Shop training is an investment in your business, staff and the future

After a whirlwind of presenting at three different training events recently, I’m sitting at my desk gathering my thoughts and observations about these amazing events and I keep coming back to one question that is both frustrating and overwhelming — “Why aren’t there more shops attending these opportunities?”

I started asking a variety of shop owners why they didn’t attend training conferences and I heard the same four excuses. Here they are in order:

• I don’t need any training

• I don’t have the time (or I have other plans)

• I’m afraid my staff will leave if I train them

• I can’t afford it

The average vehicle has about 30 electronic control units. If that doesn’t keep you awake at night, there are some luxury models that have as many as 100 units, which can have up to 100 million lines of code. Today’s vehicle is less car and more computer than ever. And that’s just the car. What about your business? If you’re struggling with your bank balance, customers, car counts, or staffing, you need to be sitting in some of the quality technical and management training event directors put together.

Here are four reasons to attend training:

• Grow your business. Businesses don’t just get better because you want them to. The people in the business need to improve their abilities and skills. When the people that make up the business get better, the business gets better.

You may not be able to afford it all at once, but put a couple hundred dollars away every week into a separate account and by year’s end, you’d have more than $10,000 set aside for training.

You may be thinking they’ll leave once you’ve invested in them and their growth, but if you’re paying them competitively and you demonstrate real caring about them and their success, they’ll never leave. I can also think of one scenario worse than them getting trained and then leaving. What if they don’t get trained and they stay?


• You’ll meet some of the best people at these conferences. They’re successful. They’re open. And they’ll help you. They know what it’s like to be struggling to make ends meet — they’ve been there. Remember that opportunity only comes from other people. If you want more opportunity, you need to meet more people.

• You’re part of something much bigger. Repeatedly, the most common feedback I get from a first-time attendee is how they see themselves as part of something so much bigger than they thought. Before, they thought they were just some guy that owned a shop. After a conference, they realize they are part of a living, breathing, dynamic industry.

• The morale in your shop goes way up. Nothing says you care to your staff more than when you invest time and effort into their growth. They also get to see themselves in a much different light — as part of an industry they can be proud of.

I’m often asked who should go to training and my answer is, simply, everyone in the shop. There’s training available that can help each do a better job. Where can you access the training? There’s training available nationally like AAPEX/SEMA in Las Vegas at the end of October each year. There’s training regionally available such as Hi-Tech Vision in Kansas City during the first weekend of March. You can also access training from your vendors and training companies all over the country such as Garage Gurus on the Go by Tenneco & Federal Mogul.

Start training. You’ll be glad you did and so will your staff, your customers, and your bank account.

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Rick White is President and Lead Coach for 180BIZ, a training and business coaching company proudly serving the independent auto and truck repair owner since 2006. Rick’s clients consider him to be a trusted advisor. Rick can be reached at 540-833-2014 ext. 11 and His website is


Parts & People

Parts & People is published monthly by Automotive Counseling and Publishing Company, Inc., a Colorado corporation, P.O. Box 18731 Denver, CO 80203, 303-765-4664. President-Lance Buchner. Founded by Lance Buchner and Dave Lucia.