Photos Courtesy of Franklin Automotive
1 The shop is located on a five-lane road and the top parking lot can be seen from the interstate. The two separate buildings are conveniently located near each other and allow the space needed for all of the work that comes in.
2 When customers come to the shop, they pull in off the main road and drive under the covered drop-off/pickup area, which is lit up at night.
3 Customers have the option of taking a shuttle, picking up a complimentary loaner vehicle, or waiting in the lobby. The shop has two full-time shuttle drivers that will take customers back to work or to their homes. If the customer opts for a loaner vehicle, there are eight newly leased Toyota Camrys on-site for them to choose from.
4 If the customer chooses to wait, there is a lobby separate from the write-up area that has a Route 66 theme. Customers can enjoy complimentary drinks and snacks from the glass-front refrigerator. One key element missing? A TV. The reason for this? “Everything is negative on TV,” Polhill explains. Instead, the shop streams soothing music for customers to enjoy as they wait for their vehicles.
5 The shop floor, which is split between two buildings, is organized based on each technician’s speciality. All of the technicians have a vehicle make they specialize in and two specific bays that are assigned to them. The type of car a customer has determines which building the vehicle will go to.
6 Both buildings are set up similarly, with bay doors on both sides. The cars are pulled in facing each other with an aisle down the center for walking.
7 Franklin Automotive has a full parts department with two full-time staffers to manage it. The shop stocks up with as much as it can sell within 30 days. The upstairs mezzanine provides additional space for the parts.
8 Birmingham, Ala., can get extremely hot. During the summer, the temperature can reach triple digits with 90 percent humidity. That’s what makes the central air conditioning in the shop such a draw. Polhill says back when he put it in, they were the rst repair center in the area to have it in a shop. Technicians appreciate the cooler temperature, as well as the five-day workweek. The shop is only open Monday through Friday. “If I’m not willing to work on a Saturday, they shouldn’t have to work weekends,” Polhill adds.
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