Long’s Car Care Center
SHOP: Long’s Car Care Center OWNERS: Randy and Michelle Long LOCATION: Woodinville, Wash SIZE: 9,500 square feet
STAFF: 7 MONTHLY CAR COUNT: 198 ANNUAL REVENUE: $1.1 million
Some auto repair shops use traditional marketing; others rely on customer referrals. But at Long’s Car Care Center, all Randy and Michelle Long need is the building.
The 9,500-square-foot shop sits right off a busy main road that veers onto the freeway and rests just outside a business district filled with restaurants, wineries and business hubs.
1) Originally built for a tire shop, the windows in the corner of the lobby—which stretch from floor to ceiling—now serve as a unique opportunity to display various awards and certifications the shop has received, as well as providing a nice view both into and outside of the facility.
Co-owner Michelle says that 85 percent of the Woodinville shop’s business simply comes from drive-by traffic, and the green scenery and aesthetically pleasing windows play a huge part in that.
“It’s really saved me a lot of money in advertising,” Michelle says.
2) On occasion, the Longs will utilize the large wall of windows to display a classic car that Randy is restoring or another car a customer wants to sell. Here the shop shows off a 1967 Chevy Camaro. The shop has featured everything from Corvettes to Harleys in the lobby.
3) The lobby features other various amenities meant to pique the customer’s interest, including a coffee machine, bowls filled with chocolates and a custom-designed American Gasoline pump.
Michelle bought the gas pump as a Christmas present for her husband years ago, and it just made sense to prop it up in the lobby, where it has become a conversation starter with customers.
4) The Camaro and gas pump fit right into the spacious, 2,500-square-foot lobby, which separates the waiting area—filled with comfy chairs, a couch and reading materials—from the front office desk.
5) Michelle says her intentions with the layout were to keep customers away from the busywork and phone calls at the front desk. This not only creates a quiet environment for the customers, but also increases productivity up front.
“You’re talking on the phone with somebody and you’re talking over important things and you don’t always want everybody to hear that,” Michelle says. “It just makes it easier for everybody to feel like their business is confidential.”
6) The spick-and-span shop floor feels just about as spacious as the lobby. Randy likes to keep the shop floor extremely clean.
“The customers can see our shop floor when they walk up to the front door, and we want them to see that we really do clean shop,” Michelle says.
Michelle says the open layout and the cleanliness contribute to increased productivity, as well.
7) The shop features nine Rotary Lift hoists and one Hunter alignment rack for the shop’s four technicians.