Scott McIver owns Kaizen Tuning, (Kaizen, what a killer name right!?) in Boxborough, Mass. He specializes in GTR and EVO X and services a full list of other cars as well. We talked about what it looked like for Scott to create and grow Kaizen Tuning and how he went from the family business into the performance tuning business. Scott is fired up about one particular strategy that’s creating great returns. Be sure to listen all the way to the end where Scott tells about the strategy he’s using to create new customers.
Originally from different shops, Nate and Jason came together to create TPG tuning. A service shop specializing in Subaru, Mitsubishi and now certain BMW platforms. Their story is one of dedication and hard work, and not one of planning! From a rough start in the early days to a smoother operation now, Jason and Nate are in it for the long haul and they’re here to tell the story of how it all started and to offer advice that they’ve picked up along the way.
Steve Nichols is a stand-up guy from Lexington, Kentucky. He’s been involved with Dyno Dynamics since the early 2000’s and he’s got a hell of a story to tell. He originally worked for Toyota but when the exchange rate was in his favor, he saw and opportunity and jumped on it. Now, nearly a decade and a half later, Steve talks about his successes and failures and what he’s learned over the years.
Matt Wright is an Aussie with 12 years in the biz. He works as the brand manager for Haltech Engine Management Systems and moonlights as an instructor for EFI University. Matt has spent his career working with Haltech, starting in an entry-level position and now he oversees certain technical aspects for the company. He’s worked his way up from the bottom to his current position and he’s got great insight and advice to offer us. He’s an intelligent guy with some killer insight into the performance business. I learned a lot and I think you will too. Enjoy.
If you’re looking to open a performance shop then you need to listen to this episode! Dave Donnals and Chris Delgado speak from experience. Dave runs the business and works on CAD modeling. Chris handles tuning and product development around the engine management side of things. They’ve both been in the game for over a decade and learned from experience. Their company D3 Performance Engineering was launched with a solid plan in place and they’re here to share their experience and offer some really valuable advice!
Reid’s take away: The advice in this episode is solid, so please take it to heart! A word of caution for aspiring business-owners; Chris Delgado has a solid understanding of engine tuning and a great network of fellow tuners that he can call friends. One reason that D3 is having success is because of this. It takes more than just passion and work-ethic to succeed in the performance world. You must also have a solid understanding of your topic.
Todd Lewis came from a family of tradesmen in Australia. After 10 years of schooling, he followed the family path and got an apprenticeship as a motor mechanic. Because of his family’s machining background and his willingness to work hard, Todd moved up the ladder quickly. He gained experience as a mechanic before applying for a job at the company that he’s now the owner of.
The performance industry is largely driven by people with little to no business experience. This is especially true at the shop level. That makes the barrier to entry very small, as most shop owners don’t have a business plan and have very few systems in place. Usually the shop owner IS the system! Jordan Watson has a different approach. Jordan spent the first part of his career gaining an understanding of the performance street car community, and now he’s working to create a systems-based approach to his performance services business. His goal is to create a company-wide system that allows for a consistent experience every time you step foot in his shop. This way the company can scale and open multiple stores in different cities and states. He uses Home Depot for an analogy by saying that every Home Depot is largely the same across the country, so you know what to expect when you go there whether you’re in Washington State or Texas. What if you could expect the same from a speed shop? Impossible? Time will tell!
Scott Kuhner has created Emtron Australia, an ECU manufacturer that focuses on creative engine control functions and close dealer relationships. Having owned multiple businesses over the years Scott discusses in detail some of the hurdles he’s faced in his businesses. Specific hurdles include dealing with outside engineering consulting firms, and as Scott calls it “the money machine” just keeps on rolling when developing new products. He explains how “scope creep” affects the process, and don’t worry we talk about engine control tech too!