Terre Haute shop stays ahead of competition by not falling behind in training
Terre Haute, Ind.—In a smaller market area, Steve Finzel, owner of Finzel’s Mastertech, has been able to maintain a prosperous shop by doing just a few simple things.
“I think what has made the shop successful is being able to stay one step ahead of the competition, which includes dealerships, keeping the technicians and staff educated, and putting the best tools and equipment in the hands of my entire staff,” he said.
What sets Finzel’s apart from other area shops is the ability to adapt to industry changes.
“We were the first in our area to implement digital inspections. Having a customer see exactly what is failing on their vehicle allows us to clearly explain the importance of getting it repaired. They no longer feel obligated to have repairs done just because we say so. They can see the actual failures,” said Finzel, adding that they use AutoVitals as their digital inspection platform.
“Our service advisor is better able to provide real time updates and have better communication with the customer, which, ultimately, results in increased shop flow.
“The only real draw back is getting the older techs on board with using the newer technology, but after they get the hang of it, the push back settles and it all works out.”
Many opportunities are taken to keep the staff up to date regarding training and continuing education.
Finzel said his technicians and staff attend training provided by NAPA and have attended several training sessions at Vision in Kansas City as well as last year’s Automechanika in Chicago. They also complete several online training courses throughout the year.
“The Automechanika training sessions are some of the best we have ever attended, and I would recommend them to anyone looking to become better at what they do,” Finzel added.
He said he invests in top-notch tools and equipment to give his staff the best opportunity to succeed and be efficient.
“We have the capabilities to do just about anything with the diagnostic tools and programming tools, along with our state of the art shop equipment.”
The shop uses Mitchell SE shop software when it comes to writing ROs and keeping customer records. “Our average RO is between $280 and $380 depending on the time of the year, with an average car count between 380 and 480 per month. We rely on that software to keep everything straight,” Finzel said.
The shop uses diagnostic tools from Snap-on, OTC and Autel, as well as the Ford VCM 2 and GM Tech II. He also purchased a CarDaq-Plus 2 from Drew Technologies.
The CarDaq-Plus 2 provides the SAE J2534-1 and -2 capabilities needed to work with all OEM functions available today, Finzel said. “It also does OEM-level engine, transmission and body control module reprogramming, security/immobilizer adaptation, dealer-level diagnostics, and more.”
The shop is also equipped with a Hunter Hawkeye Elite Alignment system to keep alignments in-house.
Industry partnerships and affiliations
Finzel also attributes success to being a NAPA AutoCare Center. The shop, which opened in 1989 as a two-bay Sunoco station, became a NAPA Auto Care Center in 2006 when Finzel’s go-to parts supplier came to him for some advice.
“David Cosby at Quadco Parts in Evansville came to me and said that NAPA had approached him about becoming affiliated and wanted to know what I thought. He ultimately decided it was a good fit and the rest is history,” said Finzel, adding that the NAPA affiliation offers many programs that are beneficial to shop owners and consumers.
“If NAPA offers it, we offer it. From financing options, to the extended nationwide warranties, we have the options and the capabilities to support them all. It’s the best shop affiliation program in the business by far.”
Finzel also sits on the business development board with NAPA to come up with the next round of programs that NAPA may offer.
Finzel is active in the community as well. He has sponsored local sports teams, sits on the board for CODA (Council on Domestic Abuse), and is a member of the 100 Men that Cook, which helps raise money for the local children’s museum, and the 100 Men that Give which donates to the community on a quarterly basis.