Shop View: Inside the Dealer Alternative
SHOP STATS: Blair Automotive Location: Carrollton, Texas Operator: Ryan Blair Average Monthly Car Count: 250 Staff Size: 8 for the repair shop, 15 total Shop Size: 20,000 square-feet Annual Revenue: $2 million (estimated)
1. Developing a Presence
According to Ryan Blair, owner of Blair Automotive located in Carrollton, Texas, he knew he needed ample space to accommodate the different aspects of his business. Not only does he run a repair shop, he also services performance vehicles and serves as a distributor for aftermarket performance parts.
Blair began leasing the 20,000-square-foot space in January 2017, but he’s had to move from location to location since 2014 as the business grew. Blair had a one-month deadline to build out this facility to meet his needs. Everything from the showroom, floors, electrical and equipment went into the shop within a month of him signing the lease. It cost him approximately $600,000–$700,000, including equipment. The shop’s large showroom offers information on services, details, and the shop’s performance work.
2. Tying Reputation and Branding
Because of the reputation he garnered working in Audi dealerships, Blair decided to name the business after his family. The shop’s unique logo is based on the Audi R8 gauge shifter. He notes that he wanted a subtle automotive design, something simple with color to pop. The branding comes full circle with the show car in the showroom that is in the exact same color as the logo.
3. Dealer Take
Blair decided to set the shop up similar to a dealership. Blair Automotive provides every amenity that dealerships provide, such as loaner vehicles, a high-end customer lounge area and more. Blair Automotive has a 10-vehicle loaner fleet; the whole fleet is comprised of model-year 2016 or newer Volkswagens and Audis.
The layout is designed similar to a dealership’s, too. The shop has nine service bays, arranged in a row all on one side. The other side of the shop is the designated space for equipment and tools. The shop uses a Dynojet dynamometer, Hunter Alignment machine, factory certified Audi and Volkswagen scan tools and more.
In the customer waiting area, there is a desk that is designed for customers, so they can work remotely while waiting. The conference room is typically used for team meetings, but if it’s available and a customer needs to use it, they can.
4. Developing an Experience
Blair Automotive’s customers include NBA and NFL players. To provide a unique experience to them and other VIP customers, Blair created a cigar and whiskey lounge in his office. Customers are limited to one drink. He got the idea from barber shops.
In the near future, Blair wants to build a mezzanine to store more products, a room around the dynamometer, a clean room for the shop’s detail area and add an awning in the parking lot to further protect customer vehicles from the elements.