Like thousands of shop owners before him, Andrew Minkler started his shop with absolute confidence in his technical abilities but little first-hand experience on how to run a business.
In 2011, Andrew left his role as a Certified Master BMW Technician to go back to school for engineering. To help pay his tuition, Andrew started his own auto repair shop: Bavarian Motor Repairs. Once the ‘be your own boss’ seed took root, there was no turning back. Since day one, Andrew has focused on delivering the highest level of service to BMW, Mini, and Rolls-Royce owners in the D.C. area. Now, he is growing his business by connecting his team and his customers, tracking his shop’s metrics, and scaling his garage from the ground up.
Connecting with Clients
I resigned from doing mobile diagnostics tech support BMW in 2011 to go back to school for engineering. In 2015, we opened Bavarian Motor Repair. Last August, we decided to be more intentional when it came to growing our shop. Because we only service BMWs, Rolls Royce, and Minis, we're constantly pushing to surpass the local dealers, which is a feat. In the DC area, it's really aggressive. There are a lot of smart guys here with a lot of good systems in place. Tekmetric really helps us stand out.
Our goal was to communicate with our clients faster and with more clarity so that we could provide better service, which results in higher dollar ROs.
Communication is extremely important for us. If we're not communicating, then we're not working. Everything is a presentation to our customers. Everything.
When you can show clients the problem on their own terms, and give them a choice, it grows your ARO and your business.
Engagement with our clients has to be high caliber and proactive throughout the entire repair process. From the second they drive onto our lot, we walk out to their car, greet them, and begin documenting their concerns to make their visit as personalized and efficient as possible. Once we’ve made that personal connection, our shop management system really shines with DVI, messaging, and lightning-fast estimate approvals by text or email.
Switching to a New Shop Management System
Our old SMS was on a local PC. We did have some computer downtime where we had to reboot everything and figure it all out from scratch, which was a massive loss. So we investigated other shop management systems. At every expo, we tried everything we could to break them. After talking to some of the staff at Tekmetric and doing the screen-sharing presentation, it was pretty evident that Tekmetric was going in the direction that we needed a shop management system to go in with communication, presentation, and efficiency.
Tekmetric came along right as I was realizing that I could use some guidance when it came to running a business. I wasn’t sure what numbers to look at. When I started using Tekmetric, which just puts the important numbers right in front of me, it made everything easier.
And the changeover was seamless; the difference was like night and day from the support to the fluidity to how easy it is to use to how it always works. I haven't had one single day where I wasn't able to use Tekmetric. How many shop owners out there have been without there SMS for a day for one reason or another? Tekmetric has always worked for me, and it works well.
There are so many little things that help us blaze through our day so much more efficiently. When our client’s started receiving updates in advance without having to wonder, ‘Hey, what's going on with my car?’, our tickets and our numbers went higher. Now, my service writers can write a $6,000 estimate in five minutes or less.
Tracking My Numbers
When I can measure how valuable my business is, I have more opportunities to pass that value on to our clients. We track this value by looking at our numbers: door rate, effective labor rate, parts and labor margins on each RO, service advisor close ratios, GP dollars and the many other KPI’s that Tekmetric tracks and puts in front me. Being able to measure our success is one thing, but quickly identifying our shortcomings and new opportunities for innovation is what has led us to grow our profits.
Right now our car count is up, our ARO is up, and our technician efficiency is up. We were always around 95%, now we're floating around 120%. I wouldn’t be surprised if in a couple of months we're growing at 200% or 300%.
Scaling My Business
We are actively expanding our shop, adding an additional 2,500 square feet to accommodate four new bays. As we expand, it’s critical that we have a cloud-based system that seamlessly grows with us. I can attend a 20 group, meet with my business coach, spend time with my family, and still have access to my shop from my phone. Anywhere access gives me the confidence to let my staff grow into their roles.
As for marketing, we pull a lot of the data right out of Tekmetric. We've got some really good referral and outreach programs. We realized early on that cold-call customers, people who were calling for price check-ins, were not our best clients; they're not our highest ARO. When we increased our snowball of referrals, it attracted the kind of clients we do want—the clients who come in here with confidence in advance and trust us to create an honest repair order. If a customer is set-up as a marketable customer, we're pulling their information from Tekmetric and feeding that right into Facebook and Google. Our customers are able to match us with other similar customers.
"Communicate your vision to your team and invest in the right people and technology to make it a reality."
If I could go back to six years ago, I would tell myself, "Any one thing you do well is not enough". You need to team up with others that will help make your vision a reality. I hired a professional coach who taught me that I couldn’t manage what I wasn’t measuring. I joined a 20 group, upgraded to the best SMS I’ve ever used, and now I’m running a business that feels grounded with direction and purpose. I’m eternally thankful to our clients, my world-class staff, and companies like Tekmetric who work tirelessly alongside us in pursuit of something greater.
For more information about Bavarian Motor Repairs, visit bavarianmotorrepairs.com