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Episode Description

We welcome multi-shop owner JR Luna, who is leveraging this unique challenge as an opportunity to examine and refine the processes of his business to go even further down the digital path, and as a result, couldn’t be more confident about the future.

In Part Two, shop owners John Long and Devin Kelley join the conversation and reveal secrets using real-life examples which have turned traditional thinking into new ways of paying off big. Whether you and your team are relatively new to The Digital Shop® and need a head start, or you have been embracing the system for a while and are looking for new ideas, this episode is one you don’t want to miss.

Episode Transcript

*This transcript was generated using Artificial Intelligence. Errors may occur. If you notice an error, please contact [email protected].

Tom Dorsey (00:00:04):
Good morning and good afternoon. Welcome to this week’s edition of The Digital Shop Talk Radio. I’m Tom Dorsey, and today we’re going to be talking about Are you a Tigger or are you an Eeyore? I don’t know who comes up with these show titles, but it wasn’t me and I couldn’t think of a better guess to have on. What we’re going to be talking about today is we’re going to be talking about the adaptation basically is how do you adapt? Do you jump on opportunities like Tigger Wood or are you going to play it more reserved and conservative and safe like Eeyore would? Right? And I tell you what, I couldn’t have get a better guess to come on because this guy is a Tigger. No doubt about it. He’s a Tigger. But when you meet him and when you talk to him, you might think he’s an Eeyore because he practices that art of war. He operates through deception, and that’s JR. Luna. Welcome, JR. Hey, thanks for having me. Tom. The JR is at Concours Motors and actually Asian Auto Tech and opening up another location talking about Tiggers Airport Automotive out of Sunny and Warm, Ventura, California.
These are local and what we’re going to be doing today, we’re live on Facebook, but we’d love to get you over if you’re not in already. You can log in over at because as we’ve changed the show format a little bit, and in the front half we’re going to be talking with JR about why is it important to not only be able to adapt to circumstances, which is a perfect segue into what’s happening with this pandemic and stuff, but more importantly, how to get on those opportunities early and often and leverage them to meet your goals, whether it’s shop operation or other life goals that you have. You got to make hay while the sun is shining, like my grandfather used to love to say to me, and that’s what a Tigger would do. And so we’re going to be talking about that and in the second half of the hour we’re going to go, we won’t be live on Facebook anymore, but we’re still going to be open in this zoom room.
And again, it’s And in there we’re going to welcome in John Long and Devin Kelley, our back, and they’re going to be talking to us kind of about the how. Because if you follow the show, you know that both of those Tiggers made some huge changes and very innovative changes in their process and in their shop operation and even in their roles inside of the shop when they transition to be a digital shop. And as they’ve kind of adapted to the changing marketplace, even before Covid. And now with this covid stuff on us, how it going to change? Because people are getting fired up. We’re getting ready to open the country back up. And everybody that I’ve been talking to, I was just on a meeting with Meineke, shout out to John Price, who’s in the audience, or at least he told me he was going to be.
There’s opportunity, there’s excitement, there is that desire to get out and innovate and adapt like American small businessmen and women that we are. So make sure you get logged in on there so you catch the second half, you don’t want to miss it. It’s going to be the nuts and bolts on how these guys have made these adaptations and it’s coming right from the horse’s mouth. You don’t want to miss it. Both extremely successful. So after this long-winded intro, let’s get right into it with JR Welcome, JR. Really appreciate it. How’s things been going for you over the last month or so?
JR Luna (00:03:49):
Haven’t been terrible. We’ve been hanging in there pretty good. We’re down about 20% in business, but our team is solid and we’ve been, one of the realizations is that we’ve been working 150% to get 80% of what we used to do. And perhaps it’s one of the biggest realizations that now we’ve got to work harder. And I’m a little upset that it took this to find that we had another gear that we could have been doing more all along, and that’s making the phone calls. We’re doing a lot of marketing. We’re going through Facebook Live videos, we’re promoting the community. We’re texting and emailing twice as frequent as we used to, and that’s helping us out.
But in doing that, I was like, well, crap, maybe we could have been doing this all along and been even busier and prevent prevented some of the slower weeks and some of the dips in the stats and things like that. So like I said, I’m a little upset at myself that as of now, I’m working as much as I used to work when I opened the shop 13 years ago, like 12 hour days going home and doing something, researching, doing whatever I can to promote the business, and yet I know that it’s like crap. Well, two months ago I was coming home at five six and just chilling out with the fam and putting my feet up and I mean, I did work some nights, but now I’m working every night doing accounting, doing loans stuff, and I’ve done more accounting. My wife and I have done more accounting in the last three weeks than we’ve had in years. So it was like we’re finding things that we never found before. So there’s a lot to be said to rev up your engines. And like I said, I’m a little upset that it took this to realize that you had another gear.
Tom Dorsey (00:05:51):
And I think a lot of people are coming to that realization. And so it’s more important than ever as we’ve been having to kind think outside of the box and adapt and change some of the way we do business. And it’s being successful, it’s carrying you through and it’s working because what that is, those are best practices. And so it’s critical that you continue those best practices once we come out of this thing. Because exactly what JR just said, you don’t want that to happen to you to think to yourself, wow, I could have had a 25, 30%, 40% greater year from a net revenue perspective if I just would’ve stayed in the saddle if I just would’ve stayed hungry. And you’re right, it is kind of a shame, but hey, it’s a good thing and you should shake the tree once a year, maybe once a quarter, depending on your operation just to get that wake up call, even be, yeah, you’re right.
Hopefully it doesn’t have to be a pandemic or some worldwide catastrophe that gets you to take that action or to think in those terms. But if you set yourself up with a regular reflection and self-examination there of your business and audit if you will, on a regular basis to refire yourself up and stay hungry and after it. Because here’s the other thing is what people are realizing. It’s not just in our space, it’s not just in automotive, it’s across the board. People are starting to take their college classes and school classes remote. That’s a new thing really. A lot of ’em are probably questioning themselves, why do I get on the bus and why do I do these things when I’m actually can focus matter? I mean that happens to me when I work from home. I tend to work 15 hours go by and I haven’t even had breakfast yet.
You know what I mean? Because you just get focused and hammer it out. And so this is happening and people are seeing these opportunities in different ways to approach the market and do business because of this situation. And it’s really, why would you go back to the old way? Why would you go back if it’s successful for you to do these things, if it brings in new customers to your business because you’re offering some after hours pickup or no touch type stuff or some different services now ramp ’em up, put ’em on steroids, keep doing it and stay hungry. Dude, that’s an awesome point JR because I think a lot of people are in your shoes. They’ve realized that you can be a Tigger or you can be an Eeyore, you can be driving the bus or you can be getting run over by the bus. It’s up to you.
JR Luna (00:08:23):
Well, yeah, definitely. And the good enough, the average where we’re like, oh man, we did X amount. That’s pretty good. That’s good enough. We’ll pay our bills. We make a little money that good enough is seductive. It’s sexy. It’s all around you. It’s a warm fussy feeling that is like, oh man, I beat my break even this week. And that’s pretty good. And I think a lot of us, at least for me, attempt to get content and the money you’re making and the things you’re doing, however, you don’t want to get content in that because the worst part, if you don’t change, it’s not that you’re not going to make the money, it’s more than that. It’s that you’re teaching your kids and your family that good enough. It’s good enough, right? Amen. You’re teaching the staff that being average is fine, that you just make enough money to get by and you have a pretty good life. And that’s just not what a Tigger does.
Tom Dorsey (00:09:28):
That’s just not what a Tigger does.
JR Luna (00:09:31):
Tigger cultivates leaders and makes better parents and makes better members of the community and makes people earn money and be of value. A ticker makes so much money that gives stuff away, that helps the poor, it helps the schools, it helps the small little league teams and that in this times can buy gift cards and give things away and help that family that needs it. That’s what a ticket does. It’s not that he wants to whore all the money for himself, but he’s just, I’m doing it to show everybody else that you can do it. I’m doing it so you can be a better parent. I’m doing it so you can be a better leader and a member of society and all those things that you need to do. And that’s really why, that’s what drives me, helping others, making others better, making myself better.
Because as a leader, if I’m not better, then who’s going to follow me? I got to be the guy out front, right? I got to be the better of the team so that I can drive people along, bring ’em up. And cultivating our own is just what a Tigger does. Exactly. Not only take an opportunity and yeah, I want to buy more shop. Sure, I want to make more money, of course. But at the end of the day, your legacy, what you leave behind, what you’re known for, it’s more than money. It’s more than profits. It’s a will of life. It’s being a ticker
Tom Dorsey (00:10:53):
Because the average doesn’t carry you through the pandemic, right? Average doesn’t carry you through. And I’ll tell you what,
JR Luna (00:10:59):
It’s really easy to be good or average at good times, right? Almost anybody can do it. But to be good and bad times, man, that takes skill and craft and determination and she power. So yeah.
Tom Dorsey (00:11:13):
Yes, exactly. Because hey, this thing’s going to pass. Something else is going to happen. I mean, shit where we’re at, we get the floods and the fires and where folks in the Midwest get the tornadoes and the all the natural disasters that come and whatever economic downturns and all that stuff’s in the future. And exactly that is that you have to be on top of your game each and every day because that’s what carries you through the rough spots. That’s what carries you through. And like you said, maybe you’ve got some nest egg and some stuff saved up, maybe went out and spread that Tigger love around enough in the community to where now that community is supporting you when the times turn right and you’re the guy with the line of in the parking lot because people remember that and you paid it forward and now here it comes back to you.
You got to give to receive. And just like I couldn’t have said it, and I’m not going to try to say it any better, is that once you get out there and it’s not about hoarding it and showing off and getting it all for yourself, it’s about it enables you to do more and what’s important to you. And JR, I’ve known you a long time buddy, and I remember the first time you came out to AutoVitals and you brought your whole crew with you to a workshop, and that’s the first impression I’ve had of JR. And its only strength. And since then is that this guy is a mentor. This guy gets out of bed every single day and thinks first thing about how do I improve the lives of my team? How do I improve the lives of my customer? And then how do I improve my business and my family? And like you said, it takes that mentality each and every day you’re strapping your boots on to define who the true leaders are. And those true leaders, they lead through all times thick and thin, right? That’s right.
JR Luna (00:13:05):
That’s absolutely right.
Tom Dorsey (00:13:07):
And so what do you do to give yourself that reality check? How do you, okay, so let me put it this way. It got forced on you through the pandemic, but now thinking it through and into the future, how do you ensure that you don’t kind of fall back into that rut?
JR Luna (00:13:26):
Well, definitely scratching off and making a lot of notes on some of the processes that I thought that were bulletproof and that we were doing good. They were strong, and now I know that they were done only when things were low. Like, oh yeah, we’re slow. So bring out the book. Let’s see what we can do. Well, we got to forecast that more and we got to stay on top of the things that before it happens, this callback deal, the care calls that we call ’em, they’re awesome. People love ’em. And I can see that those are some of the things that are going to stay in place, making those care calls from people that we haven’t seen in a while. We did some of ’em, but to be frankly honest, we’re not as diligent as we used to be or not as we used to be as we should be.
Some of the processes, setting the expectations, we have less cars now, so our average ARO has jumped $300 in the last three weeks because we just had a little bit more time to be at ease with the customer and have a real conversation and empathize with them what they’re going through. And I’ve been doing some pickup and delivery myself off, and if we’re shorthanded, we’ll deliver a car. And one of the things that I used to think is that, well, I kind of knew this, but it got emphasized more that we don’t just fix cars. We take grandma to dialysis, we take that kid to, we fix the car. This mother had a son with a brain tumor and a lady had a sprinter and she brought it into the shop and it needed a high pressure fuel injection pump. We were able to get it and we were able to fix it.
The same day we talking to the lady, I told her, well, actually, I didn’t think we’re going to find this part today. It’s not something very common. She said, I knew it was going to happen because God is always looking out for my son. And I just like, wow, what? We’re not just fixing a truck here. We’re taking people to places. We’re taking grandma to dialysis, we’re taking this kid to get a MRI in his brain, some people that are retired or semi-retired, their security blanket that their car can start every morning, that they just can do things. And like I said, it’s more than fixing cars. We’re
Tom Dorsey (00:16:03):
Helping. You’re a freedom merchant. That’s what you are. You’re a freedom merchant. Freedom and security merchant. You trade in folks’ ability to, yes, have that security, but also to enjoy freedom, to be able to go where they want when they want safely and on time. And that is a huge, and when you miss that in all of a sudden, because that’s the other thing that’s kind of happening right now, boy does that come back front and center and it’s like we were talking about last week when this thing blows over, you guys have got to be prepared because it’s coming. People are going to want to get the heck away from the house and go on the longest road trip they could plan and everybody’s had it for Yellowstone or whatever. And so you need to be prepared and when do you get prepared? Well, you get prepared right now.
You need to be communicating that information now. You need to stack the deck early so that when that dam opens, Hey, here it comes. And then again, with the bulletproof processes in place, you’re able to handle that return to civilized business as it were. Because it’s, and to your point too, JR, I go through data all day and I am digging into this stuff and it’s amazing. You can see the Tiggers and the Eeyores because the data doesn’t lie, and there’s shops that are out there, 40%, 50% drop in revenue. You know what? 50% increase in inspection rate or inspection cent rate all of a sudden because they, like JR said, they learned, they had an epiphany, we better start doing something different because this ain’t working. And then guess what? Car counts down, revenue’s up, car counts down. In some cases, 40, 50% revenue is up 20, 30% in some cases. And is it because people are buying more because of this thing? Heck no. It’s because you’re following best practices that you should have been doing from day one.
JR Luna (00:17:55):
That’s right. Yeah. You’re going up to bat with all the intention, with really focus. It’s not just like, well, I’m going to have 10 pitches today, so I’m going to hit one now. It’s like, no, I’m going to only have three, so I better focus and do the best that I can. The days of sending an inspection without being edited, that’s just not going to fly. You’re not going to work for somebody very long if you keep doing that. It’s got to be a hundred percent because there’s just not enough out there to keep us alive right now. So we got to do everything that we can each and every time from the technicians to the writers, to the porters, to marketing person to all of it. It’s got to be, it’s on point. Bring your finest. Today is the day, every day,
Tom Dorsey (00:18:46):
Every day. So that’s JR’s commitment right there. That’s how JR’s going to roll out of this pandemic and into the future is making a commitment to himself that he’s going to stay on top of his best practices. He’s not going to let him slack, and you know what? You’re going to hold each other accountable. He’s going to hold his crew accountable and his crew’s going to hold him accountable and together, guess what’s going to happen is they’re going to put up numbers and they’re going to achieve goals that they didn’t even think possible two, three years ago because this guy’s on fire and everybody in this audience and everybody out there in this market right now is on fire if you want to be. And the difference is you jump on it like Tigger, what Tigger would do, right? Enthusiasm, and maybe he don’t think much about it, but he just leaps, he’s froggy, he likes to jump, but what happens is that opportunity is accelerating away from you if you think about it too much and you want to find yourself in the Eeyore, so you probably want to find the center, right?
You want to find a little bit of the center there and you want to continue to just lead by that example because like what JR said, it’s infectious. The crew is going to pick up on that and they’re going to replicate that. They’re going to act like you and if you act successful, they’re going to act successful and then success follows. Hey, I want to give a shout out to Ben Gatewood, great quote that he chatted in real quick. It’s a Martin Luther King quote, but it’s so pertinent to what we’re talking about is that the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in times of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy. And that right there is the mantra for our industry right now is you can pick a side and you should be on the side of leading.
And also Cindy Reason, she got some great input, and I want to share this, is that she’s doing all the courtesy shuttle driving and found that the customers really appreciate it. They open up to her about themselves and more importantly about their experience with the shop, with her shop. So what a great way to have that off the record, private bonding a little bit with some customers and get some insights that you might not have been able to catch in your surveys or in your observations or in your reports from the crew. But now you get people open up a little bit when they’re relaxed and gosh, you think I’m in the Uber or something. They feel comfortable talking to her even though she’s the owner and I’m building a connection with them and it’s really something that she enjoys and I bet you probably think, gosh, why haven’t I been doing that or carving some time out of my day in the past to be able to have that experience on a consistent basis.
And I would imagine Cindy’s probably making a commitment to her business right now to do exactly that, maybe drive the shuttle a couple times a week or I don’t even have to be in the shuttle, but if I can have a place where I can bring folks in and meet with them and talk to ’em on a neighbor to neighbor level and really build that solid foundation from a relationship perspective, because again, we’re all figuring it out now is that it takes a lot, it takes a village, but when these troubled times come and they’re going to come, that’s how you get through. You get through as a community, you get through preparation, you get through drilling in the best practices and adherence to those best practices. And like JR said, that means in the slowest time and the easiest going time, and it’s the dog days of summer and everybody just wants to be on the beach. Nope, that’s when you drill down, right? Matter of fact, in football, that’s when you ran double session practices because you ain’t want you to go out and be lazy. You got to work even harder in the slow periods of time.
JR Luna (00:22:39):
Absolutely. Talk,
Tom Dorsey (00:22:40):
Go ahead JR
JR Luna (00:22:40):
I was going to say one of the greatest quotes that I can remember from one of my coaches from Drive was that he used to say that the greatest companies, they don’t always measure. They not only measure the money they made, but they keep track of the money that they could have made, but they didn’t. Dang, that’s wise words right there that we could have made more, but we didn’t.
Tom Dorsey (00:23:08):
Now I’m thinking about how we can add some KPIs to the BCP.
JR Luna (00:23:11):
There you go.
Tom Dorsey (00:23:13):
What’s the missed opportunity? KPI, right? Yeah. If you would’ve sent this inspection, what would you have returned? That’s interesting. Yeah, that’s something to kick around because if anything it just gives you, that’s a great wake up. If that number’s growing, that’s probably an early indicator that you should probably get out there and tighten the screws a little bit on the process and run some drills and just do some spot audits and things like that, which are best practices to make sure that all of your protocols are being adhered to throughout the day and in the busy times and in the slow times so that you make sure you’re bulletproof. Then when
JR Luna (00:23:50):
And also to your staff. Sorry.
Tom Dorsey (00:23:53):
No, go for it, bro.
JR Luna (00:23:57):
If somebody doesn’t want to do a great inspection, then move aside. Somebody else will do it. If one of the writers don’t want to make calls and don’t want to just do the best they absolutely can and the tools that we have available, move aside, somebody else will do it. Some of these shops that I see on the street that are closing at two, then they’re giving us all the work to us move aside, somebody else will do it. Right now we can’t go to the couch and just watch, what’s his name, the Tiger King?
Tom Dorsey (00:24:36):
Yeah, Joe, Exotic Joe.
JR Luna (00:24:37):
Exotic. Exotic.
Tom Dorsey (00:24:39):
Carol Baskin.
JR Luna (00:24:40):
We need to forward our lines and do, or whatever it takes to stay in business. It’s not Joe Exotic time, man. It’s dig down.
Tom Dorsey (00:24:51):
That’s right. Meth is not the answer. It’s not going to get you through this issues, man. But I got to tell you, and that’s where it really, I mean the success, it just sloughs off of you JR. I got to tell you, I’ve been telling myself, I write it down on my calendar all the time is stop by and soak up some success on my way home passing JR. Shop, right? Because it really
Does, man. It’s like, I don’t know, you can fall down into a hive, a bees and you come out with jars of honey and that’s all good, man. But you know why? Because like you said, it drives the performance of the folks around you and you know what, like I said, I’ve known you a long time JR and you are such so empathetic and so kind of gregarious with and as part of your experience in drive, you’re out there. I mean you got a following man, you’re like a rock star. I remember out at the Blast Drive conference and here comes JR in the room and then here’s this crowd of people behind them, right? Well, they’re doing the same thing, man. They’re picking up the success vapors that are coming off of you, but to be serious, if I could do that for a second, I don’t know.
We’ll see. Do you, I mean talk to me a little bit about how important a that is, is that you’re maintaining a community of your peers and then really for folks that are out there and thinking they want to get more involved and they want to collaborate more with people because again, that’s another side to it that really helps you in these types in these times and it also probably influences you to make that hard decision. Do I want to go digital? Oh, the headache, the expense, my tech. But you know what, that community of folks like JR out there that have done it helped to influence you to make that decision. I bet you if you looked back JR and I don’t know who influenced you to come to AutoVitals for a workshop, but I bet you were glad you made that trip and can you imagine where you’d be if you hadn’t made that change for gosh, going on five years ago, right?
JR Luna (00:27:03):
Oh yeah. Well, I think peers are super important as far as, are you talking peers in the shop or colleagues in
Tom Dorsey (00:27:12):
General, just other shop owners. How do you get connected into a network? How valuable is that to you and how was your introduction to that?
JR Luna (00:27:24):
Got it. Well, I was a drive customer for some years and then I got invited to a top 20 group and I’ve been in a top 20 group with Mike Button and Kevin Delaney and a bunch of good dudes that you have in your podcast here, and it is really invaluable because as an owner there’s only so much you can talk to employees and you also need a person that has your same reality that is going through what you’re going through, has gone through what you’re going through, and a lot of times we get fired up. It’s like, oh man, I’m going to make this change today and it helps to pick up the phone and call somebody else and the other guy’s like, well, have you thought about this? Maybe this is going on. And I’m like, oh, crap, I didn’t think about that. So it really grounds you to not see things in a perspective that somebody otherwise you might’ve not seen it.
Just another set of eyes that are looking from afar. That’s how I would see it, how peers are, and also to push each other. I go for a couple years now I’ve been kind of CrossFitting and when you got the weights and my body’s or my mind is like, no, man, that’s heavy. I don’t want to pick up the bar anymore, but it’s a 20 minute workout and then your neighbor picks up the bar and you’re like, oh, shit, I can do it too. At the shop is kind of the same. Well, this guy’s doing that and well, I’m going to do that and this guy can do it. Then it gives you the will and just the vision that it can be done. He’s doing it. I’m going to do it too. And how did you do it? All those things just to talk and stay sane, especially nowadays, I think it’s really invaluable to have somebody you can pick up the phone and bounce ideas off and not make rational decisions and also to make rational decisions. It is like, am I thinking this? Am I right And
Tom Dorsey (00:29:30):
Buy the crazy one,
JR Luna (00:29:31):
Tom Dorsey (00:29:34):
Super important.
Yeah, because that’s a great point. And now it’s funny because you started out and you were kind of the new and the lurker. You were just kind of in drive and then got involved in a 20 group and now you’re the leader of that and you got folks that are wanting to follow you and then you’ve even expanded that because through the AutoVitals Facebook forum, it allows you to collaborate again with folks that are even outside of your individual 20 groups, broaden your horizon a little bit, learn a different, or at least be exposed to different opinions and thoughts and tactics and things like that, right? It’s invaluable. Whether you throw half of it away and contemplate the other half, it doesn’t matter. It’s in your space, right? It’s available as an opportunity for you.
JR Luna (00:30:17):
Success leaves clues, it leaves clues. So why wouldn’t you just pick up the clues of the success of somebody else, right? It’s a no brainer. It’s like free money.
Tom Dorsey (00:30:30):
It’s like free money. Yeah, my granddaddy told me that a long time ago, right? You want to be successful, Tommy. You do what successful people do. That’s it. If you make it down to that, then it really is and get involved, right? Reach out to JR to shop Concours Motors in Ventura, California. Call ’em up, get on the Facebook forum and ping them there and John and Devin and just Neil and Rod and Fred and I could go on forever because that’s invaluable relationships. And again, that’s the type of stuff in preparation, we’re all preppers now. We’re all like doomsday preppers and you need that network. You need your troops, your army out there behind you again, even if it’s just to stay sane and stop yourself from lighting your hair on fire and doing drastic stuff because other people are in that boat and we can moderate and we can get through it together. Larry Goff. Hey, before we break and we are going to bring in Devin Kelley and John Long, Larry Goff sent in a quote. He says he’s heard you say it plenty of times. It’s a Tony Robbins quote, if you want to take the island, you need to burn the boats.
JR Luna (00:31:41):
That’s It.
Tom Dorsey (00:31:41):
Landed on an unknown island and we need to look forward not back.
JR Luna (00:31:47):
That’s it. Often I’m a little one of the wild ones in the group and I do things first sometimes and I move forward, and that’s my quote. I was like, no, no, we’re burning the boats, man.
Tom Dorsey (00:32:02):
That’s it. You got to burn the boats.
JR Luna (00:32:04):
There’s no going back. It’s
Tom Dorsey (00:32:06):
Getting off this island
JR Luna (00:32:08):
And sometimes it’s needed, right? To do that daring thing, we got to have that mentality. There’s no way out. Only
Tom Dorsey (00:32:15):
Success. It’s commitment, right? It’s commitment saying you’re committed. I’m so committed. I burned the boats. We ain’t leaving until we’re two ways in a body bag or we’re going to get out of here successful, right? That’s
JR Luna (00:32:26):
It. Shout out to Larry Goff. Thank you Larry for that.
Tom Dorsey (00:32:28):
Yeah, yeah, for
JR Luna (00:32:29):
Sure. He’s an awesome dude. He’s in my group too.
Tom Dorsey (00:32:32):
Yeah. Yes. Awesome. So let’s bring in John Long and Devin Kelley again, I think we’re going to end the Facebook live, but if you folks are only on Facebook Live, you haven’t joined us in the zoom room, get over to We got all kinds of folks in here. Gosh, up to 60 people in here right now, and they’re all chatting it up, so you’re missing out if you ain’t in here. Welcome Devin and John. John. I love the background buddy. I mean John is a theme down to a science. He follows that theme.
John Long (00:33:07):
Thank you, Tom. Just want to have a little fun this week.
Tom Dorsey (00:33:10):
Yeah, no, I love it. It seems like you have fun every day. Always. Devin, where are you coming to us from? It looks like you’re in Christopher’s to John’s Eeyore and Tigger. You’re in Christopher Robin’s room there.
Devin Kelley (00:33:23):
Yeah, we’ve got the nursery right here behind us. So coming live from the nursery, it’s nursery slash
Tom Dorsey (00:33:29):
Office family keeping it.
Devin Kelley (00:33:31):
When was your son born? He was born in the 29th day of February. Leap year baby.
Tom Dorsey (00:33:37):
Wow. Congratulations brother.
Devin Kelley (00:33:40):
Thank you.
Tom Dorsey (00:33:41):
That is awesome
Devin Kelley (00:33:42):
Stuff. He’d be on the video, but I don’t think he had a lot to contribute to today. I didn’t really prepare him, so
Tom Dorsey (00:33:47):
Give him a year or two. That’s a future. That’s a future automotive repair leader right there. Let me just say future business leader because Devin’s got a lot of irons in the fire. The guy’s a genius. He’s another guy. You want a friend early and often on Facebook, call him up, make friends, follow what he’s doing because the guy’s a rocket ship and that’s why we have him on today along with John and let’s talk a little bit, let’s chop it up because both of you, we’ve had you on the show in the past and both of you have really thought outside of the box. I think initially committed to something burnt, the boats like JR said and then just made it happen. And it probably wasn’t just all sunshine and roses, it was probably some rocky turns. There was probably some times when you said, man, what did I do? I should have listened to my 20 group and had some second thoughts, which persevered and I think the results speak for themselves. So let me start out with you, John, is that we’ve had you Ann, and we’ve talked a lot about specialization of roles and some of the changes that you’ve made in your operation to adapt to the digital technology.
Let me ask you this, lemme start you this. What was the thing that made you make the change? Was it something that was bugging you, some challenge you couldn’t overcome? Or was it just a wide-eyed vision of opportunity out there in front of you that you were looking for a way to get there?
John Long (00:35:16):
No, we had a productivity issue out in our shop and for a long time I just couldn’t put the handle on it because we had cars there, we always had cars. I had my advisors there running around all day long, a chicken with their head cut off. So we just had a productivity issue and I through three or four different things before I finally found the solution. For us, it’s not the solution for everybody, but it was in creating that role of a production manager slash estimator. That’s what changed it. Then not only did it help our production issue in the shop, but it helped our advisors so we’re not burning our advisors out and also help them take our customer service to the next level. And that’s what it’s all about in all reality. It’s just having that next level customer service.
Tom Dorsey (00:36:12):
That’s awesome. And real quick, I want to introduce our founder and CIO Uwe Kleinschmidt. Schmidt has decided to come in from his covid free cubicle and practice some social distancing here with me. I mean it’s metric, right? Because he’s from Europe and so the six feet, it’s millimeters or some weird thing like that. And so I think we’re illegal, but just in case I’ve barricaded the door so the SWAT team can’t come and get us out of here, but I want to follow up with you real quick, John on that is to say you hit the nail on the head there. It’s not for everybody, but it’s for him and it worked. And really part of what we’re doing here through the Facebook form, through the show, through anything the 20 groups that you guys are collaborating in is to get those ideas and test them out, try ’em out, think ’em through, see what it would look like.
Maybe it’s not for you, but you know what, now you’re still on your search or now you hit on something that’s working and then you can improve or expand or change it and tweak it to make it work for you. And I think that’s really important what you said because a lot of folks hear these things and they go, what production manager? I don’t have a hundred cars a day, I’m not that size of shop. It’s not about that. It’s about really what it boiled down to what John said is it’s about the customer service and then if you hit that nail on the head, the rest of it follows and pays off and then hey, you might be able to afford two of those production managers where you thought you couldn’t even get one last week, right?
John Long (00:37:39):
Yeah, that’s exactly it. Nothing is set in stone in our shop. Nothing is chiseled in stone. I mean we’re always evolving and you have to evolve and change with the time. Just like what we’re doing now. Just like what JR was saying earlier, you have to evolve and change other words. You can get stuck in a rut and you’re going to be the shop that’s closing at two o’clock in the afternoon.
Tom Dorsey (00:37:59):
Yes. So Devin, same question to you. So your was a little different right as you bought a shop and we were in it, well, AutoVitals was in it and you were kind of like, well, let me dig around and figure this thing out and make a decision. What influenced you you to not only continue with the digital shop concept and technology, but then actually start to make changes in your operation to adapt and to improve?
Devin Kelley (00:38:27):
I think an underlying drive behind me was the fact that my house, everything I own is on the line. It’s not just about me though, those are big factors that push me, but I was looking at a whole team of people who basically just lost jobs in a way because
Tom Dorsey (00:38:51):
Devin Kelley (00:38:51):
Left. This change of ownership was pretty important due to some timing things. The previous owner was a really good shop owner, actually a mentor of mine, very sharp guy. There were some big challenges that created this changeover and it was a great opportunity, but what I saw was volatility that those team members and those customers had. And some of ’em may not have realized that was the case, but I knew that that needed to be rescued and I needed to make the most that I could of it for all of those people. So I feel like everybody involved was their security was on the line. And again, my house and everything’s on the line too. So I mean those are of course factors, but I knew I needed a winning combination, a winning recipe of things. I was hyper-focused on every aspect that I could going into it.
I had notebooks full of notes and plans and thoughts and brainstorming and it was a no-brainer for me to still be a digital shop. I had heard of AutoVitals for sure. I hadn’t had much experience with it. So when it was already deeply embedded in the shops processes, it was just a natural thought for me to hop on board with the education and figure out how to use it and maximize it. I already knew it was an awesome digital inspection program. It was just a matter of learning it really quickly. I didn’t want to pull the rug out from everybody, try to teach ’em a whole new program and things. I could tell it was working. It just had a lot of room for improvement
Tom Dorsey (00:40:19):
And that’s exactly what you made happen, right? Because I mean we’ve talked about it before, but your metrics, when you look at your metrics and you can see how they were using it before you came in and I mean it’s just a rocket ship after that and it carried through the entire year and it’s still climbing, it’s still growing. And so that really is a testament to say, Hey, I can have a toaster, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m not going to burn the toast. And you got the tool, but you have to find the best practices on how you use that tool. And there is no set to John’s point, there is no A to Z instruction book. You’re building it as you go because it’s what’s going to work for you and you have to get out there and a be willing to take that risk if you want to call it that, take that chance and then be honest with yourself, commit to it and compare and really track what is happening and be honest about it. Are we selling better? Yes. If not, well then why? And then what do we do to change? And then incrementally improve and just stay in the saddle. Just keep driving through that change until it becomes a habit. And when it’s a habit, it’s night and day. What do you think?
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:41:34):
Yeah, I’m really impressed by I have the house on the line that creates kind of an urgency. You can escape. There’s no
Tom Dorsey (00:41:43):
Pandemic foreclosure. You don’t need that type of motivation.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:41:51):
So my question would be when did you know it’s going to work out? How much risk can you take so to speak?
Devin Kelley (00:42:04):
I suppose at no point have I ever fully allowed myself to feel like it’s going to work out. And I think that’s an important part of it. I took enough of a calculated risk to where I knew the probability of having success in different areas, but I’ve never allowed myself to fully feel like it’s going to work out. I wake up I think every day with thoughts about if I don’t put this into place or focus on this enough, I could lose it all. And I think the business’ success has been this tangible example of my passion and I think I’ve always got more than what I can really leverage effectively, but I think that’s probably a big aspect is never really feeling like it’s secure.
John Long (00:42:52):
No, I agree. You have to be driven. You have to always constantly drive forward and you can’t really look behind you, but you just got to constantly be driving forward.
Tom Dorsey (00:43:01):
And that’s a great point because if you’re trying to get over this wall and you try to climb it, but it’s slippery and there’s no rope, and so then you try to go around, you try to go under, you try to go sideways, you try to go through it, you’re going to find a path. And that’s exactly what we’re talking about here is just because the first path didn’t get you to where you wanted to be, doesn’t mean there’s not a whole bunch of paths. And some of them you might have to start thinking about carving your own path, get the machete out and start beating the bushes. And that’s kind of like what John and Devin and these folks that we’re talking about, that’s why we bring ’em on here because that’s exactly what they do is they looked at a situation, they had a challenge, they looked at the tools they have, they thought outside of the box, they took a risk, they tried it.
Hey, maybe it fails. Well, I’m going to try something else. I’m going to continue to tweak that because if I can believe and trust in the concept behind it, and for John it was real simple. We want better customer service. I mean that’s a really great shiny goal on the hill to go after and there’s a lot of ways to get there and you just have to commit and stay and stay focused and motivated and take action every single day to get there and don’t give up. Yeah, I’ve got a great point from Mark Roberts I want to bring in too. And he’s saying he thinks that for the most part, most shops are understaffed because owners are focused on the bottom line returns of 15 to 20%, and that may or may not be the best for the overall long-term success of the business. And that’s a really great point is that if we’re always thinking about how do we cut the costs and how do it’s all the numbers and we’re going to make the operation fit, those numbers, those numbers you might hit, but you might not sustain those numbers.
Whereas you might have a lower margin and grow to a point where then you can far exceed that on a consistent level and grow that team and that operation that you need. And so maybe we’re going to aim a little bit downfield a little and not be so shortsighted and driven by, especially in these times where business is fluctuating so drastically. Can you imagine if you’re trying to staff through it, what do you do when we come out of it and the flood gates open up, you’re in big trouble and you just shot yourself in the foot. John, let me ask you something. How through, once you’ve made this change, right? Once you’ve said, I am going to do something like bring in a production manager, what are the critical success factors for you and how do you track those? How did you make sure that it was working for you to keep doing it?
John Long (00:45:39):
You just got to look at your numbers. We have certain KPIs we look at and tech productivity is one of ’em. We noticed our tech productivity was going up just because the techs were getting the work to them dispatched and the tickets were getting written up quick enough versus before where they were sitting at the front counter forever waiting on their service advisors. And then also our customer service, our reviews went through the roof. We’ve got almost 600 Google reviews at a 4.8 rating right now, and that just shot up ever since we made the change. So I mean, you just got to look at your numbers and make sure they’re in line and you can see exactly when we made the change. And I think Uwe before is even shown my data before and pinpoints the exact time we made the change. And you can see all of our metrics just take off a rocket.
Tom Dorsey (00:46:35):
So let me ask you something. Do you compare those metrics to other shops that are doing something similar? I mean are you comparing, yeah, you’re comparing your team against your team, but are you actually comparing your operation against others?
John Long (00:46:46):
Very little. I do it just a little bit, but every shop is going to be different. You’re in a different area, you’re in different market. You have different your size. So I mean you got to kind take those with a grain of salt and you can’t focus on what somebody else is doing. You got to focus on what you can do and what your shop can do and how you can propel your shop forward. Yeah, you want to look at those a little bit, but like I said, don’t focus on them. Don’t beat yourself up saying, okay, this shop is doing X, I need to do X. No, you don’t necessarily worry and focus on yourself.
Tom Dorsey (00:47:21):
Did you have a clear sight as to where you would’ve pulled the plug? Right? Did you say, Hey, if it falls this percentage or this to this number, I’m going to throw this out and rethink it?
John Long (00:47:34):
No, what I did is I went to my service advisors and I said, because they didn’t want to give up those things that I took away from them. They’re like every other supervisor, service advisor out there, they’re supermen super women, so they don’t want to give up things, they want to handle it all and they want to do it all. So it took me some convincing to get that stuff away from ’em. I said, give me 30 days, let’s see how it works. After 30 days it wasn’t. But two or three days when I had an advisor come to me and said, man, this is awesome. I have finally have the time to talk to the customers that I need to talk to them on and to devote to them. So I mean, like I said, three days, two, three days is all it took and then the rest is history from there. Wow.
Tom Dorsey (00:48:18):
Yeah, Mark Roberts chatted in a really good idea and he said, you should be taking some time to sit out in the waiting room and just take notes. How many calls are coming in, how long has that person been waiting since they walked through the door? And really get that understanding and even get a chance to sit down and talk like what Cindy was saying earlier and really bond with that customer and get ’em to open up and give you insights that they probably wouldn’t have given except maybe in some negative Yelp review to be truly honest with you. And it’s an eyeopening experience for you.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:48:47):
I have a question of course for all of them. Are you disciplined enough to set your goal and then steer every day or every week towards that goal? Or are you flexibly changing that over time? Or what’s your critical metric to say, okay, I have to change?
Devin Kelley (00:49:13):
I never had a point that I calculated would be the day that we would need to close down from a monetary standpoint. Otherwise the contingency for me there is if we have to close down due to illness in the shop or something in that area. For me, I did have a pretty clear goal of working through this staying open and have just been pouring every bit of resources from all areas into making that be the case. It’s something that’s very real in my mind that it’s going to happen. So I’m just pouring all my resources into doing that except for if somebody in the shop does get sick and we need to isolate things like that, that would really be the only thing.
Tom Dorsey (00:49:53):
And Devin, let me ask you something. So in this process, and not just even in the COVID stuff, but throughout the process, because you had said something that was really prescient is that when you came in and your crew that you kind of inherited, they had just suffered a loss and it was close to, it was similar to they lost their job because of that change of ownership and who knows what’s going to happen. How do you get or do, I guess I’ll start there. How do you get them involved in the feedback to improve and make those process changes?
Devin Kelley (00:50:28):
That’s a great question. Through shop meetings and through one-on-one meetings individually, I counsel with them and I like to think that every single person, no matter what their position is or how long they’ve been in the company, has gold in their thoughts. And it’s my job to mine that gold. I have a part-time shuttle driver. In his first couple days I was asking him questions about procedural things and his opinion about what he’s seeing because he’s worked in dealerships, he’s been alive a long time and nobody comes on my team if they’re not a rockstar anyways. So I already know they’re going to have great ideas or I never would’ve taken a chance on. And so I’m asking a lot of questions about what they’re seeing, what they’re feeling, what it looks like to them. And it doesn’t matter who they are, how long they’ve been there. I know they’ve got goals and I’m trying to mine it.
Tom Dorsey (00:51:14):
Wow, that’s brilliant. Yeah. Yeah. You got to keep ’em involved, keep ’em part of the team, and then they’ll be part of the team and they’ll pull just as hard as you do.
Devin Kelley (00:51:21):
Yeah. They buy-in when they know I’m listening and they know their perspective matters that will quickly earn you that.
John Long (00:51:30):
Yeah. And when they’re part of the process that only propels it even further is when they help develop your operating procedures as well and not you just saying, Hey, do it this way because I said so. When you get them involved, like Devin is saying, there’s a bigger chance of them following those procedures and owning it.
Tom Dorsey (00:51:53):
I mean it becomes like a family. I mean, JR Shops same way. Is everybody really that I met? When you get to chance to meet their staff and their crew, it’s amazing. It’s not like you’re at work, it’s like you’re at some family reunion. It’s how close that you’re able to get together and families pull through anything. So let me ask you something, and this is for everybody, right? Probably because of this situation, you’ve probably uncovered some power of AutoVitals software that you didn’t know existed, right? And that’s the ability really to operate your shop remotely, right? Because a lot of you have been open, but maybe staying home for whatever reasons kids are out of school, nobody to watch ’em or for whatever reasons. Let me ask you, I’ll start with you Devin, is have you done anything different or found anything new in AutoVitals that’s helping you to maintain or even improve business operations through this downturn?
Devin Kelley (00:52:59):
Well, AutoVitals workflow management capacity is so intricate and is so accessible remotely that it very much supports my ability to work remotely. Right before this webinar I was in looking at today’s inspection reports, looking at how many pictures each technician took and when I’m thinking about calling them for a one-on-one meeting over something, I’m looking at the workflow to see what they’re doing right now so that I know who may be available for a call. And I just feel really in tune to what’s happening in the shop. And it’s just so easy to do remotely. It’s just as if I’m sitting at a desk at the shop. It’s brilliant and it makes it very possible for me to continue things completely remotely. I am not going into the shop at all. My son was born the week they announced the pandemic and we were already isolating and keeping things clean because a newborn has a weak immune system. So we were already preparing that way. And when they announced the pandemic, I’m thinking, I can’t bring anything home. This is an opportunity for me to realize a goal I’ve had of being a remote operator and we’re just going to put this into place. And so the workflow management and other tools AutoVitals have has made that such an easy transition.
Tom Dorsey (00:54:19):
That’s incredible. JR what about you buddy? Anything different? I mean, have you noticed any hidden powers of AutoVitals that you’re now taking advantage of since the remote pandemic?
JR Luna (00:54:34):
Yes. Yes. And I’ll answer was question that he asked five minutes ago about have the discipline to hit a target and the answer is no. If we were going to set something like we’re going to do $40,000 a week no matter what, and that takes an Olympic team, that takes a level of commitment that it’s pretty great. So my answer to you is we have a minimum and that’s what we’re going to hit. But we don’t have the goal and we’re going to stay here until we reach it. And that I don’t, maybe now with this pandemic, we have the goal of hitting the minimum and that’s a fact
Tom Dorsey (00:55:22):
That requires you to
JR Luna (00:55:23):
Hit the most that we can. No, I think that’s excellent question because that takes a level of commitment that from all your team that you have to scatter. At least the state of California will find that team the level of commitment. Nevertheless, I do have a great team and we do great things. Now back to Tom. One of the things that I’ve done, I have a crew of 25 shows
Tom Dorsey (00:55:52):
That wristband shows that wristband.
JR Luna (00:55:57):
So success is my duty.
Tom Dorsey (00:55:59):
Success is his duty. It’s right there branded on him. Yeah. Got a tattoo. He just can’t show it to you.
JR Luna (00:56:05):
Tom Dorsey (00:56:07):
JR Luna (00:56:07):
Wear it because now there’s tough times, right? We got to make tough decisions, so we got to be extra critical of what our staff is doing, how money is being spent, what our marketing things are doing. So the days of like, oh yeah, that piece is good enough, send it out, or Yeah, that phone call sounded okay. You got to remind yourself it’s not good enough anymore. It’s got to be great every time on everything that we do. One of the things that I’ve done, we lost, so I have a crew of 25. I lost three technicians that I laid off, and so some of the shops are busier than others. So I’ve been using the AutoVitals page, the work in progress page to see which shop might need help. This guy doesn’t have enough work in progress, so this one does. And I might be able to send a technician from this store to the next. Our stores are all within three miles of each other, so we can sublet technicians or helpers as I see on the page, and obviously they can call me, but I can almost see it before that happens.
That’s one of the great things I can,
Tom Dorsey (00:57:19):
I’ve got a utility player out there and out in the field right in between center and left. That’s interesting. Maybe that’s something you may even continue because I mean, as successful as you, you start to get busy, you might even have some guy.
JR Luna (00:57:38):
Absolutely. And it works well.
Tom Dorsey (00:57:40):
Right. John, same question to you buddy. Has there been anything process change, something you’re working on cooking up that has kind of materialized as an opportunity in front of you because of the changes to how we’re running business during this time?
John Long (00:57:57):
Yeah. The only thing for me is we have so many processes and they’re scattered on so many different platforms everywhere is I’m trying to just centralize everything for our team. So everybody has one platform, they know exactly where to go, and that’s what I’ve just been spending time these past couple of weeks doing. Because if they’re not in one place, no one’s going to know where to look for it. Is it here? Is it there? Who knows? So just trying to centralize everything on our processes, involving our team on trying to centralize some of those processes and write some more of them. I’ve got a technician that’s working on some of our processes out in the shop with us, and he’s doing a phenomenal job and it’s just involving those people and trying to get some of that stuff done.
Tom Dorsey (00:58:48):
I got an audience question from, it’s actually from the true host of the digital shop. Talk with you, Adam, Ben, and he’s saying this is kind of for everybody is putting it out there is to say that, oh yeah. Why don’t you just go ahead and ask your question. Where is he? Is he on here? Oh, but we was just saying it’s saying that we’ve all experienced objections to things that we view are mission critical to perform. When you’ve had that pushback or you didn’t get the results you wanted, did you have to force your hand and say, you do it this way, my way or the highway with the team? Have you ever got to a point where you felt like you had to force the issue?
Devin Kelley (00:59:35):
That’s a great question. It speaks to me because I’ve had some circumstances that fall into this category where I’ve needed to make some procedural changes that had to be done, and I had people that didn’t agree. We noticed during this pandemic, people are on different pages as far as what their perspective is, what’s right, what’s not, what’s healthy, what’s not. And so that’s a really big challenge right now in any of these big changes we make because of people coming from different political, religious or whatever backgrounds. And so what I’ve been doing is when I encounter that bridge, I get with whoever I feel like’s going to help me do the best critical thinking and try to create some workarounds. An example being I have a team member that would much prefer that we close down right now for a couple of weeks because we’re so slow and that’s not my preference.
I know that’s not most of the team’s preference, but I’m working on finding ways of leveraging the payroll protection funds to create some flexibility so that we may have options where if people want to take off and have some paid days off within this eight week period, that can be available to everybody. And so if his big preference is to be home safe with family, he might be able to do that and not miss out, and the others may even be rewarded for staying. So I’m just creating solutions to try to make it all work. You can’t please everybody, but if you get creative enough, you can find some ways to make it all still flow,
Tom Dorsey (01:01:03):
Roll within punches. Right. That’s
Devin Kelley (01:01:06):
Awesome. I haven’t really been forcing hands. It’s a sensitive time. It’s not really my personality. If I was to do that, it probably wouldn’t be as effective as somebody else who that was more true to their personality. So I just try to be true to who I am and just get really analytical like I do and find a solution.
Tom Dorsey (01:01:23):
Right. Beat ’em up a logic. What about you JR? Have you ever came to a point where you ready to just kick ’em to the curb and tell ’em it’s this or the door?
JR Luna (01:01:37):
Well, I’ve always been a really nice guy, very
Tom Dorsey (01:01:43):
And humble.
JR Luna (01:01:45):
I’ve always been down to earth and I’ve been one of the guys, I’m part of the team and I’m empathetic with everybody, but in this situation, if we don’t keep rowing, the boat is going to sink. So if you can’t row, then stay home. Somebody else will do it. You
Tom Dorsey (01:02:02):
Get a juice.
JR Luna (01:02:07):
I unfortunately, I laid off a once service writer and two technicians out of my three stores and they call me once a week saying like, Hey boss, am I ready? You need me. What do you want me to do? I’m here. So when somebody doesn’t want to make the calls or somebody doesn’t want to make a good inspection, they’re not only disrespecting me, but they’re just respecting the rest of the team. They’re disrespecting the way we do things. They’re disrespecting America by making success your duty. What the hell? You don’t want to succeed then get off the boat. We got other players on the bench that want this, so I’m not a jerk, but at the same time I got to see it that the rest of the team gets across the river
Tom Dorsey (01:02:52):
For sure. But Adam’s got a little follow-up and he’s saying, Hey, it’s not even just about this pandemic time. It’s in general. Do you have to get to a point making these process changes that we’ve been talking about or implementing some new software technology or something that just is more work or it’s different. It’s a headache and it’s a challenge. And do you ever have to get to that point where it’s my way or the highway? What about you, John? Is that how you run in the ship?
John Long (01:03:19):
To an extent. You kind of have to. I go back to you’re either going to be on our bus or you’re not going to be on our bus under it. Yeah, you’re exactly, you’re going to get hit by the bus
Bumps, but you have to be empathetic about it and you have to explain the why behind why we’re doing something a certain way and show them the numbers behind it. And if they’re still not willing to get on the bus, then unfortunately sometimes you have to make that tough decision and bring on somebody else that’s going to be on the bus. Plenty of people out there in the sea, especially right now, there’s plenty of other people, other shops that are getting laid off so that we’re only going to have, in my opinion, it’s not going to be a technician shortage or a service advisor shortage that we’re going to have here. It’s going to be a boom for us for those shops that want to expand and want to move forward. And now’s the time to start looking because there are going to be a lot of people out there on it.
Tom Dorsey (01:04:18):
Hey, and Adam just wanted to side note. He just want to let you know he’s asking for a friend.
Devin Kelley (01:04:24):
Add one quick note on the end is just that when I found somebody that’s got this anomaly perspective or a perspective that’s different from everybody else, and it would be that circumstance where I think maybe I just have to tell this person, it’s this way, my way or the highway on this. I spend a little bit of extra time trying to understand where they’re coming from and why, because sometimes that tells me a lot of really important things that helps me help them gain perspective and gets their buy-in when they know I’ve taken the time to truly understand where they’re coming from.
John Long (01:04:53):
Yeah, that’s a great point.
Tom Dorsey (01:04:55):
And it’s all kind of relative. So if you’re a new guy and you got some master techs in and you don’t really have a lot of experience under your belt, maybe you got to be a little bit more diplomatic. But you know what? If you’ve got a proven process and it’s been busting records for you, I mean, you’re standing on a pretty solid foundation and this is the way we do it here. And if you don’t like there’s plenty of losers down the road, pack up your junk and get on down there.
John Long (01:05:23):
Going back to what Devin was talking about is you have to ask them, okay, what do you suggest? What do you want to do differently? Maybe there is a different process to it, maybe there’s a different process that could be better. So I think you need to cross that bridge first before you throw ’em off the bus or run ’em over with the bus.
Tom Dorsey (01:05:40):
You got to go, nah.
But no, like you said, and to Devin’s point, it was a great point is that he hires rock stars and you expect rock stars to sing. And so they’re going to have experience and wisdom and ideas and insights that you don’t have. And if you’re hiring to that level and if you value those folks to that level, well then you should be paying attention to what they’re saying and at least regularly taking the pulse and making sure that you’re aligned in that fashion because, and that’s one of those things, it’s kind of like a slow erosion of performance and morale if you don’t, right? And those impacts can really carry on through, okay, this person didn’t work out and we let ’em go, but the toxicity that gets left could impact even the new people you bring in to replace. And it’s one of those things, it’s almost like cancer.
You got to really battling run of chemo to get it out of your operations better not to catch it. Right? And that’s exactly how you do that is that open door and that clear communication, those regular shop meetings where you’re in there and you’re having these discussions and then once we set the goal and we commit, well now the expectation is that everybody’s on board and we’re all pulling for the same goal. The time for discussion has passed, right? We had that opportunity and either you didn’t contribute or you couldn’t vocalize or sell us on your ideas effectively. And so here we go and we’re all committed and now we expect you to run 120% at it because if you don’t, you’re that prima donna, not my way. Well then there’s a lot. It’s better to flush early right’s. Helpful. It’s better for the neighbors. Yeah. How does it,
Devin Kelley (01:07:32):
One last piece I just had to add in, I couldn’t leave this out, is that if you’ve got that circumstance, something that helps me a lot where if you may have to just really push your hand, is making sure you really understand that person’s personality and their true reason for being at work every day. If you’re not speaking their language, they’re never going to see the benefit of what you’re talking about. So that additional time, understanding each person’s unique personality and how they need to communicate it can make all the difference in the world to having effective communication. So I just wanted to add that.
Tom Dorsey (01:08:04):
Yeah, no, that’s a great point. And that starts early and that’s your culture. And it’s really where that starts. And it’s having clear expectations, clear goals, clear culture, and then empowering that team to go out there and meet those goals each and every day. And you could tell if they’re doing that or not. And to JR’s point from earlier is every once in a while set yourself up with a time, whether you put it on a calendar and set an alarm or you just have a regular process where you go through and you audit it from top to bottom. Are we as hungry today as we were last year, year before the day we opened? Are we taking full advantage of all of the opportunity coming our way? Are we thinking in terms of scalability and efficiency and productivity so that we can do more with the time we have? Because ultimately, if your goal is to succeed so that you can lead in your community, in your business, provide help and opportunity for those around you. I mean, that’s a recipe. How do you fail? How do you fail? And that’s where everybody can get there. Everybody can follow the lead of folks like Devin and John and JR and everybody, Adam and everybody who’s in that Facebook forum, regulars on here in your 20 groups. Really just open up your heart and your mind to these ideas and try it. Take a risk.
Eeyore is a donkey, so get out there and just try it. Take that risk. Rely on your network, rely on your peers and your friends. Rely on your team. Trust the team. That’s why you hired them. And set a goal, a clear expectation, and then just go for it. Yeah, you might not win the first time. It might take you a lot of times of trial and error, but take advantage of those folks that are around you that have been there and done that. Learn, commit, and just keep driving because you’re going to get there. And when you get there, ask yourself, right where I’m at with AutoVitals in this digital shop, and it doesn’t even have to be us. It’s where I’m at since I’ve made this adaptation to the changing in the marketplace, am I better off today or would I rather go back to the way I was doing it before as a postcard vendor just shooting out the postcards or spinning the signs on the sidewalk or whatever it was you were doing.
Try to get that business in. Are you better off today? And if you can answer yes to that, then why aren’t you cranking the throttle? Why aren’t you doing more and why aren’t you collaborating with folks and giving ’em, sharing those ideas that have helped you to be successful and gleaning some information off of the things that have helped make them successful so that you could leverage that and take advantage of it because it’s not just going to benefit you, it’s going to benefit all around you, including your community and this industry, right? It’s because the things that we’re sharing in here really helped to propel us. And again, a success story after success story. It’s like how we like to keep it is that, yeah, I’m down in car count, but I’m up in revenue. Hey, I’m down in this, but I’m not giving up.
I had to let some folks on layoff, but you know what? They’re calling me every day and they want to come back to work, and they’re excited and they’re helping and they’re doing these things right? And we’re just going to get through it together in that fashion. And it’s all right out there in front of you. You just have to avail yourself of it. Dustin, what are we doing next week? I know we’re long, but hey, this was a really good panel and I think a lot of stuff that has been said here just from a operational perspective is going to help a lot of folks as they’re in here trying to get through this time.
Dustin Anaas (01:11:47):
For sure. This is really good stuff. Not only for right now, but looking ahead to, which is really, really the goal. And Tom, next week we’re going to build up something that you really teased early on in this episode, and that’s increasing the value of your inspection. Your car counts lower, but close that gap a little bit by really squeezing everything you can out of the inspection. And we’re going to have Ryan Flattum back on who he was on around Thanksgiving last year, but he’s a really awesome guy. He came out to our workshop in Minneapolis last October. Totally changed his systems, went from close to 0% pictures, edited, increased that big time, saw gigantic leap, and now he’s got weekly AutoVitals only meetings and just kind of the process in his shop. So he’s going to be telling us about the why. We’ll bring a couple other folks on to tell us about the how, and we’re going to have a really, really great show.
Tom Dorsey (01:12:37):
Sounds like you drank the Kool-Aid. You drank the Russ Crosby. Yeah,
Dustin Anaas (01:12:42):
Exactly. And who knows? I’m sure Adam will join the show somehow because that’s the thing now.
Tom Dorsey (01:12:46):
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
John Long (01:12:48):
I’ll be here.
Tom Dorsey (01:12:49):
You can’t have a show without all. Yeah, John
Dustin Anaas (01:12:50):
Will be here too. John will be here too. Yeah, we’ll just make it a big thing.
Tom Dorsey (01:12:55):
Yep. No, that’s fantastic. So same time, same place, right? Bookmark, if you’re registered and you signed up on the, you’re getting notifications now. So when it starts, get in here in the room, share your comments, share your thoughts and ideas. Gosh, jump on and we’ll unmute you and take over the show. And you might be the new host like Adam is.
John Long (01:13:22):
I don’t know. I think it’s going to be pretty hard to get Adam away from that.

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