Recipe for Success

Nov. 1, 2019

With a focus on leadership, accountability and processes, these two have found a way to grow

When I think of the best of the best, I can list so many things. The best in sales, best in customer service, best in profits, best in growth, best in marketing and so much more. However, I would call Dave Markert  and Rob Eskew of Markert Motor Works in Lawrenceville, Ga., the best I have ever seen at going against the odds in every category. 

Dave was at Clemson university back in 2009 – 2011 . He was getting his engineering degree and saw a huge opportunity to fix cars in his apartment complex and make some money on the side. He had no formal training, he just knew he was mechanically inclined, great at IT/diagnostics, solving problems and knew that fixing cars could produce some good money. Once Dave got out of college, he opened a small shop in the basement of a storage unit. He did this for two years as a one man show and realized something needed to change. 

Dave teamed up with Rob in 2011. Rob was a business graduate of UGA and had the drive, work ethic and business acumen that Dave needed to add.  From 2011 – 2016 Rob and Dave hired a staff, put in 5 bays and managed to produce 1.2 million in a basement storage unit. 

The business, with a focus on fixing performance vehicles in the Atlanta area, grew. The two knew they wanted more space and parking, so they found a 12,000 square foot location in an industrial park. They thought they had the perfect equation for a great shop. What they learned was that having a 12,000 square foot shop with no store frontage and terrible demographics is not a good combination. They also realized that although performance cars may produce about $20,000 per ticket—they would have the cars for 3–4 months.  This combination was pushing them to no profits and losing them money.  

Once they started working with Aaron Stokes and Shop Fix, they changed direction. They changed their focus and became a premier European shop called Markert Motor Works. They dialed in a detailed marketing plan that included SEO, PPC, social media and primarily direct mail that was mailed to Euro car owners in the 10-mile radius of their shop. They now have six techs, two advisors and a parts manager that produces about 100k – 120k a month.

Rob and Dave didn’t stop there. In 2017, they found their second location—an existing shop that was a domestic/Asian repair shop with less than desirable demographics. They acquired the shop, made staff changes and implemented sales processes and turned the shop profitable within three months. 

For their next acquisition, they wanted to get another Euro shop that provided the right frontage and demographics. They found a few they liked and started going into the shops and talking to owners about selling. 

 As of 4 p.m. today (written in October),  Rob and Dave will be closing on their third location in a prime area. This will be a domestic/Asian repair shop. To prep for this opening, they are already training a new manager and technician at their main location, prepared all the marketing materials and ready to renovations going as soon as possible.  They also have a Euro shop in the works.

With this growth mode, Rob and Dave knew they needed a true regional manager that would be responsible for operations, training, hiring and accountability.  They found their newest team member in June. They brought in Will from the cellular industry. Will has tremendous experience in multi-unit management and large-scale growth. 

Now, each of the three have their own focus. Rob focuses on marketing, Dave focuses on financial/accounting and Will focuses on operations. They have a very contained and focused growth model and plan to have 10 locations in three years. 

Dave and Rob know the secret to success is a focus on the right leadership, accountability of their team, streamlined and focused processes and having the right people in the right places. I can’t wait to see where they will go. It’s amazing to see a young man with no automotive experience start working on cars in a parking lot of his apartment to being a 3-location powerhouse in less than 8 years with so much more to come. 

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