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The Culture and Data Solution

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What do you do when construction on your new shop isn’t complete by the time the lease on your old shop is up?

You improvise and make the best of it. That’s what Troy Vaninetti did in 2016 with Graham Auto Repair when the building owner refused to extend the lease.

“Those were a nightmare five months not being up to my standard,” Vaninetti says. Forced from a fully operational six-bay shop into little more than an ad hoc placeholder equipped with two bays, Vaninetti grit his teeth and simply saw it through. 

“What do you do? Go out of business or keep going? You can’t lose that kind of business and stay open and our customer base was way too big for that small building.” Vaninetti repainted the exterior and interior top to bottom. There were bugs in the walls. Every day, however, was one day closer to his new shop’s bug-free digs. 

And the wait was worth it. After one year, he more than doubled the revenue from the original shop, moving well into seven figures and discovering—or re-discovering—that most if not all of his clients had returned. Savvy customer service and high-quality work brought them back, and KUKUI’s suite of data and customer service solutions helped them stay.

But more importantly, it helped Vaninetti secure the team he needed to push his shop forward.


The Culture Solution 

Vaninetti has been working with KUKUI for over six years. He became manager of Graham Auto Repair in 2001 and owner in 2006. Like many owners, he found his best solutions through word-of-mouth; KUKUI came via a friend (and owner’s) recommendation through a mutual 20 Group.

“I was immediately confident in KUKUI’s services based on my friend’s success,” he says. And nothing begets success like success.

For Vaninetti, it started with the website. KUKUI completely revamped his site from head to toe and they continue to update and reformat it with every passing month. 

“We like to use new formats every time they come out; we add new tabs and continue to change our staffing / hiring pages,” he says. 

“People can now apply to Graham Auto Repair from our website. When our team sees something that needs to improve, we work with KUKUI and they update it.” Vaninetti also took KUKUI’s advice on what makes a snappy website: regular blog updates. Real pictures of real people and repairs—no stock photography. Slowly but surely, Vaninetti noticed things begin to change. 

“There’s a lot that makes our shop unique,” he says, “and we’re always training and improving peoples’ lives through our automotive business, both internal and external. This past year we focused on culture; we got rid of a few employees and our culture improved.” 


The Daily Dashboard Download

For any manager or owner, hiring and firing always comes with a little trepidation. “You lose some productivity but the end game is a much happier shop,” Vaninetti says, “and we work better together as a team.” Throughout the pandemic, Vaninetti secured a PPP loan and everyone kept their wages despite low months. 

“Through it all, we improved our culture, our business and finished out a record year,” Vaninetti says. In the old location, they did about $600,000 per year; in the new one, that number has ballooned to over $2 million.

KUKUI has also helped Vaninetti identify his target market and drill down his marketing efforts to reach the customers most suited to benefit from his business.

“My marketing director uses the dashboard constantly and we develop goals day to day, month to month about how we’re doing,” he says. For Graham Auto Repair, KUKUI tracks ROI for most of Vaninetti’s marketing efforts and allows him to track his material investment through new customers per month (or however he wants to filter his data).

“One of our biggest essential factors is always improving, whether throughout leadership or skills,” he says. KUKUI has helped Vaninetti to foster the team he needs to build a robust business, keep conducting premium repairs and to spend more time working on the business instead of merely within it. 

Success begets success. For Vaninetti, employing KUKUI was the first success of many. 

To learn more about how KUKUI can help your business, check out kukui.com.


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