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New Hampshire auto repair shop bases business on honesty and integrity

Friday, November 3, 2017 - 07:00
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Before Bill Gurney married his wife Charlotte in 1984, they dated six months. Then a year after the nuptials, the newlyweds opened their first repair shop. You could say Gurney works fast. “We’ve been married 33 years, been in business 32, and we’ve worked together nearly every day,” he laughs. 

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And every day Gurney’s Automotive Repair has been operating in Nashua, NH (and eventually Milford), they’ve followed a bedrock business philosophy based on two tenets: honesty and integrity. No haste here; deeply religious, the Gurney’s practice what they preach. Their core purposes and promises are published on their website, and posted at each work station in a framed plaque.

At a Glance:
Gurney's Automotive Repair, Inc.
Bill & Charlotte Gurney
Owners
Nashua, NH
Location
2
No. of shops
32
Years in Business
31
No. of employees
Nashua: 10; Milford: 15
No. of bays per shop
Nashua: 150; Milford: 85
No. of customer vehicles per week

“Part of (the employees’) job description is to read those principles every day,” Gurney notes. “Sure, they may not do it every day, but we go over this all the time at every meeting. The more we sew it into the fabric of the company, the more people will live it. It is part of the culture.”  

A culture best summed up by the first and last of Gurney’s core purposes: “To contribute to the quality of life and the success of our customers and their families by ensuring them safe and reliable transportation…” and “to do this in a work environment that will elevate each person to their highest level of personal growth both personally and professionally.”

For Gurney maintains a “people first, profit second” rule for both customers and employees. “Treat people like you want to be treated,” he shrugs. “Don’t get me wrong, the profit on the job has to be there, but you can’t make your decisions based on the bottom line. If someone comes in and has a problem with something you’ve done, it doesn’t matter what it costs to fix that problem, you just need to fix it.”

Their business approach has evolved over the years via books and seminars. “You have to take what everybody says and filter through what works and applies to your business,” says Gurney, but notes that “our core values, our core purpose and our culture are what make us unique… From that, exceptional customer service and satisfaction became the result.”

Hence the Rules of the Road. “Our Rules of the Road came out of a team-building exercise that we did off-site,” recalls Gurney. “I didn’t come up with those, our employees did--and I think its genius. They’re about how we’re supposed to act with our customers and with each other, because we’re all about having a great [business] culture.

“Our technicians can put their heads together, think through problems, and put a strategy in play to diagnose them,” proclaims Gurney. “The advantage of independents over a lot of flat rate manufacturers and dealership would be that our guys probably work better together than others who are worried about their own pay all the time.”

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