Multiple certifications and knack for marketing sets pace for growth

Motor Worx geared for diverse vehicle mix, from servicing diesel engines and hybrids to a variety of imports and domestics

Eatonville, Wash.—With 23 years in business under his belt, John Anderson of Motor Worx said he has determined that word-of-mouth marketing and customer referrals are a key part of his continued growth in this Pierce County community of some 3,000 people. “We love the referral customer because they already have a level of trust with our services.”

Anderson said he founded Motor Worx in 1992 after a career as a master machinist. After years working at the local NAPA store as the automotive machinist in the full-service shop, he said he learned a valuable lesson from store Owner Pat Mueller about quality control. “Pat had a methodology that allowed for both quality and productivity and it was a great foundation for moving on to repairing vehicles.”

An ASE-certified Master Engine Machinist (no longer available from ASE), Anderson said he is also an ASE-certified Master Technician, holds a L-1 Advanced Engine Performance certification, and holds ASE certifications as a Parts Specialist and Automobile Service Consultant. “I must be good at tests, because while in college I met a marketing professor who asked me to take a marketing test he was creating and I passed it, even though I was not taking the course.”

With marketing in mind, Anderson said he works with residents in town on various projects, including an annual late June car show he helps facilitate and provides parking for in his lot that is located on the town’s busiest street. “We also have done coupon books and will be taking advantage of marketing programs available through the Federated Car Care Center program we joined just over a year ago through Seattle Automotive Distributing. We like the staff at SAD and value the parts delivery we get from them daily.”

An ACDelco Professional Service Center for more than 10 years, Anderson said joining the Federated program in conjunction with ACDelco made good sense, especially since both are through the same major supplier. “We really like the Federated national warranty program and sell that to our customers.”

Anderson said Eatonville has grown and his customer base has changed to some degree. “At one time it was basically just local people as customers, but now it’s more of a bedroom community so we have customers who work and live here and commute out of town, or work in town and live elsewhere, so we have to relate to their needs. We also get customers from towns like Elbe and Ashford nearer Mount Rainier that have no repair shops. And we even get a few customers from Tacoma and Puyallup where there are plentiful shops,” he said.

“In the end, people are busy and we need to cater to their schedules,” Anderson said, adding that the shop was booked out for a three-week period.

The shop has seven total employees, including three full-time and four part-time. There are two full-time techs in addition to Anderson, plus one part-time, he said, adding that Technician Justin McGee is married to the part-time bookkeeper Ashley McGee, who also helps with the front counter in the 1,150-square-foot building adjacent to the shop that houses the service counter, offices, and a comfortable waiting room with restored and reproduction gas pumps that Anderson sells.

Though the car count at Motor Worx averages just more than 100 vehicles per month, Anderson said his average RO is a larger dollar amount than the average shop, partially due to the number of trucks, including those up to one-ton, serviced at the shop. “We have six bays which represent two bays per tech. Because we are rural, the shop has to focus around parts delivery; suppliers are the lifeblood of our business, and SAD has been of value beyond belief in that area,” he said.

Because of relying on so heavily on available product delivery, Anderson said he has a large parts room with popular customer parts and an extensive variety of hardware parts, fluids, wires, springs, electrical terminals, bolts, fasteners, wire, and other items. “We even designed our own trays with all types of small parts that we may need to complete a job and not wait for delivery.”

With a diverse vehicle mix, from servicing diesel engines and hybrids to a variety of import and domestic cars and trucks, Anderson said technicians use Autel, Snap-on, and OTC scan tools in conjunction with Mitchell 1 and Identifix information systems.

While Anderson said the shop ran lean during the economic downturn, he is now preparing to add staff, including a full-time service writer and additional techs. “This year we are finishing several projects in the shop, updating our Mitchell management systems, website, and other systems so we can continue to grow and be efficient at the same time. Part of that update process will involve the available Federated programs.”

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.