As a shop owner, you know the importance of setting goals. Whether it’s for yourself, for your team, or for your business in general. It can be difficult to know where to start or to understand what you should even be working toward. DRIVE, the leading management training and software company in North America, has found a way to help independent auto repair, collision, truck and tow business owners turn their expectations into a reality. DRIVE does this through their awards program offered to their clients.
The Certification Program includes five tiers of accomplishment. The introductory award is the Effective Shop Manager and the premier, or most advanced level, is the Sustained Master Elite of Shop Management. Each level requires dedication, perseverance, and continued education to achieve this honor.
Throughout the years numerous shop owners have found the certificate program helpful. By giving a guiding hand, a shop owner can start themselves down the path to success. Deanna Cole-Eure, co-owner of Cole’s Service Center, has been in business for over 50 years. She says, “Our shop was at a plateau. After looking at the certificate requirements, I could see that achieving these points would benefit our shop. It would pull us together toward a common goal.” When you have specific metrics to achieve your goals can be narrowed down and easily defined.
You can even start to see immediate improvements in your business practices. Once you shift your focus to increasing profits, organization, and stability your efficiency will skyrocket. One of the biggest factors in this process is the shop inspection. Deanna says, “The outside point of view helped us see what improvements we needed to make. The things we needed to seriously look at were changed in just a few short weeks.” While not everything can be done in a quick turnaround, the progress of working on the shop is a huge benefit. “Immediately our efficiency was improved,” Deanna notes.
The shop inspection is also important because having a new set of eyes on your practices can help you figure out where your production is slowing. According to Jim Saeli, DRIVE’s Shop Inspection Manager, “When you are doing your routine sometimes there are things that you just accept or see as normal.” Having an impartial observer onsite allows you to clearly see where your shop could improve. The inspectors also give you the tools and next steps to keep you moving toward your goals. Jim says, “If you are stuck or just not moving as quickly as you would like, an inspection is a valuable tool to help.”
Another perk of obtaining the certificate is the recognition you receive at the DRIVE EXPO. Every year, DRIVE clients, vendors, and other industry leaders come together to network, learn, and honor one another. At the award ceremony each shop that has earned a certificate of achievement is given a trophy on stage in front of the other attendees. Those who have been awarded the Master and Master-Elite certificates are allowed to share a speech where they can talk about their journey and what it took to reach their current level of success.
Deanna was awarded the Master-Elite certificate at the 2022 DRIVE EXPO. She says, “Our testimony at the EXPO allowed us to share how valuable this program has been with others. Not only has it benefited the shop, but us as owners, our staff, and even our customers have gained from it as well.” The speeches are an emotional watch as fellow shop owners share their stories and describe the hardships they had to overcome. You can watch Deanna’s speech HERE.
According to Deanna, none of this would have been possible without the support she received from DRIVE. She says, “DRIVE never shuts the door on a client reaching out for help.” Her coach is always available and ready to help her with any situation she may encounter. And it doesn’t hurt that DRIVE coaches are auto industry experts! She simply states, “The support is top notch and unparalleled in our industry. The number one thing we receive is an appreciation of our industry, and understanding of how important and valuable the services we provide are.” DRIVE knows the auto industry inside and out making it so that the coaches are able to give you applicable and specific advice for the troubles you face.
Deanna’s advice to other shop owners? Simply to start. She says, “The Master Program is a roadmap and success is the destination. Who would pass that up? We did for way too long.”
Prepared by Chase Clough