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Success Leaves Clues. This common phrase highlights the simple fact that we don’t have to find success all on our own. In an industry internally known for individualism, this is a powerful but important shift to the view of finding success. In this podcast, you’ll hear incredible stories from those from all parts of our industry. Owners, Service Advisors, technicians, those who work for companies that serve our industry, investors, and more. In this podcast, our guests will not only share th ...
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In this podcast episode, Chuck shares his remarkable journey from running a CrossFit gym in Texas to owning an automotive repair shop in Virginia—despite having no prior experience in the industry. Facing numerous challenges, including a declining shop and a difficult transition with the former owner, Chuck managed to revitalize the business. He em…
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This episode features entrepreneur Mike Difato who shares his journey from working in medical sales and owning a pool service company to launching a successful chain of auto repair shops with his partners. We explore his strategic partnership with Eric, their first shop purchase, and the subsequent expansion to nine shops with plans for a tenth. Th…
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This episode features Josh Bird's remarkable journey from working at a dealership with a six-figure income to owning two auto repair shops with a combined revenue of over four million dollars. Josh shares the pivotal moment when he quit his job and risked everything to start his own business. Despite the hardships, like receiving a cease and desist…
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This episode features an in-depth interview with Ryan Hillenbrand, owner of four auto repair shops, who shares his journey into the auto repair industry that reshaped his life, learning perspective, and approach to business. Hillenbrand discusses the value of relationships, trust, and personal development in business growth and leadership. He highl…
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Zain operates three shops with laser-focused strategies to increase profit and performance. In this episode he opens up about his "controversial", and in his words "experimental" strategies how a shop can do over $3 million. Through a combination of his strategies and dedicated approach, Zain and his team are pushing boundaries and creating a high-…
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Tony and his family operate five shops in Indiana. In this episode he opens up about his path growing up in his Dad's business, developing a strategy for growth only to have things go sideways, and what it took to recover and grow the business. Tony goes into detail on the power of prioritizing family, simplifying operations, and developing a true …
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Some moments seem pretty insignificant, but later, we realize they were a landmark in our lives, a moment that sparked the change that set us on a course that would forever change our lives. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that these moments tend to happen to us when the pressure is on, when our back is against the call, or when we are at a crossr…
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Here's another episode in the Quick Clue mini-series. In this episode, you'll learn 3 important insights that can help you find and hire incredible employees. This mini-series is designed to give you something to think about, something to improve your shop, and help you make the most of the week ahead. Another full-length episode will drop next wee…
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Today, we're diving deep into the transformative power of personal development. Personal development isn't just about reading a specific book, attending a seminar, or doing a few workouts -- it's about fundamentally altering how you perceive yourself and your potential. This week's guest is Darren Adams, owner of Dryfork Diesel in Missouri. Years a…
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We are going to try something new! As you know, each month, we interview some incredible folks in our industry in long-form interviews. We've been so honored by your support for the show, and are truly grateful. This week Thomas is introducing a new will be new mini-series called “Quick Clues”. The episodes will be about 5 min long… no guests, no d…
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So often, when we think about our numbers, metrics, and KPI's we get caught up in the "facts" we learn from these, creating a very rigid interpretation of them. Curiosity goes out the window, and we bulldoze our team with what we think is the problem. We forget that making stark assumptions often leads to flawed conclusions and our team's confusion…
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This one’s for the techs. Without you, our world would look very different: Parents wouldn’t be able to make it to their kid's games, food wouldn’t make it to stores, and the world as we know it wouldn’t exist. Yet despite this, historically, your role hasn’t been appropriately respected or appreciated. The good news is that there is a massive move…
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Our effectiveness as leaders, employees, or any other role in our lives is often profoundly shaped by our past experiences- good and bad. Some experiences like trauma and other huge losses can leave us with deep wounds that, if left untreated, profoundly hinder our abilities in many areas of business and personal life. Moving forward is one of the …
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If you’ve ever purchased a shop, a house, or even a car, then you know that the closing table can sometimes be a bit tense, unnerving, and even have some surprises. Sometimes, just getting to the closing table can be a considerable challenge. When we encounter these challenges, our character, core beliefs, quick thinking, and keen negotiation skill…
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We've addressed the tech shortage topic from several angles here on the show, but this conversation truly surprised and inspired me. There are so many layers to the problem, so when you hear a unique perspective like the one you're about to hear, it brings a level of clarity that "obvious" answers just can't give you. This week's guest is Lowell Gr…
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First off, let's address the elephant in the studio: This episode features our friend Ryan Burton who is the founder of Leads Near Me, which is a sponsor of this show. But rest assured you, he paid NOTHING to be interviewed on the show. We asked him to be on the show because Ryan is a master at marketing, running a successful service business, and …
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It's a well-known fact that the auto repair industry that we are in the middle of a nationwide technician shortage. In my observation, there are shops that have faired better than others. These shops tend to focus on creating a culture and system where techs know they won't have to deal with drama, can make great hours, and have a great career. In …
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There’s a saying that I really love, that I’ve lived by for many years. “Find a need and fill it”. This saying speaks to service, but also making room for yourself to grow. The employees and even owners that I’ve seen become the most successful seem to really follow this saying too. They do things beyond what they are paid for because it needs to b…
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This is the final part of an incredible 3 part series with our friend, the very wise, Joe Stokes who is the Regional Director for EuroFix, AutoFix, and Mike's Auto in Middle Tennessee. If you’ve missed parts one and two, then we highly recommend you listen to those too as the Truth Bombs are many. In this great episode, we focus on how to build the…
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Part two of this three-part series is focused on what it takes to open one (or more) stores at once. Joe Stokes, Regional Director for a fast-growing Middle Tennessee Auto Repair company, and I dive into how to find the locations, where to find and how to hire the staff, help new employees from out of state, the logistics of overcoming the Tech Sho…
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Our guest this week is the amazing and very wise, Joe Stokes who is the district manager for EuroFix, AutoFix, and Mike's Auto in Middle Tennessee. This is Joe’s second time on the show and if you’ve not heard his first interview, we'd highly recommend it. In fact, it was one of our top listened-to episodes. I asked Joe to come back and share some …
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Customer Advocacy. It’s a big part of what we as automotive professionals. Technicians advocate with complete and accurate inspections, and our Advisors help customers understand what is needed on their cars. What would happen if we took this concept to the next level? That’s exactly what guest Rob Choisser of Choisser Automotive Services did. He f…
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Having a shop is much like steering a large ship in new waters. Your crew is looking to you for leadership, your passengers trust you to do the right thing, and your family needs you to be successful. Without the right experience, braving these new waters can result in peril, hurting everyone around you and costing you a fortune in money, time, and…
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What is the point of becoming profitable? I’ve talked to hundreds of shop owners, and not a single one wanted to become rich for the sake of being rich. Almost all of them opened their shop to better the lives of their families, their employees, and their community. While this is a great goal, sadly, many don’t achieve the necessary profit to make …
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There’s a saying that says, “You can’t change your stars” It implies that the family line, situation, or status you are born into will determine what you can accomplish and how far you can succeed. Challenging this notion is the very essence of the American Dream, which declares: “Anything is possible with God, grit, and determination.” Few people …
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Sometimes things at our shops take some pretty sharp turns, and sometimes those turns are into a ditch, but other times it’s straight into a canyon! What do you do? Perhaps it's ego, but for many of us, the first instinct is to hide the pain and fear and try to figure it out on our own. When we are alone, stuck in our heads, in fear, and experienci…
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Becoming resilient is one of the most critical traits to becoming a successful shop owner, tech, advisor, or anyone else in this challenging industry. In my observation, resilience is the ability to MOVE FORWARD from the traumas, setbacks, and embarrassments from the past. It’s the ability to acknowledge the past but not get stuck in it. It’s looki…
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What if you had to start over from scratch? Like one day, you have a shop, and the next day you don’t. Where would you start? What resources would you pull from? -- From buildings, to contracts, to hiring, to marketing — as anyone who’s opened a shop from scratch can tell you… it’s a massive undertaking. This is the situation that Glenn Todd of Gle…
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Every son longs to have a good relationship with his dad. Sometimes though, as many, including myself, can attest, that doesn't always happen. Now take that pain, and imagine trying to run a shop together. That's the exact situation that my guest Veille Arthur experienced. For years, Veille and his dad painfully struggled in their relationship and …
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This week our guest is Eric Rutherford of Prestige European Auto Service in Florida. This episode explores how an unlikely partnership allowed for the creation of an incredible auto repair brand in Florida. Eric started out as an owner on his own, but then met his business partner, Mike through a very interesting situation (You gotta hear this stor…
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If you're a tech with a dream to open your own shop or an owner who is not seeing the success you dreamed of, then this episode is made especially for you. Today's guest, John Lonas of Autoworks Service and Repair in Prescott Valley, AZ, has one of the most genuine love for cars of anyone I've met. Sure he has his favorites, but John loves the free…
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Is it Service Advisor or Service Writer? Either way, it's one of the most critical roles in the shop because if the sales aren't there, the techs don't have hours to turn, and the owner sees no profit. In addition to sales, the Service Advisors or Writers ;) Must be great at multitasking, customer service, logistics, and sometimes even counseling! …
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Complacency is a killer. It lulls us into a false sense of security by making us believe that our status quo is good enough or even a safe and prudent place to be. The problem with this mindset is that we shortchange our futures and ignore the possibility that we could be in an even better place. Sometimes it takes being shaken and woken up to see …
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Becoming a compelling leader unlocks doors to moves that others simply can’t make. Moves like successfully expanding your shop during a global pandemic or growing the revenue by nearly 50% two years in a row. This is exactly what my guest Jay Huh of Carmedix in North Carolina, accomplished. In this process, he discovered four major keys to leading …
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It seems if you do just a little research, we can find that addiction is a prevalent trait in many business owners and high-performers. Left unchecked, addiction can create subtle and not-so-subtle problems with our shops and make it hard to live life on life's terms. The good news is that there are solutions and paths we can take to overcome these…
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In shop ownership, sometimes we make big mistakes, experience massive failures, and are presented with incredible challenges. Some of these can hurt a little, but some can create massive pain for us and those connected to us. As leaders in our shops, these circumstances are ultimately our responsibility. This episode's guest, Joe Valind of Auto Saf…
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"Your note has been pulled." Those are some pretty scary words to hear for almost anyone. The thought brings up many questions: What would you do if that happened to you? How would you survive? Would you lose your shop, your house, your way of life? How do you come back from that? This scenario happened to our guest Jonathan Ortiz of Foreign Affair…
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Today is Friday, July 29th, and NEXT WEEK I’m grateful to be a part of the annual Shop Hackers conference in Nashville TN. If you’re attending that conference, please come and say 'hi'! Because of the conference this week I’m reposting one of our top episodes for anyone who’s not heard it. FYI, there won’t be a new episode next week, but on Friday …
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After being in the automotive industry for a while now, one word that comes to mind for me when describing us is COMMUNITY. Though it seems individualism ranks high in the traits of most of us, I’ve experienced that those in our community are incredibly willing to help one another out when called upon. But, how do you ask for help? How do you engag…
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What if you found out all along you that YOU were the problem that was causing your shop, or even your life to not be where you wanted them to be — that you were the source of your own discontentment and frustration. I feel that so many people run from such a thought because honestly, I think when we acknowledge that we have that much power, it wou…
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Building a business from nothing, growing it into a family empire, and then passing it on to your kids. It’s the full circle. It’s the dream. It’s the goal that so many shop owners have, but how many actually get to see it happen successfully. This episode's guest is Doug Hillmuth, co-founder of Hillmuth Certified Automotive in Maryland. Doug actua…
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Angry, burnt-out, and stuck. Those are some words that would describe where Joe Stokes found himself years ago. He was an incredible tech, made good money, and by all counts lived a good life, but he was miserable. He was angry. He was burnt out. His state became unbearable. He found himself forced to make a choice to either give in to the despair …
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During my years in the industry, I’ve heard many stories of how owners started their shops. Of those, there are a few stories that come to mind of owners that seemed to have almost overnight success with their new shops. While these stories can be inspirational, more commonly those that observe the overnight success may miss the power of the journe…
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Are you an owner or manager who feels ineffective, overwhelmed, or stuck in "Mom/Dad Syndrome" at your shop? Or do you struggle to get your team to trust and listen to you? If so, then THIS is the PERFECT episode for you. And frankly, even if you think you’ve got it figured out in this area, this is still a great episode and worth your time. Being …
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How would you like to build such a great culture in your company that people come looking to work for you instead of you chasing them down? How would you like to be so confident in your team, that you'll let candidates ask them any question? This week our guest is Jason Smith, owner of M&M Car Care with three locations in Indiana. He didn’t build a…
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In the course of building a successful shop (or in our guest's case, 8 of them), there are mental roadblocks that can get in our way, such as fears, feelings of inadequacy, and a sense of overwhelm. The truly sad part is that most DON’T actually overcome these feelings and unhelpful ways of thinking. Instead, they let these roadblocks dictate their…
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From a young age, we are taught to follow the rules. We were told to follow the rules or there will be consequences --- follow the rules at all costs! Because of this, many people make that their mantra and stick to their rules, no matter what. BUT what happens when the rules don’t make sense? What happens when new information is introduced to a si…
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The Ego is defined by the oxford dictionary as "a person's sense of self-esteem or self-importance". Now that doesn’t sound too bad, does it? We all have an ego of some sort. Everyone should have self-esteem and some measure of self-importance… but what happens when this important facet of our minds gets magnified into something unuseful or even wi…
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Knowing the numbers and KPIs in your shop is critical, but I would argue that if you’re not growing yourself and your team through personal development, you’re simply not going to be as successful as you could be. Today we are going to dive into this subject with my guest Juan Barrera, Owner of Auto Solutions in Orland Florida. Juan will share the …
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Our shops are filled with cars, lifts, tools, fluids, desks, and a whole bunch of other stuff… but they are BUILT on the relationships of our team. I feel many of us don’t TRULY recognize is just HOW important they are, or perhaps we really struggle to foster and maintain relationships with our team without it feeling forced or being fake. In this …
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