Let's Clean Up - Engine Builder Magazine

Let’s Clean Up

Let’s talk about cleanliness. I mean really clean, not just on the surface.

Ever walk into a business that looked clean initially, but really wasn’t? You could just tell. The next thing you know you’re looking closer at the places under tables and chairs, and then it’s pretty obvious it’s not very clean at all.

109153cleanings_00000059623

I have very fond memories of my paternal grandfather. I called him Papa. He and my father were both barbers. I remember one time a customer asking my grandfather if he could use the men’s room. It was only a two chair shop with one small restroom. My grandfather responded with humor, as he always did, that there was no men’s room, but feel free to use the ladies room.

 

After the customer emerged, he looked my grandfather in the eye and said that was the dirtiest ladies room he ever saw, and proceeded to leave. I stood in shock and watched Papa walk into the restroom and come out and announce, “He’s right, it’s filthy.” He was actually embarrassed.

 

That day I saw this man do something I never saw before. He got cleaning supplies and cleaned the restroom. This lesson was repeated when I got my first real job, at age 14 or 15, at the Exxon gas station across the street from that barber shop. My duties were clean up, and that included the ladies room. I remember old Pat Beatty telling me how important it was for the ladies to have a clean restroom to use.

 

Fast forward a few years and I’m at the Sunoco gas station that had two restrooms, one for the owner’s wife and one for customers. Richard Brady never let his wife used a dirty restroom, do you? I cleaned that one, too.

 

I remember my mom visiting me at work one day and using that restroom, and then making the comment that it was the cleanest gas station restroom she had ever been in. She asked who cleaned it (I don’t think she believed me when I told her I did, after all she still remembers my bedroom growing up).

 

Why did I bore you with my history lesson in a clean restroom? Because it matters today even more than it did 35 years ago. Only now I don’t stop at the restroom. The entire building inside and out needs to set the tone for our customers.

 

We don’t call the landlord to paint the fire lane curbs red, we get the paint and do it. Whatever we can control, we do. We clean the exterior windows on a regular basis, not when you can’t see out of them. The counters, the customer chairs, the coffee bar, everything should be spotless. For us, we’re in a building with multiple tenants and it helps us stand out, you can too.

 

Think about how easy it would be to hire someone part time to help with the cleaning, or hire a professional company to come in after hours, one or two times a week. Get the floors polished at least once a year, or more depending on traffic. There should not be any finger prints anywhere.

 

Is your shop as nice or nicer than your dentist or doctor’s office? It should be.

 

I challenge you to take a close hard look at your entire shop. Pay special attention to the areas the customers have access to. I always tell shop owners to take pictures of every bench, wall, chair, door, nook and cranny. Get them printed so you can hold them in your hands. Look at the pictures away from the daily grind and pick a couple of pictures at a time to work on, that way you’re not spending an entire day on housekeeping. Walk around and imagine what your customer is paying attention to when they’re walking through your shop.
When you bring a customer to the shop, your focus is on the walk, but the customer will be focused on everything else: the shop floor, the equipment, parts shelves, and my favorite – technician work benches.  Ever notice how some parts get saved for months, except the ones you want to show a customer? Are new parts on nice shelves and well organized or just thrown in there?  The oil drains and oil tanks should look perfect; we’re about to repaint ours, they’re getting a little worse for wear now. Paint the shop every few years. I prefer white walls because they reflect light better and it just look cleaner. If you must have some color, add an accent stripe, design or get some colorful metal signs from your venders. Oil companies and battery suppliers love when we advertise for them. Make sure they’re metal and that they’ll last a long time.
Believe it or not, the employees like a clean work environment. They may not admit it, but they like it. When equipment is clean and in proper working order, they will be more productive. Let’s all do a better job showing our customers we are professional and we care enough about them and our employees to provide a clean, safe and inviting area for them.

This article was contributed by Frank Scandura, the owner of two of the most successful, state-of-the art, green shops in North America, and one of the coaches who offers shop owners 1-on-1 guidance through the Elite Coaching Program.

 

You May Also Like

Higher Revving Education

We’ve all seen the ads in magazines and online for schools, classes and seminars on tuning an ever-increasing number of engines and even transmissions in today’s cars and trucks. The better ones will include the use of a chassis dyno to show real-time results of the step-by-step methods they teach.

What You Learn In Tuning School

It’s a giant leap between torqueing down rod caps of an engine built with today’s latest high-performance parts and rooting around inside an engine’s computer. The big picture of computer tuning is getting inside those computers, learning what can be tuned, what results are obtainable and the performance expected. But how does one go from putting that torque wrench down and firing up the shop computer? Learning firsthand is good, but taking classes specifically designed for tuning is even better.

Chassis vs Engine Dyno

We spoke with a couple shops that utilize both dyno types to get their take on the advantages, disadvantages and reasons to have one over the other or both.

Tradeshow Season

While the rest of the world tends to slow down in the fourth quarter, our industry is starting to rev up. That’s because it’s tradeshow season, and the excitement for next year is always palpable!

OE Parts vs. the Aftermarket

Many of your customers believe that OEM parts are better than aftermarket parts. We wanted to dispel some of the myths once and for all. Without getting into the mud about which brands are better. It is important to note that not all parts are created equal, and this includes both aftermarket and OE replacement parts.

Setting Up an Instagram Account

The old saying goes, “A picture is worth 1,000 words.” Well, in the world of social media, that same picture is not just worth 1,000 words, but could also be worth thousands of dollars in new business for your engine shop. By now you’ve likely seen our features on setting up and utilizing Facebook for your business. Next on our ‘to-do list’ is an introduction to Instagram for those of you who haven’t started utilizing this social media platform.

Other Posts

The Potential in Differential

Is growth part of your business strategy? It comes in a lot of different forms, but when it’s adding a new service offering or product for your customers, it can be nerve-racking at the very least. The additional investment in tools, equipment, training or people weighed against the unknown outcome leaves you holding all the risk, unless there is something that’s a perfect fit.

How To Put Your Facebook Page To Work

A couple months ago, we walked you through the setup of a Facebook business page. Hopefully you’ve gone ahead and created that page and took some time over the last couple months to play around with ways to engage with an audience. If not, go back and check out the February issue. It’s worth your while to do so!

Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement

Once you’ve obtained your IPR, then what? What can you do when you find another person or business violating your patent, trademark, or trade dress? Below, we take a closer look at the steps you can take to enforce your IPR against unauthorized use.

Selling Internationally

The internet has changed the way we do everything. Cultures are blending and business has transformed into a global market. Make no mistake, taking the step into international sales will require some preparation, but the tools are at your fingertips like they never have been before.