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Episode Description

Process change is hard on a team. What’s in it for them? Quick Wins create immediate momentum, translating to staff buy-in and ultimately more revenue. Devin Kelley (All-Star Automotive, Columbia, MO) took on the challenge of going fully digital when he took over a new team. On Wednesday’s show, together we will discover the winning formula that has his staff fully committed and his revenue soaring!

Episode Transcript

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

Tom Dorsey (00:00:03):
And so make sure you got a notepad and a pencil with you because you need to take lots of notes. There’s going to be a lot of kind of takeaways and homework. Out of this episode. I’ve got Bill Connor joining me, Uwe Kleinschmidt joining us, my expert panel of experts. Welcome Bill. Glad to have you on Uwe are you in
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:00:24):
Tom Dorsey (00:00:32):
I see Bill, I see Uwe. And we’ve got Devin Kelley joining us from All Star Automotive. He’d be coming back, he’s just on his way home. He might be a little couple minutes late coming in, but we’re going to be going through some of Devin’s trip to success. We’ve had Devin on the show a couple times, and so you’ve gotten a chance to hear a not only what a bright and just sharp operator Devin is and has approached things a little bit outside of the box and done very successful how he committed to the digital inspection. Remember he picked up a shop that already had us in place and we will talk a little bit about that and show some examples and how some of the best practices weren’t really being followed. And then he’d be able to show you the results of when you see those best practices, those quick wins being implemented and then followed consistently what a turnaround it was in that operation and how successful he’s been. So again, Bill, Connor, Uwe welcome. You guys have audio.
Bill Connor (00:01:35):
I got audio.
Tom Dorsey (00:01:36):
Thank you.
Bill Connor (00:01:37):
At least I can hear you.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:01:39):
I have audio now too.
Tom Dorsey (00:01:40):
All right, thank you.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:01:43):
Technology is slow sometimes. Well actually the people using it, I guess.
Tom Dorsey (00:01:49):
Yeah, don’t blame it on the tech. It’s user error. So you guys got anything to add to those takeaways today, what we’ve talked about in the intro?
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:02:04):
Yeah, I think the biggest challenge for every shop is repairing the engine while flying the plane. So you cannot just stop your business and say, okay, let’s close shop for three days, train everybody and then we go back to business and to find ways to go digital in a way that it is not disrupting the business and still paying off big as we have seen with many, many shops. Devin is just one of them is the biggest challenge. And today we want to talk about what are ways quick wins to get there
Bill Connor (00:02:50):
And more importantly, when we’re bringing new shop on, we want to go ahead and get them to do these quick wins early in the process and we want to get them to start doing it often. So the sooner we get them on this program and get them working, creating some stellar results for themselves, build hours and so on, the easier it is to go and adopt so early and often is what I like to go in and work on.
Tom Dorsey (00:03:12):
And that’s a great point and that’s exactly what this episode is going to be kind of helping to reinforce. And it’s one of those things where it’s almost like you need an epiphany or you need a light bulb. And we’ve made a lot of changes in the way Bill that we ramp up new shops because learned over time as well. And that’s how we’ve kind of established to identify what are these quick wins and get you focused out of the gate on these quick wins because what does it mean? What is a quick win? Well quick win, it has a quick payoff. If you have a quick payoff, you can build momentum behind your process. It’s easier to get the tech to buy in. They’re making more money, it’s easier to get the service writer to buy in. They’re making more money.
There’s not as much back and forth in trying to overcome objections. It’s more educational conversation versus a sales conversation. And so we’ve identified those and we’ve made a lot of changes in the way we ramp up. Maybe you didn’t come in, maybe you’ve been with us a long time and you kind of were out there chart and unknown territory along with everybody else. Well, this is a great way for you to reinforce those and kind of refactor where you’re at and add these into your process and your protocols to get this kind of consistent return and results that will be shown and talking about here today.
Bill Connor (00:04:35):
Not only that, we want to make sure the quick win, it can’t be only for one person. It has to be something for the technicians, service advisors, shop owner, and more importantly the customer. So by making sure we include everybody in that quick win, then we’ve got a sustainable program that can be repeated, rinse and repeat
Tom Dorsey (00:04:58):
Or introduced. And we’ll talk about that today when Devin gets in here because again, he was in a shop that was already running AutoVitals. They were out there just, and they had a pretty decent inspection rate, but a lot of their other best practices were just non-existent. And so in other words, they had developed the muscle memory of poor performance and with the same people, Hey here, I’m able to implement some smart process. I’m able to track and monitor that and reinforce those best practices. And then it turns around and you can see it’s a significant gain. I mean it doubles the ARO and revenues through the roof and it’s all with the same in the same spot, same customer, same neighborhood. And we’ve got several people that have done those types of turnarounds or even been with us and didn’t pick up a new crew, but went to conference or saw an episode of the radio or went on Facebook and got some, and that epiphany goes off, you go, wow.
And then you implement that and then bing, there you go, and then all of a sudden it takes off and there’s those results that you’ve been looking for. And so now with what Bill’s doing, Chris Maggard is doing running, we’re kind of drilling that into your head right out of the gate. So you start off with quick wins and then all that momentum follows behind it. And so that’s what we really want to reinforce today. If you’re not on the kind of the quick win bandwagon, get on it. If you’re new or you’re thinking about it, this is what to expect and this is why we’re going to do it. And probably the biggest, Hey, Devin. Hey, this is welcome. Devin. Kelley, thank you for joining us. Devin, welcome back buddy.
Devin Kelley (00:06:47):
Thank you. It’s great being on
Tom Dorsey (00:06:49):
How’s tricks in Missouri? I haven’t heard too much about you guys in the news one way or the other. You’re open for business or you’re closed and the governors are out there waving their fist in the air telling everybody to stay home, what’s going on?
Devin Kelley (00:07:05):
We’ve been really lucky in my area. Not to say there haven’t been very sick people and people that have died, but compared to some areas we’ve been really lucky. So the impact has been less so for the majority of my area compared to some.
Tom Dorsey (00:07:21):
Yeah, that’s good buddy. So you had a couple weeks in the beginning where it was a little shaky and then stuff started to recover and you, you’ve been staying as busy as you were before?
Devin Kelley (00:07:30):
Not quite back, but very close. We’ve had a eight week period that has been below our average week compared to last year. And at the bottom of that it was pretty low, about 40% of what we’d normally do, but it was a slow move down and it’s been a nice smooth growth backup. And so that’s always great because some of the really quick changes are hard to manage, but we’re pretty close to what we were doing before and things are manageable, so it feels great to see the phone ringing and cars coming in.
Tom Dorsey (00:08:07):
Yeah, we’ve had quite a few folks on and I’ve been talking with people and it’s starting to become, you can really tell the difference how the effect has been on a shop that’s running digital in a shop that’s not, and it seems like because had several instances where car counts off 30%, revenue’s actually up 20% and they really start and you can see in their metrics Devin and you can see they really started to tighten up. It was almost, it was out of necessity, it was out of survival mode kicked in, but then all of a sudden inspection rate goes up, picture edit rate goes up, all the stuff we’ve been preaching to him buddy all of a sudden gets adopted because of circumstance, but it really has been helping to carry folks through the downturn. Have you been experiencing something like that? Have you guys, I mean you guys were already running a pretty tight ship, but did you start to refocus on best practices and did that help you kind of weather some of that slower period?
Devin Kelley (00:09:06):
Yeah, at the beginning of it, we saw some of the change that I would’ve thought we were so good in some areas we wouldn’t have seen average repair order go up as the car count went down. We thought we were kind of in a sweet spot and as things started to go down, our average average repair order did jump up. And that’s always just a good lesson. It’s humbling to say, we think we’re doing pretty good, but let’s change this one thing and see what happens. And it was a good opportunity to work on standard operating procedures and go over a lot of the things that we do and take some of these times as learning opportunities.
Tom Dorsey (00:09:43):
That’s right, because if you can do it now, you can do it always right. And so that’s a big change for today for folks is that if you’ve had this results, don’t stop doing it just because kind of stuff feels like it’s getting back to normal and covid the big news story every day anymore. Keep doing what you learned through this period because it’s going to benefit your business out forever long as you keep doing it.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:10:09):
Can I challenge
Devin Kelley (00:10:10):
This? That’s a great point. Big changes can happen anytime.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:10:13):
Yeah, I could just say, look, I have more time to inspect the vehicle now, so naturally the arrow goes up, so just give me more time in the future.
Tom Dorsey (00:10:24):
Devin Kelley (00:10:26):
I would love to hear that because I tell ’em, how’s that working for you as you’ve taken more time to inspect the car, what are those hours looking like? Is that good? Because really the time you take on the inspection has a lot to do with how you manage your own time. So I guess I’d like to hear that I could use that.
Tom Dorsey (00:10:45):
Yeah. But I mean other than that, the big epiphany really though is that hey, change is hard, right? It’s hard to implement a lot of times a difference. It’s hard to react, just like you said, when it first comes on you here’s all of this lockdown, and boy, you really have to shift gears at this point and that takes a little getting used to how do you, yeah, there you go. Change is hard. This might seem familiar to some of you in the audience, right? It is like, yeah, it’s time for me to live run new job. And that probably happened, we’ve had several people on that have talked about that and shared that experience where, hey, I had a guy who was with me 20 years and he’s out the door now because change is hard. But there was a goal and a reason behind the change and we were committed to it.
And so there really wasn’t an option there. So unfortunately we had to part ways. And so how do you manage that change in your shop? We’ve talked with you quite a bit because Dev, you came into an operation that had already had some habits built. They were already on AutoVitals, they weren’t really ringing the bell with success, but then really inside of your metrics, it should be a case study. They’ll be teaching this in colleges and automotive classes in the future because you really see where you’ve put some process in place, you threw down some protocols and I mean it’s like a rocket ship. It is like that big V recovery. Everybody’s saying, we’re going to go through here leading up into the elections, you were sliding off the cliff over time you bought the shop and then boom off like a rocket ship. So how did you implement that change? How did you manage that to build the momentum and get everybody and onboard consistently?
Devin Kelley (00:12:36):
Well, I suppose there’s a lot of different aspects, and one thing that’s been consistent is my vision of where we’re going has always been crystal clear and I work hard to share that vision with everybody else and they seem to be inspired by the vision that I have. And in my mind it’s completely reality and it’s just a matter of how we’re going to get there, how long it’s going to take, not can we get there or will we get there, this is where we’re going and as a team we’re going to do it. This is what it looks like and look at all these resources we have to do it. And then I get into AutoVitals and you talk about case studies, I look at other shops that are doing things with the same amount of technicians, with the same car count or a car count that we know we could change to.
And I show ’em, this is what I’m talking about, making these changes and look what it’s doing for this shop and this shop. The evidence is right there that way it’s not hearsay, it’s not theory. That’s the reality. Look at what they’re doing and we can even look up that shop and see where they’re at and we could call ’em and talk to ’em. So I’m using evidence-based practice, I suppose you could say, and just sharing the passion I have behind my vision and it’s not something I think about consciously. I don’t get up in the morning and be like, I’m going to redefine my vision. This is how I’m going to express it. It’s something I feel and I’m really passionate and I think other people feel it too. And so when I’m talking about things in the shop, that passion comes out and it’s inspiring. Before I came on board at this shop, they didn’t really have one unified leader anymore. And not that I’m a dictator when I talk about leadership, just somebody who’s a passionate driving force in a single direction, good kind
Tom Dorsey (00:14:16):
Of leader.
Devin Kelley (00:14:18):
I think so. And when I brought that energy in, everybody was I think a little relieved to feel like there was one direction we’re going. And I’m not the type that’s going to say, you guys are going to do this, you’re going to get out. It’s more, I’m just so excited to do this. You guys are awesome. You want to help me do it because look at what it can do for you. So there’s a few things involved and it’s a mix between that data-driven proof that I can show ’em and that emotional passion that people absorb when you’re around them. If you can just really get excited, I think it’s important to stop doing the things you’re not passionate about and only do the things you’re passionate about. I don’t know if I explained that well, but you nailed it. It’s not trying to get excited about things and become passionate. It’s only do the things you’re passionate about from the gate.
Tom Dorsey (00:15:09):
Sure. No excitement and passion is infectious. Right? Uwe.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:15:15):
Devin, if you don’t mind sharing, can we go to the next level of detail because I think that helps a lot of people who are still finding their mojo. When you say evidence-based, what exactly did you use? Did you connect with another shop owner who was successful and just shared their BCP or what was the evidence you used
Devin Kelley (00:15:40):
In AutoVitals? Bill? Connor helped me see the key performance indicators of other shops, shops that were comparable in either staff numbers or car counts and things like that. And when I took over the shop, car count was through the roof. I’m going to say, let’s see, probably sometimes close to 40 or 50 more cars than what we run a day in a week. I’m sorry right now. And so I knew from my experience in running a shop that we really needed to reduce car count to have time to do what we needed to do. And I’ve got your team Bill Connor and everybody saying we agree this is definitely the direction. And so I could get into the control panel and find a shop that was doing a car count that I felt was probably a little bit more realistic and showed them the average repair order.
And I did have a couple of shop owners where I had ’em let me view their inspection, and it turns out their inspection wasn’t a lot different than ours. Their staffing numbers were similar and the car count was much lower, but the average repair order was much higher. So the average hours per repair order was much higher. And when I start talking to my technician about the average hours per repair order, I’m getting some looks like, okay, now you’re speaking our language and I try to speak it to their benefit. I don’t want to just have meaningless conversation. So that’s one specific example was showing them the car count of other shops that was a much lower car count with a much higher repair order, and it had to be shops that weren’t European or doing a lot of diesel. I tried to find some shops that I could find a good mix, domestic and Asian specifically. And so when I could show some evidence of similarity between the shops that helped with the buy-in, it was not much of a conversation really. Once I showed them the metrics of some other shops, it really took away a lot of the doubt.
Bill Connor (00:17:49):
What’s interesting about that is you started out by going ahead and showing them the number one thing they want, which is what’s in it for them, and then you build on it from there.
Devin Kelley (00:17:58):
Yeah, that was huge. One of the most important parts.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:18:02):
So everybody’s excited, right? Then I assume because numbers speak for themselves, but then you have to say, okay, and now we’re going to do step one, changing habit one, step two, step three. Can you share, did you try to go incrementally and change a little bit here and a little bit there, or did you convince the team there’s a big change coming in this particular area, let’s use workflow from tomorrow. Here’s how our workflow management works, or could you share what recipe you use?
Devin Kelley (00:18:49):
Yeah, I’ve changed too much too fast before in my previous shop and had everyone still somewhat excited about where we were going, but not sure what they were supposed to be doing. I changed too much too quickly and there were some important lessons in that. It also had me a little bit stressed out. And so from that experience, I knew we needed to start with one thing at a time, and Bill helped me with judging the pace of change saying this seems reasonable or that would be a lot to try to be really good at also in the next week or so. So bouncing some things off of other people that I considered to be experts on this kind of information was helpful. And from the beginning I had to really take a close look at the team that I had because I didn’t have a lot of buy-in from everybody, and that was for different reasons.
Some people I felt like were not really going to fit on this team. They drew more energy from the team than they did add. And so I think that was part of the foundation I had to strengthen first. So before I started making a lot of process change, I was really trying to understand who fits this culture because if I could get the individuals to fit the culture better, I knew the change would be so much easier. So there were some really hard decisions I had to make and I had to take some serious chances. And you talk about change being tough, but I find that some of the most difficult changes I make up with the best results. And so I guess in my mind I’ve got that memory of, oh, this is scary and this is hard, but I already know from experience that this means some really good things are coming because I get scared and I get critical if things are volatile and I work extra hard, I think about it several times I wake up in the night.
So anyways, changing the team, it’s the foundation and it’s one of the first things that I looked at and had to make changes and I did have a little bit of turnover the several months on the front and on the back. So I think that was my step one because without that I’d have been swimming or going uphill. And so I think that was the number one thing was at the foundational level. And I didn’t have a really good organized approach. And when I took over this company, I had notebooks and notebooks of notes and trying to sort out how I can start in a logical organized way. And it was so much stuff that at a certain point I kind of put the notebooks down and was like, okay, this helped me sort my thoughts, but I need to go off the cuff here a little bit and just go with the flow because I’m really analytical and I was getting too analytical.
So I backed away a little bit and started doing some things from feel. And once I was gaining confidence in my team and their ability to work together, it started making things a lot easier. And I think car count, the concept of high versus low car count was probably the next area because once people started respecting each other more because there were less people that were disrespectful to each other, I started getting people to open up and express themselves more and being more creative. So when I’d start talking about car count, I’d say, this guy over here, he just loves car count. He gets excited and being a little more open feeling they weren’t going to be judged for their ideas would say, well, I kind of know this and this about him. If you talk to him like this, it could help. And so building off my stronger foundation, we started addressing car count and talking about, well, I know that this is the way you guys have been doing it, so it’s a little scary thinking about doing it this way, but obviously the old way didn’t work did it. And when we look at these shops that are doing it this way, I mean it’s really working, so I know that that’s what you’re thinking, but it didn’t work, so we’re going to have to do something different. So let’s go off of what we know other shops are successful with. So count I think was probably the next area that I went to for this shop. That’s different for every shop. So there’s a lot of shops that just don’t have enough cars, so in some ways has a unique challenge in itself.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:22:58):
So let me ask, oh, go ahead. So rather than weekly goals involved or did you have a daily meeting and said, here is how we’re doing, or how do you check back in so to speak? You can get excited about something very quickly if you don’t follow up, especially if you have to train a new habit, it can taper off very quickly.
Devin Kelley (00:23:28):
And I’d say most changes do because of lack of follow-up and consistency. So I have my check-in and large was with Bill Connor. That was some really good check in for me so that my thoughts and checking progression. Then in the shop, I was doing weekly meetings and they were coming from a culture that they didn’t do shop meetings 4th of July, they might grill out or something on Christmas, they might do a get together, but a weekly shop meeting was a new concept and everybody, it had an introverted culture in the shop. And so the weekly shop meetings eventually turned into biweekly because we were getting really productive and we were getting better at the meetings. So we needed to have less the way we were doing them the way we felt. And so the weekly and biweekly meetings are where I was able to check in on our progression and the calls with AutoVitals were the check-ins that I needed.
I’m a person that I thrive with structure, I need it in some ways. I’m really good at having structure in some ways I’m not as an entrepreneur. For me, structure is important and so the accountability I get from you guys was paramount. But I do try to find a specific thing that we’re going to improve and then try to set dates for the shop meetings that we’re going to bring it back up. I try to bring up a topic that we’re working to improve on before it hits a critical point that it’s failing. And I really feel a lot of the team’s ability to improve in an area has to do with my follow-up and my initial ability to be clear about the expectations and not expect things to change too quickly. I talk a lot about it’s okay if we don’t nail this right off the bat, this is what we can do with it and we’re going to go here. You guys are awesome and I know you can do it, but everybody makes mistakes. So let’s get in there and screw this up a little bit. That way we know how we can make it better. So I do expect people to make mistakes and I tell ’em, I’m looking to see a couple mistakes this week, so don’t let me down. Those mistakes are what are going to take us to where we want to go a little faster. So quit being scared to make ’em and let’s make ’em and let’s use that data.
Tom Dorsey (00:25:47):
That’s how you learn, right? Uwe tells us that all the time, fail fast, fail fast, so we know what’s broke so we can fix it fast and then it’s better. Bill, I got a question for you, buddy. So once they got the car count down and they had some time and we had some fundamentals in place, how did you get ’em focused on the quick wins? How did you introduce that? What did you identify were the quick wins and what was the results? Because it looks to me when I’m looking at the data, Hey Devin, do you mind if we show some of your BCP data?
Devin Kelley (00:26:15):
By all means
Tom Dorsey (00:26:16):
To the audience. I mean you guys went after it and took to it like fish to water because you really see the incremental improvement and then it becomes a habit and then it’s just a rock solid line of consistency up until this point.
Bill Connor (00:26:34):
So what we did is we identified something, a particular inspection topic that had something in it for everybody. We got build hours for the technician and it’s easy for the technician, easy and quick for them to do, easy and quick for the service writer to do, and more importantly is something that can happen on every vehicle. So we actually kind of rolled out and we talked about either using a brake fluid exchange or to brake fluid topic or to tire trade condition topic. And in Devin’s case, he actually made the choice. And then what we did is we went a little bit further, we defined exactly what the technicians should do, exactly what the picture should look like, exactly where the errors should go and so on. And then we agreed on everything that was going to happen and how it was going to define and measurement and so on.
And then we said, look, for a period of time what we want to do is on every vehicle, this gets expected exactly the same way and it gets presented to the customer and let them say yes or no. And then what we did is we said, okay, in order to go ahead and actually measure our success on this, what we’re going to do is use the business control panel to dial in right to that particular topic and be able to see change over time in the graphical format. And so we identified, decided exactly what we’re going to do, exactly what it looks like and how we’re going to measure the change. And we just started down that path.
Tom Dorsey (00:27:59):
Yeah, because I mean that’s the trick and that’s the greatest thing about having a lot of this data and the people who have gone before you and to Devin’s point, you got in and you showed ’em, Hey, it’s possible. Look, other people are doing it and ain’t any better than you can do it too. You just have to commit and understand and be transparent, have a goal, and implement, reinforce. So as that was taken off, what was the impact? I mean, did it work as it expected on the first topic that you picked? Did it start to click? Did Devin, did you see the motivation or the consistency? Did you start getting that positive feedback? They were asking questions, they were making suggestions on how to do it better when you know got your text locked in as they start giving you ideas on how to do it better because they care now and they’re committed and they’re engaged. How long did that take for that to click? And then was it the boost that got you on that path to see that really significant ARO increase we just saw here in the data? I mean, that’s about a doubling in less than a year. Yeah,
Devin Kelley (00:29:19):
Yeah, it’s hard to say. Looking back at how long that took the past year of those changes was kind of a blur in the beginning. I really poured myself into it. There was times where I’d be there for 17 hours, almost six days a week at that pace, but I was so obsessed with this change. It was such a reality. I was just living it all the time. And some of that may have to do with why we were able to do it so quickly is I put in all the hours that maybe somebody would put in two years. I think I tried to cram ’em into a year, but not everybody can do that. I didn’t have kids at the time and the buy-in and the excitement that I felt from the team, I felt pretty early. And I think part of it was because I could show what it could do and I would try to tell them that it’s not realistic to expect this to change overnight, and if it does, don’t expect it to stay changed.
These are habits we’re trying to create and we know the habits we don’t form quickly and we don’t change ’em quickly. But I think it was so much that was so different that it just represented something new. It felt like something new, and there was kind of some excitement just around it being new. And so in some ways I had that positive feedback before we had a whole lot of change, but when we worked to control how many appointments we set and those kinds of things, stress was lower in the front of the house and that translates to how they communicate with the techs in the back. And so as stress started to come down a little bit, that made things feel better. And so for a lot of reasons, I think I had some positive feedback quickly, but again, part of that was due to getting rid of some of the bad eggs that were sucking the life out of everybody else. There were some low performers that made my high performers, medium performers. So yeah,
Tom Dorsey (00:31:12):
Of course. Yeah. So then those quick wins kick in, and that kind helps fuel the momentum, especially for the next big push into change. If I can say, Hey, we did this piece and it’s paying off. So yeah, the next part’s going to be some heavy lifting, but man, there’s a bigger payoff and it kind of incrementally, you put in the work, you improve the work, you analyze it and you tweak it and you do it better. And like I said, once you open the door to those shop meetings and you start getting your technician input that they’re starting to buy in, your service writers are giving great suggestions and they’re almost taking ownership of it away from you. That’s really the feeling that you want to have in your business. You want to say, Hey, I implemented this. I had a bunch of resistance, but I was transparent.
We set goals, we had the quick wins, we incrementally improved. And now it’s to the point where they are owning it, they are owning it, they’re holding each other accountable for not doing it right. They’re firing the suggestions and to make it better, to improve it, to add new inspections or to tweak the inspections to be more efficient. They come in with better quality work. They’re on time more often. I mean all of these kind of very positive critical success factors kind of grow out of this change once it cements and then you really just fertilize it and let it grow and you want it to be like a weed. You want it to grow and spread invasively throughout the operation because it’s all good stuff and ultimately it affects the customer base and that customer base affects the community and your demographic and then it even attracts more business to you. It really is that kind of success breed success, but it really starts with the initial commitment. And I mean Devin, you couldn’t have put it any better buddy, is that you got to believe it yourself. You got to be bought in and you got to show each and every day you go out there that this is it, this is what we’re going to do and here’s why, and I’m excited and I’m passionate and share what those results can look like and then just empower everybody to pull the boat down to get to those results.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:33:28):
So the
Bill Connor (00:33:28):
Beauty of the quick win though is that we’re defining exactly what should happen and then we’re proving the result and how we’re going to measure it. Then what they can do is they can apply the same method to any other topic on the inspection sheet they want. Again, by demonstrating this is what we do to generate hours revenue and so on. And then you do the same thing for the next topic. You choose, go ahead and define with your staff exactly what good looks like and then you do it and you measure it and you keep repeating it on any other topic that you choose on the insect sheet.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:34:01):
I would love to go a step back, Devin, because you took a huge put, not only your heart, you pulled everything in. Was there a time when you said, dang, this is not going to work out? And if there was, how do you cut yourself out of this and then when did you start leaning back and could say the process works, the results are going to follow?
Devin Kelley (00:34:34):
So yeah, it was a big leap in the beginning. My last shop, I spent so many years going to conferences and just hyper-focusing on my process and procedures and learning a lot of good lessons and I was really frustrated with it. And when I saw this opportunity open up, I saw it had more of the recipe right off the bat that enabled me to do what I wanted. And I took all my years of building my previous shop and I just took the whole thing in way. I kind of crumpled it up and threw it away. We had a real small staff right before this changeover. A year before that I turned my whole staff over. I was desperate to make things change. I was willing to take big chances and get really uncomfortable. And so yeah, going into this one, I’d say, repeat part of your question again, I’ve gotten off. I got excited, lost track.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:35:32):
So the first question is when you’re trying hard and the result is not consistently good, there is sometimes self-doubt and you start questioning yourself instead of anything else and you need some reassuring feeling data, whatever, which says, okay, that’s just part of the process. It’s part of the path to success. There is no straight line. So when you had those moments, if you had them, how did you get out of them? The self-doubt turned into action or confidence or whatever it was, right? It will be the first part of the question. Then when it got better, there’s always a time when you try and it’s still up and down, but all of a sudden there’s a day when you have the confidence before actually the data show that you are successful. You have the confidence that the team knows the process, and I just need to lean back and watch
Devin Kelley (00:36:46):
In the beginning when I was doubting some things because yeah, that’s very, very normal and I’d like to say there was never a time that I had any doubts about anything because I was so passionate to move forward. But those things do happen, and I had enough people that I consulted with that had been doing this and had for a longer period than me and had a lot more success than I had. And I spent a lot of time speaking to mentors that I really looked up to. I’ve had several mentors, everything from shop ownership and finance and personal life. I’m always looking for people that have already done what I want to do. And they were a big part of helping relieve that self-doubt because they’re the person I go to and they continue to answer my questions. They want to help me, they want to encourage me.
So I had so much positive reinforcement from my mentors. And then when I have someone like Bill Connor as a coach, I’ve got my ATI coach, I’ve got my association Muaaka, and I’ve just surrounded myself by positive people and people who have been there and done that. When I start to talk about a doubt, they’re not only very supportive, but they’re like, here’s all these tools that we’ve already used and been successful with. So that quickly helps me feel like I have a path. And once I started getting things working well, there was times where I felt that my team was so effective and so good at what their area was that when I went in and tried to help, even if I was assisting, I would make mistakes and my team would be like, what are you doing? You’re a problem sometimes here you did this and now I have to fix it.
And when I started to feel that frustration sometimes I’m thinking, I’m not as good in this area as this person. I need to get the heck out of their way and just make sure I’m enabling them with as many resources as I can and support. And so that started to happen. Originally I was a technician, like most shop owners, and when I was working around technicians that did things faster and better than I would go in and try to help on something when somebody needed help on a car and one of my techs would make me look bad. I’m like, well, I’m looking like an idiot, so I’m just going to get out of the way here. I’m on the front counter and part of my personality is introverted. I love people and I love networking, but there’s this small part of me that gets introverted sometimes and I can’t control it really well.
So my amazing room filling salesman at the front just made me look bad. I’m just like, I don’t know that I really fit in up here. My advisors are so good at their competitive banter, I can’t hang. It looks like I get offended and I don’t have a comeback. They’re just too good. I can’t hang there. So I’m kind of in the way. And my bookkeeper, she knows QuickBooks and finance and a financial statement the back of her hand. And so I try to talk about that and she’s like, well, what about this and what about this? And you didn’t do that you, because that’s all screwed up. I’m like, well, I need to stay out of this. And so I guess I did get that feeling that things were working better and I started to move away. I think I was almost embarrassing myself trying to do things around people that are better than me.
And I just kind of have been hunkering into my position of support and leading the vision and making sure that everybody has what they need, like having a whole fleet of drag cars and I just got to make sure they have the fuel they need and the path for maintenance. And I’ve already got the drivers. And so interestingly enough, when the pandemic happened, I was already working on trying to step away more and more and my son was born the same week they announced the pandemic. So I was already planning maternity leave and I can remote into all the computers. Things were working pretty good. And so I took a couple weeks off and that turned into a couple more weeks and he’s getting ready to be three months old. And I just started going back last week a little bit and this week. And so now really my plan for presence in the shop is just to be there a couple days a week to fill in for when I have an advisor off.
I don’t have a general manager right now. And so until I do have a general manager in place, I’m going to go in and just show the team that I’m still there to support. I’m going to work at least half days when I’ve got advisors off to give them some relief and make sure that they’re staying good mentally and contribute in those ways. And I’m working remotely. And so interestingly enough, the pandemic kind of helped push me off into remote ownership because it just proved it would work. And I really do feel that it works a little better without me there sometimes. And I’ve heard so many shop owners talk about that. And I’ve always seen myself as this driving force that has more energy than anybody. I’ve worked longer than anybody. I’ll put more passion into it. I’ve had more training on this or that, but I don’t know, sometimes I go in there and I feel like I’m embarrassing myself and I just need to get the heck out of the way.
Tom Dorsey (00:42:03):
Well, there’s no greater mark of success when you make yourself obsolete in your own business and it continues to run and grow and serve the customers. It’s kind of a hard pill to swallow sometimes, especially when you spent those 17 hour days and enrolled it up. But really it’s just like having kids. You put in all that work, but man, what an accomplishment it is to see them grow and graduate and start their own families and lives and journeys and things like that. And you just got to cut ties there at some point and then just do it again somewhere else. Scale. I did.
Devin Kelley (00:42:45):
I had to change myself a little bit a few times there as I’ve stepped away, it’s almost like an identity crisis because I’ve spent so much time being a hard physical worker at one part and then a hard student of sales and processes. And as I went away from those things, I kind of had to ask myself, well, who am I? What’s given me pride here? How are other people looking at me? Are they like, look at this guy just slacking off. They don’t see what I do in my home office. I try to tell ’em what I accomplish, but you kind of have an identity crisis when you make big changes in your daily role. So that’s a part of it too. It’s different for everybody, but
Tom Dorsey (00:43:23):
Just daddy war bucks now I just sit on stacks of cash and count ’em all day. I don’t know what to do. We got a great question from Rich Kim in chat there and he was asking them when you were talking earlier about you had to make some refactoring and made a lot of changes, let some folks go drive that car count down. He’s asking, did you have to add staff? Did you have to increase even temporarily at the counter or in the back during that transition?
Devin Kelley (00:43:51):
Yeah, I’ve had both. So when I took over the company, including myself, I had 17 people on staff as a eight bay shop and we have 11 now including me. But there were fluctuations up and down when I had, let’s just say for example, if there was a weakness up front and I had somebody up there that was abusive to other people in the shop because that really happened. They were unprofessional when they were mad and I had to let them go, but they were kind of a workhorse. I may have hired one or two people with a little bit of experience to cover what they were doing, and I had fluctuations up and down. I was okay with sometimes running my payroll really lean. That’s kind of my goal now with high performers. They do more work each. But I was okay with having my payroll kind of fat sometimes too, because I knew these couple really good people, if I overwork ’em, they’re going to get burnt out. So with a plan, not as permanent of having some people that can help, I’d be willing to have payroll be a little heavy or a little light, but I did have to reduce staff and have an extra person sometimes where that staff to tech ratio, you may have an ideal concept of where you want it to be. Sometimes I went outside the bounds of that just to get us going in the big picture where we want it to be. Did I answer the question?
Tom Dorsey (00:45:10):
I believe Rich Kimon have to tell you, but for me you did.
Devin Kelley (00:45:15):
I can see the question now. Yeah,
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:45:21):
I would like to ask a question back to the quick wins if that’s okay with you, Devin, because absolutely we have a little bit. Dustin, if you could show the quick win comparison, the two approaches, and I would get your input. So big changes, doing fast can backfire big time. If you do incremental changes, you might not get to a big success fast enough. So there has to be a compromise. And Dustin, if you could share, oh, it’s up. I’m sorry, I didn’t see that before. And so if you compare that with, let’s say you want to teach a young child how to play an instrument or do some sports, right? You could, for example, for the inspection, say just start with a shorter inspection and focus on the quick win items, be it tire wear or brake fluid or whatever. And the safety items for sure, because you cannot just overlook them, but leave the rest for later.
Basically make a shorter inspection, create momentum, everybody sees how great it’s working, and then add more inspection topics later. So the success of that method is you have really a quick win pretty quickly. The challenge is as you add topics, there’s always a little change of process. It takes longer and so on and so forth. But since everybody is excited to get more benefits from it, it should not be the problem. Or you say build a comprehensive inspection from the get go, spend time, get the tax input, build the finest and best inspection you can have, and then train and the service advisor constantly to turn gold. What would you prefer from your, or is there a third way I didn’t describe?
Tom Dorsey (00:47:41):
Yeah, and folks in the audience, go ahead and chat in if you got some input there, what your opinion is as well.
Devin Kelley (00:47:49):
I’ve started initially when I went digital years ago with a different digital inspection company and program. So I had the experience of starting from the ground up and building it. And then when I came into the new shop with AutoVitals, it was already set up, but learning it all as a totally new program and all new processes, I got to review it all again and kind of learn from what I had done before. And I do like quick wins. It’s so important for the confidence of not just in general for the people to feel confident in what they’re doing, but for them to have confidence in the processes and the decisions of the owner to get some wins along the way. There probably is some compromise between quick wins and building a really comprehensive inspection sheet. And maybe it comes down to the personalities in the shop too.
There may be people that are really confident in the shop owner and in the processes and they’re in it for the long haul and they’re like, I don’t care how long this takes, let’s do it right from the beginning. And if that’s the majority, then I think they would do better with that. And there may be some people that are like, I don’t know about all this digital stuff. This is a little strange. I want to feel good about this really quickly before you’re going to get my buy-in for much longer. So it probably depends on the majority of the personalities I think. And maybe as a blanket, if you’ve got both some kind of compromise where you say, we’re going to be building this on the side while we get some quick wins here. I think they’re both really good, really good approaches.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:49:25):
And would you even go that far and say if you had a new shop tomorrow and people had no experience in digital inspection, would you pick, I don’t know, the strongest sales advisor and the strongest tech and let them do it as in giving an example for everybody, or actually he was the weakest tech and if he can do it, everybody can do it, right? I’ve
Devin Kelley (00:49:52):
Seen some of both. Yeah, I’ve had a general service tech that was almost, I mean just as green as can be, who took on the digital inspection and did a beautiful one. And by the end of the first day he just nailed it and everybody else was kind of like, oh, she making us look bad. And I do have aspirations of having more locations and I anticipate needing to teach a lot of people about digital inspections because in our town specifically, there’s only two shops that do. And so if I am successful in some acquisitions, there’s a lot of people that are going to have a learning curve here. So it’s interesting to see these two and think about how I would approach it, but if I started over, I would absolutely be making sure I’ve got some quick wins in there.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:50:43):
Okay, cool. Thank you.
Devin Kelley (00:50:47):
Great question. Thank you.
Tom Dorsey (00:50:49):
We got the poll results back. It looks like 79% of folks answered that the metric that’s most important in evaluating their shop is weekly revenue followed by ARO. And then tied for third is motorist research time and retention rate. 36% each receive that. So it’s interesting driving it by revenue. We want to see that motorist research time incrementally improving in priority because really that’s the secret sauce that motorist research time, which the quick wins lead to, right? That’s exactly why because one of the most, and for folks that maybe you haven’t seen previous episodes and you’re thinking, what the heck? These guys keep saying quick wins. What the heck is a quick win? Well, quick win’s pretty, we’ve danced around it, but it’s quick and easy.
It gets a big payoff, there’s a good margin to it. And most importantly, the customer can understand it easily. So think of things like when we’re talking fluid. If you’re going for a fluid flushes and such, you use a drip tray, right? And a drip tray shows kind of the clean versus the comparison picture or a dirty air filter next to a brand new one, a clean one or brake pads or however you want to do it. And you can add that comparison. It’s really easy for a customer to understand, oh, that’s dirty, that’s broke, that’s worn. I need new one. And the more that you can implement those quick wins like that, easy to display, right? It’s real easy to throw down a drip tray and it’s very evident. You don’t have to do a lot more explaining around it.
Something’s leaking. It’s leaking. You don’t have to really explain much around that it’s leaking. And the more that you can establish those kind of quick wins, the faster that process or the more cohesive that process happens. The technicians take their pictures and they make their recommendations. The service writer knows what to edit into Bill’s point earlier, we talk about how to place those arrows, how to make those edits, what information should be on that picture to get, once you get it to the customer, then you’re motorist, then it just goes click aha approve, right? That’s really the trick. And so then Paychex are fatter, right? Build hours are up. ARO increases, and that’s that momentum that we start to build in with those quick wins. Bill, if you want to walk us through, maybe give us some tips on some of the areas that you’ve identified as quick wins. Talk about what you implemented into all-star with Devin and how that worked out. What’s the impact on the tech side? What’s the impact on the service rider side and what’s the payoff on the customer’s end,
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:53:36):
If I may? Sorry, Bill. Dustin, could you show this one screenshot? I think that where the cabin air filter is a canned job and shows how that increases over time. Exactly. So Bill, if you could incorporate that, I think that helps the audience to,
Bill Connor (00:53:57):
So in this particular shop, what they did is their area focus was on the cabin air filter. And their job was to go ahead and inspect it or document it on each repair or each inspection that came through the shop. And where that black diamond event marker is, that is the first week that they actually put this in place. And if you look up at the top where you’ve got the green marker up there, you can see that their approval rate was 15 cabin air filters at that particular time. And you can see also the week before that they had three. And you see that by implementing the process that following two weeks, they were actually able to go ahead and sustain it. So they learned how to do it, they proved out at work, they went ahead and measured and monitored what was going on. And then after they’ve learned this, what they can do is they can just graduate and start working on the next topic and define it the exact same way.
Tom Dorsey (00:54:49):
Yeah, because the next thing is that once you’ve established it and you built the muscle memory, well then you just expand it to everything. You just add it in as a regular expected protocol in your inspection process. And then the money comes in
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:55:03):
And you can see on this picture. So you can use the PCP and pick any can job. So in this case it was cabin air filter, but it could be anything because some shy away from cabinet air filter. Why? Because it’s work to remove the dirty one and show it to the custom or taking a picture. But otherwise, it’s really an awesome topic to use. Devin, do you remember, it’s probably a while ago, what kind of can jobs were used? Your sweet spot you use in the Quick Winds? If
Bill Connor (00:55:50):
I remember right, I think we used a break fluid inspection at his particular shop. And I think that’s what we did initially. And then I think we went ahead and maybe on the next call we went ahead and focused on the tire tread wear so that we get wheel alignments and wheel bearing repacks and other tire related services.
Tom Dorsey (00:56:11):
And we’ve got recorded webinars. I know Devin’s got a hard break, and so we got a couple minutes till the top of the hour. But Bill, you’ve done, you were doing webinars on that where can folks go in and find your quick wins webinars so that they can watch that stuff in their time and implement that into their process.
Bill Connor (00:56:34):
So I guess the best thing for me to do would be to take that prerecorded webinar and go ahead and put it in the academy along with other things and they can choose it in there from, I guess we could add it to the frequently asked questions area, how to go ahead and define a quick win and it that way. So that’d be a good place to go ahead and actually put it
Tom Dorsey (00:56:58):
Good. So it’d be added into the academy. Everybody knows you go to your hamburger button on your TVP, the three black lines down at the bottom there, scroll down on the left side Bar academy and that takes you into, right into your educational and training resources. And so we’ll add it up in there and you’ll be able to search for it in there under quick wins. And it’s a really great way. Bill does a great job in that webinar of explaining what it is and how to do it, how to implement it. And then also most importantly is how to reinforce it and make sure that it’s working, how to track it, how to set those goals, and then hit the number and then move on to the next topic and so on and so forth. Rising tide floats all boats. Before you know it, you put a hundred dollars on your ARO and we’ll have you on the show, right?
But Devin, man, really appreciate you coming on, buddy. I know you got a hard break. I know you had to run home. Hope you didn’t run any red lights getting in and really appreciate you coming on. Man, you always, you’re always man your positivity. I got to tell you. And just the success you had and you make it sound like it’s so simple. And I think it was a brilliant point you brought. Is it for fun? Some of you that are new or some of you that are having doubts and you’ve been struggling and you’re not really willing to commit and you’re not showing that enthusiasm, reach out to your advisor, reach out to us, reach out to folks on Facebook form. Take a look at what other folks are doing. Take a look at the success, the struggles and success because we showed that data earlier on Devin shop.
It hasn’t been all rainbows and sunshine the entire time. They spent three years kind of just spinning and then all of a sudden, bang. It really takes that quick wins, focus in commitment, transparency to the shop, regular reinforcement. Open up the door to back and forth with your team. And before you know it, like Devin was saying, you become obsolete in your own operation. They’re going to take the ball and run with it and score more touchdowns than you can because there’s more of them and they’re younger. It’s just the bottom line. They’re just younger so they run faster. It’s hard to catch ’em Uwe, Bill, really appreciate your input, man. Like always my expert panel of experts, we’re pretty expert. So thank you very much, Dustin, as always, man, appreciate everything you do and for everybody who joined in, hope you learned something. Hope you’re back next week.
Keep that conversation going. The Facebook forum, if you’re looking for topics, let us know. We’d love to bring you on as a guest or find a guest that can help you out with what you might be struggling with and get you some help and point you in the right direction so you have all that success like de and you got more time in your hands. You know what to do with. You’re just going to open up a whole bunch of shops and become my Carl. I can at some point, so you can do it too.
Bill Connor (00:59:44):
So my big takeaway from Devin today is share your vision, hire good people and get the hell out of the way and measure and monitor their success. So good job
Tom Dorsey (00:59:56):
And listen to Bill. And listen to Bill. Whether he’s your advisor or not, doesn’t matter. That’s not an excuse for you because we download everything from Bill’s brain and Uwe’s brain and we put it in videos and it’s in that academy button we were just talking about. And you can go find it yourself and you can learn. You might not believe it. And that’s Where’re looking at other shops that do believe it and looking at their performance to help convince you. But give it a shot. Try it. What do you got to lose? Right? Implement for a pay period. Commit to it. Get the buy-in and commitment from your crew. Do it for real. And then just be honest in the assessment of the data. And if you’re doing better, then keep doing more of it.
Bill Connor (01:00:39):
There’s nothing to add.
Tom Dorsey (01:00:43):
Mic drop. Thank you.
Bill Connor (01:00:44):
Devin was awesome.
Devin Kelley (01:00:47):
Thank you guys for having me on here. I’m honored to be speaking with you guys and with everybody listening, there’s just some amazing shop owners out there working so hard every day. So I’m honored to be able to speak and do everything I can to help if anybody needs my help.
Tom Dorsey (01:01:02):
We’re honored to have you on and every time you come on, like I said, it’s inspirational. I know folks are going out there and reinvigorated. And then it just creates more thinking, more questions, and then more closer bond through Facebook on folks trying to help answer those questions and help each other out and learn from each other. And so you just keep the ball rolling buddy. I’m looking forward to the next time we have you on actually. So
Devin Kelley (01:01:28):
I enjoyed a lot.
Tom Dorsey (01:01:29):
Good. Thank you.

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