Article > Opinion

Where Do We Go From Here?



By Allen Markowitz and Allan Gerber

We received another call from a jobber in distress looking for some assistance and the vision of a clearer future. Most of the time, we feel that updated training will help most jobbers, mainly in areas such as outside salesman training (including the addition of new modern marketing programs), or counterman training, regarding the importance of the customers overall shopping experience. Reviews of financial training for owners and managers can only help reinforce the necessary steps to being profitable.

The main questions we receive are basically: How’s business? How is the independent jobber doing? And, what will we be selling in the future?

How’s business and how are we doing?

Needless to say, business has been inconsistent at best. Some areas of the country are doing better than others, but one thing we sense from most people is that there is a large amount of uncertainty about the future. While we certainly understand given the economy of the past few years, there have been many independent jobbers who have prospered and grown their businesses. As independent jobbers, we are a resilient group and are not prone to giving up easily.

Believe it or not, you, the counter professional play a large role in guiding your company’s destiny. No one knows better than you what items are selling and which are the most profitable. Let’s face it, profit is what it is all about; this is how we keep the business going and even get that occasional raise. Your responsibility is to satisfy every customer, because if you do not find the correct formula to provide this necessary customer satisfaction then both you and your company lose immediately.

Most counter professionals know in their gut what may be lacking in their company; the bigger question is whether or not to put an action plan together and present it to the powers that be. Sometimes you might be surprised that management will actually listen and implement all or part of it. Remember that they too are looking for the company to do better and increase sales.

As far as what will we be selling in the future, who knows… Technology is moving so fast that even the new high-end categories of today are being updated or replaced just as they first appear in the car. Remember, this is nothing new — cars have been evolving since the day that Henry Ford started mass producing them.
What will we be selling in the future? We recommend asking your customers. What new repairs or updated services do they see their customers (the ones who own the cars) coming in for? This is an incredibly accurate barometer of today’s repairs and where they may be headed in the future.

Read car dealer service advertisements to see what services they’re promoting. Look at new car ads to determine what new systems will be available on future production models. This is a good method that you can use to help anticipate future items that you will be selling.

As far as the rest, we will all find out together. One thing is for sure — there will be cars and they will need service and repairs.

Allen Markowitz and Allan Gerber operate Auto Biz Solutions, which provides training, marketing, management and business consulting services to both the automotive jobber and independent repair shop.

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