Running a Shop Tools and Equipment Shop Floor Front Office

Arrow Automotive Transmission Specialists

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Photo courtesy Arrow Automotive Transmission Specialists

SHOP: Arrow Automotive Transmission Specialists  OWNER: Monte Craig LOCATION: Reno, Nev. SIZE: 12,000 square feet
STAFF: 8 (5 techs, 2 office managers, 1 owner)  ANNUAL REVENUE: $1.7 million

1) Monte Craig wanted to stand out when he moved his transmission business to a 12,000-square-foot, full-service facility in 2008. He ended up with a building he likes to call his “Taj Mahal,” which features an inviting brick exterior. A large LED screen that advertises specials and greetings faces drivers as they pass the shop on Highway 395 and the garage doors are in the back of the shop so customers only see the facade of building when driving past it.

“I wanted a ‘Bed Bath & Beyond’ look,” Craig says. “We didn’t want service bays or anything facing the street. Most of our customers are repeats, so the flashing sign is more of a passive marketing piece.”

2) Craig says he got the name for his business more than 22 years ago from his sister, when he was going to battle in what he refers to as the “Yellowbook wars” of shop marketing. A name that started with an “A” and was easy to spell was a no-brainer back then, and the title has stuck.

Today, the only war Craig says he fights is against pollution, which is why he tries to make his shop as environmentally friendly as possible. Two Clean Burn waste oil furnaces hang from the ceiling of the shop, where they burn all the excess oil from his business. Efficient T5 fluorescent lights provide light for the shop, along with mirrored skylights on his roof. Arrow’s efforts to be energy-efficient helped the shop earn green certified status by the state of Nevada in February.

3) Above the shop floor of Arrow are offices and the employee lounge with windows that oversee the whole operation. Craig jokes that his office still isn’t set up, so he doesn’t spend any time looking through the windows to the shop floor. Instead, he keeps all the air compressors for the shop in the back offices in an effort to reduce noise pollution on the floor.

4) The immaculate white floors of the shop serve two purposes, according to Craig. One is aesthetic, and the other is functional.

“White floors are nice and pretty, but we did them because of the light reflection they offer under the cars,” Craig says. “We need that light under there while we’re working on cars all the time. 

“We also sell jobs off of it. People walk in our shop and say, ‘Wow this is cleaner than my living room.’ We wanted the inside to match the outside. After every job, the techs mop up their workspace, put their tools and parts away, lower the car from the lift, and bring a new one in.”

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