Revolutionizing the Traditional Shop Model
SHOP: Green Drop Garage LOCATION: Portland, Ore. OWNER: Farhad Ghafarzade
SIZE: 3,200 square feet STAFF: 8 (2 front desk, 2 back office personnel and 4 technicians) AVERAGE MONTHLY CAR COUNT: 500 ANNUAL REVENUE: $1.4 million (projected)
1. Developing the Brand
When Green Drop Garage opened in Portland, Ore., back in October 2009, owner Farhad Ghafarzade started out with one lift and one goal in mind: Develop an environmentally progressive shop.
Ghafarzade’s named the shop Green Drop Garage because it integrated the shop’s aim to be environmentally friendly and it’s a nod to the inclement weather in Oregon. The shop’s green practices include using bikes and smart car loaner vehicles, harvesting rainwater for use in the shop and recycling waste oils to name a few.
His plan for the shop has succeeded in bringing in customers because he added a second location in 2015.
2. Modifying the Space
The first Green Drop Garage location is 3,200 square feet, so Ghafarzade worked with his business partner to develop an efficient shop layout.
For starters, the building is what used to be known as a Quonset hut, which had been around since the 1940s. It was once used to manufacture parachutes during WWI. Ghafarzade notes that the dome-shaped building has gone through many iterations, prior to becoming his shop. Over the years it was used for forklift repairs, scooter repairs and bike sales.
Green Drop Garage isn’t laid out like the typical auto care shop, either. The front desk and waiting area are all part of the shop floor with a short divider wall as the only barrier between customers and the bays. As Ghafarzade describes it, “It's kind of like sitting in an open kitchen; you see how everything is done. Some love it, and those who do not like the noise get a certificate from us for a free coffee down the street.”
3. Focusing on Technology
The shop is fully digital. Customers receive receipts and other shop communication via email or through text messages.
Two years ago, Ghafarzade added iPads and Apple computers to both locations. He did this to ensure his team had fast computers at its disposal to handle the shop’s monthly car count of 500 vehicles. The Apple computers are used in the front of the shop and the iPads are used by technicians.
He also worked on modifying and creating a system that allows customers to schedule time for quick services. Full Slate, Ghafarzade notes, is typically used in hair salons for customers to schedule appointments. The shop’s point-of-sale system is all cloud based and the shop management system used is Shop-ware.com.
4. Reconfiguring the Shop Experience
Ghafarzade has built a strong shop culture because his team believes in the shops’ goals and in improving the community.
Since the shop opened in 2009, he and his team have offered after-hours car care classes. The shop also has a program in place that provides financing for low-income families.