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How To Build A Team Core, For Free With Gmail

You can use Gmail as a form of company intranet, no really… it’s that easy to do and its simplicity is what should drive you to implement it. Oh and did we mention that it’s free and mobile?

Running an auto repair facility is a daunting task. Like any other activity on earth, its success is dependent on the communication of the team making it happen. Communication is second only to centralization of business information. To keep this simple, we’re going to cover the ways that ONE Gmail address can make a huge impact on business flow. We’re going to cover it by talking about an extended feature of Gmail and how you can apply it in your auto repair business today.Looking To Open Up An Auto Repair Facility?
We’ve all been there, tired and frustrated with our boss.  You get the feeling that you can absolutely do this better than they can… and you want to do this better than they do it.  So you start to dream about what it would be like if you ran your own auto facility. Funny thing about our dreams, they don’t account for the brick walls you’ll run into.  Lucky for you and your dreams, we account for quite a few of them in this article. 
We are going to lay out the challenges, that we are aware of, that ‘soon to be shop owners’ may face and need to consider.  Please note that our experience, is from a densely populated area, local laws might make it harder or easier to accomplish some or all of these tasks.  This is meant to be used as a guide on what to expect and the type of research to do when trying to open a shop in your local area.
Where It All Starts

Budget:  All of this costs money to start.  The less you plan for, the more expensive things get. You can save significant time and money finding an existing facility that is abandoned or is for sale already and has the equipment you need to get you started.
Patience:  Nothing happens at the speed of light these days, unless you’re using CAR on your mobile device.  A lot of time is spent waiting on the input or response of others. Pick a method to manage all of the tasks.  We outline how to build a team with your gmail account. You can also organize everything in your plan to open a business with Gmail using the same logic to track tasks, save documents and have mobile access to everything.
Research: You want to survive the first 5 years?  Get used to asking a ton of questions, to anyone who will help you or hear you out.  Ask questions about everything, and most importantly… ask yourself and do your own homework.

 
Questions to consider asking yourself, others, and/or Google:

How many shops are in a 4 mile radius?
What’s the population in the 3 surrounding towns, plus the one I’m in?
How many households?
How much money do I have for this investment into my future? The sub questions here are insane.  What’s my projected monthly expenses? How long can I survive after having setup the business?
Are there other people I can partner with in this endeavor?
Does this location have parking?
What’s the crime like in this area?
What’s the traffic like? Go there, morning, noon and night… get to know your potential new neighborhood before you sign on the dotted line.

Now that the easy stuff is out of the way.  Let’s dig in.
Gmail’s Basic Offerings & How They Benefit You:
Email
This one is obvious, you can all communicate! But, this is team communication. You can also use it to create logins that everyone can have access to. At CAR’s test facility, everyone has an iPad with the internal email loaded onto it.So when we have to request a e-fax, email, or any digital communication from the dealer, vendor, or outside source (like Identifix)… you have a central location for everyone to access it immediately.
This one is obvious, you can all communicate! But, this is team communication. You can also use it to create logins that everyone can have access to. At CAR’s test facility, everyone has an iPad with the internal email loaded onto it.So when we have to request a e-fax, email, or any digital communication from the dealer, vendor, or outside source (like Identifix)… you have a central location for everyone to access it immediately.
Tasks
Create a list of tasks that each employee is to perform to hold up their end of the bargain.  This way, everyone knows what’s expected of them each and every day.  For larger shops, technicians might not have many responsibilities, but for smaller businesses, the owner often relies on his employees to help him accomplish a few housekeeping tasks.
Create a list of tasks that each employee is to perform to hold up their end of the bargain.  This way, everyone knows what’s expected of them each and every day.  For larger shops, technicians might not have many responsibilities, but for smaller businesses, the owner often relies on his employees to help him accomplish a few housekeeping tasks.
Calendar
This is an easy one. One team shares the calendar. Mark days off, customer appointments, continuing education classes, lunch and learns… you name it. If you can use a calendar for it, your team can share it here.
This is an easy one. One team shares the calendar. Mark days off, customer appointments, continuing education classes, lunch and learns… you name it. If you can use a calendar for it, your team can share it here.
Contacts
This is where you can put all contacts you want employees to share.
This is where you can put all contacts you want employees to share.
Drive
This is perhaps the most underrated asset, because everyone forgets how important it is. Every piece of literature you get, can be scanned. Once it is scanned, it can serve as a part of your library. Where all employees can access them as needed. You can also buy educational books and scan then into your library. So say you work on classics Porsche’s (pronounced poorshhas), you can get reference books and upload them to your team Drive folder.
This is perhaps the most underrated asset, because everyone forgets how important it is. Every piece of literature you get, can be scanned. Once it is scanned, it can serve as a part of your library. Where all employees can access them as needed. You can also buy educational books and scan then into your library. So say you work on classics Porsche’s (pronounced poorshhas), you can get reference books and upload them to your team Drive folder.
Photos
Every photo or video taken from all logged in devices or apps, can be saved here. Creating a medium where data transfer is immediate.
Every photo or video taken from all logged in devices or apps, can be saved here. Creating a medium where data transfer is immediate.
Youtube
Docs
So you can do a lot here. You can make “Word” Documents that everyone can access. You can also make simple, yet powerful spreadsheets to help you manage the business. For example, you can rude a crude “inventory” model from a spreadsheet. Is it pretty? Nope. Is it functional, 1000%
So you can do a lot here. You can make “Word” Documents that everyone can access. You can also make simple, yet powerful spreadsheets to help you manage the business. For example, you can rude a crude “inventory” model from a spreadsheet. Is it pretty? Nope. Is it functional, 1000%
News
Structure industry news to be delivered to you and your team daily with the “For you” section. Maybe your team wants to get your fill on celebrity gossip, who are we to judge?
Structure industry news to be delivered to you and your team daily with the “For you” section. Maybe your team wants to get your fill on celebrity gossip, who are we to judge?
Maps
Research your competition as a team with a few keystrokes. Oh wait, did we say that out loud? Maybe no one is reading.
Research your competition as a team with a few keystrokes. Oh wait, did we say that out loud? Maybe no one is reading.
Your Team

Let me start by saying, they are not your employees. Treat them as such and they will treat it as a job not a career. I can’t stress how important this aspect it.  The world is changing at an alarming rate and this industry is no exception right now.  If you want to ensure longevity you need to prepare to share the burden and some of the benefits, in order to attract employees that build a team.
A lot of people let their ego drive their initiative to do more.  Sometimes it can work out but more often than not, it burns people out and you’re left alone wondering why you can’t “find good help”.  As a business owner, I made the choice to involve our team members in all company decisions. This doesn’t mean they have the final say, this means they have a say.  When your team members have a say, they are more vested in everyone’s success.
In addition, we are going to make an assumption here.  We need to in order to provide a good example. We are going to assume that you, the person reading this article, have technician experience and you want to open a shop because you can and will do things better.  First, congrats. That feeling is amazing. Second, research till you question everything…. THEN, execute.
If you are the good technician, you are going to need at least ONE more team member to start.  That team member will inevitably become the shop manager if you can do this correctly. Here are the responsibilities that you are NOT aware of as a technician.

Who’s going to answer phones?
Who’s going to monitor your social media?
Who’s going to deal with happy and/or irate customers?
Who’s going to follow through on parts orders?
Who’s going to make estimates and get customer authorizations?
Who’s going to keep your paperwork in order so you can review it on weekends?

If you’re a technician and you’re serious about opening up a business in this industry in today’s world… the very first hire needs to be someone who is going to keep the business moving, according to your vision.  You can not focus on being great at repair and running a front office. You can try to do both for a while, but you will eventually burn yourself out. The amount of mental energy it takes for you to switch from one role to the next, is exhausting beyond measure.
Your team and your vision to build this team… is your greatest long term asset. Please note, this is not the definitive guide on how to open an auto repair business. This is merely a guide to get you to start thinking about the things you will need to worry about to run a successful business in nearly every industry… but especially the auto repair industry.You can read more about team building here and we also encourage you to search for ideas on team building and how to achieve the optimal team at your auto repair facility. Follow through with this article by reading about our other experiences in the auto industry, where we pass on lessons about running a business in 2018. This is focused on the auto repair industry, but there is plenty here that can be applied forward to help other businesses get off the ground and noticed locally.  Even though the businesses may differ significantly, the challenges of getting noticed and operating efficiently are similar.

Part 1 – Challenges Of The Auto Repair Business In 2018 Part 1
Part 2 – Auto Repair Business Marketing Challenges In 2018 Part 2
Part 3 – Advertising For Auto Repair Businesses In 2018 Part 3
Part 4 – Software For Your Auto Service Facility In 2018 Part 4
7 Basic Steps Of The Auto Repair Process

You can read more about team building here and we also encourage you to search for ideas on team building and how to achieve the optimal team at your auto repair facility.