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Episode Description

For decades, most auto repair shops made their money on fixing what ailed a vehicle. Mostly a reactionary and transactional approach to doing business. On this week’s episode of Digital Shop Talk Radio, we talk with Aden McDonnell of McDonnell’s ATS in Livingston, Montana who decided a few years ago to quit waiting for the business to come to him and take a more proactive approach to running his shop.

You don’t want to miss this episode as we are talking about how going digital can open new doors for your business by becoming more proactive in how you approach your customer base. We will also talk about the challenges being in a small town presents and how the Digital Shop can help move the needle regardless of location.

Episode Transcript

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

Tom Dorsey (00:01):
Good morning and good afternoon. Welcome to this week’s edition of The Digital Shop Talk Radio. I’m Tom Dorsey. I’m with Aden McDonnell from McDonald’s ATS in Livingston, Montana. And we’re going to be talking to you about how to go proactive and not reactive, leveraging your digital shop and your digital inspection program. And as a little extra gravy, how to be extremely, you had to stay competitive and how to run your business model in rural America because Aden’s from joining us from Livingston, Montana, we were just talking before the show started about how he carving out patch in his parking lot to stack snow so you know how rural he might be. Aden, welcome very much. Welcome to Digital Shop Talk Radio buddy.
Aden McDonnell (00:44):
Thanks for having me on guys.
Tom Dorsey (00:46):
Yeah, man, it’s our pleasure. So what’s the ATS? You guys are automatic transmission service. Is that your core business model?
Aden McDonnell (00:53):
That’s our core business model that we started with 17 years ago ago and over the last five years, we’re aggressively trying to bring in a different clientele rather than just fixed transmissions.
Tom Dorsey (01:08):
Yeah, good. And so how’s that go? So that’s perfect segue, right, is because we really want to talk about how with the digital technology and the digital inspection programs, you don’t have to kind of lean back and take what you can catch. You can actually get out there and be proactive. And so a perfect example of that is transitioning from a hundred percent automatic transmission or whatever your core specialty might be into a more rounded general service type business. How did you do it?
Aden McDonnell (01:41):
It is still a work in process, but it wasn’t until I went with AutoVitals that it was immediate results there. There’s growing pains anytime you tackle something like this and the only thing I can tell people that are thinking of doing this, it’s not instant gratification. It takes time if you think it’s going to happen in three, four weeks, no, I would tell people six, eight months before that thing starts even ticking. But the response from customers was literally immediate. We went from, let’s say a good example is a truck comes in, the shop needs a water pump. For the last 30 years of business, we did the water pump. It might’ve had ball joints falling off the thing, brake pads, metal to metal. We didn’t look at it.
It’s a double-sided sword there. You’re sending a customer down the road with issues, then you have the clientele that might give you a little bit of pushback that you’ve got that dealership mentality, oh, they’re just trying to upsell me. A lot has to take place at that front counter prepping people as to why we do this. We’re doing it for them. There’s a ton of footwork that has to take place at that front counter for it to become effective. But man, once we got people on board and buy-in from my employees from front to back, it’s been awesome. I get goosebumps still talking about
Tom Dorsey (03:11):
It. Yeah, that’s awesome buddy. Yeah, and you couldn’t have set it any better. You have to manage expectations at the drop. You have to bring your customers into your program. What is a digital shop? What does it mean for you? What’s your next step? Because you know what, it’s not just get the keys and then I’ll call you when I know something. You actually assign them tasks. They have stuff they need to do while they’re back at work or home. They need to open up the notifications. They need to take a look at the digital inspection on their phone. They need to watch the educational information. They need to communicate back to you. Questions. Really you get into a conversation where you’re starting to set up a game plan of getting everything done on that list, not just like you said, coming in for the water pump while the rear remains are leaking like a sieve and it’s just out the door.
And back in the day, right back in the seventies and eighties, you were the shop in town or you threw up a billboard and caught what you could catch. And like you said, it was the repair stuff and you didn’t expect anybody coming back. It’s a whole different ball of wax nowadays and with all the competition you guys got out there, you have to differentiate. Right. So tell us a little bit too, because digital shop in rural area, I was out not too long ago. I did a couple workshops through Montana and eastern, Washington State and Idaho and it was hard to get internet, man.
Aden McDonnell (04:37):
Yeah, yeah, man. That was a hurdle. We had kind of a weird situation when we first went to sign on with AutoVitals. You do the tests, the internet tests, and we passed. Everything was good to go and it was about three months into it, we started having a lot of dropout issues, ran new tests again, and I don’t even remember what the devices are that we had to buy, but a team that AutoVitals recommended came in. We got some globes throughout the shop now different internet got brought into the building. That was quite the feat to overcome. But once we got dialed there in the internet was good. Yeah, it’s awesome. But during that time, something funny happened. We had a good three, four months under our belt with AutoVitals. Now I didn’t have complete buy-in from anybody when I first did this. I’ve got two techs that have been with my family for over 20 years. They’re the lead guys and they’re at that age where new technology, I expected some fight back. Fast forward to, we’re into the system, we start losing internet. All of a sudden the pads aren’t working. The two guys that came to me first, man, how long until we get that new internet were my two lead guys because they missed the pads. Wow. Yeah. And as soon as that happened I was like, okay, we’re good. We’re good to go.
Tom Dorsey (06:03):
Wow. Yeah. That’s music to my ears because that’s what it is. They’ll catch a quick win. You just got to find out what’s valuable to your guys. Is it efficiency? Is it selling more recommendations and having the service advisor get more approvals and stuff so their hours are more whatever their hook is going to be. You find that and then you hit that first and then once you’ve got text body in, you’re coasting downhill buddy. The rest is up to you and the direction you want to take it. So let’s talk a little bit about, okay, so folks come in, they start to see the new digital inspections you’re putting out. They really like it. They start to tell their friends. I’m sure you’re picking up some new customers. What was the epiphany? What made you decide to go from just taking what you could catch to getting out there and going after folks? And I’m expecting the type of work you want to do and how’s that working out?
Aden McDonnell (06:58):
I guess what started it for us, my parents have been in the business since the sixties. I was born and raised in it. They had their own shop in the seventies and eighties and unfortunately economy, some things just the stars didn’t align. And my dad ended up going back to work for Ford Motor Company. So he was at a dealership. I got out of school, went into dealership. So all I knew was dealership. We were at that dealership for off the top of my head, I think it was 10, 12 years. My dad was there a little bit longer and the owner of the dealership was killed in a snow machine accident. At that time, his wife, who had never really been involved in dealership, thought she could drive that bus and you could see the riding on the wall. We were on a sink and ship. It was going down quick. My dad had a job offered to get into this current location into the transmission business. It was shortly thereafter, I followed about six months later, I followed a little bit of old school from him, a little bit of dealership. That’s kind of where we were at. But back in the nineties, dealerships, they weren’t really, they were fix-It shops. You went to ‘EM for warranty. That was it. That was
Tom Dorsey (08:15):
Aden McDonnell (08:16):
We had a tranny shop. People came to us for tranny’s and it was probably 12 years of sitting there beating our head against the wall wire. We’re always busy, but we weren’t making money. It was literally we bought ourselves a job retirement out of the question. You could tell if I was going to do this the rest of my life, I was going to work here until I died. We reached out to a t. I think most people that go to ATI, it’s a last ditch. The people that are going to ’em, they need help. I reached out to them. They’re another one that I get goosebumps about. It wasn’t very long in the system that you can see the writing on the wall that what they know will make you profitable. It’ll get you out of the business, but there’s lots of steps you got to follow. So
Tom Dorsey (09:11):
And you can’t fight it.
Aden McDonnell (09:12):
Well, you beat me through the punch because I’m
Tom Dorsey (09:14):
Aden McDonnell (09:15):
Beat me to the punch. For the first five years that I was in ATI, I picked and chose what was easy and it helped. It had its benefit. But picking and choosing what’s easy isn’t going to get you where you need to be. And I think I’m real fortunate in the fact that my 20 group, in my 20 group, two of the members are top 20 shops. In fact top 10 shops. So if you sit there and you watch what they’re doing, what are they doing different from you? It didn’t take long that I wanted to start aligning how we operate our business with what they’re doing. And the next step was AutoVitals.
Tom Dorsey (09:58):
My granddaddy used to always tell me, you taught me you want to be successful. Do what successful people do.
Aden McDonnell (10:02):
A hundred percent
Tom Dorsey (10:03):
Percent. And it’s so what you just said about how ATI is, you can go in there and you can pick and choose what is easy or is exciting you think. And instead of just adopting the whole plan and running it front to back and putting in the work and grinding, and it’s so much in parallel of how a lot of people come into AutoVitals is the see this digital inspection, smart flow X has so many things that it can do, but I’m going to pick on these little couple of things and I might get some initial boost out of it. Customers love it, right? And some text on and this and that and I’m seeing my ARO maybe increasing, but boy, I’ll tell you, once you embrace that whole process and consider that whole digital shop best practice, it’s night and day.
I don’t know if you know Joe Seaver. He came out to a conference last year and been with us five years, takes home a couple lessons that really put it together and make it click about editing and driving your motorist research time while they’re in there looking at those inspections. A month later he is up a hundred bucks on his ARO. A couple months later he is added another 75. He’s almost up 200 bucks and he was already cranking out 600. So he’s up around eight, 900 now and he’s been with us five years. And so it’s awesome to have you on Aden just because you can get some folks off the fence that are thinking I’m doing it right or I’m not going to attend that webinar, or I’m not going to reach out to my advisor and get the help or join in that Facebook forum and listen to what, like you said, what those experts are doing and follow what they’re doing and get those benefits two years, three years ahead of schedule than you would figuring it out on your own. Right?
Aden McDonnell (11:49):
Yep, yep. Exactly. Yeah. The trying to figure it out on your own. If you succeed and hit that 20 year mark, you’re one of the lucky ones. It’s not an easy business. And man, there’s some knowledgeable people out there. The people I wish I could have partnered with people like you 10 years ago because we probably wouldn’t be having this podcast because I’d be up elk hunting right now.
Tom Dorsey (12:17):
Aden McDonnell (12:21):
And the other thing I see about going to 20 groups and being involved with more shops and opening up the blinders a little bit, I think a majority of us out there are running on a 30-year-old business model. Man, things are changing and if you want to get it at the front of the pack ATI and AutoVitals.
Tom Dorsey (12:41):
Yeah, yeah. And that’s a great point about exactly doing that, be proactive. It’s that old saying, right, keep pounding your head against the wall and see if something changes. And when you’re looking at your metrics and you’re looking at your end of the year profit, the bottom line. If it ain’t moving or if it’s going the wrong way, it’s time to do exactly that. It’s be proactive. Get out there and just like Aidan said, do what the successful ones are doing. Fake it till you make it, even if you want to put it that way, if you have to, but try something different. You don’t have to marry it. They’re not going to weld it around your ankle. Just measure. I mean I think that’s the most important thing is to know where you’re starting from. And then once you have the basics down, see where that’s taken you. Once you’ve gotten into that coasting mode and the team is cranking it out and they’ve got a smart process, then look at where you’re at from your metrics perspective then and make that comparison. If your ROI is there, just turn the throttle up.
Aden McDonnell (13:47):
Yeah, exactly. Exactly.
Tom Dorsey (13:51):
So you talked to us a little bit about the techs and especially, which is great. I mean I guarantee you everybody out here listening wishes their A techs came to ’em and said, man, we need the tablets working. How about the front? How about the front counter? How did that transition go?
Aden McDonnell (14:09):
The front counter, little bit younger team, but the front counter is more involved with where my goals or where I want to take this company, they’re more involved with that because they’re next to me day in and day out. So coming back from 20 groups, every time we come back from a 20 group, we have all these ideas we’re going to implement. Well, I bucked the system on the AutoVitals for two years. I mean, I went in, I looked at you guys, I checked it out. No, it’ll never work up here. Not our clientele. It’s not our clientele. But again, pick an easy route, bucking the system. I don’t know. I think there’s times where we just set ourselves up for failure because we want, it’s the easy way. I went to a 20 group, came back from, was it 20 group or super conference? I came back from it and I made the phone call that Monday, got set up, did the test and everything, and we were a digital shop. Within three weeks of that meeting we were up and going, wow. So just commit. There is absolutely no resentment, no second guessing doing this. It’s night and day. It changed our shop.
Tom Dorsey (15:23):
Yeah, so that’s good. So you buy-in, like you said, shared the vision and it sounds like you have a really strong culture in your shop, Aden, where you’ve got young minds that you’re getting to mold and kind of mentor into what is, and it’s extremely smart because you see the trend where it’s going. If you’re going to stay competitive, you see the margin shrinking and shrinking. So if you’re going to stay competitive in what you’ve been doing for the last 30 years, then yeah, sure you’ve got to adapt and you can’t have a crew that’s going to fight you. And so the best way to do that is show them where are you plan on going and what is the benefit and value. As long as they can buy into benefits and values, then you’re off to the races. Then it’s just communication from that point, what’s the expectation, what’s your goal? And then weekly check-ins or daily check-ins out, whatever works best in your operation to make sure that A, they’re still committed to the goal and they’re moving towards it in the right direction. So how’s that part of it working with the Adenn, are you using a business control panel in your staff meetings, working with AutoVitals in there to set strong goals and keep moving that bar up every time you achieve them?
Aden McDonnell (16:41):
Yes. And working with AutoVitals, we have our coaches with ATI and I have a coach with AutoVitals. And
At first when we first went AutoVitals, I was more focused on just getting the inspections, getting the info to the customer. That was kind of the first phase of AutoVitals. Once that started working well, then we got more aggressive with the coach meetings and looking at the reports. The reports will blow your mind. You can pinpoint exactly how much time. One of the real eye openers for me was using the pads to punch. You can see how much downtime there is between jobs. You can see how much downtime there is waiting on parts. So you can really start holding everybody accountable front to rear instead of just looking at productivity numbers at the end of the week or at the end of the month. You can dissect it up. And until five, six months ago, I never even went into those reports. Now I’m into those reports about every other day. It’s mind blowing the amount of info that’s in those reports and it’s growing every time there’s an update.
Tom Dorsey (17:52):
Yeah, yeah, exactly. Data is power and that’s really what we’re all about. We’re about taking data and providing you tools that make you a lot more efficient and profitable. It’s really as simple as that. Today we see the opportunities. Digital inspections tomorrow might be flying unicorns. Who knows? Who knows. But the thing is, the data will tell us and then we’ll be prepared for it and we’ll build that into the tool and then provide that to you guys so you stay competitive as independent aftermarket. And so that brings up a great point because when not only can you see and dissect that data, but you can also hold the people accountable. And so you kind of mentioned it a little bit. You see your vendor performance as well when your parts get ordered, when they get delivered, how are they performing as a service to your business as well? Not just internally?
Aden McDonnell (18:47):
Exactly. Yeah, you talk about, I see it in vendors. So I would have to say the single biggest thing, and here it was kind of funny here about three, four weeks ago. The bookkeeper brings in a summary report for me and we look at ’em quite a bit and she’s like, man, I’m sure concerned about something. I was like, what’s that? And she’s like, well, our parts sales are dropping. And I’m like, okay, well let me look at it real quick. So I look at it and the total number may have dropped, but the margin every month is climbing. And the reason why is because my shop is getting full of the gravy, the maintenance rather than the engine jobs and the turbos and the injectors, those types of jobs. True, the ticket might be $3,000, but would you rather have $3,000 at 15% margin or $2,000 at 55% margin? Yep. Okay. So it’s been slow, but now all of a sudden those numbers are really starting to change. And if you walk out into my lot right now, it’s more sea work than it is a work.
Tom Dorsey (20:01):
Aden McDonnell (20:02):
And on that old business model, what did we all go for a work, the six hour, the 10 hour, the 12 hour jobs. Yeah, the labor margin’s, good parts, margin’s bad. Start finding that balance and the AutoVitals is what really kicked us into finding that work mix balance. So she looked at that big number we have for years. Oh no, something’s wrong. But if you dissect it and go into your reports, the margin’s climbing, there’s actually more profit, even though the numbers are less that I’m excited about.
Tom Dorsey (20:36):
Yeah, that’s fantastic, boy, because I guarantee you there’s a whole bunch of people out there going, how do I do that? I want that. Right? Because that’s the name of the game is you’ve got to, like you said it with the gravy, you got to have gravy on them. Taters.
Aden McDonnell (20:50):
And that gravy’s been under our nose for years.
Tom Dorsey (20:53):
Aden McDonnell (20:53):
We never went for it. It went down to the street.
Tom Dorsey (20:57):
I meant something. Yeah. Yeah. I tell people when you first get started on this thing, you’re going to sell more boots and bushings and it’s just stuff that you’ve never really even thought to talk about in the past. Somebody will pick it out of a picture and be like, that doesn’t look right. Fix.
Aden McDonnell (21:12):
Tom Dorsey (21:13):
Fix it.
Aden McDonnell (21:14):
And that bushing has 50% margin.
Tom Dorsey (21:17):
Aden McDonnell (21:18):
Not 15.
Tom Dorsey (21:20):
And then exactly, you can catch the volume, then you can just crank up that throttle and you start running more of that gravy through, and then you take advantage of that margin at a higher level. When you’re on those A jobs, stuff happens, right? Oops, thought I was going to have that payback, but it’s tied up all day or whatever, and you lose out on, like you said, those high margin type jobs. And so what a great epiphany, what a great ability to transition over to that because then now you can start to set levels and plan out your work and see what’s going to happen next, next quarter, next year. And then at the same time, you can start planning all those elk hunting trips and all that good stuff.
Aden McDonnell (22:02):
Exactly. Makes
Tom Dorsey (22:03):
It easy. And that’s what being proactive is all about in your shop instead of reactive. Reactive says you got to wait to whoever was ringing on the phone and you don’t want to do that. It’s all right there in your data and it’s all right there in that process. And Aden couldn’t set it any better, is you set it at the drop, you get the expectations set up at the drop, you have a story. Yeah, I found 25 things and it’s a $5,000 ticket, but here’s what we’re going to do today and I’m going to send you out this reminders with this information and here’s what we’re going to do in a couple months and three, six months, whatever it is. And then gosh, all of a sudden, guess what? You’ve just built in all that high margin stuff right into the plan and they’re committed to it. It’s one of those cool things that internet’s cursing a blessing, but one of the things that’s happened is we get conditioned to what our phone tells us is, oh, it’s time to update. It’s time to do this. It’s time to go get your oil changed. It’s time to go get that filters and those fluids flushed or whatever it might be. They fall right into line as long as you just get a plan and tell ’em what to do and then just remind ’em right off of that phone.
Aden McDonnell (23:11):
Yep, exactly.
Tom Dorsey (23:12):
So how’s that working? So then as you’re starting to build up that momentum in the maintenance work, are you seeing a big increase through your CRM program? Are you getting exit scheduling at pickup? How’s that working for you from a process perspective?
Aden McDonnell (23:28):
So that’s all part of the, don’t expect this to happen overnight. It is a process. So we are just probably in the last two months, starting to work on the exit scheduling. The nice thing about not, I was adamant about not forcing the system onto the shop at once.
Let’s just get good at certain areas. Once that’s streamlined, move to the next area once that’s, and so on. We are down now to, we’ve got a good two years under our belt with AutoVitals. Now the customers, when they come in, it is funny. Even my old timers, they’re coming in now, you’re going to get that inspection sent to my phone. And two years ago, I never would’ve thought in a million years they would be asking for it. I still thought we’d be trying to force it down their neck. And now if it doesn’t prompt on their phone, they’re asking, well, didn’t you do it this time? Yeah, they’re already getting trained to it. And the new customers that walk in, they’re a piece of cake because that’s how we do it.
Tom Dorsey (24:29):
Exactly, exactly. There’s funny, Glenn Hayward sent us a little security camera shot. The lady, she’s probably sixty five, sixty six years old, has her smartphone out in front of the service writer going over a digital inspection and getting the guy because he didn’t mention something, right? Yep. Like you said, three years ago, and I guarantee there’s folks out there listening to us right now in their shop. This is happening as you’re still cherry picking or you have a preconception. I’m not going to ask that guy for his email or his cell phone. He probably doesn’t even have a cell phone. He is an old guy. He doesn’t want to be bothered. That’s just not the case anymore. They’re just as technology driven as the rest of us. And just like you heard, Aden, you’d be surprised once they’re accustomed to something, matter of fact, they’re usually the ones that are most vocal. You’re not giving me what I can.
Aden McDonnell (25:23):
Yeah. Now they’ll hold my front end accountable for Where is that? Where’s that inspection? You did it, didn’t you? Yeah. It eventually starts working. It just all the pieces start coming together,
Tom Dorsey (25:37):
Stay on the bike and keep pedaling. You’ll stop falling down.
Aden McDonnell (25:40):
Another thing that probably in the last six months is just starting to happen. We’ve got great clientele. They love us. They keep coming back. We’ve been here for a long time, but I couldn’t get reviews out of ’em. Now all of a sudden my phone is going off every other day, two to three reviews. I think we’re, now, I’d have to go back to our Google page. We’re at 85 star reviews all within. I would say a majority of those are within the last six months.
Tom Dorsey (26:09):
Yeah, that’s fantastic.
Aden McDonnell (26:11):
We changed nothing. It’s just part of the whole system starting to work together. We’re starting to hit on all eight cylinders.
Tom Dorsey (26:20):
And here’s a great tip, right? Is that all you got to say at the pickup is say, Hey, did you like that digital inspection? Oh, that was awesome. You mind telling your friends? I’m going to send you out a thank you email and in there if you could got time, go ahead and click that button and tell your friends, right? Yep. Tell folks about it. Oh, no problem. Because here’s another conditioning that’s happened through the internet is that we all rely on reviews. We go on Amazon and buy stuff too, and we look at the reviews. And so if reviews become so important from a user’s perspective, well then guess how do those reviews get there? Well, I need to leave them, and so I have to give back to get more out of it. The more information that goes in, the more information is available to me to take out. And so that whole concept of spam email and people aren’t going to do a review or it’s invasive or bothering them, that’s all out the window. Yeah, you got to do is ask or sometimes you don’t have to tell that, Hey, fake you email’s going to come in about a day or whenever it comes out and then take a look at that. And
Aden McDonnell (27:25):
If that’s all part of that, that front end, the front end has to have a hundred percent buy-in before the rest of the shop because they have a lot more steps, a lot more things to play with. And if it’s a first time customer, you got to take that time with that customer and educate them on, we’re different. This is how we operate. This is what you can expect after you pick up the vehicle, we aren’t done. You’re going to get a follow-up call. You’re going to get it. Yeah. It starts working. If you don’t buck the system,
Tom Dorsey (27:57):
If you don’t buck the system, you follow each of those steps. That’s why we break it down into those touch points. Here’s what we’re going to do even before the drop, we’re going to send out that appointment confirmation, start the conversation. Here’s what we’re going to do at the drop, here’s what we’re going to do and inspect and approval and all of those different steps and the work step. And once you, like you said, put it all together and don’t bucket. So it’s amazing. It works. You know why? Well, because we’ve got thousands of shops that we’ve analyzed and when they do those things, we know it works. And so we just chain ’em all together and make it a best practice. And that’s where folks like you, Aden and everybody else who’s out there, either whether you’re getting started or you’re learning stuff new because we don’t know everything. We have to get the feedback from you all so that we can see what’s working, what’s not working, approve what’s working and change what’s not working and make it the best tool for you. Once we have that, it’s the same as your reviews. Once we get your feedback, we make it better for you.
Aden McDonnell (28:56):
Yep, exactly. Exactly.
Tom Dorsey (28:58):
And so ultimately, get on the Facebook forum, come on in the show, share the show, get involved because as a group, the Facebook forum is just incredible. The amount of people that are on there, they respond faster than we do. AutoVitals person’s supposed to respond in 10 minutes, and most of the time there’s a shop owner or four that respond faster than we do. And I mean, get right to the nuts and bolts. And so as you learn these things, as you get out there and try these new processes and working with the public and working with your customer and working with your staff and share that stuff because it’s just going to help everybody else get better. And then when you get better, then you get good ideas coming back in and then the product gets better.
Aden McDonnell (29:53):
If there’s people watching this right now that are using AutoVitals and they are not part of that Facebook page, you need to do it. I constantly get, my front end guys will approach me about an issue or a problem. Well get on that Facebook page, you’re going to get an answer. I mean fast, not dissing your guys’s tech support, but that forum is fast and they’re smart people on there.
Tom Dorsey (30:19):
The tech support guys are on there too. And that’s what we did it for is because we figured, you know what? We need the tech support guys to focus on supporting the tech, so what’s a faster way? And so it took some time and there’s a lot of arm twisting, but now it’s just like you said, it’s firing on eight cylinders.
Aden McDonnell (30:39):
Oh yeah. That’s an awesome, it’s awesome that thing’s full of info.
Tom Dorsey (30:43):
Yeah, and that’s good point. And another great point is, and write this down, because everything that Aden’s talking about getting involved with the ones that have been there before you through the Facebook forum, taking a look at our best practice documentation that we have on Help AutoVitals, there’s videos to help your crew. There’s process documents to help you move from paper-based to paperless. All the touch points are broken down with best practices in there. And it, it’s like you said, instead of trying to pick and choose what feels good or what you think is good, get in there and look at the big picture, put it in and just take it in baby steps. Implement each of those dynamics to the basic level. Get good at that and move it up to the intermediate level. Move it up to the advanced level where you’re really creative in your marketing campaigns and how you’re structuring your integration between the point of sale and the digital inspection program, how the techs are building out inspections, multiple inspections for solution oriented work because all that gets you more efficient and more productive, and that’s just more money in the pocket.
So what’s next? What’s next? The big goal in this evolution
Aden McDonnell (32:04):
For me, and I’ve got a word this, right, because our reputation was built on big jobs, custom jobs, transmission repairs, and to my root, that’s still who I am, but that’s not going to get me in retirement. I’ll never forget that day when Dustin called. I was like, oh man, this is AutoVitals and they want me to talk on this show. And right out of the gate he was so I heard you do some real custom cool stuff up there. And I was like, wow, that’s not why I wanted you to call me.
I’m more proud of where we’re going with the business. There’s so many facets to it, right down to those inspections are covering my butt the whole, well, ever since you did this to my car. Well, the inspection, not all the time, but most of the time we’ll cover you on stuff like that. Or the customer that you haven’t seen in six months comes in and man, I can’t believe that water pump’s leaking. Well, Dorothy, when it was in here six months ago, we kind of warned you about that and it wasn’t a priority that day, but we were setting you up the budget for it. Everything just starts to happening naturally. And anymore on my front end, let’s say we have an inspection come in, the shop comes out at $4,000, what the estimate is now, normally that would be a bomb drop. It also kind of triggers that customer into, I knew it. All they’re going to do is try selling me a bunch of stuff. Once they see that inspection with the good, okay, bad, you can then align yourself to we’re here for you. Not all this needs to be done today. Yep.
Let’s start prioritizing what we need to take care of now and start helping you budget for further down the road. Guess what just happened? That customer thinks you’re on their side.
Tom Dorsey (34:03):
Aden McDonnell (34:04):
The whole, oh, they were going to drop the bomb and upsell me. Just went out the door and you’ve aligned yourself with the customer.
Tom Dorsey (34:11):
Yep. Now it’s perfect. You can see it happen, right? The walls come down, they kind of go, ah, gosh, you can’t argue with that big picture’s. There’s day. So now it’s like, gee, gosh, thank you for telling me. Thank you for giving me options, which you have that You got somebody’s trust forever. Don’t screw it up after that. Right?
Aden McDonnell (34:32):
Exactly. Exactly. Yep. A hundred percent. A
Tom Dorsey (34:36):
Hundred percent. And the way that you don’t blow it is you have to then continue to follow the process. The reminders have to go out with the same message you gave them at approval on last inspection and that expectation that you set at the pickup and now the CRM is telling ’em, Hey, remember, just like you said, we are getting the budget for the water pump. Well, it’s time. And then bing respond in five minutes with approved appointment request. Right,
Aden McDonnell (35:02):
Exactly. And there’s no sticker shot because you were helping them get to that point.
Tom Dorsey (35:08):
Yeah, yeah, exactly. Never go anywhere else.
Aden McDonnell (35:11):
Yeah. And I was sitting here, my mom’s still my business partner here, and I was sitting here just talking to her about some things this morning and one of the things I’d say, if there’s a goal for me, and it’s never going to be a perfect world, but I would seriously take offense to one of my repeat customers driving down the road and losing a serpentine belt or a wheel bearing or a brake pad. If that happens, we have failed that customer. We have failed that customer. And that’s that whole mindset of getting away from a fix it shop to a preventative shop whose goals are to keep that customer’s vehicle on the road.
Tom Dorsey (35:56):
Yes. As long as you can deliver that, then they keep on coming back. They keep
Aden McDonnell (36:00):
On coming
Tom Dorsey (36:00):
Back. Why wouldn’t they? You know what? Here’s the funny thing too, is that those promos that your competition starts running, they save 50 bucks or whatever, it’s out the window because I have this inspection sheet that’s got everything I need to know. That’s so much more valuable than 50 bucks. You got to up your game to 250, 500. Do you want me to try to go somewhere else and take a risk because that’s what it becomes going somewhere else is a risk because they don’t have what you’re able to deliver.
Aden McDonnell (36:27):
Exactly. Exactly.
Tom Dorsey (36:30):
Wade, man, I know we got to cut. It was awesome having you on the show. I know. Thank
Aden McDonnell (36:34):
You guys for having
Tom Dorsey (36:35):
Me. I know peoples, you got ’em thinking out there because that was fantastic. There’s a lot of people that went through what you went through and don’t commit.
Aden McDonnell (36:49):
Tom Dorsey (36:49):
Just don’t stay in the saddle long enough. And I think here, what we talked about here today is going to help a lot of folks reconsider. It’s going to help a lot of folks stick it out. Right, exactly. And like I said, talk to AutoVitals. Talk to ATI, right? Reach out to Aden and he can introduce you to folks if that’s something that you’re looking at doing. I know Kim Hickey. Kim’s your coach, isn’t she?
Aden McDonnell (37:15):
She’s my 20 group moderator. Oh
Tom Dorsey (37:18):
Yeah, she’s your moderator. Yeah, we got great folks over there.
Aden McDonnell (37:21):
Yeah, you partner with the best, partner with the best.
Tom Dorsey (37:26):
Just get her done. Commit, get it done, make it a new New Year’s coming 2020 vision. Get out there and turn over a new leaf and see where it’ll take you. Sky’s the limit once you get involved in this and Aden’s living proof and there’s a bunch of folks on Facebook waiting to talk to you, that’ll tell you the same. So looking forward to having you back on too, buddy. Yeah, we got to check in with you in a couple months and see how that’s going and really want to talk. Maybe next time we have you on, we can talk some specific numbers and metrics and things like that and how ATI’s benefiting you, how AutoVitals is benefiting you, digital shop and see if we’re not going to see the beginning of a franchise that sweeps the nation here.
Aden McDonnell (38:08):
Exactly. That’s awesome.
Tom Dorsey (38:11):
Alright, until next week, tune in. Same time, same place. Wednesday 10:00 AM Pacific, 1:00 PM Eastern, and we’re going to be having the follow up to our case study, right? So if you’ve been following along, we’ve been having the case study going on with Jamie and Bill Connor’s going to be on and Matt Fowler and we’re going to be talking about, and hey Dustin, are we going to be getting Doug in also? Is Doug going to be on next week, Doug Brackett?
Dustin Anaas (38:36):
Doug’s been a little bit hard to tie down since he had a European vacation after his accident, after his hand. Yeah. Yeah. Doug’s got a lot of stuff going on. We’ll see
Tom Dorsey (38:46):
What a guy chop my hand off. Go to Paris. I love go-getters, man. Well anyway, we’re going to be getting a follow-up on the case study. Remember we were talking about how to matter of fact, Aden, you need to tune in because we’re going to be talking next week. See the results of implementing that pickup strategy, going for the exit schedule at pickup. Yeah. Perfect. Perfect. Yep. So until then, thanks for watching. I know we helped you if you just commit and implement and until next Wednesday, go out there and make some money. Thanks again. Aden you were awesome buddy. Thank you. Thank you guys.

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