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Repair Shop Advice

The Three Jobs of an Auto Repair Shop Owner


February 14, 2019

Every business owner has parts of their job that they love, and parts that they don’t like at all.  That’s especially true for small business owners, who find themselves doing a little bit of everything.  Maybe you love repairing vehicles, but hate showing the value of a service to a skeptical customer.  Or maybe you enjoy both, but hate dealing with taxes and bills.


It’s probably not so much that you dislike parts of your job – it’s that you have three jobs, and you really wish you only had one.

Back in 1986, Michael Gerber published a book called the E-Myth.  A lot has changed since then, but one thing hasn’t – every business needs an entrepreneur, a manager, and a technician.  And if you’re the only person at your shop, then you have all three jobs.

The technician is the job you probably wanted if you started your own auto repair shop – the person who focuses on doing the task at hand.  Technicians pride themselves on doing good work, and doing a lot of it.  But as you know, it takes more than fixing vehicles to make a shop successful.

The manager is the planner.  They enjoy running processes – scheduling, bills, employee training, ordering parts, and generally trying to reduce your shop’s costs and increase its profits.  The manager’s job is to keep the bays full, and to make sure that all of the technicians are doing whatever they can do at that minute to make the company the most money.

The entrepreneur is the visionary.  Their job is to look five years down the road.  They build a long-term plan for the manager to execute.  They focus on growing the value of the company, so they can sell the company and move to the next project or phase of their lives.

Unfortunately, all three are required in a business.  If your technicians have low productivity, then there’s no work time or money for the manager to manage.  If you don’t take the time to train employees, order parts, or design efficient shop processes, you’ll find yourself too overwhelmed by process failures to do a good job of keeping customers happy.  And if you don’t have a plan for where you’re taking your shop, five years from now it’s likely to look a lot like it does today – or worse.

So if you find yourself in your shop day and night but not getting where you’d like to be, stop and ask yourself if it’s time to focus on the other two jobs you probably have.  It might be difficult to be your own manager, but you’ll be surprised at how much it can help!

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