As I sat in front of my monitor trying to decide what to write for this editorial, I thought back on how I’d spent the previous Sunday, tidying up my engine assembly room and preparing for another engine build. Luckily, I have a full-wall-length Lista workbench and cabinet system that allows me to neatly organize all of my tools and supplies. Following the cleanup and general housekeeping, I realized how much more pleasant it was to work on the next job. The ensuing assembly work was easier, much more efficient in terms of time and focus, and, well, more fun.
One of the most bothersome aspects of a shop’s daily activities involves cleanup — keeping the shop neat and efficient. These are tasks that admittedly don’t directly generate income. Examples include cleaning tools and replacing them in their respective locations as soon as a job is completed (wiping off handles, cleaning out grimy sockets, placing each tool back into the same drawer, cabinet or on a wall peg where it was originally located, backing off micrometer-type torque wrenches to their lowest setting, recycling empty parts boxes and packaging, tossing used latex gloves and rags, wiping off the workbench, sweeping the job-area floor, storing any unused threaded fasteners back into their size-respective drawers or bins, cleaning off the lathe, drill press or tire changer area, and, well, you get the point.
Keeping your tools and supplies neatly organized does have an effect on profitability in the long run. Jobs are completed quicker (and with less aggravation) when you don’t need to waste time hunting for a tool or searching through a bucket or box of miscellaneous bolts for the specific fastener needed.
The cleaner and more organized a shop, the more professional the appearance. This can help build customer confidence and soothe a customer’s mind when they’re faced with a big-ticket invoice. The theory being that the more professional the shop appears, the greater the chance of the customer feeling that he or she is “getting their money’s worth.”
I realize that this might sound like so much baloney to some, but impressions do matter, and can make the difference between a grimace and a grin on the customer’s face.
Obviously, the quality of the work is the most important aspect, and striving for quick and accurate diagnosis and quality workmanship is always at the forefront.
But paying attention to the shop’s appearance is the icing on the cake. In addition to increasing shop efficiency, a tidy and well-kept shop constantly builds good public relations.