Bringing the Best of Corporate America into the Automotive Industry with Bruce Spencer
Visiting us today is Bruce Spencer to talk about his experience joining the automotive industry as an "outsider." After several relocations following the needs of his corporate career, Bruce decided to pivot and find a way that allowed him and his family to settle down. Bruce found a fantastic opportunity to do so by buying Walt Eger's Service Center in 2016.
Bruce Spencer is the Owner of Walt Eger's Service Center in Maryland; he is also the President of BJS Consulting and an experienced strategic leader of high-performing teams.
In this episode, we delve into Bruce's journey transitioning from the corporate and consulting world into the automotive industry. We talk about the challenges he faced during the last six years, his thoughts and feelings about running a repair shop without being a technician, and the skills he brought into the business from his previous life.
We also discuss the importance, as business owners, of knowing to take distance from our company, owning and replying to bad reviews, and clear communication with internal customers. In addition, Bruce shared his flawless approach to deciding what things he won't get involved in and spending time on them.
Tune in to episode 31 of Maximum Octane and learn about Bruce's unique approach to the automotive industry.
Some Questions I Ask:
- Many people we talk to grew up in a shop; their parents or uncle had a shop. You come from a completely different world. Could you share your story with us first? (1:50)
- What advantages do you think you have, coming from outside the industry, to run this business? (11:17)
- So many people focus on what they want to do next, even having different systems for it. But you also do that with the things you will not be doing. Can you speak about that a bit? (20:13)
In This Episode, You Will Learn:
- About how Bruce decided to join the automotive industry (3:10)
- How Bruce dealt with the fact that he doesn't "speaks technician" (9:13)
- Deciding what to work on is as important as deciding what not to work on (14:43)
- The benefits of taking ownership of bad reviews and using them to talk to future customers (19:48)
- Bruce shares his thoughts on weaknesses, strengths, and opportunities (24:43)
- Walt Eger's Service Center website
- Email: email@example.com
Connect with Bruce:
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94. Rev Up Your Marketing Efforts and Make Your Competitors Eat Dust with Kim and Brian Walker35:06Isn't it frustrating to know you are better than your competitors, yet you see them getting all the work? The only thing you must do to change that is to get your marketing efforts right. This week, I'm joined by Kim and Brian Walker, Owners of Shop Marketing Pros and Hosts of the Auto Repair Marketing Podcast, to discuss auto repair marketing, the importance of creating and presenting unique content, and why every auto shop owner should understand how marketing works. As former auto repair shop owners, Kim and Brian know the importance of increasing auto shops' online visibility and using that exposure to grow their client base. Throughout our conversation, you'll hear Kim and Brian's journey into auto shop marketing and how they "had to figure marketing out" themselves. You'll also hear why they invest a lot of their time in knowing their clients, why they believe having a customer success manager is crucial, why understanding marketing reports is as vital as receiving them, and much more. In This Episode, You Will Learn:Kim and Brian's backstory (3:10)Why did Kim and Brian decide to leave their auto shop and start a marketing business (7:00)As a business owner, you must become a people and money manager (12:10)What message do you send when your marketing content isn't unique (16:20)Know your audience and create content accordingly (23:10)Why every auto repair shop owner should learn about marketing (29:50)Connect with Kim and Brian:WebsiteThe Auto Repair Marketing PodcastKim's LinkedInBrian's LinkedInLet's connect:WebsiteLinkedInFacebookEmail: firstname.lastname@example.org
93. You Can Become an A-Tech and Repair Your Own Mind with Cally Rampis37:22Although talking about the pandemic in 2023 might sound like ancient times for some, many others are still struggling with the stress and anxiety of that epoch, and the worst part is that they aren't aware of it. In today's episode, I'm joined by the wonderful Cally Rempis to talk about entrepreneurship, stress release, anxiety and trauma relief, and the best methods to lower your cortisol levels. Cally is an Integrative Health Coach and Certified Hypnotherapist who, after consulting a hypnotherapist to figure out what was stopping her from feeling fulfilled, decided to become one, change her life, and help others change theirs. Throughout our conversation, you'll hear about Cally's introspective journey that led to all kinds of changes in her life: her looks, her thoughts, her career, and the way she sees the world. Cally also shares effective and ridiculously simple ways to lower your cortisol levels, tips and advice to leave stress in a drawer before going to work, how to incorporate meditation into your life, and more. In This Episode, You Will Learn:Cally's first encounter with a hypnotherapist. The beginning of a new life (4:40)We all are molded by our experiences (7:30)Some people weren't made to work from home (13:10)How focusing on what you want tricks your brain (18:10)How to get rid of stress in a couple of minutes (24:20)Why hiring an outsider to look at the inside might be all you need (30:50)Connect with Cally:WebsiteInstagramYouTubeTikTokFacebookLet's connect:WebsiteLinkedInFacebookEmail: email@example.com
92. How to Choose the Perfect Software for Your Auto Shop with Kirk Mize and Jesse Meddaugh35:28Plugging technology into your auto repair shop can improve your productivity and efficiency, reduce costs, and make your internal and external customers' lives easier IF you choose the right software. This week, I'm joined by Kirk Mize and Jesse Meddaugh to discuss the advantages and the proper use of tech in auto repair shops. Kirk is the Director of Sales at Shop Boss, the premier shop management software for independent automobile repair shops and national repair brands. Jesse is a Founding Partner at 360 Payment Solutions, a payment processor designed to add value to its partners and shorten their sales cycles. Throughout our conversation, you'll learn why specificity beats broader approaches in business every day of the week, the difference between focusing on offering the lowest price or the best customer experience, and how to choose the right software for your auto shop. We also discuss the importance of picking software that supports your business model and growth goals, why having SOPs and systems in place is so crucial, and much more.In This Episode, You Will Learn:Jack of all trades, master of none (4:10)Why you shouldn't dabble here and there and create weak branches (6:30)How to pick the right software for your auto repair shop (10:40)The importance of having SOPs and systems in place (14:10)Do everything you do in your business improves the process? (20:20)Stay in touch with your suppliers (24:20)Exploring your software tools can improve your auto shop's productivity (29:30)Connect with Kirk:LinkedInShop Boss' websiteConnect with Jesse:LinkedIn360 Payments' websiteLet's connect:WebsiteLinkedInFacebookEmail: firstname.lastname@example.org
91. How To Maximize Your Auto Repair Shop's Social Media Potential34:55"When your socials look like everyone else's, like a brochure or billboard, it's not doing you justice or a good service."In this episode, I'm joined by Corey Perlman, Keynote Speaker, Executive Consultant, Social Media and Digital Marketing Expert, Best-selling Author, and Owner of Impact Social Media. Corey got into social media way "before it was cool," teaching technology workshops at General Motors and other car dealerships. With time, he decided to spread his knowledge to other industries and wrote a book, "eBoot Camp: Proven Internet Marketing Techniques to Grow Your Business." The book ranked #1 on Amazon almost immediately, he turned into a Keynote Speaker, and not too much later, Impact Social Media was born. Throughout our conversation, Corey talks about his journey in digital marketing and social media advertising, the dos and don'ts of social media for auto repair shops, and shares his thoughts on the best ways to reply to negative feedback online or negative reviews. We also discuss what content works better for auto repair shops, how to create engaging content, what to look for when hiring a social media professional, and more. In This Episode, You Will Learn:About Corey's journey into social media advertising and digital marketing (3:00)How digital marketing impacted the car dealership industry (5:10)What an auto repair shop owner should look for in a social media expert (10:30)What kind of content works better for auto repair shops (13:00)Corey talks about social media's unproductive habits for auto shop owners (18:50)How to respond to negative feedback online and negative reviews (24:00)Connect with Corey:Social Media Impact websiteLinkedInGet Corey's books!Let's connect:WebsiteLinkedInFacebookEmail: email@example.com
90. Why Aiming for Profit Will Help You Put People First with Ron Saharyan39:35Business owners who openly discuss their desire to be profitable are usually misjudged. Some people think aiming for profit means being greedy or putting money and goods before people when it is the opposite: only profitable auto repair shops can put people first. Profit allows you to pay your debts, be philanthropic, and elevate your and your internal customers' lifestyle. This week, I'm thrilled to welcome Ron Sharyan, aka Obi-Ron Kenobi, back to the show. Ron is the Co-founder and Managing Director of Profit First Professionals, an international network of accountants, bookkeepers, and financial experts on a mission to help companies increase their earnings through the Profit First method. We had a wholesome conversation about profit. Ron explains why he sees profit as a retention tool, an instrument that allows one to give back, and a legacy-building mechanism. He debunks the myths around profit, shares his thoughts on seeking profit to fulfill a business purpose, goes through the difference between seeking profit and living above one's means, and so much more. In This Episode, You Will Learn:What it means to be proud to be profitable (3:00)Who are those who don't "want" to be profitable (8:40)Profit is a retention tool (10:30)The most expensive popcorn in the world and Ron's bragging rights (18:10)How everyone spends their money is no one's business (24:10)Profit first = people first (31:00)Connect with Ron:Profit First University websiteLinkedInTwitterLet's connect:WebsiteLinkedInFacebookEmail: firstname.lastname@example.org
88. Build Trust Before You Build Dollars And Money Will Follow with Roy Niemi35:16Although it might sound contradictory, business owners who only worry about making money are likelier to fail at it. Every internal customer, from A-techs to newcomers, clients, managers, and team leaders, are people before anything else. As such, they need to be treated with respect and be appreciated. Many auto repair owners forget that, even when it sounds so elemental. In this episode, I'm joined by the inspiring Roy Niemi, an automotive industry veteran with over 21 years in the space and the CEO of A&D Auto Repair. Roy worked the first 14 years in the industry in sales and finances; he used to work 80 or 90 hours a week, focusing solely on making more money until a life-changing accident put things in perspective and taught him a valuable lesson he learned a lot from. Throughout our conversation, Roy talks about his philosophy as an auto shop CEO, using trust as a pillar of his shop's culture, and the importance of providing honest feedback and being transparent with internal customers. We also discuss mentoring; Roy shares his recipe to increase talent retention, explains how they created their own A-techs, and so much more.In This Episode, You Will Learn:A bit about Roy's journey in the automotive industry (4:20)We all want to be recognized, valued, and appreciated in the workspace (6:30)About Roy's 8 years journey as an auto repair shop CEO (11:30)Roy shares his recipe to increase internal customers retention (16:10)The importance of being proactive in spotting issues with your people (24:20)Connect with Roy:LinkedInA&D Repair FacebookA&D Collision FacebookA&D InstagramA&D LinkedInLet's connect:WebsiteLinkedInFacebookEmail: email@example.com
87. Run Your Auto Repair Shop As Effectively As A Big Corporation with Drew Bryant33:37Training, onboarding, SOPs, and even "org. charts" sound like big corporation words. Yet, they are crucial parts of any business, including small auto repair shops and any company from the automotive aftermarket. This week, I'm joined by Drew Bryant, Owner and Operator of db Orlando Collision Center, to talk about the big corporation things you can implement in your auto repair shop to have big corporation results.Throughout our conversation, Drew shared his thoughts on the importance of spending time with new internal customers, training them, and making sure they soak in our auto shop's culture, procedures, and responsibilities. Drew also talks about unproductive habits, how improving his morning routine was a game-changer for him, and much more. In This Episode, You Will Learn:Drew and the unproductive habit he left behind (4:10)Never underestimate the power of onboarding and orientation (8:00)Drew shares his learnings working at Panera (13:50)When the process is clear, consistency is all you need (18:30)Onboarding done right (25:30)Connect with DrewLinkedIndb Orlando Collision Center's websitedb Orlando Collision Center Instagramdb Orlando Collision Center Facebookdb Orlando Collision Center YouTubeLet's connect:WebsiteLinkedInFacebookEmail: firstname.lastname@example.org
86. Why Every Auto Repair Shop Should Think Of Getting A CPA with Eric Joern32:40Getting in trouble with taxes is easier than most auto repair shop owners think, and although everything can be fixed, preventing your business from getting to that point is even easier. In today's episode, I'm joined by Eric Joern, that'll help us understand everything we need to know about the financials, tax returns, and payments of our auto shops. Eric is a Partner at Kaizen CPAs + Advisors and a CPA that specializes in serving the automotive aftermarket.Throughout this episode, Eric talks about the importance of taking the auto repair shops' payroll seriously, spending the extra money on December 31st to avoid paying taxes on that money, and why we must look closely at our inventory to avoid tax headaches in the future. Additionally, we discuss why getting a CPA is a good idea for every auto shop owner; Eric explains the difference between a CPA and an accountant, and much more. In This Episode, You Will Learn:What every auto shop business owner should look for in a CPA (4:30)Why you have to take payrolls seriously (7:20)What's the difference between a CPA and an accountant (9:20)Let's talk about inventory (11:30)Is spending extra money on December 31st a good idea? (15:50)Where most auto repair shop owners "miss the boat" (24:30)Connect with Eric:LinkedInKaizen CPAs + Advisors' websiteMention this episode and receive 50% off the onboarding fee!Let's connect:WebsiteLinkedInFacebookEmail: email@example.com
85. Using Culture And Reputation To Build A Bench For Your Auto Shop with Roy Keiser24:03It is known that "the tool guys" talk to each other about their jobs and the auto shops they work for. Word-of-mouth recommendations work not only for getting new customers; it also works for attracting top-tier internal customers. Attracting top talent and retaining them depends on your auto shop's culture, reputation, how clearly you set expectations, and focusing more on personality traits than technical skills when hiring. In today's episode, I'm joined by Roy Keiser to talk about culture, reputation, top talent retention, and how to build a bench in the automotive industry. Roy is a Partner at Honest Accurate Auto Service in East Colorado Springs. Part of Roy's auto shop success is due to their unique family-friendly customer experience, delivered by personnel who combine integrity with superior technical knowledge and hold each other accountable. Throughout our conversation, Roy talks about his journey into the automotive industry and how he built the reputation and culture that allowed him to form a highly competitive bench. We also talk about the importance of setting clear expectations, how to hire the right technician, and much more.In This Episode, You Will Learn:About how Roy got into the automotive industry (2:30)How to build a dream team of techs (5:00)Use your reputation to create a highly competitive bench (7:30)The importance of setting clear expectations (10:40)What should you look for in a technician (16:40)Connect with Roy:LinkedInHonest Accurate Auto Service websiteLet's connect:WebsiteLinkedInFacebookEmail: firstname.lastname@example.org