Your Name In Print
As more shop operators have started reading Ratchet+Wrench, I’ve begun getting inquiries about where we find our stories, and how a shop owner might be able to get their business in the pages of our new publication.
To start, I have to say it’s been reassuring to hear all of the positive feedback we’ve received from the industry after the first several issues. It’s an added bonus to hear from shop owners who want to get involved with the publication in one way or another. That tells me that we’re delivering the service we set out to provide.
To answer the question about stories, they come from a variety of places—sometimes we come up with them through our own brainstorming sessions, but more commonly they come from conversations with industry consultants and shop operators. Sometimes we’ll have a story concept in mind and cold-call shops that look like they might fit, or that another industry professional recommended.
Not every shop will work for a story, but the conversations with operators about industry challenges, needs, successes, failures—they often lead to story concepts, which are ultimately crafted into focused topics that find their way into the pages of Ratchet+Wrench.
Looking at the auto repair industry from the outside, it might seem impossible to fill a monthly magazine with different, interesting and useful content about such a narrow niche. But the fact is that this industry is far more complex than many people give it credit for—complex in the volume and diversity of shops, the growing fleet of ever-changing vehicles, the changing repair methods, tools and equipment needed to do the job, and so on.
The actual shop operators and other professionals who are featured in those stories are individuals who either have real-world, working strategies to share, inspirational stories of success, or both. For instance, Larry Moore, co-owner of Larry’s AutoWorks (“Technology on a Budget”) has been in business for four decades thanks to smart business strategies, such as merging three specialty businesses into one building to allow for a broad range of vehicle repairs.
Shop owner Mike Brewster’s tale of overcoming adversity following the death of his father and building the family shop, Gil’s Garage, into a $5.6-million-a-year business through customer-service efforts, seemed ready-made for Ratchet+Wrench. Read his story in “Coming of Age.”
We hope you always find at least one individual’s story in each issue of this magazine that helps you improve your business in some way. And you might be able to do the same for your peers.
If you’ve managed to find a way to run a successful, growing repair center in today’s challenging market, we want to talk to you. If you’re an innovator, we want to talk to you. If you have an inspirational tale to tell from your adventures as a shop operator, we want to talk to you. Or, if you have some lessons to share from failures in this industry, we’d like to hear those as well.
The bottom line is that we’re trying to produce content that is going to help drive this industry forward, stories that will inspire and educate shop owners and managers to build better businesses. So, if you think you’ve got something to contribute, shoot me an email. You might find your name in print.