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3 Ways to Make the Most of Slow Times

In early September, Tom Dorsey, host of The Digital Shop® Talk Radio, posted a question on his Facebook page. “How does your shop handle down time? Do you have a process in place? What do you focus on?” 

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It was an easy question for Dave DeRosier, General Manager at Freddie Kish’s Complete Car Care Center in Waco, Texas, to answer. 

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1. Auto repair shop improvements

Dave has been running a digital shop since January 2019, but when things are slow they go back to the basics – a spiral notebook. 

Each staff member is given a spiral notebook and is encouraged to walk around the shop and make notes about things that don’t look like they should, need attention, or need repairs. 

“I do a walk-around inspection of the entire shop and make a task list,” Dave shared with Tom. “I then ask all the techs to do the same. We compare lists and write those tasks on our dry erase board in the shop.”

Dave's Whiteboard

This was the photo Dave posted on Tom's Facebook with the following explanation: "We compare lists and write those tasks on our dry erase board in the shop. Everyone "self-dispatches" themselves a task and gets it done. Team work makes the dream work. Picture of current board. It was full this morning."

Once the tasks are up on the board, any shop staff member can take a job and get it done. 

Dave says this often turns into an internal competition to see who can get the most things done. Then, he gives a $50 gift card to whoever excels. 


“We write [tasks] down as we see them and then accomplish them when we have down time,” Dave told Tom and Uwe Kleinschmidt in a recent episode of The Digital Shop® Talk Radio. 

Besides keeping the shop running on all cylinders and clean, this whiteboard also allows Dave and his staff to walk motorists through the shop with confidence. 

“I think that’s a good visual indicator about our shop,” Dave said.

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2. Training and crew improvement

Freddie Kish is set up in teams, with a team leader, an A tech, a B tech, and a C tech. Each unit also has its own service advisor. When things are slow, Dave says his team leaders use the extra time for training. 

“Every workstation has a PC with internet capability, and they can jump on there and train,” Dave said. 

As for the skills his techs are training on, he leaves it up to the team leader. 

“They’re responsible for scheduling their work, and their team,” Dave said about his three team leaders. 


They also use down time for on the job training when there are new automotive techs. Typically, new techs are assigned to a buddy system for at least 30 days, so they learn the shop culture and expectations. 


3. Marketing and customer retention

The final thing Dave focuses on during slow times is reaching out to motorists to fill the gaps. He tries to be proactive in getting people in the door. 

In addition to sending out digital marketing campaigns through AutoVitals, Dave’s crew also does follow-up calls to motorists who haven’t been in recently to prevent those gaps in the schedule.

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“I get here in the morning, and I’m looking at the schedule. If I see that we’re light on the schedule that day, I am printing those reports, and it’s on the service writers desk when they get here at 7:30,” Dave said.

While Dave helps to facilitate getting motorists in the doors, he doesn’t micromanage. 

“They [the service writers] know what the expectation is,” he told Tom and Uwe. “We know what we should be doing every day. I let these men and women do their job. As long as you set expectations, give them the tools and the toolbox to get it done, go out there and do it.”

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Want to hear more from Dave? 

  • Listen to his full Digital Shop Talk Radio episode here


How to contact Dave and Freddie Kish’s Complete Car Care Center:

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