Make it Your Own
SHOP STATS: Garry's Automotive Location: Boise, Idaho Operator: Jared Scofield and John Bryant Average Monthly Car Count: 350 Staff Size: 12 Shop Size: 45,000 square-feet Annual Revenue: $2.15 million
When Ratchet+Wrench last wrote about Garry Plimmer’s namesake shop in Boise, Idaho, he had just finished finding ways to maximize the efficiency of his 45,000-square-foot facility after quickly outgrowing what was once his “dream shop.”
Plimmer opened Garry’s Automotive in 1997 in Boise, Idaho, with a staff of just three: one technician; Plimmer acting as owner, service writer and part-time tech; and his wife, Jerilyn, as the bookkeeper.
By 2005, the shop had reached annual sales of $460,000 and an annual car count of 1,900. Tired of renting different properties, Plimmer purchased a lot on a busy road and worked with an architect to build a facility that encompassed everything he was looking for in a shop.
After implementing those processes, sales continued to rise by $150,000 every year to $2 million with an average monthly car count of 350.
“We grew rapidly because we figured out how to make everything flow,” Plimmer said at the time. “[The staff] knows how it works and they become very efficient. We’re always trying to improve. We’re not locked into anything. If there’s a better way to do things, let’s take a look at it.”
But a couple years later, Plimmer was ready to retire, and hand over his business to two of his employees, Jared Scofield and John Bryant.
After getting his associate’s degree in 2003 in Wyoming, Jared Scofield returned to Boise to begin working in the industry. It wasn’t until 2005 that he landed at Garry’s Automotive as a tech.
As Plimmer grew the shop and began looking to the future, he knew that he wanted to keep the business within the company, Scofield says. He also knew that taking on a business is no easy task; you have to have all of your finances and knowledge in order before handing it over. Scofield says that this is why Plimmer started working toward his retirement eight years ahead of time.
Coming up with something eight years before it happens is a tremendous feat. Plimmer knew that his succession plan couldn’t be a one-size-fits-all operation; he had to tailor it to his situation, Scofield says. He knew that taking on a business comes with a pretty heavy cost, and that’s not something you can arrange overnight.
Garry’s Automotive has always had a customer-first attitude, which Scofield says is why Plimmer wanted to keep the business within itself. He didn’t want to sell to somebody outside of the organization that wasn’t driven by the same values that the company has. According to Scofield, the thought behind that was that it would be a better way of life for everyone involved.
Scofield now shares 50 percent business ownership with John Bryant, another tech, and on January 26, 2017, they finished their first day as business owners.
Scofield and Bryant were now tasked with taking the inspiration of Plimmer’s “customer-first attitude,” and making it their own.
Plimmer’s ideal remains a large influence on how Scofield and Bryant run the business today, Scofield says, and was the inspiration behind his implementation of a three-tiered goal program.
At the beginning of each calendar year, Scofield, Bryant and their team all sit down to figure out what some achievable goals for the year. They think of these goals in three levels, each of which has a reward attached to it. If the team reaches level one’s goal, Scofield and Bryant buy lunch for the whole team. If they reach the second level goal, the two owners will pay for a steak and lobster meal, which is a goal they’ve already hit twice as of April 2019. The reward for the final level, Scofield says, is that each team member will get a $100 bill, which has already been reached once this year.
The inspiration behind this lies in the peer mentoring meetings that Scofield attends.
“You don’t achieve anything if you don’t set out to achieve it,” Scofield says.
After this meeting, he came back to Garry’s ready to sit down with his team and get to work.
These goals aren’t just in his employees business lives, but in their personal lives as well.
“Setting goals encourages everyone to strive for excellence,” Scofield says.
If they want to break their end of year goal of bringing in more than $2 million in revenue, then everyone has to move in the same direction.
Scofield says the reason that Bryant and himself push for this goal and reward system is because employees are the greatest asset to the company. Whether they have success or failure, the family-like culture means that they share it together. At the end of the day, Scofield says that they aren’t going to let each other fall, if there’s a problem, they’re going to help each other to solve it.
Another practice that Scofield and Bryant now make a point to do, is to give back. They are able to help 3,000 to 4,000 people in their community each year with the goal in mind “... to be a lasting aspect of our community. A lasting cornerstone that supports families and people,” Scofield says.
Even though they already serve that many people, Scofield says they have a reach that’s even farther than that. They try to help anyone that comes knocking on their door. Just some of the causes they help are the local Boys and Girls Club of America, the local police force, and Skills USA.
They also give free oil changes to veterans on Veterans Day and support an organization called Boise Rescue Mission, which provides meals and shelter to those in need. They donate as much as they can to as many causes as they can.
Since Scofield and Bryant have teamed up, they’ve seen an increase of 5 percent revenue each year they’ve been in charge. But that hasn’t come without extra effort, Scofield says. They have had to hire additional staff, lease more space to increase productivity, and improve their equipment.
Scofield also started attending a peer mentoring group. This group has discussions that focus on the best business practices for their industry and strategies to increase productivity and grow their companies. The first meeting that Scofield attended after moving into ownership focused on goal setting, which, ironically, was one of his biggest plans for the company.
The feedback that Bryant and Scofield have gotten from this system has been extremely positive. Scofield says that they’re helping their team to achieve goals they’ve never done before. The rewards aren’t terribly costly for the shop, but they go over well with the staff and always feel like special occasions, Scofield says. At the end of the day, Scofield says that he wants to help each and every person in any way that he can.