Running a Shop Setting Goals Leadership

Goal Setting to Get Ahead

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SHOP STATS: Denny's Auto  Locations: Riverton, Utah  Operator: Darrin and Mitch Moncur  Average Monthly Car Count:230  Total Staff Size:10  Shop Size: 7,600 sq. ft. Total Annual Revenue: $1.4 million  

Training For Transition

In 2019, Mitch Moncur, co-owner of Denny's Auto in Riverton, Utah, aimed to increase the shop’s parts margin to 60 percent.

In 2020, with that margin resting consistently in the 60s, Moncur set out to reach 10 percent revenue growth. And in 2021, Moncur’s not only aims to reach a milestone $1.6 million in revenue, he’s also prioritizing plenty of hands-on training to prepare his team for the big moves he has in store for 2022.

“This year’s going to be all about training my leadership team,” he says. “We’re shooting to open two new locations in 2022 and to focus on that physical growth I’m going to be leaning on them to run the day to day here on their own.”

A Strategic Approach

He’ll start by revising the shop’s standard operating procedures, which he says currently reflect the shop’s unique challenges and character but need to be updated and formatted in a duplicatable model that can be carried out at the new shops.

Through Moncur’s training, his service advisor and foreman will learn the ins and outs of the shop’s best marketing and accounting practices, review case studies for how to handle realistic shop issues, and set deadlines for the tasks they’ll begin to take over at the end of the year. He also plans to send them to Automotive Training Institute (ATI) headquarters to dig into topics like financial management and leadership throughout the year.

“I want them to be able to understand the financial requirements and pitfalls of running the business, how to read a P&L, etc. These are courses I took and grew exponentially from, so I’m expecting the same from them,” he says.

Alongside these training sessions, Moncur’s leadership team will review their progress and work through questions at weekly and quarterly check-in meetings. 

“Those one-on-ones are really all about personal development and seeing how they’ve grown. Everything that’s going to work about this process is going to happen there,” Moncur says. 

As his leadership team begins completing coursework and hitting deadlines, Moncur can scout new locations, starting a casual search early this summer so he can make serious decisions by fall, when he plans to either try to buy from shop owners preparing to retire or start a new build and begin contacting contractors.

Pro Tip: Make it a team mission

“You’re almost never going to reach your goals, especially company-wide goals, entirely your own. Getting team buy-in from the start means you’ll have partners to help you reach the finish line.”

Creating In-house Tools

Moncur will also be rolling out a synchronized educational program to the rest of the Denny’s Auto team this year. With the program currently in beta testing, Moncur will fine-tune the process with tech feedback before rolling it out across the entire team. 

“This’ll be a kind of toolbox program to train techs up from general service. Once it’s ready we’ll start each tech out at general service and get them through the three levels of that section before moving them on to the three levels each in the C- and B-tech sections,” he says. 

Designed in Google Classrooms with a framework Moncur can update and revamp as the industry grows and changes, the program will include training modules, YouTube videos, auto process sheets, Cars on Demand resources, quizzes and more. As techs progress through the program, they’ll also be quizzed randomly out on the shop floor.

Moncur initially plans to roll the program out to one tech at a time and by the middle of the year hopes to have two apprentices on staff at all times being trained up through our program.

“Personal growth is a requirement when you join our team, so it’s something we’re all on board with and looking for in each other. Now it’s just a matter of rolling it all out so we can get started.”

Pro Tip: Set Metrics

“Whether it’s deadlines or numbers or test results or feedback, you have to  make a point to measure and evaluate your progress along the way. Otherwise you won’t hit the mark.”

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