AAPEX 2022: Vic Tarasik and Murray Voth Offer Tips to Shop Owners in AMA

Nov. 2, 2022

Auto industry coaches share their coaching observations in this question-and-answer forum.

Nov. 2, 2022—Everyone needs a coach. Top performing athletes have them. Actors and vocalists have them. And in the auto care industry, they’re readily available for shop owners. Tuesday’s Shop Coach AMA (ask me anything), hosted by Carm Capriotto, was a panel-style question-and-answer session with two shop coaches—Vic Tarasik, founder and managing partner of Shop Owner Coach, and Murray Vothpresident of RPM Training.  

Here are five tips they shared. 

On Tech Becoming Owners 

Many shop owners started out as technicians, but one recurring problem seen by the coaches is that the in-bay mentality remains despite the change in title and position. They believe it's one of the hindrances in making a good shop into a great shop teeming with profitability. 

 “Technicians are brilliant, but it's a shift in mindset. Business acumen can be learned. Business communication can be polished. You can learn to become an outstanding business owner and make an impact in the community,” says Vic Tarasik. 

On Charging What You're Worth  

Given that many shop owners have blue collar roots, the desire to offer discounted services to people close to them can create a problem in properly charging what they’re worth for their services in fear of losing those people as customers. 

“Getting rid of friends, family, and church people was the best thing I've ever done for my business,” says Murray Voth. “Something shop owners don't understand is how much it takes to recover income from discounts.” 

Tarasik said when shop owners don’t charge competitive prices or offer “friends and family discounts, they lose sight of the big picture not realizing how their actions affect not only their team members but suppliers and competitors. 

The first thing I say is are you bringing home a proper paycheck to your family? How many people are you responsible forit’s not just employees, but their wives and kids. You’re responsible to your parts suppliers and to your competitors, too because you're dragging down the price of the market,” said Tarasik. 

On Willingness TChange

When asked about coachability, both coaches talked about the need for a shop owner to be open to input, desire to change, and to do the work. Voth says as a coach, he can usually tell how a shop owner will receive coaching based on their upbringing.  

It all depends on the family they came from and if they talked about stuff. If they talked together as a family, then I find they're easy to coach[They’ve learned] critical thinking, said Murray. 

 Tarasic says he sizes up shop owners, inventories their best attributes, and goes to work on developing them. 

I look for their strengths and I play to their strengths. I am really stubborn and was on the verge of shutting my shop down. I had a nostril above water. You can change,” said Tarasik. 

On Cost Analysis 

Shop owners need to know how much it takes to run a shop profitably, factoring in the return on investment from the purchase of equipment, the cost of labor, employee salaries, parts, and other operational expenses. Owners who were former technicians can become trapped in seeing things at facvalue without thinking of how they’ll make money in every facet of the business. 

What's your break-even number?” asked Tarasik. “Before you put your key in the door, how much do you need to sell? 

 Murray added, “Gross profit first. Gross profit pays the bills and creates the net profit." 

On Leveraging the Power of Networking  

No man is an island. Shop owners need to maximize peer relationships through groups, conferences, networking, and meeting up. Tarasik said he met Murray at a past conference and it blossomed into a meaningful friendship. 

In 2019, I met him. We shook hands, exchanged business cards, and now we're good friends. We exchange ideas. We're role models to the industry about how you can collaborate," said Tarasik. 

About the Author

Ratchet+Wrench Staff Reporters

The Ratchet+Wrench staff reporters have a combined two-plus decades of journalism and mechanical repair experience.

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