Running a Shop Leadership Shop Culture

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SHOP STATS: Denny's Auto  Location: Riverton, Utah  Operator: Darrin Moncur  Average Monthly Car Count: 250-300  Staff Size: 10  Shop Size: 7,700 sq ft Annual Revenue $1.1M  

“Good for the shop, good for the client, and good for the vehicle” is the mantra at Denny’s Auto, and it’s what creates its strong shop culture.

When Darrin Moncur began taking on more of a leadership role at Denny’s Auto in Riverton, Utah, he also began making changes. Those changes have drastically impacted Denny’s Auto in both the front and backend of the shop, but before these results could prove themselves, Moncur faced some old school pushback. Now, Darrin is in the same position with his son, Mitch, who is stepping up to the plate with some even “newer school” ideas.

Mitch Moncur nominated his father for a 2018 Ratchet+Wrench All-Star Award because of the immense growth Denny’s Auto has seen in sales and clientele numbers. Both Mitch and Darrin say this is due to their shop’s culture.  

“The culture is our biggest strength, and that bleeds into our customers. Our clients get to feel [the shop’s culture] too,” Darrin says.

Communicate your ideas.

The culture shift began when Darrin began working with the founder of Denny’s Auto, his father-in-law Denny.

“Denny was kind of old school; the way he ran his business in the ’60s and ’70s was with an iron fist. When I came along, I came with a different approach, more of a team kind of environment, more of a, ‘let’s work alongside of each other,’” Darrin says.

Darrin was faced with a little reluctance from the Denny’s Auto founder, but after the shop’s culture began to transfer into the happiness of the customers, Denny began to see the positive outcome.

“He [Denny] started seeing the benefits and the success with the changes that were happening. He’s now singing a different tune and is all about it,” Mitch says.

Communicating fresh ideas takes perseverance, he says, and it also takes a certain amount of humility on both sides. Everyone has the same goal, and it comes down to being willing to listen before going through the motions, Mitch explains.

Now, the shop’s culture is a team environment filled with encouragement and support.   

Involve the whole team.

Mitch is following his father’s path and brings fresh ideas to the shop. One of the concepts Mitch has brought forward is scheduled one-on-one meetings with staff.  

“He meets with all of the team members once per week and does one-on-ones with them. It’s given us this rebirth, is the way I see it,” Darrin says.

Mitch says that during his meetings with staff, he checks in with them and gets to what is really on their minds. He keeps asking until they actually come out and say what they think. He also asks about the employees’ personal lives so they know they are cared about. Lastly, he sees what ideas they have and comes up with an action plan to put the ideas into motion. Darrin says these meetings have been a huge gamechanger.   

“What [Mitch] brought to the table is creating a culture inside of the business, more than just working together as a team, and brought in a culture. It’s a fun place to work. We encourage and help develop all of our employees as individuals,” Darrin says.

Stick with the core values.

There are some things Denny’s Auto has always done that both Mitch and Darrin continue to exhibit as the pillars of the shop’s culture.

Denny has always kept the same basic business philosophy at his shop, giving his employees a consistent and worry-free workplace. All of the technicians at Denny’s Auto get a base pay so they don’t have to stress about finances. This concept has continued to be a strong shop value.

Mitch says that the shop’s success comes from emphasizing and focusing on compassion, cooperation and humility. With fresh ideas and a strong team culture, Denny’s Auto is able to evolve, Darrin says.

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