncomfortable things we do as owners or managers. When I first started interviewing, I would ask candidates to tell me about themselves and why they were looking for a change. I would manipulate most of the time during the interview selling the job and the company. I've learned I was doing almost everything wrong when interviewing.

Staffing / Hiring

ABRN - Auto Body Repair News, September 2013 Give Customers A Quick Response

Give Customers A Quick Response

By Tom McGee
ABRN, September 2013

Just about everywhere you go today you can probably find one of those funny-looking squares in an advertisement, on a vehicle wrap, on a product, on a business card or on social media business pages. QR (short for “quick response”) codes are a type of barcode that can be scanned and read by smart phones.

Collision Marketing

Motor Age, September 2013 Aiming For Quality

Aiming For Quality

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, September 2013

When most of us started in the automotive repair business, we had a dream we were trying to achieve. It might have been spending more time with the family or with our hobbies. It might have been to earn more money to provide a better life, or we simply felt we could do it better than most.

Shop Bay/Tech Productivity

ABRN - Auto Body Repair News, August 2013 Do You Own Your Community

Do You Own Your Community?

By Tom McGee
ABRN, August 2013

In the old days, cars just arrived at the shop and it didn't take much effort to keep the shop full. Today, if you are in the office waiting for cars to come to you, it may not be long before you look around your shop and discover you don't have any work. You can no longer just expect vehicles to arrive at the shop.

Collision Customer Service

Motor Age, August 2013 Stop Sellling and Get Customers To Buy

Stop Selling & Get Customers To Buy

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, August 2013

Over the past decade, many of you have noticed a major change in customers' buying habits. This month, our senior team leader to our coaches and instructors, George Zeeks, has several suggestions to help your customers invest in their vehicles.

Sales

ABRN - Auto Body Repair News, July 2013 What Your Techs Really Cost You

What Your Techs Really Cost You

By Tom McGee
Auto Body Repair News, July 2013

A collision repair shop is in the business of selling labor, parts, paint and materials and, in some cases, services that are sublet to another business. The shop must have the ability to produce enough sales while maintaining costs to generate a profit. With increasing influences on parts purchases and, in some cases, caps on paint and materials, a shop must make a large percentage of its profit on labor.

Collision Parts & Labor Margins

Motor Age, July 2013 Should You Be Listening To Your Employees?

Should You Be Listening To Your Employees?

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, July 2013

Should you listen to your service advisor? Should you listen to part-timers who help you keep the shop looking great? How often should you talk with them? Working with shop owners for more than four decades has taught me a lot about running a business. In the past 10 years, I have seen more change in our industry than in the previous 30.

Shop Operations (Management)

Motor Age, June 2013 Are You Lying to Your Staff?

Are You Lying to Your Staff?

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, June 2013

Have you ever been blasted by your significant other when you thought you were doing nothing wrong? Odds are, you did do something wrong days ago, but they didn’t share it with you, and it built up inside them. How many times has something that bothered you happened in the shop, but you chose to ignore it rather than confront the employee?

Staffing / Hiring

ABRN - Auto Body Repair News, May 2013 Accomplishing Your Goals

Accomplishing Your Goals

By Tom McGee
Auto Body Repair News, May 2013

We are now well into the New Year. On New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, you probably told someone what your New Year’s resolution was. The problem is that by now, most of us don’t remember what our resolution was, or worse, have already given up!

Collision Shop Operations (Management)

Motor Age, May 2013 Tracking Those You Serve

Tracking Those You Serve

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, May 2013

During the past year, even the best shops have been battling with trying to stabilize car count. It hurts technicians, service managers and families of shop owners all across North America. We all know what is causing it. But what can we do about it?

Marketing

ATI - Automotive Training Institute

Create Marketing That Gets Ignored

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, April 2013

I was listening to a great story being told to one of our clients by Coach Eric Twiggs, and I thought you would enjoy it. Twiggs said marketing is not the real key to your success. Now that I have your attention, let me clarify the point.

Marketing

ATI - Automotive Training Institute

Where Do You Land on the Auto Shop Pyramid?

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, March 2013

Everyone has to start somewhere, and not everyone starts their first shop with all the bells and whistles. Let's face it: You can't have the "Garage Mahal" without the customer base to support it, yet most of us dream about having the top shop in our market. Let's listen to Head Coach George Zeeks explain the building blocks you need to become a top shop.

Shop Operations (Management)

ATI - Automotive Training Institute

Lessons In Leadership From A 2-Year-Old

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, February 2013

I want to share a great story that will help you continue to be the best shop in your market. Our head coach, George Zeeks, shares what he has learned from helping hundreds of shop owners obtain a better life. Let's listen to his story.

Leadership

ATI - Automotive Training Institute

Stacking Success

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, January 2013

Several years ago, I wrote an article on this subject, because as a coach, I saw that when shop owners did not balance business and personal life, it could cost them big on both sides. Mike Bennett, a shop owner in Gettysburg, Pa., was listening, and I want you to hear how he did it.

Leadership

ATI - Automotive Training Institute

Realigning Your Focus

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, November 2012

Our people we employ are our biggest , most important asset in our business. However, if you don’t focus on their roles first, it will be difficult for the employees and the employer to be happy. This month, our coaches' coach, Bryan Stasch, is going to share with you how to focus on your people's roles so your operation can become more profitable and run smoother.

Leadership

ATI - Automotive Training Institute

Putting A Bow On Your Car Count

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, October 2012

In our world of the automotive repair industry, we have two constant moving targets: car count and staffing. Maintaining these targets usually costs a lot of time and money. There is a process that won’t cost you a nickel; however, it will take great leadership to implement it into your daily routine.

Sales

ATI - Automotive Training Institute

Want to know a secret?

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, September 2012

For the past couple of years, the economy has affected us all, from long-standing companies going out of business or suffering massive layoffs, to people picking and choosing where to spend their dollars. Yet I am astonished at the dreadful customer service I run across daily.

Leadership

ATI - Automotive Training Institute

When the Rock Won't Roll Up the Hill

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, August 2012

Many of us learned valuable lessons from our dads that have really helped us in business. It didn't matter whether they were in our business or not, because the stories they told somehow would help in any situation.

Staffing / Hiring

ATI - Automotive Training Institute

Increasing Sales

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, July 2012

Every week I hear from clients, "Man, in the good old days," or things like, "When it turns around and things go back to normal." It got me to thinking, what if this is the "new normal" or what if 20 years from now we look back on today and say, "Man, 2012 – now that was the good old days?"

Sales

ATI - Automotive Training Institute

Don't Put Your Business On A Diet!

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, June 2012

Every shop owner I have ever met wanted to change something in their shop at some point in their career. The real challenge is implementing change so it lasts forever, because many times things go right back to the way they were if you aren’t careful. Geoff Berman, one of our seasoned coaches at ATI, has a very successful strategy for implementing change.

Shop Operations (Management)

ATI - Automotive Training Institute

Emotional Figures

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, May 2012

How's business? Are things back to normal or at pre-recession times in your shop? Do you really know? I mean do things "feel" better? More importantly, how do the numbers look? That is where we really can see how things are compared to pre-recession figures, providing that you know what numbers to look at. You do look at the numbers of your business, don't you?

Shop Operations (Management)

ATI - Automotive Training Institute

Seizing A Chance

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, April 2012

While the first day of summer doesn't officially happen until June 21, the bountiful days of summer are coming. The world of automotive typically experiences a boom in the four or so months of summer that can rival the other eight months of the year. There is air-conditioning work, overheating vehicles and clients preparing for trips by catching up on their needed maintenance.

Marketing

ATI - Automotive Training Institute

Where There's Smoke, is There Fire?

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, March 2012

We've all heard this old saying, but does it have any real meaning in the automotive world? Let's listen to Senior Coach George Zeeks share his experiences in the trenches. After spending more than seven years talking with and helping shop owners through their problems, I can firmly say that it definitely, maybe does have meaning.

Marketing

ATI - Automotive Training Institute

Can You Learn A New Trick?

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, February 2012

This month, we are going to learn a new skill that will help you stabilize your car count, increase your profits and help you stay the best shop in your area. One of our head coaches, Mike Haley, has been working with shop owners to help them implement QR codes.

Marketing

ATI - Automotive Training Institute

Employees Keeping You Up at Night?

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, January 2012

Have you ever asked yourself what you could do differently to get your people to do what you want them to do? Here is what Tom Ringle, a veteran ATI shop owner coach, tells his clients. As shop owners with so many things to do to get through the day, you might find yourself seeking new ways to create or define accountability. So, what is accountability?

Leadership

ATI - Automotive Training Institute

Graduating from Groundhog Day

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, November 2011

One of my favorite movies is "Groundhog Day" starring Bill Murray. In the movie, Murray's character is stuck in a frustrating cycle. Every morning when he wakes up, it's the same day. During this day the town, events and people never change. It is not until he changes that he is able to break this cycle. Have you ever felt like Murray's character?

Shop Operations (Management)

ATI - Automotive Training Institute

Surviving the Day

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, October 2011

Turning wrenches, answering phones, diagnosing cars, building estimates, ordering parts, directing technicians and speaking with customers makes up a typical day for most shop owners. Add just one hiccup in any of the previously mentioned events, and you add several more to the list.

Leadership

ATI - Automotive Training Institute

You Might Be Measuring Tech Productivity All Wrong

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, September 2011

I wanted to begin this month by thanking all of the Profit Matters readers who have emailed me over the years telling me how much they enjoy reading our articles. If you haven't picked up on it yet, I am recognition dependent, not money motivated, and my No. 1 passion has been helping shop owners grow over the past 40 years.

Shop Bay/Tech Productivity

ATI - Automotive Training Institute

Is Your Service Advisor More Like a Robot?

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, August 2011

In today's economy and in talking to many shop owners across the country, I often hear, "I need more cars," and "Customers just aren't buying." If you have made either of these statements yourself, maybe you need to look at the level of customer service on your counter.

Customer Service

ATI - Automotive Training Institute

The Magic Pill To Increasing Car Count

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, July 2011

The price of gas is hovering around $4 per gallon. Consumers are driving less, so their time between visits will be longer. What does that mean to you, the auto repair shop owner? Keeping car count consistent in your shop is going to be more challenging than ever!

Customer Service

ATI - Automotive Training Institute

Answering Your Phone Effectively

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, June 2011

This month, one of our top coaches, Matt Winslow, is going to share our secret super-powered tip to keep your bays full of cars and your cash register ringing with sales: "Give good phone and you'll never be alone."

Customer Service

ATI - Automotive Training Institute

Branding Your Service Center

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, May 2011

If you want your shop to be perceived as the best shop in your area, you have to differentiate it from your competition. When your car count is stable, your profits will be stable and you won't have to lay off employees when you don't want to. The way you accomplish this is through branding your service center.

Marketing

ATI - Automotive Training Institute

The New Age of Marketing for Increasing Car Count

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, April 2011

"It has taken me years to learn how to fix cars and run my shop. I don’t have the time to learn how to do advertising; I'll just pay someone to do that." Does that sound familiar? Here at ATI, we have heard it so many times that it sounds like a broken record. The bottom line is that whether you like it or not, whether you want to do it or not, you're already in marketing!

Marketing

ATI - Automotive Training Institute

Effective Discipline Without the Pain

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, March 2011

Why is it that building the right staff and keeping them is so difficult for many business owners? We all know that one of the key elements to a smooth running and profitable shop is getting the team members to follow the same script.

Staffing / Hiring

ATI - Automotive Training Institute

Eating the Elephant

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, February 2011

We have a way you can leave loose ends behind. One of our senior coaches, Brian Hunnicutt, has an easy and fast technique for implementing change called, "Eating the Elephant with a Notebook," otherwise called the Notebook Technique.

Shop Operations (Management)

ATI - Automotive Training Institute

Shop Owner Secrets to Achievement

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, January 2011

I have been blessed to have been able to hang out with some of the most successful shop owners in North America over a 40-year work history in the automotive repair industry. It isn't one thing, but about 15 things a successful shop owner has to do in concert to truly have the most successful shop in any given market and to have enough free time to enjoy life.

Leadership

ATI - Automotive Training Institute

Choosing the Lane to Successful Shop Culture

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, November 2010

Like many of you, I started in the automotive industry at the ripe age of 21. Life seemed so simple and a heck of a lot of fun. I had just flunked out of my third college when my dad asked me if I thought street racing could be a career.

Leadership

ATI - Automotive Training Institute

Don’t Let Discounts Make Your Shop D.O.A.

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, October 2010

Is discounting killing your business? Yes! Now, I know what you’re saying: Discounting helps create new customers and increase sales. But that is not always true. I do agree that discounting a service as an acquisition tool might help you attract new customers. But what type of customer did you just attract?

Sales

ATI - Automotive Training Institute

Making Friends With the Shop Operations Mirror

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, September 2010

One of our senior coaches, Brian Canning, told me there is no doubt that in writing this we are going to upset many of you. But if we can get you to take a close look at your shop operation, I think a little of your wrath is well worth my effort. I will apologize in advance to those very rare shops that are doing the things they should be.

Leadership

ATI - Automotive Training Institute

"Cowboy Up" and Rope in Your Shop

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, August 2010

Believe me when I tell you that when I first meet a shop owner (or service manager), most are very proud of being a businessman or woman and happy to tell me about their shop. They tell me how long they have been in business, how many bays they have, how many techs work there and so on. However, there is always this little something in their voice that says, “I want my business back!”

Leadership

ATI - Automotive Training Institute

Hitting the Car Count Bull’s-Eye

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, July 2010

Most shop owners have a pretty good idea of how many cars it takes each day to maximize their profit. Too much or not enough car count can affect bottom-line profit daily. If you would keep what we at ATI call your “win number” of cars in your bays, every day your profits would soar. But how do you do that consistently?

Marketing

ATI - Automotive Training Institute

Planning for Success a Step at a Time

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, June 2010

I want to take you on a trip to the happy ending of your day-to- day hard work in your business. Matt Winslow, our director of seminar development, has worked with our coaching staff to present the overall system we use for actually helping you plan your retirement.

Leadership

ATI - Automotive Training Institute

Riding the Fine Line Between Shop and Home Life

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, May 2010

Helping shop owners do the balancing act of driving profits at work and taking dreams home is part of our mission. The challenge is there is no such thing as work-home balance. In real life, you are either heading for a crisis or coming out of one. Most of us keep pedaling the bike even when we know we are off-balance.

Work / Life & Succession Planning

ATI - Automotive Training Institute

Sizing Up Your Shop With Surveys

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, April 2010

How are the tire and service shops in North America doing? In light of the economic downturn, you would expect the answer to be bad, awful or terrible. While there are areas that have been hit much harder than others, there also are many shop owners holding their own and a few having record years.

Landscape

ATI - Automotive Training Institute

Catch the Wave of the Present

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, February 2010

If you want to increase car count by working on the relationships you have with your customers, then pay close attention to what our best clients are doing about it. Our 20 Mastermind members are made up of the best of the best from thousands of our shop owner clients. Any time the majority of this group gets excited about a marketing concept, you can be sure it is a winner.

Marketing

ATI - Automotive Training Institute

If you don’t care about customers, do you think your employees will?

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, November 2009

Many years ago, Dale Carnegie wrote a book that became famous by helping us really care about other people. The book taught us the basics to really listening and what not to say if you wanted to win friends. Shop owners, in an effort to make real money, must focus as much on the customer as the car today. As a matter of fact, many times the customer is more broken than the car.

Leadership

ATI - Automotive Training Institute

Why Some People Always Make Money in the Service Business

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, October 2009

Many of us have been surprised by the way this recession has affected our businesses. Who would have thought OEMs would go bankrupt and so many new car dealers would close their doors? Then for every independent shop we see experiencing increases in sales due to lack of new car sales, there is a shop located in a challenging area of high unemployment experiencing decreases in sales.

Landscape

ATI - Automotive Training Institute

What Happened to the Dream?

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, September 2009

Most of us who join the automotive industry at a young age end up spending our entire lives in the business. It just gets in your blood! Shop owners and technicians usually have a dream of achievement that is different for all of us. Some want to be the best, some want to be rich and others just want to be comfortable while helping others.

Shop Operations (Management)

ATI - Automotive Training Institute

Toxic Employees

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, August 2009

Over the past four decades, my passion has been helping shop owners grow. I believe profit matters, and trying to make 20 percent to 30 percent cash profit is a necessity not a luxury. Most shop owners get in trouble when three problems appear at the same time.

Staffing / Hiring

ATI - Automotive Training Institute

The Banana Theory: How Customers Spoil

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, July 2009

Many fishing professionals feel bananas bring bad luck or a chemical imbalance to the fun times. I overheard one of our senior coaches, George Zeeks, relate The Banana Theory to spoiling our customers.

Customer Service

ATI - Automotive Training Institute

The Six Ways to Stay a Top Shop

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, June 2009

There are many shops in North America that are nominated for top shop awards, and many that go unmentioned but certainly not unnoticed. I would define a top shop as one in which it has become famous in the area by quality, integrity, relationships and differentiation from its competitors.

Landscape

ATI - Automotive Training Institute

Survive and Attain Success in a Bad Economy

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, April 2009

This month I wanted you to hear from our head instructor, Matt Winslow, who has been in the trenches giving ATI one day workshops across the U.S. and Canada. Over the last year, hundreds of owners have asked, “Can we survive the bad economy?” I say yes, and not only just survive, but flourish and reach your dreams and goals over the next five years.

Landscape

ATI - Automotive Training Institute

An Economic Forecast

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, January 2009

Since we all know the joke about opinions, I have one like everyone else, and I’d like to share my opinion on the economy in 2009 with you. I have been through a few tough times since I joined the automotive brotherhood in 1971. Actually, I went through rough times before then.

Landscape

ATI - Automotive Training Institute

The Economy Is Not The Boogeyman In Your Closet

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, December 2008

Today I will let you decide if we are in a recession, examine where we currently stand on your recession plan and decide what we are going to do about it. I received a great e-mail from a shop owner upset that one of our earlier articles might be blaming you guys for the recession.

Landscape

ATI - Automotive Training Institute

19 Ways To Stabilize Your Car Count

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, November, 2008

I want to share with you 19 ways to stabilize your car count. Look at this as a quick review without taking the time to dig very deep into each strategy. My objective is to help you take an inventory of what you are doing in your shop and focus on the strategies you are not currently using in your business that can help you stabilize your daily car count.

Marketing

ATI - Automotive Training Institute

Turning $4/Gallon Gas Prices into Continued Profits

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, October 2008

I know a lot of you have been hearing the customers complain and grieve about today’s economy, how the cost of everything is increasing and that it leaves little or no money to put into their automobiles. Every time they have to go to the gas station or just drive by and see the prices posted, they are reminded of it.

Sales

ATI - Automotive Training Institute

You, Perhaps, and Not The Economy

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, September 2008

Like many of you, I have had the challenge of working through many recessions in the automotive industry. Historically, it has always been good for us, as we watch the repair business go up as car sales go down. This recession has been more challenging as gas prices reduce mileage, which certainly has affected tire sales for most of the tire industry.

Landscape

ATI - Automotive Training Institute

Will You Please Answer The Cash Register?

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, August 2008

One of the most common complaints from shop owners is the need for more customers and more cars. Shop owners spend their hard earned money on a multitude of marketing ideas, but they forget to focus on the most important part of the marketing process. The idea behind all of this marketing is to get the phone to ring — a customer calling to ask for your services.

Sales

ATI - Automotive Training Institute

Working Harder And Enjoying It Less?

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, July 2008

You have successfully built a wonderful business with a great reputation. Everyone is proud of your accomplishments.Your family is very appreciative of the many hours it has taken you to build your business.Your customers love you for taking care of the safety of their families. Your associates have looked up to you for years and, for the most part, will follow you into any battle.

Landscape

ATI - Automotive Training Institute

Finding the Needle In A Field Of Needles

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, June 2008

Everything is going great. The phone is ringing, we have customers coming through the door wanting work done on their cars and all is right with the world. Except, we don’t have enough technicians or maybe the right technician for the job.

Landscape

ATI - Automotive Training Institute

The Care Feeding of Your Manager

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, May 2008

In consulting with automotive shops across the country, I have talked to a lot of owners and one thing is very clear: when it comes to creating an environment for managers and other staff to flourish, most owners just don’t get it. We, as an industry, have not stepped up to the idea that managing an automotive shop is a profession.

Leadership

ATI - Automotive Training Institute

Maintenance: A Catch-and-Release Business

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, March 2008

In December, we discussed how women have become the No. 1 buyer of maintenance. So this month, let’s focus on our sales process skills. I’ve co-developed the Relationship Marketing System (RMS) to help capture the estimated $70 billion in untapped maintenance. The most interesting thing about sales is that most people believe they are an expert or a guru.

Sales

ATI - Automotive Training Institute

Selling Maintenance to Women

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, December 2007

Last year, I was invited to speak to 1,100 of the industry’s finest at the AAIA Town Hall Meeting at SEMA. The subject was “Why are we closing the hood on the $70 billion in untapped maintenance?” There are many issues preventing the flow of cash in our pockets; however, let’s first explore who is purchasing this extremely important service: women.

Sales

ATI - Automotive Training Institute

How to Increase Average Repair Order

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, November 2007

If the most difficult task in the automotive service world is getting customers to actually hop in the car and make that long journey into our shops, many would say that increasing the amount of the average repair order (ARO) would be second.

Sales

How to Increase Shop Productivity

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, October 2007

I am certain most of you have read articles on how to increase shop productivity — and if tested, would ace the test. The real challenge is achieving 100 percent productivity during the majority of your year. My goal in this article is to remind you of something you used to do or help you add the missing ingredient that could help you net 20 percent to 30 percent cash profits.

Shop Bay/Tech Productivity

ATI - Automotive Training Institute

Is Your Labor Apple Going Bad?

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, September 2007

Many times during the course of a busy day I’ve started to eat lunch or a snack and I get interrupted. Have you ever taken a couple bites from an apple and have to put it down to take care of something? The problem is that when you come back, it has already started to turn brown and just doesn’t look as good as it did.

Parts & Labor Margins

ATI - Automotive Training Institute

Making Parts Profitable

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, August 2007

Last month, we talked about netting 20 percent to 30 percent profit, and I shared a model that some shop owners have been able to accomplish. In that model, it required that your parts costs be 18.5 percent of your total sales. In order to accomplish this, you must hold at least 53 percent profit on your entire parts pool.

Parts & Labor Margins

ATI - Automotive Training Institute

Let The Journey Begin

By Chris Frederick
Motor Age, July 2007

Most of us have encountered low points in our life when we thought there was no light at the end of the tunnel. Some of us put our heads down and fought to survive when many a mortal would have said we had no chance.

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