How I Knew it Was Time to Replace My Vehicle

How I Knew it Was Time to Replace My Vehicle

We regularly discuss whether a client should fix or replace their vehicle. Many of these clients mention its value per Kelly Blue Book (KBB) or Edmunds when making this decision. While market value comes into play when looking to buy a vehicle, it doesn’t really account for much when looking at whether keeping the vehicle and repairing it makes more financial sense.

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Is This Worth Calling My Mechanic?

Is This Worth Calling My Mechanic?

Our family’s 1994 Toyota Corolla has a few quirks, but has been a reliable vehicle overall. Having been around vehicles so much over the years, I have a unique peace of mind about driving a vehicle of any age. Why? Because I’m educated about what’s normal, what’s not, and what to do if there is a problem. You can have the same peace of mind.

Sights, Sounds and Smells

It’s important to know how your vehicle communicates. There are many indicators when there is a problem. Being able to describe the sights, sounds and smells that could indicate a problem helps you talk to your auto repair shop so they can have a good understanding of where they should start testing and evaluating the problem. Having this information also helps you know whether you have something to be concerned about. 

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Is Your Mechanic Treating You Fairly?

Is Your Mechanic Treating You Fairly?

Fair is being told the truth even if it’s not good news.

Fair is clear communication.

Fair is meeting a high standard of excellence.

Fair is knowing you are getting good value for your money.

Fair is seeing actions align with words.

Fair is being treated with respect.

It doesn’t matter if your mechanic is great at fixing cars if you don’t feel like you are being treated fairly. I can’t count the number of times a person, especially a woman, has come into our shop with a tale or two of feeling like they’ve been taken advantage of by an auto repair shop. There are many ways people have been treated unfairly by auto repair shops but I want to focus on what being fair should look like. 

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You Get What You Pay For

You Get What You Pay For

What is your reaction when you see a business advertise a “quality” service or product? For me personally, a claim of quality doesn’t influence my purchasing decision. I wonder if it’s just a marketing ploy. I want to experience the quality, or hear about other’s experiences, before I trust in the claim. 

Quality is a value our shop strives for, but we don’t want you to take our word for it. We want you to experience it for yourself. 

So, the question really is, how do you know if an auto repair shop truly meets a quality standard? 

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Is Your Mechanic Being Honest?

Is Your Mechanic Being Honest?

I was talking with a friend the other day about her latest car repair experience. Her vehicle had broken down and was towed to the shop AAA recommended. After testing and evaluation, some inexpensive parts, and labor to fix the car, they received a bill for about $1,000. She was shocked that after only a couple new bolts it cost that much. She was under the impression the invoice said two mechanics made $50 an hour each for the job. There were only a few inexpensive parts, so why did it cost so much!?

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How to Build Trust With Your Auto Mechanic

How to Build Trust With Your Auto Mechanic

Cheryl hung up the phone and thought about what she should do. She wasn’t sure the woman from the repair shop was giving her the right information. Did she really need to have all that work done? Struts, shocks, control arms, an alignment and tires? It seemed excessive. 

She called her husband. They decided they should call Uncle Billy who does a lot of his own work in his driveway. She trusted his advice about cars.

This experience was so much like all the others. She was hoping this shop would be different – the woman that answered the phone seemed nice enough. It’s for this reason that she rarely went back to the same repair shop more than once or twice. They seemed to want to sell her more than what she really needed.

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Taking Ownership of Your Auto Repair

Taking Ownership of Your Auto Repair

It’s common to be uneasy about having your vehicle serviced. Shop practices vary widely so it’s hard to know what to expect. Not surprisingly, many people have their guard up.

With too many negative experiences you can lose hope. Maybe you expect “the list” or pressure tactics. Maybe you assume that no-one will look out for you so you must look out for yourself.

Maybe you’d be relieved just to find a shop that will  find and fix the problem the first time, charge fairly, and treat you well.

We all use our past experiences and current desires to decide what paths we take toward a solution. This includes auto service. Automotive service paths can be short and effective or long, winding, and tiresome. Whether it’s home sweet home, feeling at home at work, or feeling at home with another person, there’s always a path that got you “home”. 

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The Car Repair That Turned Into A Job

The Car Repair That Turned Into A Job

It all started when my car didn’t. Quite literally. My car wouldn’t start. I was at a rehearsal for a dance show when I turned to my friend and asked, “Do you have any recommendations for a mechanic?”

Her face lit up and she grabbed her bag. She reached in and as she pulled her hand out, the bag exploded in a cloud of business cards.

“I love them so much!” she exclaimed as she handed me a card. “They’re quality focused and it’s a small business run by Andrew and his wife Bethany.”

I looked down at the card and read “Marinelli Auto Service.” Clearly Amanda was happy with the service. I had an older car that needed help and I had lived here for a few years but hadn’t found a mechanic in the area that I trusted yet. So, that evening, I sent an email with a detailed description of what I was experiencing and waited for a call.

Bethany called me the next day to talk about expectations and scheduling me. I was able to get on the schedule fairly soon after and poor Phillipe (my 2002 Grand Am) was towed over to the shop. I talked with Bethany in the office about testing and evaluation and what the next steps were.

Andrew commenced testing and was able to resolve my two main concerns; the fact that my car wouldn’t start at all, and the security issue that I was having. Around the time that I needed to bring my car in, there was an issue with the security system that made it difficult to start my car, making me do a reset that took 30 minutes. I was thankful that I didn’t have to do that anymore, and that whole exchange built my confidence in Marinelli Auto Service.

A few months later, I was having issues with my tire; it was losing pressure fairly quickly but I wasn’t sure what was going on. But I knew where I was going to go. I called Marinelli’s again and was able to get on the schedule a few days later. 

While I was waiting for Andrew to find out what was happening, I had a lovely conversation with Bethany. She mentioned that they were actually looking to hire and I happened to be looking for a job. The next week, I sent my resume to them and that began the long process of interviewing to make sure that I was a fit for their business.

My New Job

As a hospitality and tourism major, I had familiarity with customer service: I had previously worked at a restaurant, however working in a mechanic shop was something new for me. My father was a mechanic, as was my grandfather, but I knew little about vehicles and was intimidated by shops. I didn’t need to know what was done, just that my car was fixed. Working at Marinelli Auto Service has not only helped me learn about cars, but I have been able to put into practice what I learned in school. 

Vehicles, they’re the easy part, or so I’ve been told. Talking to people, helping them make the best decisions for themselves, their families, and their vehicles…that’s what is intimidating. Over the past year, I’ve made connections with clients and vendors; people that I care for. As I am so often reminded, people are precious, and now these clients that I’ve built relationships with are precious to me. I’ve made mistakes, but I’m lucky in who I work for. Andrew and Bethany have been so kind to me and I am grateful for the chance that they gave me.

The automotive industry is intimidating for a lot of people, and you don’t see many young women working in it. As a young female working at a mechanic shop, I’ve learned that maintaining what you have is so important and it’s okay to ask questions! You should feel comfortable with your mechanic and you should know what’s going on with your vehicle. You should be able to count on their workmanship and their service. The first step in finding a mechanic is to ask your friends, maybe they too have a bag full of business cards that explodes into a cloud.

Owning a Family Business

Owning a Family Business

The LIttle Engine that CouldThe risk was big. The statistics were against us. A mechanic may be a strong mechanic but can often be a weak businessman. Andrew knows his stuff when it comes to the cars and won’t claim to be a great businessman. He is like one of our son’s favorite books – The Little Engine that Could. Andrew is committed to rise to the summit no matter the effort. 

Andrew’s perseverance is largely why he’s built a solid reputation as a knowledgeable mechanic – Andrew won’t rest until he is confident in how to fix it right the first time. A vehicle returning for the same problem is not an option. He won’t have it, and it shows in the miniscule percentage of vehicle come-backs we’ve seen since we opened in 2015. 

Our six years of business have been both exciting and challenging. We were told that the first three years are the hardest and if we make it past 5 years we will most likely succeed. In the first year we built a strong client base and structure. The next two years are what make or break you. Maintaining that client base, continuing to improve our structure, stewarding our income well and making a liveable profit kept us moving forward despite encountering many challenges. We continue to grow, but the struggle has been real.

Rock Slides 

The Little Engine is heralded because, despite being little, he was still able to help the other train up the mountain, but it’s more than that. In my numerous trips winding through the Rocky Mountains’ tight S-curves, the added element of danger became apparent in the signs that say, warn about potential falling rocks. We’ve encountered some falling rocks in our business and family…and some outright rock slides. I am amazed we survived them all.

Our son was born in 2017, and I had planned a three-month maternity leave. However, I developed a serious case of septicemia which left me hospitalized for three weeks and, in my recovery, I wasn’t able to contribute to the shop as planned.

Halfway through 2018, our shop landlord tried to evict nearly all of the tenants in our building. Theyfloundered in their reasoning and eventually we were able to work out a new lease. Rent increased substantially, but our perseverance and commitment to our clients saw us through.

At the end of 2018 our one employee left us suddenly and was a big setback. (Note: If anyone here has let you down at any time, please contact us. We would be happy to listen.) 

We had to fill the client services position fast, so in 2019 I had to jump in at a moment’s notice and put our son in early preschool. In the weight of the change (and other challenges shop aside), I began struggling with mental illness, affecting my work. Andrew continued to power through and to be a rock to our family and business. 

We are very grateful for the local community we have supporting us, including those who have chosen to trust us with their vehicles. We continue to build relationships with them and do everything we can to care for them well.

A Turn in the Right Direction

We turned a corner in 2020. The road straightened a bit, and the incline wasn’t nearly as harsh. 

Andrew and I hired Victoria to take over client services and have really enjoyed working with her. If you haven’t worked with her already, you will be glad when the time comes!

Also, Mike, a dedicated former employee asked to come back on a part-time basis to help grow the business through improving policies, processes and potential areas of expansion.

We’ve never wanted to be a family with two full-time working parents, so I have stepped back to part-time and focus on my strengths in relationship building and communication to build our client base. I’m better able to care for my health and our family. I’ve been a better mom and I’ve been able to support Andrew better as a wife so that he can focus on the shop so that his time is better distributed. Andrew is the chain that binds us all together. 

Then COVID-19 came along. We know this hurt everyone – especially small businesses. Thankfully, with auto repair being an essential service, we haven’t really missed a beat. Though stay-at-home order reduced people’s driving habits and business became slow which was worrying. However, as the stay-at-home order was lifted and safety measures have been implemented in public areas, people began driving more and business picked up. We’re making it through!

The Other Side of the Mountain 

Despite the challenges we’ve faced, we are committed to continue providing a quality-focused service based on trust, honesty, and fairness. Over the years, we’ve added to the services we can provide in-house. We’ve improved on our business processes and efficiency. You have made it worth the effort by continuing to trust us.

Many people come to us feeling frustrated by past experiences in auto repair. They feel overcharged and undervalued. Andrew and I know that once you find someone with whom you can build trust to meet expectations, to treat you well, and fix your vehicle the right way the first time, you want to be able to go to them for everything. Our goal has been to be that shop that you trust for all of your needs – from oil changes and tires to in depth testing and major repairs.

That’s also why we strive to go beyond just fixing the vehicle by continuing to improve upon our client services. From the first phone call to the repair and maintenance plan, to budgeting, we want you to feel cared for because we care about you.

We have some lofty goals for the future as well. Andrew has been dreaming for years about adding loaner vehicles to our list of services. Hiring another full time mechanic would increase our efficiency and allow Andrew to focus more on improving the business. One day, purchasing our own property would help expand our services. Everything we do goes back to our vision of building trusting relationships through honest communication, quality-focused automotive repair, fairness in practice, and kindness in action. 

Despite all of the challenges we’ve faced over the years, we continue to build and grow in a positive direction. Owning a small family business is hard – especially in a rough and tumble industry requiring hard manual labor, automotive smarts, and a society that has a general feeling of mistrust of mechanics. We believe our business is making a positive impact in this industry by taking the road less traveled.

If you recall, the reason the little train needed to get over the mountain was because it carried “dolls and toys and good things for boys and girls to eat.” The Little Engine that Could allowed that to happen. His Good Samaritan-like service benefited many. Just like the train, we’re not just in this for ourselves. We are in it for the greater good.

We have been delighted to build trusting relationships with so many of you who have, in many cases, become friends and a part of our supportive community. It means the world to us when you tell friends and family, “Andrew Marinelli is my mechanic. You should bring your vehicle to his shop!” More than just meeting new clients, we truly appreciate the trust you have in us to send us someone you care about. That’s the kind of business that we’ve set out to run, and we plan to keep traveling that road.

Twelve Days Of A Marinelli Christmas

Twelve Days Of A Marinelli Christmas

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me 

a mechanic whose name is Andrew

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me

Two car lifts and

A mechanic whose name is Andrew

On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me

Three wipers wiping

Two car lifts and

A mechanic whose name is Andrew

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me

Four brand new tires

Three wipers wiping

Two car lifts and

A mechanic whose name is Andrew

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me

Five happy clients!

Four brand new tires

Three wipers wiping

Two car lifts and

A mechanic whose name is Andrew

 

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me

Six spark plugs

Five happy clients!

Four brand new tires

Three wipers wiping

Two car lifts and

A mechanic whose name is Andrew

On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me

Seven engines revving

Six spark plugs

Five happy clients!

Four brand new tires

Three wipers wiping

Two car lifts and

A mechanic whose name is Andrew

On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me

Eight air vents flowing

Seven engines revving

Six spark plugs

Five happy clients!

Four brand new tires

Three wipers wiping

Two car lifts and

A mechanic whose name is Andrew

On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me

Nine brake lamps blinking

Eight air vents flowing

Seven engines revving

Six spark plugs

Five happy clients!

Four brand new tires

Three wipers wiping

Two car lifts and

A mechanic whose name is Andrew

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me

Ten headlamps gleaming

Nine brake lamps blinking

Seven engines revving

Six spark plugs

Five happy clients!

Four brand new tires

Three wipers wiping

Two car lifts and

A mechanic whose name is Andrew

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me

Eleven Horns Honking

Ten headlamps gleaming

Nine brake lamps blinking

Seven engines revving

Six spark plugs

Five happy clients!

Four brand new tires

Three wipers wiping

Two car lifts and

A mechanic whose name is Andrew

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me

Twelve Corolla’s purring

Eleven Horns Honking

Ten headlamps gleaming

Nine brake lamps blinking

Seven engines revving

Six spark plugs

Five happy clients!

Four brand new tires

Three wipers wiping

Two car lifts and

A mechanic whose name is Andrew

What We’re Giving Thanks for in 2020

What We’re Giving Thanks for in 2020

As this year seems to have turned the whole world upside down it can be difficult to easily grasp things that we’re thankful for. However, it is times like these more than any other to stop and grab onto even the littlest things that this year has warranted thanksgiving. That’s why we wanted to share with you what we are thankful for. Maybe it will help you to realize how many things you really can be thankful for this Thanksgiving. 

 

Bethany

Community Engagement

I am one of the fortunate to say that this year has been a blessing in disguise. I was going through some really hard things in 2019 that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. It was the capstone of a steady decline of one hard thing after another. I needed a chance to catch my breath. I wasn’t sure if I could take it anymore. I had some serious health problems that made it hard for me to function at the shop. Andrew was carrying his full load and most of mine. Our son was having a hard time being at school so much, so he was spending a lot of time at the shop during the work day. We were all carrying heavy loads. Then 2020 happened.

Early in the year we were able to hire someone to take over the Client Relations role for me. I was able to narrow my focus on marketing, the part of the shop I really like. When the stay-at-home mandate happened, like a lot of people, I began working from home because my job didn’t require being on site. Besides, our son’s school closed, so I needed to be home anyway. This was a dream for me! This was what I had always wanted – to work from home and care for our son. It was the space I needed to breathe. It was what allowed me to focus on my health, our son, and having a productive role at the shop. So, while there have been many challenges about 2020, even for me, the change in direction was exactly what I needed.

I am thankful for my new role working from home. I am thankful for more time with my son. I am thankful for my newfound health.

 

Victoria

Client Relations

Victoria’s gratitude comes in a different form. At the end of 2019 she was searching for a job and was in the shop as a client. When I mentioned to her that we were looking to hire, she jumped on the chance. We put her through her paces and hired her mid-February…right before the country shut down.

She says, “This past year has been hard, but it has been full of  chances to learn and grow. I’m thankful for the Marinelli’s who have not only serviced my car to a high standard, but who have also given me the opportunity to serve their clients.”

On a more personal note, Victoria’s family has been going through a difficult time as her mom fights a rare form of cancer. I can tell you from getting to know her that Victoria holds herself up well even on the hardest of days because she chooses to look on the bright side.

She continues, “I’m thankful to my church and community for coming around me while my mom has been undergoing chemotherapy and radiation. Finally, I’m thankful to the Lord for every day I get to call my mom and have her answer, to wake up and face each new day with hope and with faith.”

 

Mike

Business Growth

Around the time that we hired Victoria, Mike jumped back on board to help take some of the burden off of Andrew as we continue to find ways to grow and improve the business. The timing was fortuitous as we quickly began to navigate changes in operation due to COVID. 

Mike currently lives out of town but comes back regularly. With his family being “at risk,” he stayed with us on his visits until the stay-at-home mandate ceased. He says, “Definitely thankful that my family is healthy and safe considering the virus. I’m thankful to be able to help you guys this year.”

 

Andrew

Owner/Mechanic

Andrew has had a lot on his plate this year. On top of “just” running a business, fixing cars, and serving the people who come through our shop, he’s had to adapt the business to the pandemic while also training a new employee. 

Despite this, his gratitude for the year is far reaching, saying, “I’m thankful that we’ve had a stable opportunity to serve people during this chaotic year and that Victoria is motivated to serve the clients and finds it meaningful.”

If anyone deserves a break this holiday season, it’s definitely Andrew. With everything that’s weighing on him at the shop, he also has a family waiting for him at home. Every day it’s his goal to make it home before our son falls asleep and to spend time with me. Most of the time he makes it happen and our hope is that someday it won’t be a race against the clock. Some day he will be able to lock the doors at closing and go right home. In the spirit of seeing improvements in our home life, his gratitude aligns with mine when he says, “I am thankful that Beth has been able to spend more time with Arthur while still contributing to the shop.” 

Finally, and I think all four of us can agree with Andrew when he says, “I’m thankful that God is good in both times of joy and times of suffering.”

 

Finding Thanks in 2020

It has been a rough year for so many people across the world and it may seem like there are few things to be thankful for. I hope that our proclamation of Thanksgiving has helped you to think about what you are thankful for this year. 

Maybe the gratitude you expected to evolve as you came into 2020 didn’t come to fruition. Weddings canceled. Memorial services postponed. Family and friends becoming ill. National and world events weighing on you. 

For every challenge or disappointment there is something to be thankful for to match it. People who have walked beside you during this time. A change in pace from your usual busy life to spend more time with your family. Time to reflect on what is most important to you.

What are you thankful for?

The Stress-Free Holiday Road Trip

The Stress-Free Holiday Road Trip

Jim and Jade are preparing to take their children to visit Grandma and Grandpa (a four-hour drive) over the week of Thanksgiving. Their 2005 Honda Odyssey has been trustworthy for around-town driving and the occasional weekend trip. They’ve done a fairly good job of keeping up on maintenance and repairs amidst their busy schedules. However, they’re not quite sure the vehicle is ready for a long road trip and they know it’s due to be checked. On Friday, a week before they need to leave, they call their auto repair shop to schedule that pre-trip inspection for peace of mind.

Jim dials the phone. As usual, he hears Tina’s friendly voice on the other end.

“Tina, hi, I would like to schedule the Odyssey for a pre-trip check.  We’re planning to head out of town on Friday. Can I have the vehicle looked over and get the oil changed while it’s there?”

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Me & My Ride: Amanda Adair’s 2009 Saturn Vue

Me & My Ride: Amanda Adair’s 2009 Saturn Vue

Amanda is one of the kindest people I know and it’s been really fun to serve her and her 2009 Saturn Vue. She’s been so wonderful in connecting her friends with us as well! In fact, she referred Victoria to us a little while back who we ended up hiring to fill the client relations role in our office!

A bit of a renaissance woman, Amanda has just a few jobs. She is full-time at Northland Church with the housekeeping team. She manages all of the children’s ministry costumes and props at Summit Church. Finally, she occasionally gets gigs at Florida Hospital acting in medical simulations.

She’s an actress, a harpist, and an outdoor enthusiast.

In her vacation time she’s likely to be driving South Carolina (about twice a year) to visit family. On days off she enjoys hanging out in her hammock reading, going to parks that feature streams and lakes and riding her bike on the recreation trails.

Amanda one thing that she likes about her Vue is that it has plenty of room to haul her harp around. Or her bike. Or to help a friend move. After getting to know her, it doesn’t surprise me that she enjoys using her vehicle to help others.

The only downside is that the trunk is so high off the ground. Being a small woman, lifting her harp or bicycle into her trunk is a feat! One thing she misses about her minivan is that it was lower to the ground and easier to load. 

When Amanda first moved to Florida, she was going to a mechanic in Kissimmee where she lived. Then, when she moved to East Orlando, she wanted to find something closer, so her roommate, a client of ours, recommended us. She’s been a loyal client since then.

She was sold from the get go. “That first time that I came, I couldn’t find the place. Andrew came out and found my car and walked me over to the building.”

Feeling cared for from the first moment she came to us and the level of honesty and upfront communication were what kept her coming back.

“At that point I didn’t feel really confident in my ability to not be swindled over, so being willing to talk to my dad was really great. I’ve gained confidence in how to talk to my mechanic and how to handle stuff on my own for my vehicle. I have ownership of my car.”

Probably one of the biggest compliments we could get – especially from a single woman – was when Amanda told me, “The last time [I came] I didn’t even call my dad. I just took care of it.” 

That is exactly what we try to do here. We want people to feel empowered to make confident decisions in taking care of their vehicle. 

The Value of Time and Money

The Value of Time and Money

It’s really annoying and frustrating, if not stressful, to go in for maintenance due just a few weeks after an oil change. And then, a couple months after that, to go in for a surprise repair. You are busy. You have work, school, kids, etc. Your time is valuable. You don’t have time to be running back and forth to and from your mechanic. 

While we like the relationships we’ve built with our clients, we value honoring their time, and only seeing them as few times as possible throughout the year is one indicator that  we are doing our job well. Our goal is to remove the stress of going back and forth as much as possible. That’s why we’ve introduced Service Visits into the model of care we give to our clients. So, with each visit the vehicle gets a proper blend of maintenance, inspection, and repair procedures so that you don’t have to return to the shop in between visits, and you have an opportunity to plan ahead for the next visit.

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Me & My Ride: David and Hanna Neisz

Me & My Ride: David and Hanna Neisz

We met David in December 2018. He had gotten into a collision and didn’t have a repair shop he trusted. His friend, a client of ours, recommended Marinelli Auto Service. In fact, this friend was also referred to us by a friend. We love clients who come by word of mouth because it usually means that they already have a little bit of faith in us.

Between waiting on the insurance company, sourcing parts, and giving our body shop time to properly do their part, it ended up being a rather long process. It became a little stressful because in the middle of it all, David and Hanna got married! However, David being the kind, patient, and understanding guy that he is, continued to appreciate our service.  (more…)

Mechanic’s Families Aren’t Immune to Car Problems

Mechanic’s Families Aren’t Immune to Car Problems

“Screeeeeech” screamed my brakes as I pulled into the parking lot. This is not a sound my car had made before. I had sensed something was off and earlier that week had asked Andrew to take a look at it over the weekend. Now it seemed urgent. I called him immediately to explain what was going on. He gave me sound advice (as he does) and I dropped my car off as soon as I was done with my errand.

You might think that because we own an auto repair shop that we’re immune to stress over car problems. Many times there is just no way around it.

Planning Ahead

First of all, our cars need maintenance and repairs just like everyone else’s. Being as that we are well in tune with maintenance schedules and preventative care, we are pretty wise about what our vehicles need and when. Our goal is always to educate our clients so that they have the same level of empowerment in servicing their vehicles, but with the added benefit of being updated whenever you schedule for service. 

Surprise Repairs

Secondly, our vehicle’s can develop surprises just like any other vehicle no matter how diligent we are in staying ahead of maintenance and repairs. We have the same challenge of figuring out transportation while our vehicle is in the shop. This, just like you, is more challenging when it’s a surprise that our busy schedule can’t really accommodate. 

Plus, we don’t get cuts in line just because we own the repair shop. In fact, we reserve working on our personal vehicles for after shop hours so that we can continue to serve our clients well. Just like you, it’s even more challenging when it’s a complex repair and we’re down a vehicle while it gets tended to.

Repair Budget

Then, there is the financial aspect of maintaining a vehicle. While we don’t pay ourselves for labor (because that’s obviously redundant), we still have parts costs. We still have to budget for vehicle repairs and, like you, money can be tight at times and stressful if it’s not a repair we were expecting. 

Finally, the time for the repair needs to come from somewhere and it’s time that we’re not getting paid for. For us, as I previously mentioned, this means Andrew staying after hours or working more on the weekend to work on our personal vehicle.

Advantages of Owning an Auto Repair Shop

Are there advantages to owning a repair shop? Sure! We don’t have to pay labor or parts mark-up. When my vehicle makes a noise or isn’t handling quite right, I am better able to relay the relevant information to Andrew because of the time I’ve spent talking clients through their vehicle’s symptoms. Information is valuable in getting down to the bottom of the problem in a timely manner. 

I am also more aware of whether or not it’s an urgent issue or something that I can keep my eye on. When I go home at night I can discuss it with Andrew. After being around the industry since before we opened the shop, I am more easily able to understand what he’s telling me. I am used to taking what he finds and explaining that to clients, so I generally don’t have a lot of questions..

However, I can still relate to you when you come in stressed about your vehicle, your schedule, finding alternate transportation, and your budget. I experience all of those things, too. Much of the time I need clarification about whether or not what I’m experiencing is urgent. This helps me to better understand what you are experiencing when you have an unexpected concern over your car. 

When it comes down to it, we’re all human and vehicle’s are a man-made object. Very few of us are experts about this valuable piece of machinery we rely on to get us where we need to go. We can only be so proactive about vehicle maintenance and repairs no matter how much we know or don’t know.

After hearing that awful noise it didn’t take long for Andrew to get my vehicle up on the lift and see that the vehicle was due for new brake pads. Just like any client, he didn’t hesitate to take care of this safety issue so that I could get back into my vehicle. 

I don’t know about you, but I’m glad I have such an attentive mechanic to take care of the vehicle I drive on a daily basis. If you don’t, I highly recommend finding one!

Me & My Ride: Karen Tuttle’s 2005 Hyundai Elantra

Me & My Ride: Karen Tuttle’s 2005 Hyundai Elantra

It doesn’t take much to get Karen Tuttle to agree to traveling abroad and form friendships with people from all cultures and backgrounds. Her role in non-profit Christian ministry traveling all over the world is a perfect fit for her. In fact, that is how I met Karen and have remained good friends with her for the past 15 years.

Coming from a family who all works for the same non-profit, and being in non-profit work herself, Karen is pretty thrifty when it comes to most things in life – especially her car. She did her research, and when she came upon the ‘05 Elantra on Craigslist while she was living in Indianapolis, she quickly figured out that this particular vehicle was known to be rather low maintenance. She met the owner and could tell they’d taken good care of it and learned they just needed something better suited to the size of their growing family. 

“It’s been a great car,” she says, “I love that it’s a hatchback because I have moved several times. Also, I haven’t had any major issues crop up.” In fact, we don’t see Karen very much at the shop aside from maintenance. She says “Over the years there have been minimal times when I’ve had to bring it in for a non-maintenance issue,” which is as good as it gets for an older vehicle. It’s no wonder, then, that when she’s not on an airplane going to and fro foreign lands, she’s zipping around town in her 2005 Hyundai Elantra to visit friends homes or meeting up at a favorite coffee joint or eatery. 

I call her a foodie, though she says that sounds too pretentious. Well, I guess I’m a bit pretentious because I would consider myself a bit of a foodie, which is another reason I like hanging out with Karen. I might add that I spent some time travelling with Karen. She’s definitely a person who enjoys the experience of the journey, while I just want to get to the destination. I guess this explains why Karen likes driving around to meet up with friends and I not a huge fan of driving, so I just wait for her to come to my house. We usually end up creating a delicious meal together and share life’s most recent anecdotes.

It’s quite obvious, then what initially brought her to Marinelli Auto Service – she was a bridesmaid in our wedding after all – but we’ve been very clear with her that we wouldn’t be offended if she had another shop that she trusted. She responded, “But I want to bring it to you guys!”

“I haven’t had great experiences with other independent mechanics,” she explains. “As a single woman, I’ve felt condescended to. I don’t know a lot about cars, but I try to be wise and educated. I appreciate that Andrew gives it to me straight and I don’t feel like he’s changing his communication because I’m a single female. I appreciate having people I can trust.”

Sadly, I can relate to her experience. Before meeting Andrew, going to a repair shop as a single woman was an aggravating experience. 

She adds, “Andrew communicates well and in a way that I can understand, so I have learned more about my car.”

Even though she’s on a thrifty budget, Karen still feels like she’s getting a good deal when she comes to us. “I know that you all have talked about how you don’t give the discounts because you are already serving us at the best price that you can,” she relates. “Having good long-term reliable service is worth more to me than getting it cheaper. I would rather pay more for a car that is going to keep running well and have a trustworthy mechanic. I don’t have to worry about if I’m being treated well. For example, you are always willing to work with my schedule, when I’m out of the country and when I’m home. When I lived out of the state for a couple years because of a temporary work relocation, I really missed the Marinellis because I couldn’t find someone I could trust to work on my car.”

When she got back into town after her relocation, one of the first things Karen did was bring in her car for a comprehensive Inspection. “I was hoping to get several more years out of my car and the detailed results of the inspection allowed me to see that what I need in maintenance and repairs is worth keeping the car for a while longer,” she shared. 

We’re glad that Karen has been back in Orlando, not just for her business or the fact that she loves referring her friends and co-workers to us, but because she is truly a joy to serve. Plus, she’s a great friend and it feels so good to help friends. 

Are Your Vehicle Ownership Costs Too High?

Are Your Vehicle Ownership Costs Too High?

“I avoid bringing my car to the repair shop until it’s screaming at me so loud that I can’t ignore it,” commented a brand new client. This isn’t an uncommon mindset among vehicle owners – especially those of “older” vehicles with “some mileage” and a tight budget.

“Why worry if there’s no real way to plan for these unexpected costs?,” many people think.

We helped change the mindset of this client, to their benefit. A proactive, thought-out, budget- honoring approach to vehicle maintenance and repair is a win-win for the client and the repair shop. You can reduce the stress of finding that time and money to address symptoms and surprises. You can catch problems before they get worse or strand you. You can set aside a vehicle ownership budget.

You shouldn’t have to worry about unexpected costs, because you can have a reasonable idea of what you need to save each month to keep your vehicle in a safe and reliable condition. With this money set aside and a proactive plan for repair and maintenance, you can reduce your visits to 2-3 times each year coinciding with oil changes and other necessary maintenance. 

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Dear Women – Love, The Mechanic’s Wife

Dear Women – Love, The Mechanic’s Wife

Dear Women,

When I see your social media posts recounting horrible vehicle repair experiences, where you’re sure they overcharged you for a problem they didn’t even fix, I feel your anger and disappointment.

When I hear you say, “I don’t like bringing my car to the mechanic because I don’t know when they are taking advantage of me,” I cringe. 

When you tell me that the repair shop was pressuring you to approve a repair and you weren’t sure you really needed it, but now you don’t know what to do. I don’t blame you for shedding tears over it. 

When you say, “I don’t like going to the auto repair shop because I feel like they treat me differently because I’m a woman,” it really frustrates me to hear that.

Ladies, we should not be having these experiences. We should certainly not be having them just because we are women. We should not be worried about being overcharged, about paying for an unnecessary repair, or being taken advantage of because we are women. We should not put our wallet, our safety, or the safety of our family in a compromising position because auto repair is a man’s world and we are women. We should not be broken down on the side of the road because, while we knew something wasn’t quite right, we dreaded bringing the vehicle in to be looked over. It’s uncalled for.

Ladies, you deserve respect by everyone – including the man (or woman) who is helping you keep your vehicle safe and reliable.

Men, women deserve your respect. So, respect her. Even if you don’t know her, respect her, You might be the only man in her life that has ever shown her what a gentleman is.

Before becoming a mechanic’s wife, that was me. I was that woman who called Dad every time her car made a noise because she was scared and didn’t know what to do. I was that woman who handed her cell phone over to the mechanic, daddy on the other end, because she couldn’t understand what he was talking about. Why must the mechanic speak Man? Why can’t he just speak Human? I’m grateful to my dad for filling the gap between me and the auto repair shop, but do you know what? My dad isn’t a mechanic. He worked in insurance sales. He may have tinkered with cars in the driveway here and there in the 1970’s, but when it came to auto repair, he mainly relied on life experience.

Now that I am a mechanic’s wife, I have a different perspective. I have the perspective that no one should ever feel like they are being overcharged, taken advantage of, or talked over, under, or down to. 

Women – while you are the most vulnerable to feeling this way, you are not alone. A lot of men whose father’s didn’t tinker in the driveway with them aren’t confident in understanding mechanic talk. Even if they did have those kinds of father’s, they may have learned a thing or two that is incorrect. Whether you are a man or woman or teenager who’s just gotten their driver’s license and first car, you should be treated right by your mechanic.You should be and you can be.

Ladies, stop waiting until you feel like your vehicle is going to break down before you finally relent and start typing “auto repair near me” into Google. The right man is out there waiting to treat you and your vehicle right. Don’t wait until your car is about to give up on you. That’s like being in labor and not going to the hospital or birthing center until you are ready to push. You don’t want to have that baby in the passenger seat of a car! The doctor or midwife wants to walk with you throughout the process of your pregnancy. They want to labor with you from the start  – not just when you are ready to push. Then, all you have to focus on is your beautiful family. 

There’s a mechanic out there ready to use plain English, to take the time necessary to discuss your options until you understand what is happening with your vehicle. 

There’s a mechanic who’s not interested in just telling you what’s wrong, he will gladly show you. 

There’s a mechanic who wants to use his expertise, time, and resources to serve you to his fullest. 

There’s an auto repair shop who will give you a clear honest answer about what is wrong with your vehicle, a reliable budget estimate of the cost of repair, and honest advice about how long they would or wouldn’t let their mom drive a car in that condition.

Talk to friends, talk to family, check out the article Six Qualities to Look for in An Auto Mechanic Shop. There is a great auto repair shop out there. Go find it!

In general, the auto repair industry has a bad reputation for treating customers poorly, not communicating well, issuing bills that don’t make sense, and not fixing the problem right the first time. Auto repair is a rough industry (I can tell you honestly from both sides), but I know that there are shops out there ready to build a relationship with you. Look for one with honest communication, quality-focused automotive repair, fairness in practice, and kindness in action. You don’t deserve anything less than that.

You matter and your vehicle matters because you need to get to work, school, church, soccer practice or the retirement home knowing that you can get there safely and reliably. You should be able to look into the face of your mother, husband, child, and friend with a smile because you know that you and your family have been cared for.

Love, 

The Mechanic’s Wife

Father and Son Shop Time

Father and Son Shop Time

“Daddy!” the boy squeals as he flies into the shop, wrapping his arms around his father’s legs. 

“Arthur boy!” his father exclaims. 

“Walk, please!” his mother warns…for the millionth time. 

“Can we do shop time, Daddy,” Arthur asks.

“That sounds great! Beth, is it ok with you if we have shop time after we close today?” Andrew asks with the “you know it will be good for him” look in his eyes. 

Looking forward to getting the boy home, I respond with exhausted elongated words – “Yeah, that’s fine.” 

But it is good for our now 3 year old son. And it’s good for Andrew to be able to share that special time with him. It’s certainly a benefit when your dad owns an auto repair shop. It’s a unique experience that few other kids his age enjoy. 

If you have been a client for any amount of time, you have recognized that Andrew is a good teacher. That’s one benefit of his music education degree and he applies this with our son, especially during their Shop Time.


What Do They Do?

Arthur is always interested in what Andrew is up to and does his best to emulate him. 

Arthur loves to help out around the shop and Andrew loves to give him practical jobs.

Learning opportunities abound at the shop!

With Andrew’s degree in music education and Arthur’s interests in everything music and everything in Daddy’s shop, this was a big hit! This is just a short clip of the beginning of their music exploration around the shop.

Finding out how things work around the shop can take a lot of different forms, but this is one of the most fun to date. I think Central Florida amusement parks have a rival!

These are just a few examples of the fun Andrew and Arthur have during their shop time. Many of them, I haven’t been around for. They will look for little treasures that Arthur can hide away in his pockets, do an oil change together, or just explore how different tools work. Arthur has been around the shop since his birth and is now capable of being helpful with small tasks. He truly completes our family business.

What a treasure trove of learning for a little boy!

Keeping Your Car Healthy While You “Shelter in Place”

Keeping Your Car Healthy While You “Shelter in Place”

It’s been a month, now, since the U.S. President declared a national emergency due to COVID-19. Many of us have been confined to our home since then. More recently, we are required to stay home aside from essential work or errands. That means, we’re not driving as much. I can’t even remember the last time I got gas for my car (Gas prices?!!). Just because you aren’t driving your vehicle, doesn’t mean you don’t need to keep up with it’s care…or maybe because you aren’t driving your vehicle that’s all the more reason to attend to it.

There are several opportunities to get on top of your vehicle’s needs and some of them don’t even cost a single penny. 

Educate Yourself

Taking the time to educate yourself about your vehicle and how to maximize your investment probably isn’t high on your priority list when your life is busy with work, school, kids and just life in general. In our present circumstances, however, why not set aside some time? 

Like many of you, whatever work projects you had going on before the COVID-19 crisis have been turned on their head. My goal this year was to facilitate a series of seminars about vehicle ownership to equip people for making confident decisions in keeping their vehicle safe and reliable. Now that life has become virtual, I jumped on the bandwagon and reformatted my seminars into a Facebook Live series. I hope you take the time to join me!

Taking control of your vehicle’s maintenance and repair budget

April 4, 2020

Session 1: Can you really budget for repairs and maintenance? (Watch it now!

Session 2: Demonstration: DIY maintenance with Andrew and Arthur (Watch it now!

Session 3: Q&A with Andrew and Bethany (Watch it now!

Women, You’ve Got This!

April 16

Session 1: How to find a man mechanic who will treat you right (Watch now…)

Session 2: Demonstration – What to do when you get a flat (Watch now…)

Buying used affordably, safely, and reliably

May 2 – 9:00am – 11:00am

Session 1: Make a wise investment in purchasing a used vehicle (Watch it now!)

Session 2: Demonstration: Important information a vehicle can tell you (See Session 1)

Session 3: Q&A with Andrew and Bethany (Watch it now!)

To receive regular updates on more upcoming seminars and other helpful information, please like our Facebook page, @Marinelli Auto Service

Make A Plan

Start Simply

Do you check your engine oil, coolant, power steering fluid, and windshield washer fluid on a regular basis? Do you regularly check your tire pressure? What about your windshield wipers? The more familiar you are with your vehicle based on its basic health, the more likely you are going to be invested in keeping on top of keeping it that way. 

Focus on Prevention

The more you know about your vehicle, the better you are prepared to take measures to prevent nasty surprises and set a practical and affordable budget for maintenance and repairs. 

When was the last time you had a really thorough inspection on your vehicle? Do you have a comprehensive list of your vehicle’s current, upcoming, and future needs with an understanding of their benefit to your vehicle’s safety and reliability? If so, then you are prepared to prevent your vehicle’s needs from being urgent and likely more costly than if you waited until components start to fail. 

By working with your mechanic to compile this information and talk through what decisions you need to make about maintenance, repairs, and your budget, you can save yourself a lot of worry, time and money. If you haven’t done this – or maybe it’s just been a while – or you don’t know where to start, please reach out and we’ll be happy to help you begin this process. 

Stay Current

Having a plan in place for maintaining your vehicle is only beneficial if you act on it. Schedule regular maintenance and repairs according to the number of your vehicle’s needs and the budget you have set. We like to see our clients do this in conjunction with oil changes – why go back and forth between the auto repair shop for multiple things when you can leave it for a day or so and get them taken care of at the same time in a regular interval?

We know that time is precious! Plan ahead to a time when going without your vehicle is going to cause the least amount of stress. Many of our clients schedule service for when they are going out of town – if it’s just going to sit in the driveway, why not use that time to get some work done? Speaking of sitting in your driveway – many of you have been driving your vehicle so little that you can’t remember the last time you got gas. If you aren’t an essential worker and life has slowed down, now is the perfect time to jump into this process. 

Communicate Regularly with Your Mechanic

We understand that this health crisis has affected many of your jobs and income. Maybe you had planned on getting some work done on your vehicle but now your budget has changed. By staying in regular contact with your mechanic about repairs and maintenance due and your current budget, you can navigate together the best course of action, even if that means re-evaluating your initial plan to meet a change in budget. 

We are happy to help you tailor your vehicle’s next service appointment to your current budget. Don’t hesitate to reach out!

If you have any questions, concerns, or support during this unusual time, please get in touch with us. We want your vehicle to be safe and reliable but, more importantly, we want you and your family to be safe and well. 

-From The Mechanic’s Wife

Working from Home with Kids

Working from Home with Kids

As we watched from the other side of the world, we sent our “thoughts and prayers” to China as COVID-19 swept their nation this past December and into the new year. I, like many, thought, “Oh, that’s sad,” then moved on with our daily lives as the news drifted in and out of our fast paced lives. The virus quickly travelled west as Europe started putting up red flags – Italy getting hit especially hard. Various international business and parenting Facebook groups that I follow cried out as they were quarantined in their homes with their family – children especially going stir-crazy. These virtual group members supported them and offered ideas for passing the time and expending pent-up energy. 

March greeted us and the deadly virus was no longer on the other side of the world. It was in our backyard. Before we knew it, the Coronavirus lingered by our front door as it haunted our every move. We began to argue about it’s severity, about precautions, and whether the media is fear mongering.

Then reality hit. Schools, businesses, the entire entertainment industry – including the American’s beloved national and collegiate sports teams – shut down. Now so many of us, if we’re blessed enough to still have a paying job, are working from home – myself included. 

Our kids are also at home because childcare and/or schools are closed (again, our family is no exception), which poses a conflict. How can I be productive working from home when my kids are home? You’re probably also asking, since my kids are not in school, how do I keep them engaged in academic activities so that they don’t fall behind once schools open again? 

Social media has allowed these families to come together and support each other in schooling their children at home. Teachers have piped up and offered assistance. Many of these families have never considered homeschooling and never had the opportunity to learn how to teach a child, much less actually do it. Adding the need to be productive with your own work, this has been a major challenge for most families in the U.S. 

I feel modestly prepared to take on this task with my preschooler. Our life has not had a “normal” routine since he was born more than 3 years ago. I have never really “left” my job; I’ve switched back and forth between working from home and working at the shop. I’ve had to work full-time for the past 18 months while still having our son around for a good portion of the day. I’m fortunate that Andrew and I both have education degrees, tons of experience with kids, and come from families full of teachers. My mom and mother-in-law have especially been helpful, having decades of experience teaching preschool – elementary school children. 

In the time I’ve wandered back and forth between working from home and working at the shop with a toddler in my care, I’ve learned some great lessons that have made this full-time working and schooling from home a reasonably smooth transition.

1. Create a routine and stick to it

Think about what a normal routine was like for your child when they were in school and/or childcare. Write out that hourly routine and consider how you might replicate that at home. Just like you have a normal routine for your work-day, they also have a school-day routine that keeps them grounded and productive.

Older children may have been sent schoolwork packages to keep them on track with each subject in their curriculum, but what about electives and extra-curriculars? How many times a day did they have recess? Did they have a set reading or study time? What time did they eat lunch? What time did they get to school/come home from school? 

Like the older children, keep babies’ and toddlers’ snacks, lunches, and quiet times on a similar time schedule. Just because they don’t get tested or graded, doesn’t mean you should usurp learning activities. Keeping their minds engaged and challenged both keeps them occupied, learning and growing. Occupying them in something meaningful may allow you some precious moments to focus on your work while they’re occupied. 

The big difference for the younger kids is that their attention span is much shorter and they are less independent in learning tasks. Where you may be able to block out an hour for a 10-year old to engage independently in an activity or two (45 minutes engaged activity, plus instruction and wrap-up), I suggest keeping younger kids’ focused learning activities to a 30 minute time-slot (15-20 minutes engaged activity, plus instruction and wrap-up). Fill in gaps between structured learning with free play – playing is learning!

Believe it or not, kids actually thrive on order and routine, especially when things get a little out of whack. They might resist at first, but stay the course and be consistent. Provide this daily security during such an uncertain time.

2. Prioritize school routines and weave work throughout 

I know that you are doing your best to get the same amount of work done at home as you do in the office. With kids around, that is unlikely to happen (sorry!). However, you can set a new work pace and accomplish realistic goals if you are wise in how you manage your time. 

First of all, if you have two parents working from home at the same time (bonus!), you are more likely to be successful in your work goals if you coordinate responsibilities. Take turns in teaching and learning times with the kids. Figure out which subjects you each thrive in and divide them up. When one parent is with the kids, the other parent gets uninterrupted work time. If you plan well, even the parent working with the kids can sneak in some work while the children are focused on a task.

Secondly, plan your childrens’ schedule first, then sort out where you can fit your work priorities in that framework and what work tasks are best to do when. If you try to work your kids’ schedule around your work priorities, you are going to feel frustrated and agitated by your kids’ need for attention and end up spinning your wheels. On the other hand, if they are content and engaged in their work, you can manage your own time accordingly. For example, if my son is working on an art project, I know that I need to keep my attention on him, lest paint get all over my whole house, but I can probably be checking and responding to email during that time. I save my focused projects for when he’s engaged in play (i.e. play dough works miracles!) or napping. 

Finally, if there’s absolutely no way around needing some focused work time (i.e. you have a scheduled phone or video conference), don’t feel bad about a little extra TV time in the middle of the day. Find something that everyone agrees on and that, if possible, would be intellectually challenging for the kids. Afterwards, have a conversation with them about a moral or ethical conflict between characters or the good or poor choices a character made. I’ve been known to do this after my 3-year-old has watched the movie Cars for the thousandth time (Wow, Lightning McQueen was truly a selfish jerk until he met the folks in Radiator Springs!). 

3. Involve the whole family in the process.

I already mentioned having mom and dad trade teaching time if possible. If you have children of multiple ages, you can also involve the older children in helping to teach the younger children. Not only does it give you some extra space, but it’s actually really beneficial to the kids. The older kids get to reinforce and feel confident in what they already know. The younger kids learn to trust their older siblings and establish a positive bond in their relationship with them.

Make this uncharted adventure a group process – for older kids, have them share what their daily schedule is like and work together as a family to develop your “new for now” routine.  For younger kids, get to know what their favorite part of their school day is and prioritize that in your schedule. 

Take time to find out what your children want to learn about. Find times where you can all work and learn together about a subject that interests one of the kids and continue to take turns. You can also look at what they’ve been learning at school and make it a group project for the whole family. Get creative and make it enjoyable for everyone.

4. Use the resources you have around you. 

If you don’t have a set curriculum, work sent home by your child’s teacher, or your child is bored and/or getting done with their work too quickly, you might need to come up with some additional material. Or, if they are being overly challenged and getting stuck, they may need some assistance. With younger preschool or kindergarten age children, you may not have much teaching content to go off of. Parents, I’m here to encourage you that you are not in this alone

I know that many teachers are concerned about kids around the country who are not going to be able to keep up with learning and want to help. Reach out to friends and family to see if they know anyone who is certified in your child’s learning level who might be able to tutor them virtually. Reach out to your child’s school to find out what resources they have available to families. Even my son’s preschool is providing resources and help to keep their kids learning, growing, and connected with their friends from school. 

For younger children, like mine, you may feel like you are starting from scratch. Consider where they are developmentally, the kinds of work that was sent home from school in the past months (i.e. Were they going through letters in a certain order? Colors? Shapes? Reading a certain type of stories?) and replicate some of those activities – practice makes perfect and they won’t get bored doing the same activities a few times. If they have a favorite, let them keep doing it and find ways you can change it up every so often. Even taking more time each day to read to them, play with your child’s toys together, or involving them in activities at home (my son LOVES baking and cooking – we talk about amounts, texture, temperature, etc and it usually becomes a science lesson of sorts). 

Finally, there are tons of amazing resources out there. One that I love for children from infancy through grade school is Dad Lab (Google it! – there’s a book, a YouTube Channel, Instagram, Facebook group, etc) which has tons of great ideas. Take a subject that interests your child (Arthur is really into space right now) so we use that interest and incorporate letter sounds of the planets, simple math, colors, etc to supplement his learning. We go online and watch videos about planets and look for images to talk about. 

Embrace the now

As the old adage goes, use this time to make lemons into lemonade. It’s incredibly difficult to turn on the news or Google “COVID-19” and not wrap your mind around that fact that this is not a Stephen King novel that we’re living – it’s real life. Our kids don’t need to hold onto that fear any more than we do. You may even have a friend or a family member who is ill with this virus or has succumbed to its horror. Andrew encourages me repeatedly to take one day at a time. Today, embrace the time you get to be home with your children. 

Remember the first day you put them into child care or their first day of school and the ambivalent pull of emotions that made you burst with pride and mourn the parting all at the same time (you, too, dads!). Hold onto these moments that you get to be together. When your child is resisting the school lesson or you are pulling your hair out because you can’t concentrate on your work proposal, just stop. Stop and take a breath and remember that you are all in this together. Take a break from what you are doing and find something fun to do as a family. 

These circumstances won’t be with us forever. Just like how the country found a new normal after 9/11, we will find a new normal once schools and workplaces are open again and life will – and must – go on for the survivors.

– From the Mechanic’s Wife

The Mechanic’s Daughter

The Mechanic’s Daughter

She answered the phone with a smile. Sitting in our old paint-faded Corolla with my little boy in the back seat, the increasing vibration was really stressing me. The calm voice at the other end reassured me that Andrew had plans to sort it out. It’s not often I get stressed about the vehicles I drive because, after all, I am a mechanic’s wife, but cars need what cars need. Mechanic’s cars are no more immune to needing eventual repairs and maintenance and repairs than a hairdresser needs a haircut.

Over the past couple months Andrew and I have had a stretch of maintenance and repairs due on our vehicles. It may be a tad easier for us sometimes because of our business, but it’s still an investment in time and money to keep our vehicles in a safe and reliable condition. We still have to be intentional about caring for our cars.

That calming voice on the other end of the phone knows how it is. Victoria’s grandfather and father are both mechanics and she grew up around their auto repair shop in Olathe, Kansas – between Lawrence and Kansas City. We first met her when she brought her Grand Am to us with some frustrating symptoms. It was an involved process but we must have done something right because a few months later she trusted us enough to come back when she experienced a tire issue. During that visit she waited in the office for a little while, engaged with our three-year-old and shared some of her passions with me. At the end of the visit we mentioned that if she knew anyone, we were hiring. I also happen to mention that if she was interested herself <wink, wink>, we’d be happy to talk with her about it. 

She was a fit! Now if you need a reminder that your vehicle isn’t going to crumble underneath you (it really won’t!) and that we’re going to help you make the right decisions for you and your family, Victoria will be here to walk you through that process. She’s earned her Associates in Hospitality and Tourism Management from Valencia College and is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in business from UCF. She aspires to using her education, skills, and giftings to serve and help others.

I think that one reason she fits in so well is that, similar to Andrew – the oldest of five kids and homeschooled – Victoria was also homeschooled with three older siblings. They were both very intentionally taught the value of problem solving and hard work from a young age. We can see that work ethic in how she’s jumped into her role, is absorbing everything we’re teaching her, and decidedly stepping outside of her comfort zone in areas where she’s gaining new experience. 

The daughter of a nurse and a mechanic, a close knit family that spreads across multiple generations, a children’s theater actress at her church, a love of dancing, and her weekend job of modelling wedding dresses (Yes, that’s right. She’s a model. Of wedding dresses. Any young men out there? 😉 ), she can find a way to connect to just about anyone. She has a knack for helping people feel at ease when they walk through the front door or reach out by phone, text, and email. She’s well-rounded, bright, warm, and friendly, and we’re feeling very fortunate!

If you’ve become a friend of the Marinelli’s, you may be wondering what’s happening to me, the Mechanic’s Wife. Well, I’ve never really felt completely at home in the client service’s position and always hoped that we’d find just the right person to take on that side of things. I’m most passionate about and feel most equipped for marketing, communication, community engagement, and staff care. 

Beyond that, Andrew and I have a sweet and very intelligent little boy who needs more time with his mom and dad. He needs a mom who can stay home with him when he’s sick and give him a daily routine that’s more suited to a young boy. Victoria being on board is allowing that to happen. She’s just the beginning of some very exciting changes for us, which I’ll be sharing with you soon! 

-The Mechanic’s Wife

Stop Scheduling Oil Changes

Stop Scheduling Oil Changes

Are you unintentionally becoming best friends with your mechanic because your vehicle is in the shop so much? You go in for an oil change 2-3 times a year and then in-between you end up going back for maintenance and repairs. It really adds up! While we’ve connected at a friend-level with several of our customers, we’d rather continue that relationship over dinner than under their car. The good news is that there are things you can do to regain control over the time and money you spend on your vehicle.

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No Obstacle Unsurmountable

No Obstacle Unsurmountable

For the Marinellis, this is the most “normal” Christmas season we’ve had in a long time (even with our son getting sick on Christmas Day). If you take a look back on this blog, you will see that it’s been a long while since anything new has been published. Let me be honest, it’s been a long while since our business or our family has had any kind of normalcy since beginning this business five years ago, particularly in the past 18-36 months relatively speaking. The point of this isn’t to go into detail of family or business ups and downs, and there have been an overwhelming amount. The point of this is to share with you that, despite our many challenges, we’re not giving up. 

The past 18 months have been particularly hard with a combination of business challenges, and home/personal trials. It’s been taxing to say the least. Business challenges affect our personal lives and our personal lives affect our business. That’s what happens when you run a small family business. And have a toddler. And are married to your only co-worker. And have customers that you genuinely care about. It’s hard to keep that balance.

I (Bethany) told Andrew the other day that he’s like an icebreaker ship. He’s got a strong hull, a determined mindset, and plows through any obstacle that gets in his way with calculated precision. He paves the way for the rest of us to navigate the frozen waters. He’s been the foundation of our weathering stormy trials that have threatened us. Our son and I have been dependent on him both at home and at the shop to help us through. As you can imagine we’re both drained, but I can’t imagine the depth of Andrew’s weariness and yet he still plows on.

This year, we’re hoping to make some significant changes in our business that will not only allow our family to find a better balance, but our ability to care for our clients, too. Our clients are the heart of our business. If we’re not finding a good balance for our family and business, then we’re not serving you as well as we should. 

If you are already a client, please keep giving us feedback on what would make your experience better. Please keep sending your friends and family to us. Your loyalty to us and those recommendations are what keep our business going in a sustainable direction. We want to stay here for you!

If you have yet to try us out, you are more than welcome to give us a call, even just to talk about your goals for your vehicle and what you are looking for in a repair shop. Our goal is never to sway you from a shop you already trust, but to become that shop if you don’t yet have one. 

Whoever you are, we would like to help you find that balance of being satisfied with the safety and reliability of your vehicle while not stepping outside a reasonable budget. 

If this holiday season has met you with trials and disappointment, please give us a call. We care about you beyond fixing your car. We would like to support you in whatever way we can. 

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