Honesty can be tough to find in the auto repair business, but at Baker Road Auto, that is their specialty.
Nicole Reynolds runs the front side to the operation over at the shop. She’s the person everyone sees when they walk into the waiting room and office of the shop. She said the team focuses on being honest with their customers and fixing cars the best they can in the shortest time possible.
“We have a different outlook now that we own it,” Nicole Reynolds said. Her father, Eric Reynolds, owns the shop. “We’re not here to sell, we’re here to really educate the customer. At the end of the day, if someone doesn’t buy something maintenance[-wise,] it’s not going to kill us.
“We just want them to know: here’s your options, here’s what you should do, here’s what you can wait on. As long as they trust us, that’s all that matters.”
Baker Road Auto takes a common sense approach to the auto repair industry, being straightforward with the customer and getting the job done.
How did they get here?
Nicole said her father, Eric, bought the shop from the previous owner nearly a year and a half ago and has worked in this building for just over two years. Along with Nicole and Eric, there are three other people at the shop. While Nicole runs the front of the shop, the four technicians, including Eric, hold down all of the repair work in the garage.
Right now, ‘all’ the work is literally true, because their garage and parking lot, along with the scheduling list, has been full all summer with more phone calls and repairs coming through the door every day.
When Eric bought the shop, Nicole estimates the car count for the shop was 1,500. On top of the breadth to their long-time car count and customer base, Baker Road Auto is averaging eight new customers per week, Nicole said.
Eric said that from the point at which he started at Baker Road, the car count now is up to 3,700 — more than double what it was less than two years ago.
“Right now, you’re able to park in our lot,” Eric said. “We’re doing pretty good right now.”
He said a few weeks ago, the lot was so full with cars ready to be worked on, there was no space left.
Now that the team has so many cars to work on and opportunities for work, they can put their unique working model to good use getting customers’ cars back on the road.
Team model vs. commission
“Here we work in more of a ‘team’ sense,” Nicole said. “No one is on commission, everyone’s paid a livable wage so we don’t have to worry about that competition starting up.”
The teamwork-driven atmosphere makes sure that when one of the technicians is unfamiliar with any process, the other three are quick to jump in and make sure he is taught how to do it the right way for the future. Nicole said that in addition to some of the more experienced technicians on staff, they have one in the shop who is just through his first year of school at Dunwoody. His presence in the shop is shaping his knowledge every day with real work experience and training from some of the best technicians around.
When it comes to experience, though, Baker Road Auto has the customer covered. One technician, Rick, has worked in the same building the shop has worked out of for more than 30 years. In addition, Eric has more than 30 years of experience with the auto repair industry as well. Now, they’re in the shop together fixing cars with the experience customers have trusted for years.
Now, the team will focus on both domestic and European cars for the first time. Eric’s experience with European car makers expands the shop’s capability, while Rick and the other technicians still bring their stellar domestic car experience to the shop floor.
Upgrades coming into the fold
Besides the current repair service, the team is updating some of their facilities when they can. The sign out front of the shop is going to be new and more in line with the services they will offer now.
In addition to that, while the group owns the shop, it doesn’t own the physical building, but they are working on changing that and purchasing the building themselves. A big part to them owning the building too will extremely expand the shop’s capacity. They want to add four more bays to the shop that already has three to add more cars to the lineup of what they are working on at any given time, and it will allow them to move through more cars faster, getting the cars back to the customer quicker.
Regardless of the facilities, Baker Road Auto has the expertise that sets them apart. The training that helps younger people from that bevy of experience is a constant loop of improvement from all of the technicians. In terms of the direct customer experience, they are not here to sell parts to fix a customer’s car, they want to fix the car while educating the customer on what is happening to the car.
Why Social Indoor?
Social Indoor recently partnered with Baker Road Auto for advertising services. Considering the two businesses are just down the road from one another, the match made perfect sense.
“I like the idea of the captive marketing because you’re forced to look at it,” Nicole said. “It’s a good way to spend money. We’ve done commercials, we’ve tried a lot of different things. So far, the things to stare at are the best.
“[From the commercials,] we didn’t have any results. I get people coming in saying ‘hey, I saw your ad in a bathroom.’ I never got someone saying ‘hey, I saw your commercial.'”