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Jarrod talks about adjusting your current business model to incorporate EV maintenance needs NOW instead of trying to play catch-up with new companies in a few years.

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Tactical Tips Episode #22 Transcript

BRAD: All right, we’re back here with another Tactical Tip Tuesday. I have Jarrod Kilway from Germain Automotive Partnership. He’s the Director of Digital Operations. I think your title changes every other week, my friend!


JARROD: Sure does. Always things getting added to the plate.


BRAD: Yeah, that’s a good thing and I’m super excited to have Jarrod here. I think we’re going to have him and Brian Kramer back in a later episode to talk about what’s going on in the metaverse. But Jarrod and I had a conversation, it’s probably been a month ago, about how things are changing in the dealership, not only from the technician standpoint but what Jarrod came up with, which was a pretty interesting idea. Now a lot of people are doing the same thing, which was on the wireless charger front, which is actually having an electrician that’s hired by the dealerships that can install wireless chargers instead of waiting on the parent companies to do those. And I’ve even heard about some dealerships now where that electrician also supplements work with solar panels. So there’s a lot of, especially out here in the panhandle of Texas, it’s hard to find someone to install those if you buy it yourself. So tell us a little bit more about how that works. 


JARROD: Yeah, Brad. So you know, we’re just kind of trying to plan for the future. Man, you have Kramer in the metaverse and you know digging into the EV stuff and you know digital retail stuff. So working at Germain, you have to have an open mind and you have to be okay with potentially breaking things. So one of the things I know I’ve just been stewing in for a while. You hear a lot of people at NADA, Digital Dealer, and a lot of people talk about technician shortages. What’s going to happen? What are we going to do? And the question really is, how are you going to retain your current technicians who are doing oil loop filter chassis stuff that are, you know, eventually going to be semi-phased out or not needed in that volume? What happens to that role? And through conversations and looking at some of the studies that are done with the Tesla owners, when they buy a Tesla, their biggest frustration point is getting that charging station installed and that’s kind of where it stems from there. But really it’s utilizing these technicians that are sitting here now that are extremely busy. What happens to them in five years? You know what happens to that role. Well, why not, instead of trying to rehire and build a new role, why don’t we repurpose the staff we have? Let’s utilize them with some additional training in, you know, becoming residential electrician certified, and letting them be the point of doing this charger installation for people at home. Also, do EV charger maintenance, which is a big thing nobody talks about, making sure the cables aren’t frayed, replacing cables, whatever. So I know a lot of people are in the panic mode of what’s going to happen in five years for fixed ops when it comes to EV?, I think we need to start thinking about how do we repurpose our staff for the EV future and how do we keep it consistent, because you’re still going to need people in store that need to get their oil change and tire rotation. But how do you add that other element of EV to your business model? 


BRAD: And if you’re talking about you know, I think you know this, but my dad was a plumber growing up, right, and so electricians and plumbers have very similar paths on learning how to do stuff. So you start off as a journeyman and you have to study under a master plumber, very similar to electricians. Right, start off as a journeyman, you have to study under a master electrician in most states, and then you have to gain so many hours. You have to do almost like an internship, and then once you reach a certain thing, then you’re able to do that. So that career path can take a little while, right. So if you have dealerships that are preparing for it now and you have a lot of people that are saying, you know, “Hey, by 2030, 2035, that they’re going to be all-electric,” then you’re just prepared for that down the road, right, and then that also helps your guys. You know you can even write it. We were talking about how to prospect out of like colleges and stuff, and a lot of these guys will make them sign letters of intent. Right. So if that person was going to go down that that they could do letters of intent where you would pay for the schooling and different things like that, and then they would have to sign, almost like college right? Where they basically come in and say, “Hey, I’m going to be on here for this long right, this is how long I’m going to be here. I commit for four years or three years,” or something like that. So it really helps with those career paths. And I think this is a very, very interesting point because you and I were talking about this, that this is something that dealerships should look at because it could definitely be a big profit center for the dealerships. 


JARROD: A massive, massive profit center. And the EV is, you know, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to EV. This is just how are we going to best fill our guest’s needs? What happens to the guest who lives up in, you know, the Midwest up in Ohio or Michigan, Indiana that now moves to Naples and drives their EV down from Michigan or Ohio house down to Naples? Now you have to find somebody to put an EV charger in this house that you just bought, that you have no contact for, and you don’t know who to call. So if you can offer up that installation service as well, not only to people you sell to but also to people who are genuinely looking. They’re going to have more trust from a dealer than you know, Billy Bob’s Backwoods Electrician who may not be familiar with EV, how to hook up that, etc. And to have that training on that specific element of electrical which is different than, you know, putting in sockets or, you know, GFIs or breakers. It’s a little bit more complex than that. So I think the opportunity to be that point of contact and do that installation of chargers in addition to having technicians provide maintenance and service to them, but also do the installation. And then we’re missing on the biggest boat, which is the actual selling of the chargers themselves. You know, look, talk to your banks. Make it a financial product that a guest can purchase as part of their transaction. Hey, you know what the number one thing EV customers are nervous about when before they buy is the range anxiety. So we, as a dealer can take one thing out of that customer’s sales cycle that makes it smoother, like taking care of the battery, taking care of the charging station, you know, having it installed, writing a warranty contract, and maintenance contract on that charger. I mean you’re filling all the gaps, but you’re also building that as kind of a sales-based product which, you know, you sell up a maintenance package in maintenance, you know recurring income as the dealer. So I just think it’s a win-win and thinking outside the box.


BRAD: Yeah, and you know what’s really interesting, is really you have multiple chargers, right, so you have 110, 220, 4D for supercharger sort of thing, and those can cost up to just to install. We’re not talking about costs of chargers, up to about $4500. So there’s a lot of money to be made on that side. And so it goes back to, are we going to allow someone else to come in and disrupt that side of the automotive industry, or are we going to take the charge on our side and just say, you know what, we’re not going to allow them to disrupt it. We’re the people that know about cars. We’re the people that know about customer service. We know how to get people taken care of, we’re going to take the initiative to really serve those people where they’re at and, you know, save you that time of having a wait two months, three months. We didn’t really really even talk about that. It takes time. Like a lot of those guys that order those chargers, they might wait 2-4 months for them to get installed because they don’t have people to install them, especially here where I live, right in the Texas panhandle. You can wait up to six months to get someone to install that. Or even solar panels, right because it’s very similar certification here in Texas, the solar panels versus the wireless chargers. So you can supplement work in the meantime. While the industry catches up, right to where it’s going, and I think that’s an important thing, is you have to have a good strategy behind that. And Jarrod, let me ask you a question. If someone wanted to reach out or brainstorm or strategize or something like that with you, what’s the best way to reach out to you?


JARROD: Always best way to reach out is hit me up on Linkedin, hit me up on Facebook, or you can always just text me directly. Either way, whatever works best, always here to help.


BRAD: I like that. That’s a great saying. I’m glad that you ripped off my saying. I appreciate it.


JARROD: Hey, I had to say it before you did. I had to get it out. 


BRAD: You got me, which is fun, which is why I’m glad that you came on. Man, your wealth of knowledge. I can’t wait to get you and Kramer on here both. I think we’re going to do a Tactical Tip in the metaverse, which is going to be pretty cool. Actually have the fixed ops workroom set up. It’s all customized to Fixed Ops Digital, so I’m super excited about that. We might even, I’ll tease this, might even be offering demos in the metaverse. So, Jarrod, I appreciate you for helping me with that. Thanks for coming on today, man, have a half a great day. 

JARROD: Appreciate you.

Haile Clifton

Haile Clifton

Haile is the Marketing Coordinator at Fixed Ops Digital. She has worked in Digital Media & Design for 6 years and helps with internal marketing and Drive Service Specials deployment at FOD.

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