Oriole went from $300,000 to $1,000,000 in just two years
When Danielle Gray came on board to her parents shop, Oriole Automotive, the fax was still being used and it was just her Mom and Dad doing everything in the shop. Not having worked in the shop since her teen years, Danielle realized that things had to change. She instituted modern policies and procedures, with an emphasis on marketing and efficient shop flow practices.
As Danielle likes to say, she “Brought the shop into the 21st century!”
And it’s paid off in a big way. In 2018 Oriole was bringing in $300,000. In 2020 they became a million dollar shop.
Oriole Automotive has been in business in Quincy, Michigan for 20 years. Quincy’s a small village half way between Chicago and Detroit, with a population of just over 1600 and literally one stop light. It’s a close-knit community where everyone knows you. It’s not unusual to see Amish buggies going down the road or hitched in front of businesses through out the area.
Dan and Dawn Gray opened up Oriole after Dan had spent 20 years at a local dealership in town. Dan was determined to start a shop where customer service was king and where he could be his own boss. But after 20 years running the shop, the couple approached Danielle about coming back to the business. And the bigger plan was, once they were ready and the time was right, for their daughter to take over Oriole. Danielle knew her parents had a well-respected business in town, after all, Dan was known as the ‘electrical wizard’ of Branch County and that she would have big shoes to fill. But she agreed to come back.
And as a point of reference, Danielle did work at the shop when it first opened. But she clashed with her parents so she walked out. Her mom, Dawn, claims she fired Danielle! Danielle definitively says she was not fired! Either way, she is now back at the shop and loving it every day.
When Danielle returned to Oriole, the numbers weren’t being tracked, the shop flow systems amounted to receipts being laid out on a desk where the tech picked the job they wanted to complete and no courtesy inspections were conducted. The shop overall had no organization. Danielle changed that. She knew right away that she needed professional help to get the shop in the best shape possible.
It was then that DRIVE came on board as the Oriole Automotive coaching partner. With its help and guidance, Danielle put in place shop flow policies that everyone must adhere to, including her Dad. While it was initially time consuming updating shop numbers, Danielle now continually looks at the shops stats with an eye to always tweaking and improving KPIs.
“Before DRIVE Oriole was an organized chaos system. It’s hard to look back on how the business ran before DRIVE as I don’t know how some days we made it through. Now we are very organized with a solid shop flow from the front to back of the shop,” says Danielle.
The biggest impact for everyone has been the increase in productivity. Oriole has increased their revenue from $300,000 in 2018 to now finishing out 2020 at over $1,000,000.
“We are all still shocked the business was able to make a million dollars last year even with the pandemic! We are blessed with the increase in financial security that the business has given us,” adds Danielle.
Starting courtesy inspections has also had a big impact. Oriole can now monitor their customers vehicles and any needed repairs by tailoring a maintenance plan for each of them. By doing this the shop can ensure each customer has a safe and reliable car.
Danielle has also put impactful marketing initiatives in place. Oriole is now seen or heard by all possible customers, current and prospective, in the area. From being consistent with Facebook outreach, Google ad words, multiple CRM programs, a shop loaner car with wrapped advertising, local radio station buys to always being involved with their local schools – all of this has certainly upped the awareness and profile of Oriole Automotive.
Getting involved with the community has also proven to be helpful. Oriole is deeply committed to serving the community, not only by fixing vehicles but by supporting the local schools and fellow businesses. A fun and powerful action Dawn took on was the shop’s avian mascot on their logo. Oriole asked the community to submit names for the bird and vote for their favorite. Turbo was the winner. The local school mascot is an Oriole too, so between the logo itself and the name, all of Quincy was involved.
Because of this new era at the shop, and all of the procedures now in place, they have also added five new positions to the business. Danielle, Dan and Dawn needed the help. Great marketing and shop flow means more cars in the shop, which means Oriole needed to hire a team. They now have a morning meeting with everyone to plot out the day and get everyone on the right track.
“I can’t believe that Oriole has been in business for going on 20 years now and being able to have my family work together to make it successful. It’s just a great feeling,” says Danielle.
Both Danielle and Dawn have bachelors in Environmental Studies and they are thrilled to state that Oriole is the only automotive shop in the area with a recycling program. They are into the second year of this program and are working with a local recycling company that educates and helps them move forward with this initiative.
Bottom line – It’s not just Dan, Dawn and Danielle who are family at Oriole Automotive in Quincy Michigan. Everyone at the shop is treated like family. They know that without a great crew the shop would not have been able to make it to now be a million dollar club shop! Well done to everyone at Oriole Automotive.