Photo by Ryan Damman
SHOP: Beckley Automotive LOCATION: Des Moines, Iowa OWNER: Steve Beckley SIZE: 10,000 square feet
STAFF: 11 full time, 3 part time MONTHLY CAR COUNT: 375 ANNUAL REVENUE: $2.1 million
1) While many shops are 30 feet deep from the door to the back wall, leaving enough room for one car, Steve Beckley extended his shop floor to be 40 feet deep. The change allows the shop to fit two cars (a front stall with a hoist and a flat stall), a toolbox and plenty of space to walk around.
“By adding 25 percent more cost on construction to make it 40 feet deep, I doubled my available space to have cars inside,” Beckley says.
2) Beckley says he wanted a shop that was bright enough so a technician could look under the hood or into the trunk without using trouble lights. To do that, he installed a row of high windows extending the full length of the shop on the west wall, and installed two rows of windows on the garage doors. To achieve the rest of the output needed, he added high-efficiency fluorescent lighting.
3) Beckley installed dedicated information areas at three points throughout the 10-bay shop floor: at bays 1, 5 and 10. Each station can access ALLDATA and other service information. Beckley says it’s a big improvement from one information station at the end of the shop.
4) The alignment rack is located at the far end of the shop, with a taller overhead door. Beckley knew he needed a taller door so the vehicles could drive up on the rack, but he wanted to keep his facility looking balanced from the outside, so he moved the bay to the far end.
Because each customer receives a yearly alignment check, Beckley says the machine is used frequently throughout the year. Having it at the far end doesn’t change the temperature of the shop when the doors open and close.
5) When Beckley signed a long-term contract with his oil vendor, he negotiated a deal so that the vendor would install plumbing to pump synthetic and conventional oil to each bay. Beckley says doing so has saved the time it took technicians to walk across the shop floor to the oil barrel and pump it into a can.
6) Beckley installed a drain extending the full length of the shop to easily clean the snow and muck that accumulates during an Iowa winter. He says the floors are sloped toward the middle from both ends, and water outlets installed around the shop allow technicians to easily hose off their bays and push water into the drains.
The shop put separators in the drains so sand and debris doesn’t make its way into the sewer.