The Industry’s Image

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Most often it’s someone wearing shorts—or one time, it was flip-flops. But there’s also the regular rotation of T-shirts, jeans, hats, hoodies, etc. We (at Ratchet+Wrench) hear about it almost every time it happens. Some times, it’s fair; some times, it’s not. Regardless, we understand the point.

There are a lot of topics that we cover in our magazine’s pages every month—from leadership to human resources, from law to technology, from workflow to hiring. We attempt to look at your operations from every angle we can, and we try to provide new strategies and ideas that can help you succeed. The overarching “theme” to it all, though, falls back to why those (potential) fashion faux pas mentioned above are often pointed out when they appear in photos in our magazine: the industry’s image “problem.”

Disclaimer before we continue: I’m not passing judgement on your shop attire. We actually have a fairly lax dress code here at Ratchet+Wrench headquarters. Personally, I tend to lean on the side of having dress code match the culture and identity of your business and the image you want to portray to your clients, partners, potential hires, etc. I’m not assuming I know enough about you to make those judgements about your operation.

That said, it’s the No. 1 complaint or comment we receive from readers—They see the shorts or the flip-flops, and worry what message that sends about the image of this industry. Conversely, when readers pick up on a story of a shop operator and his or her team doing progressive things, the comment is usually something about how they love to see people elevate the way the general public views the field.

That’s the goal—and my point to this rambling (yes, I have a point). You improve your operation, you portray a more modern, progressive image to your customers, and that impacts your market and those that interact with your business. But it takes everyone in the industry, working together toward those same goals to change that stereotype and perception with vehicle owners nationwide.

Our main feature this month, “Breaking the Industry’s Image Problem”, discusses how shop owners across the country are using social media platforms to band together and slowly make these changes. If you take nothing else from this story (though, I think you’ll be able to take quite a lot from it), please let it be the simple, obvious fact that it isn’t about one business owner working toward a narrow goal; these are people realizing that an issue exists above the fray of their day-to-days and that it takes a larger, collective effort to truly push the industry forward.

Many people are doing just that, and those are the people we try to feature in the magazine. If you’re not in that group, maybe it’s time to kick off the flip-flops and start pushing?


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