So, you think you’re too busy. I have the answer for you.
Cars stacked out the door, dusty job opening posted on your website, no time to interview or review candidates, customer inquiries getting ignored, meetings forgotten, no time even to change the oil on the shop car.
You didn’t mean for it to get this way, but it did. Every day you have a new pile of work in front of you and no idea how to make it stop. You think you desperately need to hire someone to get out of your current situation. You have no time to train them. No time to even interview them. You need someone to just appear and get to work without much direction from you.
I’ve had shop owners ask me if I wrap, if I can find their next fabricator, or know anyone looking for a new restoration job. I’m not in the recruiting business, or the hands-on side of shops. If I was, I wouldn’t have DPA.
I’ll work with you to make your shop THE place to work and THE place to get your car worked on. First, I need you to put yourself in the shoes of your employees, potential employees, and customers.
You’re too busy and drowning in work – would you want other people to fall into the same work routine?
Sometimes you’re rushed and there’s a risk of making a mistake on a customer car. Would you send your car somewhere where there’s that risk?
Before you try to hire your way out of this problem, let’s try to eliminate the problem.
Three steps you’ll need to take to relieve your overburdened shop:
1. Extend your waitlist.
2. Pinpoint what made you so busy in the first place.
3. Develop a system to avoid it happening again.
Extend your waitlist
Tell your customers you need to push out their appointment by a week. You’ve gotten behind on some jobs and want to make sure that you aren’t rushed on their job or have any risk of delays. Emphasize the fact that you’re rescheduling for them. It’s your customer who will benefit from holding onto their car for an extra week before they bring it in.
Pinpoint what made you too busy
Did a tech take a sick day and you did nothing to compensate? Did you forget how many appointments you made? Did a part not show up until the afternoon?
Go back through your schedule. Figure out how long you’ve been dealing with delayed, backed up jobs. Can’t remember the last time you weren’t dealing with it? Good – then the next step is easier.
The most common answer is simple: you say yes to everyone, leave no time for errors, overpromise to customers, and try to learn from your mistakes in the wrong way.
What do I mean by that last point? You try to solve your errors in production, rather than your errors in scheduling. Production errors are infinite. There will always be another rusty bolt or mis-ordered part, and you can prepare for that by fixing your scheduling.
Fixing this cause is a mentality shift. There will always be enough work. If you’re good at what you do, word of mouth spreads fast in the car community. People will have to learn to pay more or wait longer for your services. If they complain when you tell them the wait time or the price, good – you’ve disqualified them as a customer.
Develop a system
Your system solution will depend on your shop and what caused you to get too busy in the first place. With that said, there is a general principle that works for all shops and all causes: add a buffer, track your jobs, and make your appointments stare you in the face.
Falling behind schedule because of rusty bolts or incorrect parts? Good, you’ve given yourself a buffer with the customer. Losing track of all the work you have to do and forgot to order parts? Not anymore – it’s right in front of you in your tracking system. Overbooked on a day? Now you can see it coming in advance and reschedule – soon it will stop happening entirely.
We work in a custom industry. There is no one-size-fits-all system that works. What works is adjusting your mindset to take pride in your work, owning your timelines and prices with your customers, and guaranteeing quality service by implementing a tailored system.
Driven Performance Advisors
Driven Performance Advisors helps shop owners and specialty parts companies increase efficiency and improve profitability to grow from $1M to $10M in sales. Schedule a consultation at drivenperformanceadvisors.com.