Changing Perception

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If there’s one issue we’ve driven home more than any other in the pages of Ratchet+Wrench, it’s the need for shops to recreate the consumer perception of auto care.

This shouldn’t require elaboration at this point as you all are well aware of the common “grease monkey” conceptions of the trade that, thankfully, more and more shops are turning into misconceptions. But buy-in is required from many more shops if the image is ever going to truly change, so we’re going to keep preaching it, providing real strategies that individual operations can implement today to get customers believing in this industry as one that is professional, trustworthy and worthy of their investments.

To help us do that, we’ve added a new monthly columnist to the Ratchet+Wrench team. It’s my pleasure to welcome Audra Fordin, fourth-generation owner of Great Bear Auto Repair in Flushing, N.Y., and the founder of Women Auto Know/Drivers Auto Know (, to the magazine. For those unfamiliar with Women Auto Know, it’s Audra’s consumer advocacy initiative aimed at improving the perception of auto repair. Her efforts are directly in line with ours, and she’ll be delivering strategies each month to help shop leaders improve the image of their shops and the greater industry. Her column,“Customer Centric,” will have a strong customer service focus as its name implies.

I hope you find value in Audra’s contributions, and if you have a question for her or topic you’d like to see addressed, drop her a note at

Our primary feature this issue is associate editor Bryce Evans’ “The Year Ahead," which dives into some of the most notable trends, biggest obstacles and solutions for success in 2016. You’ll also find a few proven strategies for getting paid for diagnostic work, tactics for marketing your hybrid expertise and more to help your business get off to a great start this year. Thanks for reading and I hope we can help make your 2016 a success.

Jake Weyer, editor

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