When we say we value our customers we mean it…and we try hard to show it without being overbearing. We truly care about each individual customer. Most people do not expect this from an auto repair shop and, it seems by people’s reactions, many people have not experienced this previously at an auto repair shop. We don’t just care because you bring us your business (which we do really appreciate!). We actually truly care and that is why we’re in this business. When your child or pet is sick or you’ve lost your job or whatever, we actually want to know and will make an effort to ask you about it. We want you to drive a vehicle that is safe and sound so you can get your kids to school, your pet to the vet, or so that you have a way to get to work. We feel grateful to be a part of your life in this way.
So yes, we really do value you as people but we also value you as customers. We’ll give you a ride home after unexpectedly having your vehicle towed to us. We’ll patiently talk you through your options to help you fit your repairs into your tight budget. We’ll help you figure out what kind of vehicle to buy when yours is no longer worth fixing. We’ll do almost anything to help you make the right decisions for your vehicle, family, and budget. We are a business, after all, and we truly value your business. We have to make money – our entire livelihood depends on the success of this shop. After I left my previous job at the end of 2015, we were sitting on pins and needles for a while wondering if we would have enough for the bare essentials to get through 2016. We’re not going to lie – some months it was really close. We keep an eagle eye on our bank account. 2017 is just around the corner and I’m still here and we’re still in business!
We’re now two years into this adventure and some of you may be wondering if we’ve been successful. The definition of success is relative. Are we growing? Yes. I guess that’s success. Have we “made it?” Not even close, whatever that actually means.
Success in our first year was defined by building up the shop and its client bases without incurring any debt. We even made a little money – some of which went into investing in more tools and equipment to be a more productive shop. However, there was a clear pattern of a slow month where Andrew focused on drumming up business, then the next month having a pretty full schedule but no time to focus on bringing in work for the following month. This, among with several other needs, prompted us to think seriously about me quitting my job to work at the shop.
At the beginning of year two, we took the plunge and I started working with Andrew full-time. It’s been a learning curve for me, but it seems to have made a difference. Andrew can focus more on fixing cars while I handle the behind the scenes end of things – particularly, bringing in new customers. We’ve been able to expand exponentially while remaining out of debt.
We’ve added a second lift and a lot of other valuable shop tools and equipment. We’ve hired another employee who has helped me to further refine some of our administrative processes as well as help Andrew keep up with the demand out in the shop. We’re able to pay Mike a decent wage while still paying our bills. We don’t have a lot left past the essentials and some months we still hold our breath when bills become due, but we’re surviving completely off of the shop income.
As we look into 2017 success will continue to include making business improvements and paying our bills while staying out of debt. We hope to give Mike a well-deserved raise. We will also need to provide for our son, who is due to be born in early February. Additionally, we hope for success to mean for Andrew to spend a lot less late nights and long Saturdays catching up on work and more time with our new little family.
Thank you with the utmost sincerity (and with tears in my eyes because I’m pregnant and cry about everything) to so many of you who have brought a vehicle to us and happily paid for repairs no matter how it challenged your budget, who have recommended friends and family to us, or who have supported us emotionally and spiritually.
-From The Mechanic’s Wife