Share

cover art for Give 'Em the Pickle! Building an Outstanding Auto Repair Shop from Scratch with Kori and Troy Vaninetti

Maximum Octane

Give 'Em the Pickle! Building an Outstanding Auto Repair Shop from Scratch with Kori and Troy Vaninetti

Ep. 103
  • What kind of auto repair shop do you wish to build? One with excellent customer service, one that is comfortable and visually pleasing, or one with incredible installations for your internal customers? 
  • Kori and Troy: Yes.


In today's episode, a power couple joins Kim, Jason Patel, and Geoff Berman at ATI's Annual Super Conference, the owners of Graham Auto Repair, Kori and Troy Vaninetti. They started at Kori's stepdad's auto shop when they were teenagers, and after cleaning toilets, picking up millions of cigarette butts, and sweeping the floor thousands of times, they worked their way up and bought the place. From day one, they treated the place as if it was theirs, which eventually happened. 


We had a fantastic conversation about Kori and Troy's extraordinary transition from internal customers to owners, the advantages their experience as auto shop employees gave them at the moment of leading technicians, and their unnegotiable convictions on building a culture they feel comfortable with. Kori and Troy also share their thoughts on the importance of creating a cozy space for internal customers and how to keep bench warmers happy and active. 


Additionally, you'll hear Kori and Troy's experiences opening a second location, how they found out the things they didn't know they didn't know, their "give 'em the pickle! approach" to customer service, and more.


In This Episode, You Will Learn:

  • How it all started for Kori and Troy (2:30)
  • Troy talks about the challenges of building the auto shop of your dreams (7:20)
  • The importance of taking care of your internal customers (12:00)
  • How to turn your auto shop into the "Garage Mahal" (18:00)
  • Kori and Troy talk about the challenges of opening a second location (22:20)
  • How to keep your bench warmers engaged (27:30)
  • Kori and Troy find out the things they didn't know they didn't know (32:50)


Connect with Kori and Troy Vaninetti:


Let's connect:

More episodes

View all episodes

  • 105. Is AI Here To Fix the Automotive Industry? An Insightful Conversation with Dan Garlock, Mike Bennett, and Ricky Jordan Jr.

    39:30
    Do you feel your auto repair shop is ready to embrace AI?In this episode, we are joined by industry experts Dan Garlock, Mike Bennett, and Ricky Jordan Jr., who provide a glimpse into the automotive industry's future after the disruptive arrival of AI. Whether we see this "Google on steroids" as a powerful tool, an efficient assistant, or the little push humanity needed to lose its soul, AI is here to stay, and it seems the best way to deal with it is by learning how to do it.Throughout this episode, you'll hear our guests' thoughts on using AI to improve customer service, streamline processes, and enhance marketing efforts. We also discuss whether AI is an industry savior or a tool to fix broken processes, how we can use it to improve business operations, how it can help us produce exceptional customer experiences and much more.In This Episode, You Will Learn:Is AI here to fix auto repair shops? (4:00)About AI's potential to assist us in creating customer service of quality (8:10)Why seeing AI as a definitive solution is a problem (16:30)What's the balance between automated and human customer service (23:30)If you have a process, AI can help you with it (27:50)Connect with Mike Bennett:LinkedInConnect with Dan Garlock: Silverlake Auto & Tire Centers' websiteConnect with Ricky Jordan Jr: Fifth Gear Automotive's websiteLet's connect:WebsiteLinkedInFacebookEmail: info@maximumoctane.com
  • 104. Cracking the Recruitment Code: A Deep Dive into Internal Customers' Growth with Dan Garlock and Ricky Jordan Jr

    41:57
    How effective are your strategies to attract and retain A-Techs and higher-end sales professionals?In this episode, Dan Garlock, President of Silverlake Auto & Tire Centers, and Ricky Jordan Jr., President of Fifth Gear Automotive, join us to share their approaches to attracting and retaining talent in the ever-evolving automotive industry market. Throughout this episode, Dan and Ricky share their experiences shifting from passive to active hiring approaches, fostering a culture of intentionality, and providing their internal customers with the space and opportunities to grow. They also explain the importance of aligning recruitment strategies with the company's values and goals, implementing effective hiring practices, and more. Additionally, they talk about the dos and don'ts of interviewing technicians, the advantages of exposing internal customers to the decision-making process, the tools they use to aid their hiring processes, and more.In This Episode, You Will Learn:The differences between active and passive hiring (2:30)A different approach to quarterly meetings (8:30)How to get mission, vision, and values involved in the hiring process (10:40)How to promote internal customers' growth and opportunities for development (16:00)Using formal training for fostering continuous learning and development (19:20)The importance of mixing up hiring channels to attract diverse talent (20:40)Resources Mentioned:TeamtailorConnect with Dan Garlock: Silverlake Auto & Tire Centers' websiteConnect with Ricky Jordan Jr: Fifth Gear Automotive's websiteLet's connect:WebsiteLinkedInFacebookEmail: info@maximumoctane.com
  • 102. Turning A Passion for Cars into A Profitable Auto Repair Shop with Terry and Travis Griffith

    36:22
    If you were parachuted into the middle of the automotive industry, would you know where to start to build a profitable auto repair shop? Today's guests, Terry and Travis Griffith, weren't precisely parachuted into the automotive industry since their love for cars runs in their family. Yet they were "merely" car enthusiasts when they bought Ocala Auto Repair and turned it into one of Florida's most successful family-owned and operated auto repair shops.In today's episode, they share their experiences getting into the automotive industry with a hobbyist mindset, the lessons learned, the adjustments they made to adapt to the space, and how their diverse background helped them turn their new adventure into a raging success. Terry and Travis also talk about how they shaped Ocala Auto Repair's culture and how they keep things fun while respecting boundaries.Additionally, you'll hear about how they masterfully divide their tasks and responsibilities, how they settle the differences their generational gap and the father/son relationship keeps bringing up, their marketing approach, and more.In This Episode, You Will Learn:What led Terry and Travis to buy Ocala Auto Repair (2:30)From car enthusiast to auto repair shop owner (5:20)The importance of having clear duties and job descriptions (8:00)Marketing and generational differences (13:20)How to create a fun environment while keeping clear boundaries (18:30)Smiling faces get a lot of responses (26:10)Connect with Terry and Travis Griffith:WebsiteInstagramFacebookPinterestLet's connect:WebsiteLinkedInFacebookEmail: info@maximumoctane.com
  • 101. How To Make Your Auto Shop Start Like the Lions and End Like the 49ers with Jason Patel and Geoff Berman

    39:43
    Marshall Goldsmith said it first and best, "what got you here won't get you there." This premise works virtually in every aspect of life, yet in business and sports, it is remarkably accurate. Competitors (and rivals) constantly look for weaknesses in our game to exploit, take advantage of, and outperform us. Even when we are winning, we must take a moment to reflect on what can be improved. So, what can we learn from the 49ers' comeback against the Lions last week? Today, on another NFL-related episode, I'm joined by Jason Patel and Geoff Berman to analyze the Lions' meltdown at the NFC Championship against the 49ers and what we can learn from it and incorporate it into our auto repair shop's strategy. Geoff and Jason are Performance Coaches at ATI, proud owners of innovative thinking, and two of the most inspiring and compelling thought leaders in the automotive industry. Throughout this episode, you'll hear about the importance of being adaptable and innovative as a leader, understanding the consequences of your actions, and working constantly to strengthen your auto shop's weaknesses just as much as you know your competitors' weaknesses. You'll also hear Jason and Geoff's thoughts on how to build positive leadership in rough times, why you must take a step forward and recognize your failures, how to motivate your technicians, and more.In This Episode, You Will Learn: What did the Lions' meltdown teach us about growth strategies (4:20)Why adaptability is essential (9:00)The importance of being aware of our auto shop's weaknesses (13:20)What can you do to fail less next time? (16:50)Why do so many auto shops start strong and then decay? (24:30)What kind of half-time pep talk is the one you should be working on (30:00)Resources Mentioned:Book: Marshall Goldsmith - What Got You Here Won't Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More SuccessfulAndy Griffith - What It Was Was FootballAbbott and Costello - Who’s On First?Connect with Geoff:LinkedInEmail: gberman@autotraining.netLet's connect:WebsiteLinkedInFacebookEmail: info@maximumoctane.com
  • 100. How To Recruit A Swifities' Army for Your Auto Repair Shop with Jason Patel

    32:16
    Regardless of how often you watch football or how much of a Taylor Swift fan you are, as a business owner, you should (or at least we recommend) look closely at the power a faithful following is capable of. It took only rumors of her participating in the Super Bowl's halftime show to break the internet and transform virtually everything touched by that expansive wave into gold. How likely is it we create an army of followers as loyal as the swifties for our auto shop? Let's find out. In today's episode, I'm joined by Jason Patel to discuss how likely we are to create a massive, loyal following for our auto repair shops. Jason is a Performance Coach at ATI, passionate about creating compelling digital narratives to inspire and influence younger generations to embrace the Automotive Industry. Throughout this episode, you'll hear our take on the Super Bowl/Taylor Swift affair, the genius marketing she has behind her, and what we, auto repair shop owners, can learn from it. You'll also hear Jason's thoughts on the power of social media to promote our businesses, what social media every auto shop owner should concentrate their efforts on, the most effective ways of creating content, and much more.In This Episode, You Will Learn:About the Taylor Swift effect on the Super Bowl (2:40)What can auto shop owners do to boost their presence on social media (8:20)What is social media all about these days (14:20)How to get the reach in social media you want and need for your business (17:00)What the automotive industry can learn from the entertainment industry (21:00)What social media platforms every auto repair shop should build a presence on (24:00)Let's connect:WebsiteLinkedInFacebookEmail: info@maximumoctane.com
  • 99. Throwback To Ep# 5 | Mixing Business and Family the Right Way with Kelli and Lee Weatherby

    44:10
    Is it possible to run a successful auto repair shop with your spouse, keep it stable and solid for three decades, work on your personal growth, and transition from business owner to CEO? The Weatherbys are living proof that it's possible and are here to tell you how they pulled that out. This week, we revisit my conversation with Kelli and Lee Weatherby, owners of Accurate Automotive. Together, they created a fantastic crew that became part of their family, have been serving the greater Phoenix and East Valley since the 1990s, and feel honored to work side by side with their team to ensure the vehicles of their community run safely.Throughout our conversation, you'll hear their thoughts on establishing boundaries, how and when to show gratitude, appreciation, and criticism, and dealing with the intersection of family and business affairs. You'll also hear about the tools that most helped them transition from auto repair shop owners to CEOs, why keeping communication clear and respectful is crucial, and much more.Tune in to episode 99 of Maximum Octane and learn from this family that put the best of their marriage into their business and vice versa. In This Episode, You Will Learn:Feeling comfortable being uncomfortable. The importance of setting boundaries (3:10)Recognizing each other's contribution to the family and the business (5:50)About the organizational chart that changed Kelli and Lee's lives (12:50)Family life bleeds into your business (22:50)Just as your kids, your team wants stability (25:00)Establishing anchors you can rely on when things get messy (37:50)Resources:Accurate Automotive websiteConnect with Kelli:LinkedInConnect with Lee:LinkedInLet's connect:WebsiteLinkedInFacebookEmail: info@maximumoctane.com
  • 98. Throwback To Ep# 72 | Is Your Auto Repair Shop Undercharging For Its Services? with Brian Hunnicutt

    31:24
    How much does your auto repair shop charge for an accurate diagnosis made by an A Tech in 15 minutes? How much for the same diagnosis, made in 4 hours by your best B Tech?This week, we revisit my conversation with Brian Hunnicutt about the doubt that shows up quite often in every auto repair shop owner's mind: how to set rates that make justice to the value they provide. Brian shares his perspective as an Executive Coach and Certified Profit First Professional on why most auto shop owners rarely charge diagnostics properly, why they have the weird feeling of ripping their clients off when charging what they should, and how the automotive industry as a whole should deal with this issue. Additionally, Brian explains how to tell apart clients who want their cars fixed from those who want to spend the minimum possible, shares three questions he came up with to keep the front counter and the technicians in alignment, and much more. In This Episode, You Will Learn:The A Tech, the prima donna of every auto repair shop (2:10)Why do some clients get the wrong idea of how much auto repair professionals' time is worth? (8:40)It's 2023, and the automotive industry still struggles to charge diagnostic time properly (12:40)Three questions to align the front counter and technicians in your auto repair shop (18:00)Connect with Brian:LinkedInLet's connect:WebsiteLinkedInFacebookEmail: info@maximumoctane.com
  • 97. Throwback To Ep# 60 | The B-side of Holidays with Mike Warren

    31:49
    Right after losing a loved one or while dealing with addiction, family reunions tend to be pretty hard. Especially Christmas and New Year's Eve, which are synonyms for peaceful times, filled with hope, good wishes, and quality family time.This week, we revisit my challenging yet necessary conversation with Mike Warren about the B-side of holidays, the challenges some people must go through, how being surrounded by nothing but smiles makes them feel, and what we, who aren't mourning or dealing with serious issues, can do to help them. Mike is an Executive Coach at ATI and an active member of the Christian recovery group Celebrate Recovery. He brings our attention to what Christmas and New Year's Eve represent to those dealing with addictions, the loss of a loved one, or even those just trying to avoid unhealthy foods.Additionally, he shares some tips for practicing acceptance, serving others, and much more.In This Episode, You Will Learn:Why holidays are tough for many people (5:00)How to deal with family members that trigger us (9:30)Participating in every discussion is optional. Be mindful of your mental health (13:30)Why practicing gratitude is life-changing (21:40)Why we should stop glamourizing alcohol (26:20)Resources:Celebrate Recovery websiteConnect with Mike:LinkedInLet's connect:WebsiteLinkedInFacebookEmail: info@maximumoctane.com