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Interview with Elite Coach Chris Monroe

Shop Management

Elite

by Elite

We sat down for an interview with Elite Coach Chris Monroe to share his story with the world. Read on or watch this video to learn about Chris’ background, what he loves about coaching, and some shop tips as well!

Elite: So Chris, Introduce yourself!

Chris Monroe: Hi, I’m Chris Monroe from Monroe Tire & Service in Shelby, North Carolina, centrally located between New York and Miami, on the east coast. Got into the tire business when I was 10 by default. My dad started this business in 1974. I was 10 years old and grew up in this business, and I went to school, came back in ’87, took over as a manager, started cultivating my own processes in the business and man, I’ll tell you what, what a journey it’s been. 35 years have gone by really, really quick. We have 10 bays. We do about 50% tires, 50% service, mostly under car, check engine lights, drive-ability, we lift vehicles, we do wheels, we do tires, a little bit of everything. We have six technicians, we have three service advisors, and an office manager. So that’s the makeup of our business.

We serve a community in Shelby Cleveland County. There’s about 100,000 people in Cleveland County. Shelby proper is about 25,000 people. There’s about 370 people in this business in this town doing what we’re doing. It’s crazy, the amount of competition that we have. We do have all the major chains, the Walmarts, the Mavis’, the Mr. Tires, and so we go toe-to-toe with everybody every day, and again, a host of independents that we do business with. But it’s a very friendly environment. Love the industry, love the business. We’ve been doing this, like I said, 47 years. Amazing, amazing journey so far.

What I get the most from coaching, is helping other people…to be able to see an individual that can see that target but just can’t quite figure out how to execute that next step, but through questioning and discussion, they figure it out.

Elite: Tell us about some of your community involvement and recognition!

Chris Monroe: I think being a part of a small community and being a business owner, what is very important to us, and to a lot of people I think, is being involved in your community, giving back to your community and in different ways. I serve on different boards. I’ve been fortunate enough to serve on the North Carolina Tire Dealer board for many years, the national tire board, TIA, and serve our chamber, our local chamber. Very active with them. We’ve been very fortunate to be recognized, not only locally as a multi-year tire dealer, but as the best local tire dealer. We’ve been recognized as North Carolina Tire Dealer of the Year. Tire Review has nominated us. We have been a Tire Review Top Shop finalist for two years. We’ve been recognized by Demand Force as a five-star shop all over the country. We have been recognized by the chamber as Small Business of the Year. In fact, we were the inaugural winner of that award, so we were very proud of that. Our community involvement and recognition that we’ve received on a local level, as well as on a nationwide level, the passion we have for this industry, our very technologically advanced equipment, the point of sale that we use, and digital inspections all play into what I think makes our shop a premier shop in the country.

Elite: What made you decide to become a lead coach?

Chris Monroe: So I met Bob Cooper in 2017 in Chicago and he and I hit it off. He asked me if had any interest in coaching, and I said absolutely. And more than anything, I wanted to go through the interview process with Bob Cooper because I’ve watched him and followed him for many years in this industry. So one thing led to another, and he invited me to be a part of the team. Been doing it for three years and just an amazing journey so far. I love coaching and I love getting inside of other shop owners, understanding what their challenges are. My thing is always you can’t preach it unless you practice it, and a lot of times, a lot of corners get shored up in my own business by recognizing some other deficits and then I go, “Well, wait a minute. Now, I can’t have a real conversation with this person if my house is not in order.” So it’s made me a better business owner just from the very start.

Elite: What do you personally gain out of being a coach?

Chris Monroe: I think the thing that I gained out of being a coach, what I get the most from it, is helping other people. I know that sounds trite, that sounds basic, but to be able to see an individual that can see that target but just can’t quite figure out how to execute that next step, but through a lot of questioning and through a lot of discussion, they figure it out. The coach doesn’t figure it out, the client figures it out and that’s what’s so rewarding is to work through those processes, and everybody’s process is different. Everybody’s business is different, and so the challenge of that and asking the right questions to deliver the right answer, it’s pretty special. It’s pretty special.

Elite: Tell us about a client success story!

Chris Monroe: A client that comes to mind is Jimmy Moody of Moody’s Tire and Auto Service. I’ve worked with Jimmy for several years now and when he and I first started working together, it reminded me so much of where I was, gosh, 15, 20 years ago, trying to study and figure out processes, trying to figure out how to have money in the bank, try to figure out how to hire the right person, all the questions. And he comes at me with… This guy is young and he’s energetic and just full of life, wants to do an amazing job. But honestly, when we started working together, his business, it needed some attention in a lot of different areas and we were able to solely focus on that and got rid of a lot of red in a lot of different areas, not just in the financial statements, but a lot of other places, and in a very short amount of time, Jimmy began to execute his business plan. He began to work very hard on his business and he understood that.

I think first it took he and I having to develop a relationship with trust, and once he began to trust that relationship, he began to take off, and then when he stopped second guessing if he was doing the right thing and he just said, “Okay, I’m going to jump in here and us go for a ride.” He let me drive a little bit, I let him drive a little bit. Man, it was just a great thing. And in a very short amount of time, he got his house in order, he knew what he needed to do. I was just there, pulling for him, egging him on, so to speak. And man, I tell you what, he’s done an amazing job in two and a half years’ time, I’m just really proud of Jimmy.

Elite: What would you tell a shop owner who’s on the fence about joining Top Shop 360?

Chris Monroe: The question comes many times, “I don’t really know if I want to get into Top Shop 360 or I’m not really sure about coaching. I don’t know if that’s the right thing for me.” I’ve been on both sides of this for the past 15 years of my life and I will tell you that I have yet to meet one individual that has been coached or been part of a program, a 20 group, any of these things that you can collectively bring minds together of common ground and not improve. It’s a point of accountability, and when you surround yourself with people that are focused on their business and working on their business, man, I’ll tell you what, you got nowhere to go but up. It’s a no brainer. If you’re thinking about it, stop thinking about it, just do it. Try it for a year. If you fail at it, you call me and I’ll write you a check for a thousand bucks. Not really. Just kidding about that. I’m not going to write a check, Bob Cooper will.

Elite: Any tips you can share with us?

Chris Monroe: Yea I’ve got a couple shop tips for you. Number one: Go have lunch with each one of your team members. Do it in a consecutive pattern. Run it over three or four weeks. Take a couple of days out of the week. Invite somebody from the shop to go have lunch and do nothing more than listen. Ask questions, find out what’s going on in their life and go through your whole team. Do this a couple of times a year. It’s amazing what you will learn. It’s amazing that you may need to make some adjustments in your shop. It gives your employees a time to have some one-on-one time with you and enjoy a bite of lunch. It’s a very good time, so give that a shot.

Secondly: For profitability, review your work orders on a weekly basis. Not every single one of them, but go through and take a random patch, take a day and look at several of them. Look at how the work orders are being written up. Is the detail there? Are things being included on the work order that needs to be? Are they charging for what needs to be charged? Are your services being given away or are they being charged for?

And finally: I would recommend that a lot of shops are going to the digital video inspections, DVIs. You’ve got a host of companies out there that offer that service. We are doing that, have been doing that for about five years now. We were one of the first to start it. I will tell you that every company and every software operates differently. Train hard. Go to every bit of training, get every bit of training that you can from your provider. Take pictures, take pictures, take pictures. They tell a thousand words. Pictures build trust and transparency. That message is being communicated, but it’s not going to happen on its own. You as an owner are going to have to implement that and work really hard to make it happen, but the results, the payoff is huge.

Elite: Could you share any general keys to success?

Chris Monroe: I think one of the things that I have experienced in the coaching process with Elite over the years and talking with a variety of different shop owners and different sized shop owners, what’s the ultimate benefit? What do you really get out of coaching and what do I see? It’s being able to walk hand-in-hand with somebody that understands where you are in your business and what you’re doing, being able to see the trajectory and have somebody ask you to get you there, that is the most important thing and I’ve seen that in all of my clients. I’ve seen them grow on a personal level. I’ve seen them grow. When they change, their family changes, their employees change, their cultures change because they start looking at things much more globally, much larger than just looking into, “I’ve got to hit this number every month,” or “I’ve got to do this, I’ve got to do that.” It’s growth. It’s growth across the whole spectrum.

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