A Dash of Curry Blog

We've all got some A.D.D. in us. Discover how to celebrate it!


My Dog Blog

I have a dog at home named Penny who is a rescue animal. She’s part australian cattle dog, part pit bull or maybe boxer, but in all a great dog. A couple months ago She started limping on her left hind leg really badly. When we took her to the vet, they warned me that they’d have to run x-rays and a handful of other tests, and I said go ahead – you have to diagnose the problem, right? In auto repair, we tell people that all the time. So we got a bill for $499 but they couldn’t tell for sure what was going on with her. They put her on medication and we kept her in bed and she was feeling better for a month or so, but then she started limping again. We took her back to the vet and this time they needed to do an MRI, more x-rays, and a handful of other tests, and this time the bill was $900. I’m $1,500 in on this almost, and they still can’t really tell me what’s wrong with Penny. They said they think it’s her ACL and she probably needs surgery. There were two different surge ... read more

Begin at the Beginning

What does a successful entrepreneur look like? I believe very much in beginning at the beginning. This means that you really need to know the business that you’re entering; you can’t operate in an industry you know nothing about. For instance, I began in the tire industry when I was 15 years old and by the time I was ready to open my business, I had learned pretty much everything about the automotive repair industry that I could learn.Another great example is a guy I met in Canada who runs a fantastic southern style barbeque restaurant. Well there’s not a whole lot of “southern barbeque” in Canada…so when he decided he wanted to open his restaurant, he first moved down to Alabama to work at 10 different barbeque restaurants for no wages for a year and a half. He did this so he could learn how to barbeque, the recipe to good sauce, and to discover what made the “Best Barbeque in the World” the best barbeque in the world! After dedicating himself to the ... read more

Effective CEO’ing

To be an effective CEO you don’t need to know everything about everything, but rather a little about everything. You need to know about accounting, finance, marketing, operations, and all the different types of systems or departments in your business. So you don’t necessarily need to know how to make a spreadsheet in excel, but you need to understand how to read them. You don’t need to know every detail about finance, but you need to know what it takes to go to the bank, what a balance sheet looks like, and to maybe get a loan. I enjoy operations, marketing, numbers, I love looking at spreadsheets, but you can be a really good marketer and not be a successful entrepreneur, or CEO at least, if you don’t know a little bit about everything, so you have to be well-versed in all the major functions in your company and you need to pay attention to every department. A CEO doesn’t need to be the top accountant in the country or the top finance guy around or the top marketer, but he ... read more

Creative Destruction

Today I want to talk about a process that’s been crucial in maintaining my competitive edge in the automotive repair industry. A cool indicator of our success has been the Readers of Northern Virginia voting Curry’s Auto Service the #1 repair shop in Northern Virginia, as well as Motor Age magazine voting us the #1 Auto Repair Shop in the country. People frequently ask me, “How did you do that?” I attribute our success to a process I call “Creative Destruction.” Whenever we think things are going really well, we try to tweak our business practices and even tear them down a little bit to reconstruct them to make things even better. We don’t get comfortable in our own shoes. You might say, “Don’t fix what isn’t broken.” I think living by the motto is very damaging to running a business. With the way technology is always changing, what works today won’t necessarily work tomorrow. We continuously review our operations to find ways to improve by looking at tech ... read more

My Week Unplugged

Last week I had the week from hell. The IT company we’ve been using for the last four or five years was migrating our email to a cloud based exchange email to make life easier, better, and faster for our company. Well, IT had a total meltdown. Our email went down, they corrupted a lot of files, and we lost emails for about 120 accounts – no one in our company was getting emails. We couldn’t send and couldn’t receive. The IT company couldn’t give me answers, either. On Monday around noon they told me it would take a couple hours to fix, which became Monday night, then Tuesday morning. First thing Wednesday morning they told me it’s done – everything is corrupted. Not everything was lost, but they couldn’t get anything from Monday on. My business relies on email appointments, talking with clients, and communicating with employees; so for two and a half days, I couldn’t do that. I wasn’t getting emails from customers which was costing us money, and I wasn’t able t ... read more

Why Does It Cost So Much to Get My Car Fixed?

Here’s a video that I think everyone can appreciate. I demystify the process behind pricing out an auto repair. After this video you will better understand what you’re paying for and hopefully appreciate what you’re getting in return. As the owner of ten auto repair shops, I am often asked, “Why is it so expensive to get my car fixed?” Well, it’s expensive to get your car fixed for a few reasons. Firstly, it’s very technical work; cars are very sophisticated pieces of equipment. There can be up to 50 different processors or computers in any given vehicle, and today nearly everything is electronically operated and computer controlled. So our technicians have to be absolute automotive gurus: they have to be electronics experts, they have to be computer programmers, and they have to be mechanically talented. So today’s auto repair workers are no longer simply mechanics, but full-on technicians who are required to pick up many different skill sets. I realized a while back (I’ve be ... read more

Networking and Community Involvement

Let’s talk today about joining a group, doing networking, and getting involved in your community. There are several things I do on behalf of Curry’s Auto Service. I am part of a “Dealer 20” group which is a group of 20 automotive repair dealers nationwide, and we meet 3 times a year to go over best practices, financial figures, new ideas, and then we have an executive session. We consist of 20 of the best automotive repair dealers in the nation – we have to own multiple locations – and we discuss industry trends and help keep each others’ A-games going all the time. It’s very invigorating. We always have a great time together; we go out to dinner, drink beer, go golfing, and go on other adventures as well during those 3 days. You can belong to a business type of group which comprises of a variety of types of industries, or you can belong to an industry-specific group which I like as well. For networking, Maverick and Cadre DC are two other groups I am involved ... read more

Just Say Yes!

I hope everyone had a great Christmas this year, and a safe New Year! Here are some more thoughts I have on phone sales. It’s kind of a part two of my 6 Steps to a Phone Sale video. I hope you can take something away from this. Today is about just saying Yes! We have a problem with our internal marketing. We are pretty good about being on the radio, sending out electronic newsletters, and talking to our customers and communicating with them, but what we aren’t good about is communicating with our employees about what we want. Our business is rapidly growing – we went from 5 stores 3 years ago to opening our 10th location right now. This rapid growth has caused us some growing pains. So one thing I realized looking back at our phone calls with customers is that we really need to start saying yes. I’m spending about $40 for every phone call to make it ring, and every time we fail it costs me an additional $400 of lost revenue, which is what the average service ticket amounts to ... read more

6 Steps To A Phone Sale

This one is for all the business owners or service providers out there that have a product to sell over the phone. I must ask the question: why do my people suck on the phone?! We record phone calls for training purposes and to see how we’re doing on the phone, and I get so frustrated sometimes because I listen to our phone calls and our people are saying no or not giving themselves the opportunity to get a yes from the customer on the phone. The phone is the most important tool in the shop, and what it can do is to get a sales committment from a customer. As a business, our goal is to get yes fast, and the fastest way to a customer’s brain is through the eyes. A picture is worth a thousand words. I think it’s important to visualize our customer’s need and solve our customer’s problems by giving them a tangible solution. So we have to be not just good on the phones, we have to be AWESOME on the phones! I think that if your business is a service or retail oriented business, hav ... read more

How to Find a Good Auto Repair Shop

Is the selection process to finding a good repair shop daunting to you? Here is my advise on finding one that has the signs of being trustworthy, dependable, and friendly. I’ve spoken at lots of events and seminars, being the owner of 9 (soon to be 10) auto repair shops in the DMV area, and I am often asked, “How do I find a good auto repair shop?” I love to give advice on this. If you’re looking for an auto repair shop, you obviously want to find someone you can trust, someone you like, and can have a good relationship with. I don’t recommend hopping from auto repair shop to auto repair shop, but to start by doing a little research on the internet. Look at testimonials given about each shop and check out their website – how much information do they offer you? You should be able to learn a lot from an auto repair shop’s website. See if they offer warranties on their products and services. Find out who has been in business for a long time, and then try someone for a small serv ... read more

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