Time flies when you're having fun. Last April our shop reached a milestone.
We have been in business 25 years.As I wander down memory lane I think about what has changed.I soon realize what hasn’t changed is really the question to be asked.
I suppose the most obvious is the dramatic differences in the actual automobile. We started in 1984 and most vehicles we repaired were 2 years or older that puts our start at the tail-end of some of the worse vehicles ever built.Not to pick on any one brand (especially in today's turmoil) They were all bad. If they weren’t leaking they were rusting.
However a new era was about to start.Computers,modules,Air bags and abs brakes,Hybrids,Can networks,mode 6 diagnostics & hexadecimal codes!! This isn’t what I signed up for? Who Knew 🙂
We have gone from basic hand tools perhaps a test light, tach & dwell meter.Throw in a load tester and battery charger and by golly you were in business! Now the specialty tools are far to numerous to list but we have 8 scan tools and the guys toolboxes are larger than Smart Cars.
We had two types of oil thick & thicker an old Coates tire machine and a bubble balancer. Shelves loaded with manuals .The office had a desk and 2 chairs for customers. Now there are dozens of oil varieties & the Tire machines and balancers cost more than my first house.There is a computer at every techs work station!We have an entire room for equipment. The office has 3 comfy leather chairs WI-FI a TV.
Generally all the tasks to operate the shop were done by the guys fixing the cars which included me the owner. Efficient ?? No , but that was the way it was.Now we have office personal –service writers, bookkeepers, emissions inspectors & technicians who now wear gloves! The technicians go back for training 6-8 times a year and are proficient with their computer skills .When I started a hand-held calculator was a big deal.
The customer has also changed perhaps as much as the vehicles they are driving.
There was a time when the house needed a roof you would get up there and get it done.When the family got bigger you finished the basement and when the car was broke you attempted to fix it. In today's times most folks hire a roofer and their vehicle is like an appliance? They don’t check their oil or tire pressures let alone attempt to repair it.People are busy,busy,busy ! In fact they cannot do without their car! In spite of the fact we have courtesy cars, shuttle vans & even car rentals.How will we get through a day without our car? We help them plan their lives like councilors! Yes we hear odd things like “ I Googled my problem and it needs a new gas cap” Wow I wish I had of known that I wouldn’t have to own 9 scan tools and send my staff to school 6 times a year!
I can hardly wait to see what the next 25 years brings.
Bruce & Scott Eccles