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Making the most of slow times.

No matter how much you plan, prep and market, there are certain circumstances (not caused by you or your staff) where business can be slow.

Check out this episode if you share the belief that every problem is an opportunity. Join Dave DeRosier (Freddie Kish’s Complete Car Care Center) as we discover what creative (and productive) ideas that slow times can create.

Episode Transcript

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

Tom Dorsey (00:05):
Good morning and good afternoon. Welcome to this week’s edition of The Digital Shop Talk Radio. I’m Tom Dorsey and I’m joined today from Dave DeRosier from Freddie Kish’s Complete Car Care in Waco, Texas. First time you’ve been on the show, Dave, welcome buddy. Thank
Dave DeRosier (00:21):
You. Thank you for having me. Happy Wednesday everybody.
Tom Dorsey (00:24):
Yeah, happy Wednesday to you too. And if you guys don’t know about Freddie Kish, Jeanna Kish shop, look at it. What a professional operation that they’re running over there. Fantastic Operators digital shop now for, gosh, going on two years, it hasn’t been that long. Really?
Dave DeRosier (00:43):
Two years going in January of 19.
Tom Dorsey (00:48):
Yeah, there you go. So yeah, about that time came right out to conference and stuff and just taking the bull by the horns they do like to do in Waco and so couldn’t think of a greater guess to have on. Maybe you caught a little more conversation on Facebook, but we’re talking kind of about what happens in the downtime, right? What do you do when you have an unexpected, maybe slowness in your schedule or seasonality or something else is causing you to have a little bit of extra time on your hands and your operation and it’d be great if we could plan that stuff, but a lot of times it’s not planned and so we kind of have to have some protocol in place to manage that and well, there’s a lot of things that we can do when we got extra time on our hands and we thought that, gosh, Dave really had a great response and really well thought out.
So we thought, hey, I’d love to have him on here and kind of pick his brain a little bit, help some folks out that maybe are looking for some guidance in that same area. And then we’ll talk a little bit about how AutoVitals can actually help support that through our technology and some of the things that we’re working on when you’re looking to create a plan and a protocol and have some accountability behind some of your side hustle projects that you end up having to do. Just the nature of the beast. So again buddy, welcome Dave, really excited to have you on and kick us off a little bit. Get us talking about maybe rehash what we talked a little bit on Facebook, you’d showed us your whiteboard where you’re managing that stuff. How often do you find yourself walking around doing that audit? Is that a weekly type thing or is it just you’re always on the go looking for this stuff
Dave DeRosier (02:36):
That’s always on the go. I keep a notepad, a spiral notepad that I’m always writing stuff down, but invariably you’re going to miss something that your technicians are on it though. They’re out missing. So what I do when we have slow times is I hand ’em their own little spiral notebook and say, Hey, still walk around, tell me what you see. Rope maintenance, something needs painting, something that’s customer facing that you’ve noticed that doesn’t meet our standard. Sure enough, they’re very active in that. They’ll be glad to write down everything that they find.
Tom Dorsey (03:19):
Yeah, well you can tell it’s paying off, right? I mean look at that operation right there and it looks like if you’re going to run it at that level, there’s probably a lot of stuff that they find just normal wear and tear, just stuff happening through the daily operation. And so do you keep it kind of cosmetic? Are you looking for, walk us through your prioritization of the stuff you find because it sounds like you got techs that are finding stuff and letting you know maybe the front counters, finding stuff. I’m sure anybody who’s on staff is walking through. How do they communicate that stuff? Do they just walk by and tell you and you got to write it down? Do they all have notebooks and they turn in at the shop meeting or something? How’s that working?
Dave DeRosier (04:06):
Right, exactly. Everyone has a notebook assigned to them. We’ve got spiral around notebooks has their name on the front of it. Hey,
Tom Dorsey (04:15):
Dave DeRosier (04:15):
Cool, let’s write it down on a master list. We combine that master list. Obviously you’re going to have some duplicates in there, combine that master list and then we write it up on the whiteboard. These are the 20 things that we get done today. Let’s everybody jump in and get after
Tom Dorsey (04:38):
It. Who writes it up on that whiteboard as the gm? Are you kind of overseeing all of that or do you have a foreman or a production manager or something that’s doing that?
Dave DeRosier (04:50):
Yes, I am. All of the above.
Tom Dorsey (04:53):
Yeah, exactly.
Dave DeRosier (04:56):
But yes, I’m the one that’s writing it up there on the board. I’m one of the few in the building that has legible handwriting
Tom Dorsey (05:04):
Dave DeRosier (05:06):
But just right up there on the board. And then we have our own little internal competition of who can check off most things and put their initials next to it. We give ’em like a little $50 gift card for whoever excels that day.
Tom Dorsey (05:21):
Yeah, that’s awesome. That’s what I figured. That’s what I was going to ask you next, right, is because then you’ve got to kind of delegate that stuff and there has to be some accountability. I mean, do you put deadlines in there? I want this thing done by this time. How do you manage that? How do you hold ’em accountable?
Dave DeRosier (05:37):
Well, we just have face-to-face conversations about it. Okay. Does your skill level allow you to do this? If so, okay, let’s set up a timeline. You have it done today, let’s get after it. If I’m being honest with you, I’m not setting a, unless it’s equipment related. We want to really get in there because equipment can affect your production, make sure that we do that as possible. But the customer facing areas are just as our image is very important so that customers, when they’re looking at your shop, we introduce our customers to our shop on a very regular basis. They’re out here who are looking into the shop. I want to make sure what they see.
Tom Dorsey (06:28):
And we’ve got half of our expert panel of experts in here, Uwe, Kleinschmidt, I guarantee you he’s championing at the bit right now to ask you some questions because most of the stuff you said, I guarantee you it is curling his toes right now, writing stuff down, managing a whiteboard, all the kind of stuff that as a digital shop, well we like to recommend against and we like to come up with solutions to help replace those things that make it a easier for you, easier for all involved to understand what’s expected and where they’re at and make sure that it gets done and have some accountability and monitoring in place. What do you think, buddy?
Uwe Kleinschmidt (07:10):
Sorry to disappoint you. Oh
Tom Dorsey (07:14):
Uwe Kleinschmidt (07:17):
I’m blown away by the culture Dave has created. I mean if the whiteboard is the place where everybody can see it and you check it off, I mean what better accountability?
Dave DeRosier (07:30):
The whiteboard’s right in the middle of the shop
Uwe Kleinschmidt (07:33):
Dave DeRosier (07:33):
The dispatch desk. It’s big whiteboard.
Tom Dorsey (07:37):
What happens when somebody rubs up against it?
Uwe Kleinschmidt (07:39):
Tom Dorsey (07:44):
Got a chain link around it. Chain link fence around it,
Dave DeRosier (07:47):
Right? Got spike strips if they go.
Tom Dorsey (07:51):
Uwe Kleinschmidt (07:53):
And do customers see that too or is it in the back shop?
Dave DeRosier (07:58):
It’s in the back shop. It’s back shop. When we have a new client come in the shop, we always introduce them to at least one of our shop foreman, our team leaders out there and shop them. We also walk ’em through the dispatch area, the shop so they can see how clean our shop is. I think that’s a good visual indicator of how we’re going to take care of their automobile care about our shop that much we sure care about.
Tom Dorsey (08:33):
Yeah, that’s a great point. And that’s an old trick that restaurants used to use that right as you walk the people by the kitchen, so they smell all the food before they get to their table. Then when they sit down they’re extra hungry and they want to order the expensive stuff.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (08:48):
And if I may ask, when do you do this? Is a regular lunch and learn meeting when you go through the, or is it sporadic and you just decide it during the week sometime? What’s the
Dave DeRosier (09:03):
Yeah, we don’t have a regular schedule on that. We write ’em up on the whiteboard as we find them. And then if we have downtime, if we see some openings schedule where we say, okay, I know this afternoon we’ve got a light schedule. Okay buddy, let’s get up here and we’re going to assign tasks, make sure that those tasks are assigned to the right people that have the skill, level them properly.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (09:28):
And are there, I mean is it really managed in a tight way? There’s a due date to it and you have to meet it or how do you manage that?
Dave DeRosier (09:39):
No, I’ll be honest with you, I don’t tie ’em down to a deadline. But I will say this, I got so very motivated and know our standard year, typically I don’t have to ride them things done in a timely manner. Most of the time they’re doing the same thing unless it’s a piece of equipment that’s broken or something like that where we have hard but we stay on top of this stuff. We also have what I call him, our environmental manager, his name’s Mike shop, clean on a rainbow basis. Some of the small repairs like bulbs, stuff that is just stay on top of this stuff.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (10:24):
We’re getting feedback, Dave, that you are hard to hear and I thought it’s on my side, but it might be on yours. Turn
Dave DeRosier (10:31):
My microphone up.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (10:34):
It’s kind of normal. It’s more like an interruption. All of a sudden your voice is going and then comes back. It’s more like a glitch than the volume. It just
Tom Dorsey (10:44):
Kind of fades away. It’s almost like the battery’s dying and then it recharges real quick and then it dies again.
Dave DeRosier (10:52):
How about now?
Uwe Kleinschmidt (10:55):
Yeah, let’s try.
Dave DeRosier (10:56):
Uwe Kleinschmidt (10:57):
So if you had a magic wand and would like to improve your system now to Tom’s point, what digital version of it would make life easier, if any?
Dave DeRosier (11:12):
Right. We’re about to go to TV PX as soon as my coach lets me get in there. Ken. We were talking about it a couple of weeks ago about changing over to it and put brakes on it for a little while, but want to go to that and I know there’s a task manager in there
Uwe Kleinschmidt (11:30):
And that’s used. I have a task manager up here right now. Maybe I can share my screen and then we can quickly see whether that meets your needs. Let me see how I do this here. So I have a really big screen. I hope this is awesome. Visible. I get that a little bit bigger by assuming
Tom Dorsey (12:10):
That much stuff on your screen. What size is that screen? Like 60 inch. You like a 65 inch computer screen over there? What are you doing?
Uwe Kleinschmidt (12:20):
I would love to have those curved game computers.
Tom Dorsey (12:25):
Oh yeah, you wrap yourself in the, just immerse yourself in the technology.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (12:29):
Tom Dorsey (12:31):
We would never sleep.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (12:33):
So Dave, so you would basically have the ability to then add a new task. So you go in here and then there are a few things already predefined or we will detect what do you type in most often and then it will show up at this list. And then there’s an optional note. You assign it to any of your staff, which is in front of a TVP, so it’s not including the technicians. And if it’s all related, you would select an RO to it. Otherwise you leave that empty and then you define what the start date of the task should be and once you’ve done it, it will then list for that person in this list. So in this case, Annemarie has nothing to worry about, but the shop as you can see here, so I’m locked in as annemarie and there’s zero for me, but there’s six pending for the accumulation of anybody else.
So I could then also just click on this up here and then it will show what the tasks are, which are not for me. So you see here Cody has a few, Jessica has won and those you see here are all automated. None of them have been done manually otherwise the color would be different. You would see it’s a blue bar across, they’re automatically generated here and then you as the manager, you can then see depending on how you configure it, who is behind. So in this case, Cody seems to have a little queue on things going and then you just say, let’s assign it to somebody else. And so this way this can become your whiteboard,
Dave DeRosier (14:58):
Visual whiteboard
Uwe Kleinschmidt (15:01):
And you can go as far as if that helps visually to project it to a screen, then everybody knows. But
Dave DeRosier (15:17):
So when you assign a task to a particular person, will it send it to their iPad as if you were signing a repair to them?
Uwe Kleinschmidt (15:27):
No. So this is only working for counter personal, meaning people who have a TVP in front of them.
Dave DeRosier (15:33):
I see. Okay.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (15:35):
Technicians, that’s an idea we can discuss. We will just have the opinion technicians work on cars,
Dave DeRosier (15:45):
Right? Exactly.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (15:47):
Tom Dorsey (15:48):
Sometimes they do painting.
Dave DeRosier (15:50):
They do. Yes,
Tom Dorsey (15:53):
Sometimes they do painting. And that’s exactly, that’s the question is does the task manager open up to allow access on the tablet to even just to add observations and document observations that then can be managed through the task manager by Dave, right? Whoever’s in charge.
Dave DeRosier (16:12):
Well, you’d like to have something like that where the technician, if they find something, Hey, I’ve got this piece of equipment broken, and they can immediately add it to the task manager for you versus having to walk all the way up, ride it on there, ride it on the whiteboard. They could just message it and send it directly to the task manager,
Uwe Kleinschmidt (16:33):
Tom Dorsey (16:34):
Yeah. Bill Connor, I don’t know why he’s in the panel but not on the panel somehow through some twist of fate. But he’s saying that shop maintenance goes on the RO for shop to track time. So in other words, he should submit it like you would a recommendation. I take it Bill. Bill says he’s lurking while learning. Yes, submit it as a recommendation. So that’s very interesting. I mean I like that. What do you think, Dave?
Dave DeRosier (17:08):
Yeah, however we can get the information transferred digitally versus doing it just manually. What’s nice about it? It’s going to keep a permanent record of it. Hey, when did I last fix this foot valve on this tire machine? Okay, well I can look back through that and know when it was done versus trying to remember. Obviously it’s been erased off the whiteboard on it.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (17:34):
Well, so we would allow the technician maybe in the chat to mark this as in potential task for somebody and then I would not build the task manager out on the tablet. I would just say if you check something in check mark, which says that’s a potential task and it shows up in the task manager for you or whoever is managing the task list to see, oh yeah, that’s a good idea. Let me edit it or assign it or ask a question back to the tech. So we will manage that through chat. That’s a great idea.
Tom Dorsey (18:21):
And maybe coming back it just says, Hey, you have a task assigned, so if task assigned then it’s outside of the ROS that are on the tablet. You’ve got this area, you can make sure that. And then as far as visibility goes, yeah sure you could put that up to a screen in the shop or wherever you want to put it to replicate that whiteboard experience.
Dave DeRosier (18:43):
Right. And now our plan is to put a large screen in the shop so they can see the TVP kind, see where everybody’s at. Of course they can see that on their iPad, but they’re only seeing where they’re at, not where everybody else.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (19:02):
Cool. So Tom, mute you go.
Tom Dorsey (19:10):
Yeah, sure. So the other thing that I want to get out into the weeds on pretty much is because there’s this kind of, yeah, there’s two sides of the fence I guess, right? When it comes to how else do we handle downtime? So it’s great if I’ve got some housekeeping projects and things like that to keep me busy earning my paycheck, but what about honing my skills as far as training goes? Do you have a plan in there to where if, gosh all of a sudden we’ve got this half an hour hold in the day, do we do some on the job training? Do you have kind of a plan in place or a protocol in place that says everybody get their tablet out and let’s run through some best practice curriculum in a focus short amount of time?
Dave DeRosier (20:07):
What we do is we run teams here and we’ve got three teams. Team has a team leader and that team leader is responsible for training. Of course we have AutoVitals, Napa a c Delco and a TI that all have training modules available. Hey, if you’ve got a tech that’s not available and don’t have a situation where you can do on the job training, get ’em on a computer. Every workstation has a PC with internet capability and they can jump on there and train anywhere they to lead. Tech is responsible for A my B tech, my C tech needs training in this area, find him something and get training.
Tom Dorsey (21:00):
Yeah, you definitely don’t have, with all of those affiliations, you don’t have to hunt far for some good training collateral. Probably the challenge becomes how do we focus on a situation or a need and find the right material to address at that time. So kind of talk us through a little bit. I mean do you start at the feedback level? Because that’s another thing that I think that that project communication tool could do is also to say, Hey, I could use some help on this, or maybe you run across even technical training stuff. Gosh, this new car that we’re seeing a lot of has this thing that we’re having to run through hoops. We need some more solid training about that. How do they communicate that need back to you and then how do you kind of formulate a curriculum throughout the week to manage that need and that feedback?
Dave DeRosier (22:05):
I don’t handle a lot of that as far as I let the teams communicate within themselves as far as what training that ATech says, Hey, my B and C guy or we in this area, they all have the passwords for all the different training module and they jump in there. I let them take care of that part of it.
Tom Dorsey (22:30):
So that stuff’s all.
Dave DeRosier (22:33):
Yeah, and then obviously I’m in there looking, if you see a technician struggling on an issue, hey, going on here, why are you struggling with this? Obviously then I’m going to lead tech. We need to talk about this. He’s obviously struggling over there. Let’s find some training modules and I’ll jump in there and find some training modules that are pertinent to struggle that particular technician is having.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (22:58):
Dave, how do you organize your teams? Is it by type of work or is this little shops within a big shop? How do you
Dave DeRosier (23:08):
Exactly. You have a service advisor, a tech vtech Ctech, to be honest with you, it’s modeled after Frank Scan shop. We went out there and visited him and we were blown away how well it worked and brought it back here and said, okay, this is how we’re going to do it. And it’s worked pretty well. We’ve had some growing pains with it obviously, but it’s worked pretty darn well. So yeah, you have essentially three little businesses inside of a,
Uwe Kleinschmidt (23:41):
And so the techs are strictly dedicated to their team. You cannot borrow them to do some work on another team.
Dave DeRosier (23:48):
We do share between the teams, but we try and limit it as much as possible. I allow the service advisors to talk to each other. We’ve been there. If you’ve got a technician, Hey, I’ve got technician an A tech on my team that’s not busy right now. Other advisors got some diagnostics, Hey, can I borrow ’em? Sure. But they’re responsible for scheduling their work for their team. We have or goal for them each week on what we want that team team run an our standpoint. So that’s how we kind of structure this team.
Tom Dorsey (24:32):
Yeah, that’s great. I got a great question too in the chat is asking, do you allow your apprentice techs to shadow your master tech during the slow time so they can get some of that? Because kind of the best training that you can actually get
Dave DeRosier (24:46):
On the job training is we do a lot of that here. Fortunately, I’ve got three really good ATECs in our shop that are willing and of course we give ’em bonus for being that lead tech and doing on the job training for these men. I think all of us that are in car business know that’s probably some of the best training around is actually doing it, working with your hands. It’s very good training.
Tom Dorsey (25:18):
Yeah, yeah, for sure. So that’s kind of part of that curriculum. I mean you’d go as far as to even assign, especially for when you get a new hire and you’re ramping somebody up, do you kind of assign ’em, you got to spend five hours hanging around this guy this week or something like that?
Dave DeRosier (25:33):
Typically if we have someone new, I’m going to assign them kind of the buddy system there for at least 30 days. They get to know the culture of our shop and what our expectations of quality of work, personal expectations, personal appearance expectations. So they’re well aware. Of course we have our sit down on our first day and I got all of the job descriptions and writing and so forth, but we definitely buddy ’em up with somebody so they can get to know the shop. Yeah,
Tom Dorsey (26:08):
Get their feet wet. Get
Dave DeRosier (26:09):
Their feet wet. You don’t want to throw ’em into a busy shop like what we have, just leave ’em all by themselves and I’m in there on a very regular basis, so my desk is out in the shop, so I’m got an eye on what’s going on.
Tom Dorsey (26:25):
Don’t let ’em get too far away,
Dave DeRosier (26:27):
Keep not too far for the most part. I let them do their thing. I’m here to work on the business, not in the business, but I’m definitely keeping an eye on what’s going on.
Tom Dorsey (26:43):
So it looks like you sparked, you’ve got a lot of questions coming in now, which is good. And John Conway’s got a real, I wanted to get to this too because this is something I think I’m going to even build a show around it is to say that because again, this is another thing where there’s pretty solid camps on both sides of the fence and that’s doing some social media awareness marketing in those slower times, right? Do you allow your guys, so his question exactly as written is in today’s auto repair environment, what marketing ideas are you using, social media, et cetera, and where’s that facilitated from? Do you have, because with the AutoVitals CRM tools and our marketing tools in there, those were designed really to be able to be done on the fly. You create a custom campaign, you can however you want to do it, you have very targeted lists and then a service writer should be able to go out and execute those. Do you have people doing that type of work and the slower times actually effectively working to fill their own gaps in their schedule by either doing follow-up calls we haven’t seen in a while or using the tools to send out digital marketing campaigns in those downtimes or even better before the downtime comes because we can project it, we see it in the calendar,
Dave DeRosier (27:59):
All of the above. We’re using auto bottles for a lot of our CRM type stuff, to your point. They do our Facebook stuff, we do radio, tv, but as far as calling people, all of our service riders are responsible for, we can run a report out of Mitchell and these are the customers that we have not seen in 90 days, 120 days. Hey, give ’em a call. Hey, what’s going on? It’s been 120 days since we did oil change on your car. We haven’t done tire rotation. And if you look at their mileage and project how far they’ve driven for tire rotation, be proactive. These folks in the door, when I get here in the morning and I’m looking at the schedule and I see that we’re aligned on the schedule that day, I’m printing those reports and it’s on their desk when they get here at seven 30 ready to go, Hey, let’s get after it guys. You’re responsible for driving your team. That’s what you do.
Tom Dorsey (29:03):
Yeah, yeah.
Dave DeRosier (29:04):
Get the throttle.
Tom Dorsey (29:06):
Yeah. And so again, that’s another thing that’s kind, you know what the expectation is, you know what you need to do, go get it done, and then you just monitor to make sure that that stuff’s been handled versus you having a micromanage and set exact deliverable dates and stuff like that,
Dave DeRosier (29:25):
Right? You’re watching and they know what the expectation is. We know what should be doing every day. I let these men and women do their job. As long as you set the expectations, you give ’em the tools and the to get it done, go out there and do it.
Tom Dorsey (29:44):
So how are you verifying that stuff? I mean, are they marking in AutoVitals is the customer was called, the follow up call was completed and then you can go in and look at the data and see that those things have been done. Yep.
Dave DeRosier (29:58):
Sitting there, Jeff and I that are a management team here, we’re monitoring, okay, I’ve made these calls. How many appointments did you make today? Awesome. How many turndowns did you get? Why did they turn you down? What can we do different to fill that gap? Do we need to go and get the car? Are we not flexible enough? Whatever the situation is, try to adjust on the fly. Don’t give ’em a reason to say no.
Tom Dorsey (30:30):
So I got another question real quick. So they’re asking, are your general service techs, oil, lube, tires, et cetera, are they doing the courtesy inspections and if they are, do they get help training from the master techs on what to look for? So are they giving them guidance even down to the inspection level?
Dave DeRosier (30:46):
Absolutely agree. Our GSS are doing the vast majority of our courtesy inspections, but we have our non-weight courtesy inspection is 54 items that we’re looking at and we’re making sure I audit those inspections on the fly as I’m watching them being done and I see it get turned in, I’m looking at ’em right there. But the teams are grouped together physically in the shop so that aec, BTech, ctech are right there next to each other. They’re watching what’s going on. Those ATECs are keeping a good eye on ’em. Hey, don’t miss this. Hey, don’t miss that. Make sure you’re looking at it very much. Hold that AEC responsible for that team and sure that inspection is done properly. It’s not, it’s reassigned.
Tom Dorsey (31:45):
Yeah, I’m always a big fan of that concept, that model, because I now have an individual incentive to ramp my new guy up and take care of him and get him productive because it’s affecting our team numbers and then it eventually affects me versus, oh my gosh, I got to train this new guy and what a hassle and it’s going to drag my paycheck down. And so I’ve always been a big fan. Your thoughts, Dave, on how can AutoVitals help you to make that even more tight from a team metrics perspective, management perspective operationally, how can we help you to take that even to the next level? Well, I should say specifically Uwe.
Dave DeRosier (32:32):
Yeah. Well, I don’t know an answer to that question, Tom. I’m sorry. I don’t have an answer to that question as far as I feel like we’re doing a pretty good job on the inspections right now that auto bottles really, I know you’ve got working on continual improvement on your end with the TVPX and stuff. We haven’t gone to that yet, but we’re about to. Gosh, I’m real happy with the product that we have right now.
Tom Dorsey (33:00):
Well, there you go. Then I guess U you can take the rest of the day off, buddy. Enjoy it. Go run up the hill in the wildfire. Smoke. Hey, I got a follow up from, it’s from showroom. I’m sorry, I don’t know your name. And that was the person that had talked about who’s doing the inspections and with the guidance and saying, the reason I’m asking is because we have the least experienced GS techs performing most of the inspections and they can miss a lot of the low hanging fruit, the ball joints, tie rods, brakes, whatever it is that filters. And so is there a process in place to where there’s kind of an audit done? Maybe I’m not breathing down your neck or looking over your shoulder, but I’m going through and I’m double checking those results or is that all handed handled by that SA that’s on that team?
Dave DeRosier (33:54):
My question is why don’t they have those items on their inspection list if they want ’em looked
Tom Dorsey (33:58):
At? It’s mandatory,
Dave DeRosier (34:01):
Right? They are on my inspection list that is part of the under car inspection. All joints, tie rods, steering gear, troll arms, power steering leaks, all of those things are items that should be in your inspection. If they’re not, you need to put ’em in there.
Tom Dorsey (34:23):
And you
Dave DeRosier (34:24):
Have two inspections here.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (34:27):
Yeah. The key I think is to avoid that those items get skipped. You really declare them mandatory and you can say you have to take a picture. It’s pretty hard to avoid taking the picture then. And so that would be probably the best way to do this.
Dave DeRosier (34:48):
I have the mandatory, the front end inspection, brake inspection is mandatory. They cannot submit the inspection without those things being checked off. If there is a recommendation on a need for replacement, they must take a picture of it. It’s in our picture policy. If they recommend it, get a picture of it or a video. Of course, if you have a loose ball going or something like that, the video is mandatory things they need to change their inspection. If they’re missing those things, they need to change their training for us. The AEC loves to see those things get found because that leads you feel paycheck and that leads to work for the tech and the AEC or the ctech. That also leads to the AEC getting his bonus once we pass our goal for that team.
Tom Dorsey (35:42):
Well, and that’s a funny thing too because then it brings up a situation. I’m always a suspicious person. I just look at things. How can I get game right? Well, what if I then start to train my Gs to just find me the gravy all the time and that’s how they run the inspection. How do you make sure that that’s not happening? You do that through full audits of your inspection process.
Dave DeRosier (36:07):
Exactly. That’s my responsibility as far as auditing those inspections, auditing, repair orders to make sure that we’re not just picking on the gravy stuff, that we’re doing the things that need to be done on the car. That’s the reason that it is mandatory for pictures and or videos of any record work going to have to show me. So we can show the customer. Of course, it’s our responsibility to show the customer what’s going on, why they need it.
Tom Dorsey (36:36):
Yeah, and if if some of these shops out there aren’t using it or don’t know about it, check out those mandatory topics. You can assign topics, say they’re mandatory into u’s point even they have to include a picture. You can get into that level of detail. Then it’s impossible to game that right? Is that you can’t submit it unless it’s done. Now of course I can go out and just take a picture of the moon or whatever bottom, oh,
Dave DeRosier (37:04):
I don’t know what happened.
Tom Dorsey (37:07):
I just kicked something. I thought my whole computer dropped. But then it becomes evident and you can nip that in the, but as soon as you get those kind of random, random images and stuff like that through the tool and having that process in place for auditing. So let me ask you this, Dave, because I imagine you’re going to go through a weekly and you’re going to audit stuff or whatever your time process is, talking to shop meetings about it. But do you have a protocol in place with kind of a defined best practice for the service advisors to do those audits on the fly as they receive them?
Dave DeRosier (37:48):
If the service advisor finds an issue, that is their responsibility to go back to the team leader say, okay. And I mean it’s an immediate response when they see something wrong on the inspection to go back to the team leader and say, Hey, this is wrong, this is wrong. I’m going to reassign it, get it done. And then they also let me know about that so I can audit.
Tom Dorsey (38:16):
And then that gets into the training curriculum. If you start to get too many of those kind of pieces of feedback, well we better knock some training out. So that’s a great, so I’m seeing ways that, especially through that task manager, and if you get some reporting metrics out of there, you can establish something to help you identify those areas that need improvement without even having to rely on the feedback. You can see it in the data and that’s always going to be, I think more efficient and more accurate from an operational perspective. Real quick too, I want to get a question in Jennifer Hayden asked this and I’ve been looking for a spot to fit it in. She’s worried it’s a little off topic, but I think this is a good spot and because there’s some best practice and then also maybe just some technical techniques that you can use to address this, Jennifer, but she’s saying what’s the appropriate way to handle the waiters?
So you must get a lot of waiters in your shop. She says they feel like that when we’re busy with multiple waiters, we’re not getting to their inspections fast enough to edit, present it, and then sell more because they’ve been waiting long enough. And that’s the age old dilemma. I don’t feel that the notifications that the inspection is finished and ready to edit is not enough in your face. I wish it would pop up on the screen. I don’t know if that’s part of the new rollout. So part of that, Jennifer, it sounds like what you’re asking is that you’re saying, gosh, the tech submitted it, I just didn’t see it. And if I could have got to it a little earlier, I could have got it to the customer and they would’ve paid more attention instead of just wanting to get out because they’ve been waiting too long. Dave, I think I’ll let you kick that one off. If you could kind of how, what’s your advice there? Of course John and Adam and everybody else that’s in, if you would like to respond in chat, that’d be fantastic to help Jennifer out as well. And I see Uwe’s got his hand up, but I was going to kind of keep you to the last Uwe. Okay, thanks Dave.
Dave DeRosier (40:26):
An issue in my opinion of balancing, doing a good inspection along with doing it in a timely manner. And to me that starts at the counter with proper scheduling and talking to the customer, letting them know what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and giving them a reasonable timeline of how long it’s going to take to do it properly. Now here at our shop, we do have two different inspections. We’ve got a long inspection for item one that we use. If the client’s not waiting, if the client is waiting, we do have a shorter inspection. It’s 25 items, but we always give our client the option, would you like the full inspection? But it’s going to take about 15 minutes longer for your service. There is no charge for this service which you like and give that client an option, talk to ’em, let them know why they should go with a longer inspection or make sure it’s a better inspection. Make sure your car’s safe, identify any issues that you can take care of. We’re going to need 15, 20 minutes more so that the counter with your advisor getting out in front of the timeline.
Tom Dorsey (41:46):
Yeah, yeah, exactly. Setting that expectation.
And to John Long’s point in the chat is saying limit those waiters. He went as far as to manage that through the schedule. So they’ll only allow a certain amount of waiters at a specific time. So yeah, you’re going to wait around. You can bring it in at two and once you fill up that waiter quota, then it’s the next time block that you have. So I think that’s a great idea. What do you think, and both to John and to you Dave, what do you think about having a specific quick wins type, quick inspection that you can knock out real fast and show maybe some of the more obvious stuff, pique their curiosity and then you lay on that. I’m going to really need to dig in here a little bit more. I’m going to need a little extra time. Hey, we got a shuttle, we got this, we got that. Wouldn’t you rather get out of here?
Dave DeRosier (42:43):
Well, and we encourage that. We have a shuttle here. If we see a vehicle that obviously has a lot of issues and short inspections, just not going to cover it, get with the advisor, it’s the technician’s responsibility. Use the chat message, the advisor, Hey, this car’s got a lot of problems that are visually evident. I don’t even need to go through the inspection. This car needs a full inspection before goes out here, get with your client, see if we can get them to leave the car. We have a full-time shuttle driver, get ’em to work, get ’em home, get ’em to the mall, get ’em to Burger King. They go
Tom Dorsey (43:21):
Wherever you want to go. Take your roller skating.
Dave DeRosier (43:24):
Try and be as flexible as possible and give them a reason to leave the car.
Tom Dorsey (43:31):
Dave DeRosier (43:32):
It all starts, in my opinion there, that situation with the advisor getting out in front of it, letting the client know what’s going on with their car so we know when the car leaves here, it’s safe.
Tom Dorsey (43:48):
Yes, exactly. Yeah. You need your time, you need to take your time. And John Long is even saying here, the customers that will only wait shouldn’t be your customers, right? You can fire ’em. You wait somewhere else. And really it’s not because we don’t like people and of course in the covid times it’s a little easier to run like this, but it’s just that they are a disruption in your operation, whether you know it or not or feel it or not. They impede the flow. They’re a stone in the middle of the river and we got to divide around them and flow around them. I used to do that. I love, I grew up loving cars. Matter of fact, back when Shell gas stations used to have auto repair shops, a guy who was a dirt track racer was a mechanic there and oh my god, he was my hero and I would just stand around in that guy’s shop. Why he didn’t chuck wrenches at me every single day. I just would come show up and of course I would step on the little rubber hose and go ding, ding, oh, here’s this idiot again, man, that guy was so patient with me. But those hangers, those fender hangers or fender lizards or whatever you want to call ’em, that’s an issue. And you got to manage those because before you know it, man, it really impacts your bottom line.
Dave DeRosier (45:07):
John’s point. You need to train your clients to say, we’re really not a waiter shop, but we’ve got a lot of different options for you to give you a ride to work, give you a ride home, give your clients options, get out in front of it, schedule this one. And it’s all about talking.
Tom Dorsey (45:27):
Yeah, and the other thing that I would say on that Jennifer too is just make sure you note that in AutoVitals, in the customer profiles to say, Hey, this person, I prefer to wait. They’re a waiter. And then a lot of that stuff you can start to handle smartly through the digital tools. So in other words, your appointment confirmation can be a lot more robust and have a lot more of that conversation and information front loaded ahead of time. So maybe they don’t need to hang out or observe or, because a lot of times it’s two things. Either I’m only expecting to do this one little quick thing or I don’t really trust you and I’m going to sit and here and watch what’s happening to make sure that you’re not ripping me off or whatever it is. And you kind of got to want to profile ’em a little bit so you know who you’re dealing with and then you can handle that accordingly. And the transparency through the digital inspection and the communication that you can do before drop off really should alleviate a lot of that suspicion. And then people much less likely want to hang out and watch what you’re doing.
Dave DeRosier (46:30):
The digital inspection to me and making it mandatory in your shop for pictures of any recommended work really alleviates a lot of the suspicion where our customers can see,
Tom Dorsey (46:41):
Yeah, they’re out there filming, put you on YouTube and stuff. It’s just like to John Long’s point and Jennifer said, Hey, thanks a lot. We definitely have trial that, but they have those customers that just refuse to leave. And so to John Long’s point, just fire him. Just tell him, just hand out your competitor’s business card and say, Hey, this guy, he’s got nothing to do. He’s waiting for you.
Dave DeRosier (47:02):
I have a handful of people that are giving,
Tom Dorsey (47:04):
Lemme give you directions
Dave DeRosier (47:06):
No matter what.
Tom Dorsey (47:07):
Drop you off there. I’m in the shuttle.
Dave DeRosier (47:11):
Hate to have to fire customers, but sometimes, yeah, so those are customers, chances are those clients are ones that probably won’t even open the inspection. Those are people that are just coming in for that $49 oil change and they’re out the door and then they’re going to, whoever the least expensive shop is this or that. They’re not reliable clients to you. They’re not your kind of people.
Tom Dorsey (47:40):
Yeah. So you got to be careful on how good a coffee you serve in the lobby, right? You serve too good a coffee. Well then they want to just hang out and drink free coffee all day. You become like a Starbucks, so you got free coffee, but boy, it’ll stand up a spoon. So drink it at your own wrist. Bet your coffee’s better at your house.
Dave DeRosier (47:58):
So bad coffee. Apparently Jennifer is the way to get them run ’em off.
Tom Dorsey (48:03):
Exactly. They don’t
Dave DeRosier (48:05):
Want coffee.
Tom Dorsey (48:07):
Exactly. Yeah. It’s from three days ago, but try it. I don’t know. We’ll see. You tell me. Showroom is saying that the timeline is the most important item. I agree. We figure out how long does it take the shop to do the service without rushing and then tell the customer this goes hand in hand with workflow manager. Rushing is a disaster. And that really is, that is the key, right, is you don’t want to rush through anything. You want to take your time. You want to have a plan. You want that plan and those pieces to fit together with the other plans that you got floating around and what the other teams in Dave’s case are doing so that you don’t have a train wreck in the middle of the day every day, right? You really want to balance that workload and plan and work to your plan and not have to do those things on the fly.
And you got to remember, at the end of the day, that’s all your call, you’re in control. You picked up the phone, you agreed, you said tow it on in. You said, sure, bring it down. Yeah, we’ll get it done today. So a lot of those things, and that’s where AutoVitals become super important. When you can look at the big picture and you can go through a couple of days in advance behind and here and there, you can really see my digging my own grave right now with my mouth telling these people this or is this a smart time to do it? And that really fits into what we’re talking about here today is what do we do when there’s holes in the calendar and we’re unexpectedly down? Well, that’s how you’d get her done if you’ve set that expectation. And Dave’s point, Dave’s nailed it, is to say, you got to train your customers over time.
Well, guess what? Hey, matter of fact, there you go. Those folks that like to wait, we got a low short wait today. Come on down. Woo. Now that’s why you profile and that’s why you know, Hey, I can look up this waiter. I got time in my schedule. Let me get them down. They’re going to be attracted to that. It’s a fast wait. There’s nobody really in there and I’m going to get a better time and deal out of it. And it’s a win-win for the both of you. Now you’ve got some work, some work’s better than no work. And then if you’re using that digital inspection effectively, well, you just get ’em on the exit schedule. They want to just get the oil change the day, but they’re coming back for the tie rods or whatever it is, the deferred work that you have documented in your inspection program.
So really think smart around, what am I doing? Yeah, I got a gap. That’s the end of the world. It’s actually an opportunity and it’s a way to both train those customers so that they become more regular and they become regular in the fashion that you appreciate that you can give the best service and they get the best experience. It’s not just about you don’t want waiters or it’s you want to provide the best service to that customer. And if you know how those folks expect to be serviced, well then you can schedule them and you can keep them kind of on the banter in a queue to say, Hey, here’s my go-to for this situation, these folks like later in the day or earlier in the morning drop off or whatever it might be, so that you align their preference with your kind of opportunity right now. And so think of it from that perspective, is that the downtime? As we can see, and you can look at Dave’s shop. I mean, what an immaculate job they’re doing from a maintenance perspective. It looks like everybody who works there is an artist that’s on their side gig. Oh, sorry about that away. My ringtone there.
Dave DeRosier (51:33):
I like that song.
Tom Dorsey (51:34):
Yeah, it is a great one. Little bluegrass there for you in the morning or in the afternoon depending on where you live, but also incorporate that from a smart operational and marketing perspective to say, this is an opportunity for me to learn about my customers, learn about my techs, right? When you’re having and running these projects, a lot of things open up. What do you mean you can’t get over there and fix that seal on that hydraulic unit because why? Oh, you’re so far behind. You haven’t been kind of following some other practices maybe. And now we can do some training. And so it also helps to identify other areas of focus outside of just cosmetic to help you to tighten up the ship, tighten up those teams and give really good expectation and process throughout the week to keep your guys focused. Because that’s the worst thing, David, and if you could speak to it a little bit, is that when we kind of just stand around and we lose folks, that’s the worst time. Then all of a sudden you get busy. Guess what? When all the mistakes get made because we lose focus. So how do you, Dave, you keep ’em focused on that big goal. I know you’ve got a more, I don’t want to say lax, that’s not the right word. It’s more of a self-managed process there when it comes to your projects and your trainings, but actually at the same time, how do you keep ’em focused on that? The end zone really is what it is on what the big hairy goals are for the business.
Dave DeRosier (53:11):
Well, we have posted goals that everybody knows from a financial standpoint. We share those every week with our technicians and our staff of this is our goal. This is where we need to answer your question. I guess the best as possible there. I mean, we’ve got posted goals and they know what they are. Let’s go get ’em. And I’m out there cheering ’em on. Okay, daily updates. This is where we’re at, this is where we need to be. Get with your advisors and start calling some customers. And I’m following up with that. How many appointments did we set? When we do, how are we going to improve it? But a lot of it is done verbally. I’m not doing a lot of it.
Tom Dorsey (54:00):
Yeah, that’s the glory, right? That is because when you have that team environment like that and you’ve got the right culture in place, is you don’t have to get out there and crack the whip. They hold each other accountable. It’s the same thing. You all played your sports, whatever it was, soccer or football or whatever, it didn’t matter. If the coach wasn’t looking, you weren’t going to mess around because the rest of the team doesn’t let you mess around because hey, we’ve got a game on Saturday, and so get your head in the game. That’s really what it’s all about. And as long as you have that culture established, it will police itself. You just have to be clear in what those expectations are. And I really like your style, Dave, I got to tell you, because it’s not micromanaged, it’s not. It’s like you said, stuff’s up on the wall. You’re an adult, you know what you need to do. If you don’t get it done, well, then we have that conversation. But the expectation is, and my faith in you is that you’re going to get this done no problem and ask for more and suggest more and be in that culture and in that process to where you are pulling the rope with us. We’re not dragging you along or there’s lots of places to work, I’m sure, right?
Dave DeRosier (55:10):
Yeah. Well, I don’t like to use that as a motivator. I like to use that. I like to have the team spirit. You got a goal, you’re an adult. I’m going to set your expectation. I’m going to give you all the tools that you need to reach that goal. Now it’s up to you to go get it. And there’s financial gain form of course, and there’s personal gain that hey, we met our goal again this week. We’ve exceeded our goal and we had a fantastic summer and had a nice party for everybody and went out to the circle track races and had a good time. We set ’em the goals. Hey, you go now, it’s up to you. We’re not doing the work. You’re doing the work. Here’s your goal. Get it.
Tom Dorsey (56:01):
God bless Texas. You can still go do stuff. You can go outside and go to races.
Dave DeRosier (56:05):
Yeah, yeah. No doubt. Rono is probably everywhere there, but none of us got sick, so we don’t care.
Tom Dorsey (56:11):
Well, you move fast enough. It ain’t going to catch you when you’re racing. Hey, listen, go ahead. Listen, we’re at the top of the hour. I really want to thank you, Dave. It was an awesome, awesome episode, man, and just great questions. I really want to thank Jennifer’s showroom. You guys had some awesome, John. Long as always, our co-host with the most, oh, showroom’s got a last one, says trust that they are, that they will get it done. We are as strong as our weakest link. We got showroom on the show, just dropping nuggets in chat, and so I really appreciate all the questions coming in for Dave. Dave, really appreciate you, Jana. Thank you for letting Dave come on the show. That was awesome. Thank you for showing me this awesome picture of your operation. I want to say thank you and appreciation to everybody who’s pictured in there because you guys do a fantastic job and it shows be proud.
Dave. Thank you Uwe Kleinschmidt, thank you for taking time out of your busy day. Bill Connor. I looking forward to seeing your beautiful face next week. I hope you’re going to join us on the show instead of just lurking in the background, but we’ll talk about that, Dustin, as always, great job. Tune in next Wednesday. Now next Wednesday we’re going to be talking with Drive. We got a Drive episode coming up. I’m going to go do a thing with Dave on his show and then they’re going to come on with us. And so that’s going to be next week. Tune in. We’ve got great episode talking. It’s not about selling drive, it’s about best practices around digital shop operations and specifically how you can use that BCP to identify and involve your coaches, right? So it doesn’t matter if you’re drive or a TI or what side of that fence you’re on, it’s going to be a great show for you. Tune in, same time, same place. Wednesday, next Wednesday, 10:00 AM Pacific, 1:00 PM Eastern. We’ll see you then. Thanks everybody.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (58:00):
Thank you, Dave.
Tom Dorsey (58:03):
Really good.

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