Shop Profile - Service Repair

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Quality service keeps customers coming back

Friday, March 18, 2016 - 07:00
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“There are some great shops out there, and I love it when my competition is good, because that will only make me better,” says John Haunfelder, owner of Jerry’s Automotive Service, Inc. How good is Jerry’s? Let’s just say there’s lots of competition in metropolitan Milwaukee.

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At a glance:
Jerry's Automotive Service Inc.
Waukesha, Wisc.
John Haunfelder
Years in business
No. of employees
Total square footage
No. of bays
Weekly car count
Average RO

Rising through the ranks, Haunfelder eventually bought the operation in 2000. “When you purchase a business, you dump everything you have into it and everything you will ever have,” he declares. “Failure’s not an option, so you’re going to explore whatever avenue it takes to make it work. But Jerry was a very good businessman, and I learned a lot from him. He gave me a good background in not only how to fix cars, but also in handling customers. Once I bought the business from him, I was able to run with it and continue to grow.Established in 1958 by Jerry Neuwirth, John went to work there as a teenager in 1977. “His shop always had a strong reputation,” Haunfelder recalls. “They did a lot of different repair work — they were the ‘can do’ shop. I remember when the job posting came out — all of the guys [from high school] were talking about it. I was down there within the hour to be interviewed.”

“You’ve got to know what your expenses are and make sure you make enough to stay afloat, or else you’re doing no one — from your technicians to your customers — any favors,” Haunfelder explains. “I keep it a little more basic: I’ve got three or four factors I look at monthly and things I check, like technician times on jobs and productivity, certain margins on parts; I’ve got a real good handle on it, making sure we’re keeping it where we can make money.” 

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