Can Your Diesel Repair Shop Run Without You?
You've spent years building your business. You know all the ins and outs of your shop and you have the answer to everyone's question. But, what happens if you were to take a vacation or leave of absence? Would your diesel repair shop still continue to operate without you guiding the day-to-day operations?
Believe it or not, this is something that someone interested in buying your business will consider. If a buyer is able to take over the shop with minimal growing pains, that business will be worth more to them than one where they have to retrain employees and implement a lot of new systems.
So, if you're looking to sell your business in the coming years, or if you just want to be able to take some time off without your phone ringing constantly, then you need to know how to get your repair shop running smoothly without you. In this article, we're taking you through the ways you can build value by removing yourself from the daily operations of the shop.
If you need diesel engine replacement parts, our on-staff ASE Certified Technicians can help you get the right parts for the job!
Why is a Self-Sustaining Business Valuable to Buyers?
First, by purchasing a repair shop that they can just step into, it saves the buyer a lot of time. They don't have to spend months or years learning how the shop operates, building new systems, and training employees to use those systems.
Turnover of the business from you to the new owner could also be tricky if you're still very actively involved in daily operations. Customers could be used to working with you directly and trust your answers to their questions. It could be difficult for the new owner to win the trust of those customers. Instead, if your customers are used to working with and trust your employees, then the new ownership will hardly affect them at all. They'll still be getting the same service they've come to trust. This means that the new owner won't have to work as hard to keep loyal customers during the transition, and they can focus their efforts on new business.
By having a business that can run without the owner or CEO, you're also saving the new buyer money in the short-term. so they'll be willing to pay more upfront. They won't have to go through the typical 3-5 year earnout after the sale of the business.
How to Effectively Remove Yourself From Your Repair Shop's Daily Operations
So, you've decided to take the step and work on letting your shop run without you. But just how do you go about doing that?
In the end, what it really comes down to is systemizing your business. You need to create systems or processes for everything that goes on in your shop and make sure that your employees follow those systems.
This might sound like a daunting task, especially if you don't have anything documented yet. But, odds are, you probably do have systems, they just need to be written down and all employees need to follow them. This is a good chance to get your employees working toward the same company goal. You can have them help write the drafts of the systems, both to make them more involved in the process and to take work off your plate. You could also hire an outside consultant to come in and help you document your systems.
In the end, though, you should have a set of processes that detail the way everything is done in your diesel repair shop, and all your employees should be trained to use those systems.
Want to know more about setting up systems? Read our series on setting up systems that work.
Along with those systems, you'll want to make sure you're tracking important KPIs to ensure you're meeting your business goal. Not sure what KPIs to track? Check out our article on which KPIs can help you boost profit.
To help keep your employees motivated and working toward a common goal, you'll want to make sure that they have performance goals and are able to utilize the processes you've put in place to meet those goals. They should see the systems as a tool to do their job better, rather than a hindrance. Set up a reporting or tracking system so that your employees know whether or not they are on track to meet their goals.
Sometimes there will be variances to those goals, and that's why it's important to set up a way to report and resolve problems. Why couldn't the employee meet their goal? Was their a problem with an existing system? Does a new system need to be created? It's important to understand where problems are arising so that they can be easily addressed and the daily operations of your repair shop can continue to run smoothly. Again, this should be a tool for your employees to empower them in the business, not just something they see as a bureaucratic necessity.
Once all this is set up, you might want to try conducting some of the business offsite, if possible. Perhaps you teleconference in for the staff meeting and have reception patch important calls to your cell, rather than being in the shop. This lets employees know that you're still reachable and involved, but it also helps give them the power to make decisions on their own, based on the systems you've set up.
If that's all running smoothly, it's time to take a step back entirely. Start gradually decreasing the time you work at your business and see if everything continues to run smoothly. If not, address the problem areas and try again. If it does, then congratulations, you've successfully added value to your diesel repair shop!
Looking for more ways to increase the value of your diesel repair shop? Check out our Repair Shop Value Program!