The Story of Links Automotive
In 2014, Rick and Duncan were working at a local Audi garage. After some discussion, they decided to take the plunge and turn independent. This was when Links Automotive was born.
Links Automotive set out to specialise in Audi and VW but in the early days they found themselves taking on any work they could to pay the bills. Their garage was constantly full, with work booked in every hour of the day.
Now, this doesn’t sound like a bad place for your business, but it couldn’t be further from the truth.
Rick quickly learnt this wasn’t the best way to run the business, as some jobs “tripped them up” as they took on work they didn’t “fully understand nor have the equipment for”. It frustrated the staff and customers as jobs took longer and lost profitability.
But how else were they supposed to win other than by taking on as much work as possible, right?
The Challenges Links Automotive faced before Auto IQ Accelerator
Like any garage, Links had its share of challenges. One of the biggest was making sense of their business’s numbers, such as gross profit, sales etc.
Rick stated, “We lacked the experience and knowledge needed to look at the figures and decide what needs to be changed to improve”.
The day to day business was “full-on with an aspect of ignorance is bliss”.
He knew they could provide a far better experience for their customers, but it was a case of getting in as many cars as they could fit into the day.
Even though the garage had a significant turnaround of vehicles, the average invoice was lower than it should have been.
To make matters worse, every hour was booked up. If a car needed additional work, the customer would have to return another day.
“It was far from ideal; we were completely blind to it, we had way more cars coming through than we needed to”.
Thankfully, Rick joined the Auto IQ Accelerator and took the steps he needed to bring more stability and increase the garage’s profits.
Why Auto IQ Accelerator?
Rick and his team needed a plan to overcome the issues.
After seeing recommendations online for Auto IQ’s Head Coach John and attending several of his technical training courses, the Accelerator programme piqued Rick’s interest.
He loved the idea of having someone holding him accountable so his business could develop the consistency it needed, allowing him to focus on the right thing at the right time.
Rick said, “The Auto IQ Accelerator is a programme, not just a course; you get the knowledge, implement it, analyse it, and review it. It’s a constant analysis of the efforts you put in and what the next step is”.
Having a high level of direction was an essential factor for Rick, giving his garage a clear cut path to follow so the business could grow.
Links Automotive used the Auto IQ Accelerator programme to develop a clear and stable strategy to lower stress levels while improving profitability.
Here’s how Rick used the Auto IQ Accelerator:
Strategy development – Rick no longer worries about where his efforts are aimed; he has a daily, weekly, and monthly plan to ensure the long term growth of his business.
Lowered staff stress levels – Because there are fewer cars coming in each day, the team isn’t rushing each job to move on to the next. They even get lunch breaks now.
Help with marketing – The garage’s marketing is now consistent with a clear goal in mind, targeting high-profit customers. The Auto IQ marketing team also helps nurture existing customers, making them more likely to return to Links Automotive.
Accountability – Regularly checking in with Auto IQ ensures Rick is kept accountable and on target, bringing more consistency to his business.
More time – With Auto IQ’s help, the garage now has more time on their hands to focus on improving their customer relationships, something they couldn’t do previously.
Steady growth – Links Automotive’s profit margins are growing at a steady and sustainable rate. No more worrying about paying the bills.
Over the last two years, Rick, Duncan, and the Links Automotive team have watched their business develop one step at a time, in the direction they’ve always wanted it to.
“Daily life before could be frustrating, constantly fire-fighting and customers didn’t seem as happy as they could be, but now the frustrations haven’t completely gone, but it’s different now. Everything is in our control”.
Before Rick joined the Auto IQ programme, his garage didn’t have a clear direction.
The garage was busy, but he felt some of the jobs weren’t worth the levels of stress they caused.
“Before Accelerator, we didn’t have a clear plan A at all, or a plan of how things would work through the day; other than, fill the diary and get the work done”.
But, since starting the Accelerator programme, Links Automotive’s day-to-day running has been different. It’s more structured, and he knows what to do next and when to do it.
Auto IQ has even helped them to complete the transition to specialising in Volkswagen and Audi Group vehicles. This has improved the business’s bottom-line, and the average invoice value is up, “everything is making incremental increases; it’s a slow and steady rise that’s sustainable”.
That being said, the increase in profit as a result of these ‘slow and steady’ changes has been nothing short of remarkable. Gross profit, in just one year, is up over £100k!
As for the future of the business, Rick and Duncan have a short term plan of “Bringing the business to the best place it can be” at its current size and have a longer-term goal of moving to larger premises.
Planning this far ahead is a far cry from where they were two years ago, and it’s paying off.
If you’re reading this and feel your garage needs a nudge in the right direction, Auto IQ is only a call away.
But don’t take my word for it; here’s what Rick had to say, “Most garage owners like to take action and put the effort in, but it’s not always in the right direction. That’s where Auto IQ comes in. It keeps you focused on the right things at the right time, keeping you consistent, and it lets you put your energy in the right place rather than running around in circles… forever”.
Hit the red button now or give us a call on 01604 328500