Shop View: Honest Accurate Auto Service
SHOP: Honest Accurate Auto Service LOCATION: Colorado Springs, Colo. OWNER/S: Paul Pharris SIZE: 9,000 square feet; STAFF SIZE: 12 AVERAGE MONTHLY CAR COUNT: 360 ANNUAL REVENUE: $2.3 million
1. Standing Out to New Customers
Paul Pharris noticed customer traffic slow when the shop only displayed a small sign with the Honest Accurate Auto name. Customers would often confuse the shop with a restaurant or bank, Pharris says. So, the shop switched to neon white light signs that read “Auto Repair.” To support local business, the shop bought the new signs in 2013 at Signarama. The signs cost $10,000 and have only needed to be repaired a couple times over the past five years. In addition to the sign, the shop decided to cut costs on watering grass in Colorado’s dry climate and landscape with gravel and bushes.
2. Creating a Communication Operation
For about a year and a half, Honest Accurate Auto Service has used a texting program to update staff on the repair process and inform customers. Autoflow, a shop management software, allows the technicians to digitize inspections on their Kindle tablets and to update an online progress board. The progress board in return pings the customer’s cell phone with messages like, “Your vehicle is being inspected” or, “Your vehicle is completed.”
3. Centralizing Information
Pharris set up a hub in the shop so his team could find all repair information in one place. The repair orders are in hard copy and are organized by the first six digits of the vehicle’s VIN number in filing cabinets. For Pharris and his team, the hard copies provide a chance to double check the repair process if a customer comes back with complaints.
Pharris says part of the advantage to hard copy files is for the technician to have the chance to jot down notes on estimate sheets. While information is also loaded onto the shop’s computer system, the hard files provide a quicker way for technicians to access the information.
4. Investing in Quality
The shop’s office floor is designed with stamped concrete. Since the floor is buffed to a shine, Pharris brings in a floor cleaner once per month for about $150 to clean the floor and maintain shine. While Pharris and his staff clean the floor daily with a water mopping, chemicals cannot be used on the floor or it will degrade the shine.
5. Establishing a Green Building
Skylights and solar tubes add extra natural light into the office space and save on electricity costs. In-floor heating throughout the service area is equipped with a 96 percent efficient boiler that heats water for the heat. The all-glass garage doors are double paned to create better insulation.