Honest-1 Auto Care: Established to Make Female Customers Feel Welcome and Appreciated
Lewisville, with a population of about 106,586, is located about 22 miles northwest of the heavily populated Dallas/Ft. Worth area, close to the huge recreational area of Lewisville Lake.
The shop, a franchise location of the Honest- 1 network (with headquarters in Florida), handles all aspects of service including HVAC, suspension, brakes and alignment, engine diagnostics and repair, radiator repair, transmission service, differential service as well as offering a towing service.
Does your shop offer general automotive repair or do you tend to specialize in specific makes or types of repairs?
Our location offers general automotive service for all makes.
What is your business philosophy?
Co-owner Robin Mainer noted, “In addition to providing the very highest quality service possible, our primary focus is to treat our customers with respect, to provide 100% transparent communication, and to establish a high degree of integrity.
“Both Kim and I previously worked as outside sales for insurance companies. While working in the insurance industry, whenever we had our vehicles serviced, we often felt disrespected or talked-down to by various shops because we are women.
“When the insurance industry underwent some major changes, we began to consider a new career path, and we realized that there was a need for a ‘female-friendly’ service shop that would treat all customers, male and female, with equal respect.
“My ‘last straw’ moment occurred when I visited a local shop for service and asked the owner a few questions regarding why certain parts and labor were required, in the attempt to simply understand what was needed and to understand what I was paying for. When his response was a gruff, ‘I don’t have time to explain this to you because you’re a woman,’ that struck a nerve, and at that point I was convinced that Kim and I needed to remedy this.
We knew that we could do better, and had an opportunity to establish and grow a successful service operation by catering to the female market, by offering quality service in an atmosphere that was inviting and comfortable for female drivers, and staffed by top-notch and skilled technicians.
“We take the time to explain various service requirements and help to educate women regarding their automotive service and repair needs, instead of simply taking their money and treating them like just another ‘number.’
Ironically, while Kim and I own and manage the operation, both of our respective families have always been heavily involved in the automotive industry, as both families own new car dealerships.
“We often joke about initially not being interested in being involved in the automotive business despite the ever-present urging of our families. Once we decided to start our shop operation, we jokingly realized that we found ourselves ‘pulled back in.’ Opening the shop was the best decision we ever made, as we thoroughly enjoy our new career. Being able to offer both honest service and creating an atmosphere where our female customers don’t feel intimidated has been truly rewarding.”
Where do you buy your parts?
We buy from a variety of sources, including local parts stores and warehouses such as Worldpac, O’Reilly, Excell, AutoZone, Advance Auto, etc., making a point to deal only with suppliers that operate with a high degree of integrity and stand behind their parts. Naturally, when the need arises, we buy OE parts from area dealers.
What influences your parts buying decisions? Rank from 0 to 3, with 0 having no influence and 3 having the greatest influence.
Brand name recognition….....3
(Based on experience with those brands)
Promotion in racing …...........0
(Based on our experience with their quality)
Other (describe)…We regularly try to read/ research to stay informed regarding parts. We research, read, talk to peers, and our vendors. Being consistent with our vendors and developing a relationship with them helps when we have issues.
What do customers want/expect from your shop?
First and foremost, our customers expect the highest quality in both maintenance and repair work. I realize that should go without saying, but quality in everything we do is our absolute priority. We want our customers to know that they can always rely on us to get the job done correctly each and every time. This is what we base our reputation on.
What is your approach to technician training?
Our technicians constantly work on obtaining additional certification and keeping pace with technology. Luckily, several of our area parts stores offer training classes on a regular basis, and our technicians take advantage of any training that is available.
How does ASP benefit your business?
Quite frankly, we’re new to the magazine but we are very impressed with the content. Our technicians find the technical feature articles very informative, and the new products section definitely helps us to keep abreast of new parts, tools and equipment. ?