2019 FenderBender Awards: Brian Greenley
Brian Greenley recalls the evening vividly.
One night, long ago, Greenley returned home late, after a busy day spent running his Colorado body shop. The lights were out and his wife was unhappy; she had thrown dinner away, after growing reasonably frustrated with Greenley’s tardiness.
“That really resonated with me,” Greenley recalls. “After that, being in business for 30 years now, I can count on one hand how many times I’ve been late for dinner.”
These days, that guiding principle extends to Greenley’s employees at Maaco Littleton, too: Family comes first. Greenley’s high-volume facility, which repairs 485 vehicles per month, can be busy enough to resemble a Walmart parking lot, yet he still insists that employees end their work days, with rare exception, around 5:30 p.m.
Greenley tells employees: “Listen, your family counts on you to be home, at the dinner table, at 6. What we have to do is come in a little bit earlier; when your family’s asleep, they’re probably not going to miss us—I’d rather get up a little earlier and hit the day head on.”
Yes, Greenley pulls into his shop’s parking lot at precisely 6:23 most mornings, and preaches a familial philosophy: Basically, if everyone simply focuses on performing their roles, it benefits the greater good of the shop.
And does it ever. Maaco Littleton has set production records for its national chain countless times over the years. Currently, the shop rakes in $8 million in annual revenue.
Greenley has earned numerous awards in his career, such as the International Franchisee Association’s Franchisee of the Year Award, and was the first honoree with regard to the Maaco Hall of Fame Award. Additionally, the shop owner, who chairs a marketing and advertising council for Maaco corporate, has also become an industry advocate and has testified before a Congressional committee on behalf of policies that aid small business.
Fellow shop owners often visit Greenley in Colorado, in an effort to learn his business tactics. What they typically observe are fine-tuned shop processes.
“When franchise owners come and visit me, one of the things they recognize and say is, ‘Brian, how can you be so busy, [yet] it doesn’t feel chaotic in your shop?’
“It’s recognizing your limitations, and exploiting your greatest attributes,” adds Greenley, whose shop largely does light collision work, along with perhaps three heavy hits per week. “You might be a shop that wants to replace frame rails on every single car, and pull the engines. But your shop has to be set up and capable, and your staff has to be trained with the proper equipment to be able to do that car day in and day out.”
Greenley utilizes a production system focused on efficiency. He prefers to break repair work into segments for his staff: one shop worker does sanding, the next employee on the assembly line does masking, while the next in line does pre-prep paint. Meanwhile, the shop’s two main painters rarely stray from their main focus.
The longtime shop owner clearly defines his staff members’ roles. That way, they can work in unison, consistently churning out repair work that results in a sterling, 97 percent CSI score.
“When that car comes in,” Greenley says, “someone has to document the current condition of it. Someone has to check the status of the parts. Someone has to know which technician is available, trained, certified, and capable of fixing that car.
“Because, guess what? If that car requires a certain skill level, and it goes to the wrong technician, you potentially have a re-do, a slower repair process, a dissatisfied customer, and an upset insurance company,” adds Greenley, whose shop has six DRPs.
After nearly three decades as a shop owner, Greenley’s business approach is proven. He has production managers, painters and body techs that have stuck with the Colorado facility since Greenley’s early days as shop operator, in 1990.
And, his wife, Barb, has remained at his side—even after her husband briefly lost sight of his priorities one night long ago.
“You get out of life as much as you put into it,” Brian Greenley says. “And business is very much the same way.”