CONCORD, NC / ACCESSWIRE / Aug 14, 2014 / Steve Ailes likes to fix things. Although he's been in car-related businesses since his first job, it's not cars that he fixes. Steve Ailes, 38, fixes troubled businesses.
The Florida native had worked his way up, moving from his first job in new car sales to eventually owning three dealerships, which he had turned around from being money-losing operations. After semi-retiring in his mid-30's, he was anxious to get back to work when he got a call from Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care, the transmission and complete auto repair company with franchised service centers nationwide.
The people at Cottman had heard of his reputation for fixing troubled businesses, and they hired him as a floating center manager. His job entailed helping the owners of money-losing repair centers get their businesses back on track, in terms of both quality customer service and the bottom line.
"There are quite a few similarities between running an auto dealership and an auto service center," Ailes said. "Both types of businesses succeed or fail on three key things - customer service, customer retention and building a great team that can consistently accomplish the first two things. It's that simple."
Ailes spent two years as a troubleshooter for Cottman. He said he loved the work, helping owners work through their problems to become successful. In addition to keeping the focus on customer service, he helped find ways to streamline operations to save money. "I loved the challenge, and it gave me a chance to do some travelling and get to know some other places," he noted.
But when he learned of two Cottman centers in North Carolina that needed help, he decided to move back into business for himself by purchasing the franchises in Burlington and Mooresville. Both were on the verge of going under when he took them over in 2012. Ailes worked his magic and had both centers out of the red and showing a profit in less than a year and a half.
Not only did he turn them around, but he took both centers from being among the poorest performers in the Cottman chain to where Cottman of Mooresville now ranks number one in comparable sales revenue increase percentage over prior year and the Burlington center is number two nationwide.
Ailes recently added a third North Carolina center to his portfolio, located at 559 Church Street North in Concord. After a major remodel, the store officially opened in mid-July. He said he plans to put more emphasis on transmission repairs, although his centers will continue to offer a full range of car care services, as do most Cottman centers.
Those plans include centralizing the transmission-building operations so the very best transmission specialists in the region will work on jobs from all three of his stores. "Instead of spreading them across three locations, these experts will be together. Their teamwork and combined expertise will benefit all of our customers, since transmission work is the most complex and critical automotive repair work there is," he said.
Ailes' other Cottman locations are at 1424 N Church St., in Burlington and 361 East Plaza Drive in Mooresville.
About Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care:
With locations across the U.S. and in Canada, Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care is an auto repair and transmission company for almost any make or model vehicle, foreign or domestic. Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care continues to take claim of the growing $200 billion aftermarket auto industry and specializes in complete transmission service, brakes, suspension, air conditioning service and much more. Cottman is based in Horsham, Pa. For more information, please visit http://www.cottman.com
Source: Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care