Carolyn Coquillette discovered wrenching in 2000, shortly after graduating from college. A rare female mechanic, her nickname at the service station and in professional circles became “Luscious Garage.”
Carolyn owns Luscious Garage, a hybrid specialty shop in San Francisco and probably the best known hybrid shop in the country. She also owns Shop-Ware, a software company that allows repair shops to run online and paper-free.
She opened Luscious Garage in September 2007, became certified as a Benefit Corporation August 2012 with nine full time and two-part time employees. Luscious Garage is currently open 80 hours per week, spanning day and night shifts. The shop averages over 700 jobs per month.
Interest in hybrids and advanced diagnostics took Carolyn from Ann Arbor, MI to the San Francisco Bay Area. Extended study in those fields (and the pitfalls of the industry) convinced her it was time to open her own shop inspired by the hybrid: to be green, high tech, and cutting-edge.
Luscious Garage was the first shop in the country dedicated exclusively to hybrids. It was named Small Green Business of the Year within its first year of business by the SF Bay Guardian. Its innovative philosophy has garnered local, national, and international press. Luscious Garage believes in hybrid automotive technology and applies this new paradigm to everything they do.
Carolyn Coquillette also owns Shop-Ware, a comprehensive shop management system. She discusses how that came about and why she is currently working full time on this company.
The discussion includes:
Labor Rates. The need to raise them and her prediction for the next five years.
How to bring the customer into the repair experience.
Luscious Garage is more responsive, and fun to deal with, over the dealer
Carolyn shares her inspiration on how to improve what we do and how to make it better.
Plugging into community college and looking for star technicians.
The car is a rolling iPhone. Consumer has no concept of the complexity or how it works so having a collaborative conversation with the customer is critical.
Carolyn would argue that the reason we don’t have great resources and technology is because the industry benefits if the shops are disorganized. If we were more organized, we could charge more money.
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