Running a Shop

Coming Full Circle: From Mentee to Mentor 

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Servando Orozco is the picture of success for an auto repair shop owner. He's amassed five locations in California with over 40 employees and earns close to $7 million per year in revenue. This didn’t happen overnight and the owner of Orozco’s Auto Service did not do it on his own. As a technician, he was sure of himself and confident he could fix any vehicle. Little did he know how different it would be opening his own location. Orozco struggled in the beginning as an owner and knew he needed help. After he got his business on track, he decided to pay it forward and coach other shop owners to help better the industry.  


Backstory:  

Orozco’s leadership struggles stemmed from the fact that he started as a technician and that’s what he knew best. After 10 years of working as a tech in a Shell station, he opened his first shop in December of 1999.  


Problem: 

“I struggled because I was a great tech but not a good business owner,” Orozco says. 

This is the same situation befalling many technicians turned owners. Fixing a complex vehicle and running a shop require different skills. Orozco couldn’t pay his bills, which frustrated him since he had fewer headaches and more money while working for someone else. Was this all a big mistake? He knew he needed to figure out what his future was going to look like and he knew he needed help getting back on track.  


Solution:  

Orozco contacted NAPA who suggested he look into Elite Worldwide for training. He did, and after joining the program, he was connected with a coach and began networking with other shop owners.  

“To me, it was an epiphany,” Orozco says. “For years, my mentality was to work hard and make money, but I didn’t understand what it meant. When I worked with Elite, I found out the most important [thing] is not the goal, but who you become in the process.”  

As part of the process, he learned the habit of writing down his goals and ideas. The next step really hit home for Orozco—writing his why.  

“Back then, I wanted my kids and my wife to be proud of me,” Orozco says. “I wanted to be a good role model and the same for my business. During that process, I learned successful businesses are in the community.” 

Orozco learned about ethics and values, processes and procedures and what it meant to be a good leader.  


Aftermath:  

When Orozco started the training program, he owned half of a shop and was doing $300,000 in revenue per year. After six months, he went from $36,000 per month to $100,000 per month. He now owns five locations and does almost $7 million in revenue.  

After he realized how important it was to be in the community, he joined ToastMasters and Rotary Club, upped his marketing budget and started doing more fundraising. And after seven years of being coached, he decided to become a coach himself, which he still is to this day.      


Takeaway:  

“If someone is looking for help, help them,” Orozco says. “It’s like payback.”  

Orozco understands that some shop owners don’t want to coach fellow shop owners. They see it as helping the competition. He says the only way to be successful is to help others and if someone doesn’t want to help, that’s their own arrogance.  

“The worst thing I see in the industry is that they believe that they know everything,” Orozco says. “They have been doing things the wrong way for 20 years and they’re not willing to listen because of that mentality.”  

The industry has a stigma and shop owners need to come together to change it. Learning from each other can help new owners learn how to treat customers, market properly and connect with the community in a way that they wouldn’t have known to do otherwise. 

“We need to raise the industry to another level, it’s better for everyone,” Orozco says.  

By joining a training program and being coached, Orozco learned what it takes to be a good business owner and decided to pass that knowledge along, which has been an extremely rewarding experience. It has helped not only his business as a whole but also his overall outlook on the industry.  

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