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Many successful shop owners with a proven process in one location have started the journey as multi-location owners. Repeating success from one to many locations requires several skill sets and KPIs. Join Bill, Uwe, and Dave in discussing Dave’s journey to multi-location ownership.

Episode Transcript

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

Bill Connor (00:06):
So good morning, good afternoon. I’m Bill Connor and you reached the Digital Shop Talk Radio where we gathered together on Wednesdays at 12 o’clock central to go ahead and share with our panelists some things that are going on in the industry today. I’m here with Dave Murphy, owner of Murphy’s Autocare, two locations and maybe some more here coming on soon. And AutoVitals founder Uwe Kleinschmidt. Join us today as we discuss about successful shop owners that already have proven processes in one location, starting the journey as multis shop owners. So repeating the success of one shop and multiplying it into many locations. It requires a skillset and using KPIs or key performance indicators to keep on target. So join Dave in discussing his journey to the multis shop, location ownership, and as always, teamwork is required in the shop provide to provide great results. You’ll take away some tips today about repeating the success of one location to more location and as always, you’d learn from our fine panelists who operate shops just like yours. So if you wouldn’t mind, go ahead and get us started here and we’ll see where this leads us.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (01:17):
Thank you. Thank you Dave, for coming on. It has been a while.
Dave Murphy (01:22):
My pleasure. Pleasure. Really honored to be here with both of you guys. Thank you for asking.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (01:28):
Of course. And we would really love you to talk a little bit about when you decided to go multi and what you have learned through that journey. But before we do that, you have been a very successful single location owner, ATI top shop. And so what made you not rest and think if I can do that with one location, I can do that with more.
Dave Murphy (02:14):
Great question. So I guess I’ll start off with, I’ve had this desire, so our business in one location is turning 30 this year and we just went to a second location just a year and five months ago roughly. But two things I would say being a member of ATI mastermind group for so many years really helped us, Jan and I and our team at that point in time really hone the business to get it to where we felt like we were almost at capacity. And then I want to say that was in back in 2014 or so, 2015, we then partnered with AutoVitals and I think you would hear out of anybody going to a digital inspection process and then all of the components that bring it together. It is been an industry game changer. I don’t know in all my time of doing this for 40 years if I’ve ever seen anything bring it together so well.
So those two things along with back to what we both felt like we were kind of at capacity, could we add some other offerings to one? Yeah, we could. But the machine was running properly, it really was running well. Our KPIs, our gross profit, our net profit, all of these things were where they needed to be for year after year after year. And the growth was coming there. I just had this feeling that, gosh, it’s time. It’s really just time for us to take this and do it over. If we didn’t have systems in place, we didn’t have processes, it would’ve not been such an easy move. It wouldn’t have been easy. It’s not easy to start with, trust me, don’t let me mislead anybody. You can plan and plan and plan and I made a bunch of notes about this, but there’s always the unexpected that happen.
But when you have plans that are a backup plan for a backup plan, for a backup plan, you’re prepared better and the processes that go right along with it. So I think that would really be it. That would be the turning point for us to say both Jan and I at that time, Brian really our son, Brian’s also an owner and a partner in the company at that point in time, he was not in the position to be a part of that decision making. And then we started looking for locations because for us, well growth for anybody can come a lot of ways. You can just, as we talked about, enhance the business you have add more divisions, do those things. You can go out and you can do a startup, you can build another location, you can go through that process and maybe that’s a good fit for some. But right now it’s so rich within opportunities for folks to acquire another ongoing business and ongoing, those businesses that are ready to be acquired, they’re in all different states, different levels of where they’re at. But the opportunity if you can see it and you have those systems and processes is very large for people. I feel like
Uwe Kleinschmidt (05:18):
Was there peer pressure or, I mean it’s maybe too strong a world, but did you see developments in the mastermind group talking about quite a bit more often in the last three years than maybe before?
Dave Murphy (05:34):
I would say. And peer pressure is not a harsh word or heavy word. Not at all. We’ve always been that group that just pushes, pushes, push, pushes, right?
Uwe Kleinschmidt (05:43):
Very good.
Dave Murphy (05:44):
And we’ve had within our membership, a couple of owners that were always multis shops anyways. And one of ’em was what I consider a large multis shop. They were already at six stores. And so we always got that taste of when we met what their successes and their failures and all those things were. But I think at the end of the day, every time we would meet with someone like that, especially for Jan and I, we knew that you can multiply your success if you can just multiply the locations.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (06:21):
Very cool.
Dave Murphy (06:23):
It’s pretty simple math to be honest with you, but making all that work in concert, that’s where the magic is. But the big piece of that is having the right systems.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (06:37):
And would you agree with the statement that the pandemic started segmenting the market in a more
Dave Murphy (06:48):
Uwe Kleinschmidt (06:51):
You said the market is ripe, right? And so for us it looked like there were really three distinct groups. The ones who said, oh God, what’s going to happen to me? Can I retire now or sell right? And the next group furloughing tax or put everything on the back burner and just wait and see. And the third group saying, dang, we didn’t expect that, but let’s use it as an opportunity to hone our process and skills and tools. Is that what you’re referring to when the market is
Dave Murphy (07:34):
Right? Absolutely. And if I look back historically and I look at where we were going, industrywide, countrywide 20 18, 20 19, I mean it was just straight up. Everything was rocking and rolling pandemic hits takes the wind out of most people’s sails, some people’s permanently, you know what I mean? And I don’t mean it that way from a health perspective, but I just mean, and when you couple that with, I believe the average age of a shop owner, independent shop owner in North America right now is roughly late fifties to mid sixties. They’ve already had a 30 year run, 40 year run. I think when you put that together with where the economy went, or at least where it would look like it was going to go, when you look into the first six months of the pandemic, there was so much uncertainty that started probably the foundation falling for many of them. But also I believe it just incentivized those that saw that opportunity. And we all, everybody survived the pandemics in the most part. Many people thrived through the pandemic and I believe as that occurred and they built capital and they can see what’s happening with the shops in their hometown or their community or whatever it is going on. I think it’s just a natural thing to happen. Hopefully it was a good arrangement for everybody, but it wasn’t our case.
And I’ll have to tell you, the pandemic was really probably the final couple nails in the coffin for the decision to be made to sell the second location we bought. Because there were no systems in place, there was no plan, no strategic plan, there never had been. And so again, the timing was right.
Bill Connor (09:22):
Doesn’t it make more sense to go ahead and find that opportunity that has potential than it does to go ahead and try and seek out and buy an operation that’s being run perfectly?
Dave Murphy (09:34):
I would agree totally. Right? Because if you have, back to our point about the systems and processes, if you have those and you can implement those, it doesn’t matter if those are already there or not, I wouldn’t say it’s not a good idea to buy a business already running well, but let’s face it, unless it runs exactly the way an individual’s successful business runs, you’re going to change it anyways. So yeah, absolutely Bill. I would say it takes that ability to see the opportunity
Uwe Kleinschmidt (10:04):
And every shop is different. That’s probably the thing I’m have been told millions of times
Dave Murphy (10:16):
Or that won’t work here Uwe.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (10:19):
Dave Murphy (10:22):
Yeah, I used to hear that a lot.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (10:25):
So how did it work then with you and specifically Jen and you had the moment of it said, now we’re going to do it, and then you started looking or
Dave Murphy (10:38):
No, I had
Uwe Kleinschmidt (10:39):
Walk us through it.
Dave Murphy (10:41):
Okay. So like I said, back in probably in 20 15, 20 16, I started developing relationships, whether local shop owners and just being prepared, testing the market, testing them and where they’re at. So I had been working honestly with three different shop owners for a while, but one specifically, the one we purchased, it had been a four year dance journey, date fest, whatever you want to call it. And it got hot. It went hot and went cold several times. And I think that’s just the nature of an acquisition. And like you said, every shop is different, every deal, every acquisition is different. I haven’t talked to anybody yet that’s acquiring that says, oh yeah, everyone of ’em went down exactly the same way. It just doesn’t happen that way because you have people, you have personalities, you have their dreams, their desires, whatever it is, and you got to get to the table and work it all out. So it’s different. It changes. But yeah, that’s when
Bill Connor (11:47):
You think of someone, one of their children, they place a different value on it then you might, right?
Dave Murphy (11:52):
Exactly. So there’s that time it takes it times for people to get reality. I don’t know how else to say it, but the pandemic gave a lot of people reality in a lot of ways. I think all of us it did. But you’re so right, bill. That’s true. And every situation is different. It is just different. And we’re currently right now looking at, I’ll say very softly some other future moves. And my belief is this, is that if a person is just going to go one day, their neighbor calls and says, Hey, I think I want to sell my shop. Okay, you can do it that way. But I think if you need to be very proactive about this, if your strategic plan is to grow for whatever the reasons are you want to grow. So we’re always looking for great staff. We need to be always looking for great locations if that is in fact our intent.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (12:54):
So what makes a great location? Do you have a top five list?
Dave Murphy (13:01):
I do. I have a checklist. For me, what I’m looking for is quite honestly the income level, the density of population. I’m also looking to see how maybe a potential shop already goes to market or went to market because there may be a much bigger opportunity there if they, like many shops are not doing anything. Case in point, the shop we bought had sort of a website, Google, I’m not sure they could spell it or cared about it. And so those to me were opportunities, big opportunities, you know me and not everybody listening knows me, but the marketing piece is where my focus is always at and I love that part of it. So I’ve had to be a little more disciplined also about the finances. I’m a student of all the numbers of our business and I really enjoy that. And that’s also an area where helping, I really needed to grow.
I dunno how else to say it for me in my lifetime at times I hit these plateaus and when I walk into the plateau, I’m really comfortable. I like that good. After I’m there a while I’m going, oh, I’m not feeling very useful here or purposeful. So that’s part of probably what ignites me to take the next step to keep moving and going into a second location. Do I think I know everything? I kept telling myself, I think I got this. I learned a lot of things about myself about how much more I could push myself and mentally and physically. So those are all things that were good for me and maybe everybody doesn’t want to do that, but I still would encourage people, if you have that inclination to grow, go do it.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (15:02):
Shop owner, if things are going too smoothly, you get nervous and you got to go do something else. But you guys just assume shop owners get bored, right? In order. And maybe that’s the wrong word, but I use it on purpose because you must have put a lot in place to make yourself obsolete for the day-to-day operation. And if that is not the case, thinking about another location can just multiply the problems instead of the success. Right.
Dave Murphy (15:41):
Great, great point.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (15:43):
So talk to us how, when did that start? When did you and Jen said, we have to build a running machine and if we get hit by the bus, the machine keeps running?
Dave Murphy (15:58):
Great question. So that started 15, 16 years ago. I’m going to guess. Wow. Actually we lost a friend, a mastermind friend, suddenly to death and an accident. And that really, really rattled us
Because of what you said right there. And that played a huge part by having, putting first of all an emergency succession plan in play and then building out a succession plan. And I got to say, and that’s here in my list of things that the checklist you got to have if you’re going to go into more locations is you have to have that in place because the more locations you have, you can’t be at all of them. You can’t be the savior, the fix it all, the answer, man. You got to put that on everybody else’s capable shoulders, let them do it and let them see where they go. But yeah, that was a key piece for us to get to where airplanes crash stuff happens. People don’t come home and it’s reality. You got to face it and you got to have again, a plan and another plan for that backup, as I call it. My wife has a saying kind of, she’s reminded me, she’ll say there’s a reason for the alphabet because each one of those letters should be another plan to back up the one before
Uwe Kleinschmidt (17:20):
26 of them.
Dave Murphy (17:22):
Yeah, exactly. And I don’t know if that’s six because she’s married to me or what, but that could be something she developed. It’s plan, plan, plan, plan, plan. I can’t stress it enough. And I’m not good at planning, I don’t like it. But the more you do something, the better get at it. But I know people that buy shops with no plan and you guys probably have met ’em too. And it is hard to watch. It’s very hard to watch. Especially you think about all the things that have to be in place, which we can talk about it. It’s not just financials. It’s not just staffing. It’s not just marketing. Are you ready for this?
Bill Connor (18:11):
So when shop owners, they get to the point where they know they can educate their staff, delegate and hold them accountable, how do you go ahead and go about making yourself the type of person that can go ahead and get out of the way and not try and jump in there and solve all their problems?
Dave Murphy (18:29):
What can I say that is very hard to do that I think this is a great point to bring up, bill, but you have to make sure you’re surrounding yourself with people that you trust and you’re willing to let them fail. And that’s a hard thing for a leader to let other people fail so that they can grow. And that’s something that as we go through our succession plan and we’re just about to honestly wrap that up and as our son takes things totally over, I still have to really check it with me now and then because it is just a natural thing to run in and go, no, no, no, you can see the train wreck coming, right? I mean you think, but it’s okay. Let it get a little wild, let it get off the tracks maybe, but be there for the support. And that’s the only way I’ve been able to do it is to constantly communicate, but get out of the way and I still need to get out of the way a little more sometimes.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (19:41):
And doing that within your family and that adds another dimension of what’s the world potential emotional tension. And so when did Brian say I want to run the shop? How old was he or how did that, was it an overnight decision or did he let me go somewhere else easier to work and then came back? Or how did that go about?
Dave Murphy (20:15):
He actually said, which is almost 20 years ago, he’s been with the company, he’s a shy of 20 when he started with us, quite honestly learning to be a technician, he said, then he said, mom and dad, my dream is to carry on the family tradition to take over the business. I really, really want to see a second generation and I want to prove that I can be successful at it. And he didn’t say it in all those words or that articulately, but that has been his burning desire, his dream to do it. And he’s had to wear all the hats through the company. Some he really didn’t like, but that’s the only way you’re going to get to where you get to be in charge and run it and own it. And it’s been, I’ll say what a 19 year journey for him. I think he’s been with his 19 years. So that’s for him. I’m very proud of him to say that that’s where, and he’s fired up, he’s got the energy that I’m kind of losing. I’d say the timing is right, it’s just crossing.
Bill Connor (21:22):
So now that you’ve watched him through this career path, can you use that same process and another young person that comes in and wants to go ahead and maybe go through the whole system and run another one of your operations? Can you duplicate that?
Dave Murphy (21:36):
Absolutely. And I do believe that and with the processes we have in writing, just from the simple basics bill of making sure you’re trained in every position so that you understand that and then so that you train the next person out or coming in when you go out, I believe that’s what has built it for us and we’re constantly refining those processes because a lot of it changes. But yes, I believe it’s very duplicatable and for him, he’s going to have to have a very good second in command to get to where he would like to get to with the locations because
Bill Connor (22:19):
He’s already used to going ahead and training his replacement and having no fear that he’s going to train himself out of a job because you’re thinking about growth and expansion and the rest of your team has actually been shared that same vision I would assume
Dave Murphy (22:32):
They have. And they understand that they’re not training their self out of a job either. You know what I mean? To that point. That’s a very good point you make. So they know that they have security, especially as long as we take the trajectory of growth and that’s where we’re headed.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (22:51):
But do you make it sound like a piece of cake and can you share, I assume there was some zigzagging going on until you found the right path. And so for example, staff members to realize that they’re not training themselves out of a job, I think is a huge light bulb for everybody involved. How did you make that happen?
Dave Murphy (23:27):
Well, there was, I’ll go back to the term, a lot of zigzagging there because people become very insecure when they so constant conversations. We are very big believers in one-on-ones, but also daily interaction with people so that they understand that we understand the mistakes will be made as long as we continue to communicate, we can get through that. But to me it seemed pretty easy, to be honest with you. I’m very comfortable working with people, talking to people. I wish I could tell you that I knew that absolutely almost 20 of these people that we currently have on staff, but the key leadership groups that have grown, which is really six people, I wish I could tell you absolutely that I know that they never were in concern, but I think that would be wrong. I think they had to have moments of it, but we just continued to give them more tasks and continue to give them more tasks and continue to let them do things that are a little bit out of their comfort zone. And the end result is I don’t have to do those things. And Brian is seeing that that’s really his road to ownership and not operation ship, I’ll call it the daily operation of
Uwe Kleinschmidt (24:49):
It. Very good. But you saying
Bill Connor (24:52):
Dave Murphy (24:54):
Bill Connor (24:55):
Leadership style, more of asking them where they want to be two or three years down the road or telling them where you think they should be down the road.
Dave Murphy (25:04):
It’s more of me asking ’em. I prefer to know where they want to be. And then I constantly have conversations about, well, if that’s where you want to go, this is where I see this is the assessment I have, what’s your assessment of where you are and what do we need to do together to get you there? Because we want, if that’s where you want to be, great, we want to want you there. But there’s also times when people, they think it’s a good fit where they want to go, but it’s really not. And sometimes it’s a hard lesson to learn maybe, but mean I’ve had to learn that a few times. There’s some things I that I was great at and I’m just not, and so let’s go where I’m a little better. Let somebody else do it. Yeah, but I appreciate that question, bill. I think that’s a good one. I
Uwe Kleinschmidt (25:52):
Prefer to, no, no. And I believe there’s a gentleman saying basically the appetite comes with the tasting. So you have to try things before whether you really want it or not. And I remember talking to my 17-year-old son who didn’t want to go to school anymore, made a thousand bucks a month at a software company in the quality assurance and thought that’s his future life because it’s going well. So why change? And I was shocked when I heard this young man telling me that and I was scratching my head, what do you do to open the worldview? There is more to it than an internship inequality insurance to box. It brings
Bill Connor (26:49):
Up a good topic for Dave is when you get an employee that’s actually in a comfort zone, how do you nudge ’em out of it?
Dave Murphy (26:59):
Great question. So because that’s a dangerous place, quite honestly in my opinion, because they’re not challenged, they’re probably not bringing as much to the company as they could and they’re not rewarded in many cases too. So the only thing answer I have to that bill is just to share that with them and let them know what I see and see what their reaction is with that. And we actually, we just had a one-on-one today with an employee, not so much to that situation, but it brings me back to how important it is to have these one-on-ones with people because we don’t really know, sometimes I don’t think everybody knows where they really are in the scheme of the company or maybe where their job fits in. And so constantly letting ’em know how that impacts positively or negatively the team, the overall company and the company’s long-term strategy and their personal long-term strategy. Hopefully that’s a conversation that you’re having.
Those are interesting conversations too to have, especially with someone like you said, like a young person. We have right now one new apprentice with us and he’s pretty much just living life large, getting this paycheck and working around cars. And so I’m just, when I’m around him and I’m not maybe every few days or once every a week to him, I just kind of check him out where he wants to go, what he’s learned. And the story you mentioned earlier about how I started or we all talked about how I started out as a technician really. I started out in a gas station, pumping gas. That’s how long this has been. But you just got to keep reaching. You got to have that dream, you got to put it out in front of you and know there’s something better or something more, I dunno if it’s better, but more so I’m just laughing still about what you said about your son because I wanted to ask you, was he still living at home then or did that change and then all of a sudden things
Uwe Kleinschmidt (29:08):
Actually what I did is I had the fortune because whatever the dad tells the son goes one way in the other way out. So what do I do? So I brought him together with four people who considered themselves successful.
One was the founder of Go to my pc, the other one was a shop owner who ran a shop remotely. The one I’m proud of was my daughter’s counselor where success had nothing to do with money because he had to bartend in a second shift to get his family through. But if you had read his Facebook page how his students have thanked him, partially getting them off of drugs, partially finding a future in their life, you were just in awe reading it, right? Had nothing to do with money, but he considered himself successful and I agree. So I brought those guys together with my son just to get the wheel spinning up here and I want to believe it was helpful.
Dave Murphy (30:29):
Oh, I think we all know it was. But yeah, sometimes you got to open the door for people
Back to, I think Bill’s question or yours about is that’s really the job of a leader for anybody is to continue to open doors, ’em see what the possibility is, what the future is. And I think that goes along with growth because if you’re the person leading that vision, always seeing growth as the right direction for you and for your company, opening those doors constantly for everybody else to see that. I just don’t think there’s any other way. I mean that was my motivation quite honestly. I could see that if we could expand and if we can continue to expand how many more of the people that work with us, we can help give them other opportunities For all I know several of ’em will leave and start their own shots, their own business, whatever it is. But if they’re successful in it because they went through our processes, that certainly aren’t perfect yet. Well then to me that was a win. I
Bill Connor (31:37):
Had mentioned a remote shop owner that he used as a mentor, so to say. And do you find yourself, when you get into multi-locations of moving yourself out of the daily job at the shop and being able to measure and monitor and hold people accountability from a distance so you can be on an island someday or whatever.
Dave Murphy (31:57):
Bill, how well do you know me? You must know me pretty well, I guess it’s like, I
Bill Connor (32:01):
Don’t know what island you got picked out, but you were talking about Florida earlier, not that Florida’s an island yet
Dave Murphy (32:09):
Yet, right? Well, Jan and I have been remote and she’s our CFO. Both of us have been remote over two years and honestly, covid again, back to the pandemic, that’s kind of what forced the hand because we needed the space for the staff that was in our businesses at that time. But so yes, very remote and it’s because of our point of sale software, it’s because of auto, all of, I mean, again, to me, those are my two key systems quite honestly. They tell me all about my staff. They tell me all about how my staff’s working together and they tell us then what the results of what they’re doing are combined. So I don’t need to go into these physical brick and mortar buildings except to show up for a meeting and thank people quite honestly. But my personality, I need the interaction once in a while when I’m in town. I’m actually here today for a couple days. So I walked over this morning, I was there for the morning huddle and they asked me some questions, quite honestly about the company, how it was founded. So they opened that door. So here we go,
Talk about it.
Bill Connor (33:21):
So have you delegated to somebody at the different shops to go ahead and run their daily meetings and their one-on-ones and report to you? Or are you still doing some of that yourself?
Dave Murphy (33:32):
No, I don’t have any of that responsibility anymore. Brian, who is our director of operations, he now has both of the store managers taking care of all the one-on-ones all daily interaction needs to take place. He’s in each store a few hours a day and then he and I have a weekly meeting and we go over KPIs, we go over any kinds of, and Jan’s involved in that meeting as well. We just go over all of anything that might be a concern. We talk about where we’re driving forward and quite honestly, building repairs, just all the stuff that comes into that. Things needs to get it done, but I don’t have any responsibility for that at all. So yeah, that’s totally on his story. So
Bill Connor (34:20):
You’ve educated, you delegate it and you got somebody else doing the same thing on down the line.
Dave Murphy (34:24):
Correct. And he is now training, like I said, each one of the store managers to take over more and more of just daily. They still go to him right now if we have a broken tool or we have something like that, we just implemented a communications tool within the shop, if it’s okay if I say it, we use Slack as a communication tool and that has been, I don’t care what tool somebody uses, but use one, use something other than email. Email’s too confusing, all the chains, all they can’t find it and it’s just not quick enough. So we’ve been using it for three weeks and really great. I would say in my opinion, acceptance by everybody on the staff. We do a few things. We have a little morning, just have some fun. Somebody says good morning to everybody and just starts it off. We also have a morning meeting where we’re face to face too. They do. I’m not over there this morning. Just constant communication quite honestly to do that. But back to,
Bill Connor (35:28):
You do daily meetings, then you do one-on-one meetings, you’ve got a weekly meeting. What are some of the things that you’re actually expecting to come out of a daily meeting? For example, are they just removing bottlenecks that might occur during the day, early in the morning so they don’t trip over ’em Or
Dave Murphy (35:46):
Morning huddle is a recap of how we finished up the day before, what’s left over, what might be some issues, whether it’s the car, the customer parts, whatever it is. And then also an awareness of what our expectations are for the day we’re in with going forward as far as the cars we have coming in and who’s going to maybe have to shift and help. It’s really a real granular kind of this is what y’all need to know about, we all be prepared for that’s in the shop, but that’s a production and customer service staff all combined together. The weekly meeting is only store managers, myself, Brian, and Jan. That’s what we do that via Zoom. It is a 15 minute max meeting where we’ve set up a template where each store reports their previous week’s KPIs that we track, which sales gp, car count, average estimate, some of to what we consider to be the most important things right now.
And we do change those around. If we see something dropping moving, which means they’ve taken their eye off the ball somewhere, then we bring that up and that has to be in the meeting until we get it back on track and keep all those balls together. That meeting lasts 15 minutes. The guys talk about what went well, what didn’t go well, great customer experience, maybe not so great customer experience. They sign off. We then do a real quick board meeting, which is Jan, Brian and I, and that might take 10 minutes, that might take 30. And then Jan and I go on about our week. So I’ll be honest, I have less than four hours of interaction anymore per week in the business. I spent an hour doing a radio program every Saturday. I spent about an hour in prep for that. I spend a little bit of prep for that meeting there and some other miscellaneous research and stuff like that. So I got about a rough week, man. It doesn’t sound good. Probably I got week
Uwe Kleinschmidt (37:53):
Congratulations. I mean that’s an awesome signal and sign of making yourself obsolete, so to speak and think about the next vision division. But I want to go back to something you mentioned, and it doesn’t leave my mind. You made Brian do everything in the shop, any operational responsibility, and it’s like a trainee position. Is that correct? Right. So he goes around and then finds out he learns and finds out what he’s good at and maybe not so much but necessary to run the business. Do you believe in that, that you need to know you can jump in for everybody in your business, in their shoes and do that work to be successful?
Dave Murphy (38:54):
I don’t. Okay. I don’t believe that that’s a requirement for someone coming into our business because if someone has really strong business skills or really strong sales and interpersonal skills, do I think they could run the business? Absolutely. I do. I don’t think they need to be a mechanic. And a lot of that has changed in me mentally as I’ve moved through all these years with him and Jan as my partner. But when he came into the business wanted to work for us, he started out as taking the trash moping, the floors, just really that kind of old mindset. And Bill knows what I’m talking about when we used to bring people into the business, and I just felt like it was important for him to be able to have self-respect and everybody else on the people, many of those people that he started working with are still working for us. So they’ve seen him come through this too. Half of them trained him, right. I always felt like if he was going to be at the head of the company, he needed to at least understand it, understand what they go through every day and have their respect. And I believe he’s earned it. And to me, that just gives me peace to be able to walk away and know that it should carry on. But no, I don’t believe that you got to know how everything in the company works,
Uwe Kleinschmidt (40:27):
But the respect portion to me is really, really important. Right. Respect. I actually Googled it the other day. It’s the admiration for quality or an achievement that’s respect. I wholeheartedly subscribe to that. And so this way he became, I assume a leader from the bottom up and the respect was there, period.
Dave Murphy (41:00):
Yes. That being said, we have new people. We have new people that don’t know the whole story all the time and as much as we’re talking about it. So he still has to earn respect. I still have to earn respect. I don’t,
Uwe Kleinschmidt (41:14):
Oh yeah, that doesn’t stop.
Dave Murphy (41:16):
I mean, just because they come to work for me, it’s not a given. So
Bill Connor (41:22):
Part of the required understanding of a shop owner, even before they get into a multis shop owner, even if they’ve got the best processes in the world, is to get it out of their head and get it on paper or documentation somewhere. So that way it’s kind of one single source of truth, so to say.
Dave Murphy (41:41):
Exactly right. And to the most minute detail bill, which is really hard for people I think, especially technicians, I’ll just say I probably shouldn’t generalize like that, but many of us don’t want to share it. We don’t want to talk about it. It’s just like, oh, I’ll be there. I’m going to always be there. I’ll be the answer man, because that feeds my ego. That’s the problem. But it’s a lot more gratifying to share that information, let other people do it, and see their growth. And also live your life like you’ve never lived it before. And that’s really where I believe I’ve been very blessed and I’ve been fortunate to have an amazing partner my entire life and wife and people around me that support that. Let me do that. So I don’t know how that all ties into growing your business and multiplying it, but it’s been important for me at least to have that support system, which actually is one of the notes I made about, I think it’s really key. If someone’s anticipating or really looking into considering this, there’s a support system that needs to be there. It’s important. And if it’s not there, develop it before you take this dive.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (42:59):
No, I believe we are right on track about the topic because yes, you can put, and you should process description on a piece of paper, but if you don’t have respect for the people who wrote it down, you will ignore the paper too. I mean, so there has to be a well-balanced approach to do it, and I really love that we go a little bit more into detail about this. Oh dang. 10 minutes left. I still want to bring up, and it shouldn’t be a plug for AutoVitals, but it might be one you said you have two systems which helped you basically watch, monitor your business and the staff. I remember there was a time it was completely invoked that everybody had cameras everywhere and not so much just to catch the thief during the night, but more so much than monitoring people. And I feel that has now transitioned to a more trust-based and KPI based kind of monitoring or leadership. Would you agree with that or
Dave Murphy (44:35):
Yeah, I would absolutely agree with that because if, let’s just go back to these two systems. If you’re getting the results and it is agreed upon with all parties and all the results are there, whether it’s AutoVitals and all the great reports you have there or whatever your point of sale is, and you combine them, do you really have a trust issue? I mean, do you really need to watch the people? Do you need to go home to your house or wherever you are or on your island or whatever, and tune in and just go, no if to me, I don’t. Did they do their job? The proof is in the pudding. The pudding is the reports. The pudding is in my customer satisfaction. The pudding is we continue to grow customers. All of those things are happening then no, I don’t really see the need at least to monitor our internal family. Do we have cameras in our Absolutely inside, outside, but they are there honestly, to protect our investments property.
Bill Connor (45:38):
No, check engine light. You just keep driving.
Dave Murphy (45:40):
Yeah. Yes. You’re saying that’s what we’re saying, how Bill, no check engine light,
But we keep checking the systems to make sure we’re not going to get a check-ins in. Right? And that’s the purpose of our meetings. That’s the purpose of all of those things. The train can go off the track if we’re not looking at it. But the systems, again, back to systems processes, that’s what makes it easier. That’s what makes it easier to not have to shoulder it all yourself. So how many other industries have been so ahead of the automotive industry for so long with back to the word processes that they know? I mean, you can own a million Walmart stores or whatever and know it’s the same thing in every Walmart.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (46:27):
Bill Connor (46:28):
Well, that was one of the things we actually talked about on our prep call is mergers and acquisitions and things like that are really common in other industries. And now people are starting to realize that a automotive repair shop is a million or 2 million business, and this is getting to be more common.
Dave Murphy (46:46):
Yeah, I would agree. As if the giant has been awoken a little bit. And I actually talked to quite a few people that their whole business is just about spending their money and making their money work. I’ve been intrigued by that, and I assume both of you are too as well, that they’re looking at these things that maybe they haven’t paid attention to before because they were, for whatever reason, too, detail oriented, just a dirty business, just all these other reasons. But when you put enough of ’em together, there’s a lot of revenue to be generated. And so I can totally understand why folks would want to get to 10 stores, 20 stores or 10, 3 million stores, right? Whatever it is.
Bill Connor (47:31):
Kind of one industry that’s relatively recession proof also.
Dave Murphy (47:35):
Absolutely. Absolutely. I guess we’re going to get to test that theory again here pretty soon. That is true.
Bill Connor (47:47):
And the progressive shops are going to find a way to go ahead and make it work and expand while they’re in the middle of this. And those that are not are going to hide their head and look for somebody to acquire ’em.
Dave Murphy (47:57):
Exactly. Exactly. And that’s okay, because let’s face it, that’s the natural attrition or the natural process I would say of any industry. Any business. That’s just what we’ve all seen happen in all of our lives. So big get bigger, I guess. And that’s
Bill Connor (48:14):
Kind of one of the other things we talked about is that before people get into a business, they don’t often understand, do they have an exit strategy at some point to get out of the business or retire or pass it on to a family member or other things. And when you’re a multis shop location, that even becomes more important.
Dave Murphy (48:31):
Oh, absolutely. And I think it becomes very important for your staff to know there’s a plan to be able to talk to them at least about a part of it so they understand. And we discovered that when we’d started out with that plan years ago, we decided to share that with most of our staff, so at least they had some confidence. It goes back to that, telling them the why. I think whether you tell someone that works for you, Hey, can you go throw the trash away? Well, they’ll throw the trash away because you said so, but why are you wanting ’em to throw the trash away? Because it is part of your image. You don’t have trash around your place. It brings more customers, all those things. Once they understand that, just like, Hey man, I want you to know that if something happens to me and as the owner or all of us as the owner, we’d go somewhere, you guys are okay. We’ve got this plan in play, and by the way, here’s how it works and I need you to execute these pieces of it. Now, there are also participants in it, and that’s how we’re set up. So any one of our four managers would know that if somebody doesn’t come up, show up, come to work, there’s a bad day for the Murphy family. They know which people to call right away just to keep things moving along. It’s
Bill Connor (49:49):
So interesting. And all the progressive shops that we go ahead and talk to over the years, we’re up to episode 179. There’s all these common threads that go through ’em. There’s no fear of sharing information with your staff, and they let them know where we want to go, talk about how we’re going to get here. These are the steps that we’re going to take to get here. And that’s a real common thread between all the really progressive shop owners that we’ve had on is that that willingness to share and go ahead and encourage everybody to come along with ’em.
Dave Murphy (50:23):
Honestly, I’m going to turn a little state’s evidence. So it didn’t used to operate that way. And I mean, back in the beginning, we did not operate that way. We were very, just keep all of that stuff to us and I will give that credit to ATI, helping us open our eyes. And then also with the plug, again, AutoVitals. Because once we saw that information and the wealth of it and what it really means, once you share that, we share that with all of our staff. It wasn’t as though we were using it as a hammer. It was we were using it as how can we get better? And then they saw how we got better by using it. So I truly believe that there’s this thing called the Great Game of Business. It’s actually a book and it’s worth reading. It’s a 40-year-old book, but it’s all about sharing how everybody impacts all of the numbers in the company. They play the game better, they just do. And that benefits everybody. Yeah, it’s very
Bill Connor (51:25):
Cool. Very cool.
Dave Murphy (51:29):
Bill. Yeah, go ahead. No, you started out with just saying that begin, what’s your game plan? What’s your end plan? And I was hoping that developed that point enough for you because I have to say that that is really what’s on our radar every day. What’s the end plan? How do you want it to end?
Bill Connor (51:49):
Start with where you want to go. That’s awesome. So we’re down to the end here. Sincerely, like to thank you for joining us. This isn’t the first time you’ve joined us, and I hope it won’t be the last because you’ve got a lot of wisdom to go ahead and share that you’ve acquired from your journey from the service station to where you are today. So what I’d like to do is see if you’ve got three quick top of the mind things that you would encourage somebody to do when they’re planning their journey in their business, either to being a superstar or to go ahead and get into multi shop operations.
Dave Murphy (52:24):
Sure. So if you don’t know the numbers of your business, become a massive student of them. And I only say that as because I am in an association locally. I know a lot of shop members and they don’t understand how their business, how it works. They don’t understand the numbers and they don’t understand what impacts it. That would be one thing. Another thing for me is just embrace people. We need to work together. You have the company is not about you. You know what I mean? It is about them. And so embracing them, helping them grow. That would be the second thing. And then last thing I would say is let it go. Get out of their way. Just get the hell out of their way. And I’m going to try listen to my own words.
Bill Connor (53:17):
All very sound advice. Now, implementing it is the hardest thing. So again, thank you for joining us here today at the end here. And I’d like to encourage everybody to go ahead and join us live by going to and registering, or go ahead and listen to us on your favorite podcast platform. There’s 179 episodes in there, probably by Monday to have a lot of wisdom that’s been shared by shop operators just like you. So once again, thank you Dave. Thank you Uber. And I’d like to tell everybody that’s listening, go out there and make some money and while your staff and your customers. Thank you Dave. Well thank you all. Really a pleasure. I appreciate it. Thank you, Dave. That was amazing. Thank you. Pleasure. Thanks you. Y’all take care. See you. You bet. Bye.

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