Running a Shop Snap Shop

Snap Shop: Moody’s Heavy Duty

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  1. Shifting Gears

Shawn Moody一founder of 13-location MSO Moody’s Co-Worker Owned一had always wanted to expand into Bangor, Maine, roughly two hours north of the company’s headquarters in Gorham and a commercial hotbed for the state. Moody had his sights set on adding another light-duty collision repair center, but while looking in the area, he found a brownfield site that a former utility company used as a maintenance and operations facility. 

While Moody’s other shops were light-duty shops, the location didn’t make sense for another. Instead he saw it as an opportunity to get into the heavy-duty market, something he always wanted to do. 

“None of our previous buildings were suited for commercial vehicles, and Bangor is the trucking capital of the state. I said, ‘Let’s shift gears,’” Moody says. 

  1. A Whole New Objective 

Moody compares the relationship between light-duty and heavy-duty as “apples and grapefruit”—it’s a totally different venture. That contrast is never more stark than with the curb appeal. No longer was Moody worried about wowing the everyday customer; there is no glitz and glamour to the lobby or large signage outside the shop. In fact, Moody took down much of the shop’s signage because customers confused it with the light-duty auto body shops. Now it just has a small sign. 

“Trucking is really a wholesale business. You’re dealing with general managers off-site and the drivers don’t care. You don’t necessarily need curb appeal,” he says.

Moody gets most of his clientele from other trucking companies who recommend him. This has been the predominant customer acquisition tool, further diminishing the importance of curb appeal and signage at this location. 

  1. An Inside Look

With roughly 50,000 square feet to work with, the shop can fit five trucks on each end and four more in the central area of the shop floor. 

Among the highlights in the shop is a 60-by-20-foot paint booth. During the installation process, the spray booth fit by just a single inch, Moody says. Each of the garage doors are 16 feet high and the ceilings are 20 feet high at the lowest points. Moody’s staff had to re-pour roughly half of the concrete floors to meet certification standards, along with extending the sprinkler system and using more than 200 gallons of white paint. 

The shop has post lifts that lift the trucks up as much as six feet in the air and the shop needed to acquire special air guns and hand tools that were heavier than light-duty versions. 

“This building is a fortress now,” Moody says. 

  1. Finding Extra Space 

Among the biggest differences in running a light-duty and heavy-duty shop is the space that’s needed to maneuver the vehicles, Moody says. 

The shop sits on over three acres of land, and Moody recommends a shop has at least that, if not five or six acres. While it seems obvious that a heavy-duty shop needs more space to maneuver vehicles, it’s hard to understand just how much is needed until you actually have a shop, Moody says. 

To gain perspective, Moody sent members of his company to other truck shops the company had a previous relationship with, to better understand the needed workflow and what processes needed to change to better fit the heavy-duty industry. 

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