Chris Stephens is a component of a three-man hit staff of hope in a collection referred to as Garage Rehab, now again for season two on Discovery.
The expertise Chris has operating an actual storage is invaluable to the individuals who hunt down the present star Richard Rawlings in a bid to up their backside line.
Stephens is a storage proprietor himself, operating Eurotech Classics in Fredricksburg, Maryland together with his brother.
Followers of the present know that Rawlings has constructed an empire because the proprietor of Fuel Monkey Garage in Dallas, TX, and his returning newer collection premise of “rehabbing” struggling garages throughout America is an informative watch.
It provides observers who is perhaps storage house owners nice recommendations on enhancing their stability sheet.
On this collection, Stephens is partnered with New Yorker Russell J. Holmes together with Richard as they journey the nation to discover storage companies in want of restoration and rethinking enterprise plans.
“This season, in addition to working the biggest build in GARAGE REHAB history (a 20,000 square foot collision repair shop), Richard and his expert team take on their most important rehab yet – a veteran-run garage that teaches automotive repair skills to men and women transitioning out of military service.”
We spoke to Chris Stephens about this thrilling season two of Garage Rehab.
Monsters and Critics: Are you down in Texas proper now with Rawlings?
Chris Stephens: No. I truly reside in Maryland. I’ve my very own automotive store out right here in western Maryland. It’s fairly chilly right here.
M&C: You guys all come collectively for the manufacturing I assume?
Chris: Sure. Nicely, we journey everywhere in the nation, I don’t actually need to be based mostly in Texas.
Truly my different co-host [Russell Holmes], he was dwelling in Lengthy Island, New York, so we have been each touring from the east coast and going wherever these garages wanted our assist.
M&C You guys went to Sturgis, South Dakota. You’d assume that no auto store in Sturgis can be in hassle. How did the Jacobs (household) discover you?
Chris: That was the Season 2 premiere. They knew concerning the present. They know the way it works. They [Jacobs] have been like, “Listen. We need help.”
That they had a terrific fuel station, however truly what you come to discover out that fuel stations themselves, you don’t make lots of cash off the gasoline.
You want to get them in on every little thing else from both your merchandise or your comfort retailer stuff, and then clearly with the service.
They weren’t servicing bikes, and their service division was very disorganized, and they weren’t taking full benefit of the a million those that come to Sturgis for that one+ week a yr.
M&C: It might be cool to be at a vacation spot the place you can truly take a look at issues, both historic stuff like a museum when ready on your automotive. Proper? No one needs to simply sit there and learn an previous journal. You need to see issues and some purchase or eat some good issues.
Chris: The opposite factor is automotive outlets have a had a reasonably dangerous rap over a pair of years.
We’re making an attempt to make them just a little extra inviting…my rule is all the time like, “If my mother can’t go in there by herself, feel comfortable, get in her car serviced and use the restroom there, then you’ve got a problem.”
I all the time attempt to do this means. If it feels unwelcoming, we’d like to change that. If the dimensions are complicated on what they do, we’d like to change that.
Even the method, the step-by-step on how a automotive will get serviced, we should always change that too. So much of these locations, they’re surviving off of phrase of mouth or as a result of they’ve been round perpetually, however they’re not likely gaining any new clients.
We would like anyone to find a way to see a store and look it up on the web, and it’s very clear on what they do and what they service. That’s what we’re making an attempt to change.
M&C: Positive. Rehab prices cash. These individuals are reaching out to you as a result of clearly they’re skating on skinny margins. The place does the cash come from and how does Richard receives a commission? How do you’re employed that half of it?
Chris: Sure. I feel it’s as a result of, you’re proper, it’s this one final try. Proper? As a result of of what Richard Rawlings and Fuel Monkey, just like the rods, they’re following.
What they will do for this firm is lots totally different than what a financial institution can mortgage you cash. The financial institution may mortgage you cash. They’re not going to inform you how to use that cash actually, and what they will do for it.
Richard places all of it on the road. Even after we do that rehab and you’re having hassle, you continue to have virtually this hotline. You could have this Fuel Monkey behind you to make it easier to alongside the best way.
That’s so much of the behind the scenes that no one is aware of about is that we’re serving to them. Me and additionally Richard, even after we depart, we nonetheless keep in contact with the house owners and staff in the event that they’re asking for another ideas, or if they need to change one thing.
We’re solely on the market for a pair of days and we end this complete storage.
However we’d love to stick with them for a pair of weeks like a new child or a new pet. As soon as they begin determining how every little thing works, we give them the whole lot.
We give all of them these concepts, all this new gear, and we modify their whole enterprise. Typically it may be very startling for them like, “Oh my God. Now, what do I do?”
We all know we’ve to keep on the telephone with them, by way of emails, and DM’s, and Instagram, and social media. We’re making an attempt to assist them construct alongside the best way. I feel we’ve executed a reasonably good job on that. That’s stuff you simply don’t see on TV.
M&C: Properly, it’s apparent when a hydraulic raise is repaired or changed, or gear is upgraded, that helps the enterprise.
What are some low value or no value issues that storage house owners, can do instantly to their very own store to up their dollars the place individuals truly like coming there even they’ve to get their automotive repaired?
Chris: One of the simplest issues is cleanliness as a result of it doesn’t value any cash. Should you’ve acquired junk automobiles, and each store does, for those who’ve some automobiles sitting out entrance, out again, and on the aspect, it’s going to appear to be a dumpy place. It actually prices no cash.
Truly, you can also make cash promoting scrap, cash getting rid of these vans.
Should you’ve received a venture automotive that’s been dwelling inside your store, which each store does, I’ll truly work out what number of sq. ft that automotive takes up in the store, and then inform them how a lot it prices them per thirty days in the event that they’re leasing this constructing.
That eye-opening like, “Oh my God. I’m spending 500 bucks for this car to sit there?” You go, “Yeah.”
Typically it’s time to reduce it unfastened, clear your slate, and have a pleasant clear place as a result of no one’s going to come and be like, “Oh you got that old Camaro sitting in the corner. Now I know I can trust you working on my mini-van.” That by no means makes any sense.
I feel the three issues, and this will apply to any sort of enterprise, be certain that it’s clear and organized, which ought to value you no cash.
Additionally, the indicators. I actually say much less is extra as a result of rather a lot of these outlets may have 200 indicators on their property.
Typically we’ll rely up to 50 indicators on the entrance of the place to park, and we service this, and we will do mufflers, and brakes, and transmissions. Yeah. We all know. You are able to do all of it. Simplify your signage.
Make it clearer and straightforward to perceive. I feel these are some of the freebies that any enterprise can apply.
M&C: It looks like so much of these garages, too, are a repository for vintage indicators with our cash supply. You possibly can name the American Pickers, proper, and say, “Hey.”
Chris: I’m telling you I’ve acquired a rule as a result of I personal my very own store out right here in Frederick, Maryland. I’ve had it for 15 years. We specialize in classic and basic European automobiles.
It’s onerous to keep up on that cleanliness and staying organized since you want these previous elements round.
The place another place that does basic upkeep, you don’t want previous elements round.
My rule, this can be a rule of thumb, is it (inside of storage) ought to by no means have something greater than $500 hanging on a wall.
What I imply by that’s some of these fuel station indicators, or previous dealership indicators, are value massive bucks.
There’s no purpose for you could have that in your store simply so someone can take a look at it particularly should you’re already struggling.
Some of the primary issues, I’ll come into a store and go, “Well, I can count up $1500 bucks worth of just gas stations you’ve got hanging up. That will pay your rent for month, right there.”
That’s my rule of thumb. By no means have something greater than 500 bucks.
Additionally, why have another person’s emblem hanging up?
I perceive it’s cool to have a Harley Davidson signal or a Ford signal, however you’re not Harley, and you’re not Ford.
You need to have your personal emblem up there. One of the issues about Fuel Monkey Garage is once you pull up, it doesn’t say anything aside from Fuel Monkey Garage.
You realize his emblem. You understand his signal. Inside, he’s beginning to gather, and he’s allowed to do this, however on the surface, he has no one else’s emblem however his personal.
That’s a very good factor. An excellent factor to go on is should you’ve obtained a enterprise have your emblem… not somebody’s else’s.
M&C: You guys are like a advertising SWAT staff. Inform me concerning the storage run by veterans that additionally train automotive restore expertise to individuals transitioning from the army. Are you able to inform me about this coming episode?
Chris: [Laughs] Yeah. I can in all probability offer you some teasers about it. Sure.
That is for any enterprise is we’d like extra locations for veterans to get acclimated again into this society, but in addition a spot for that comradery the place you’ve received that actual brother and sisterhood that comes collectively as a result of that’s what they’re used to.
They’re abroad and they’ve received to work collectively. They’re actually defending one another every single day.
You then come out right here, and it’s a special ball recreation. I like to see a spot the place individuals can go. They need to look. Simply guys and women, and they’re abroad, and they arrive again over.
Once they’re at struggle and they arrive again, they don’t need to sit at residence. They need to get collectively and have that comradery once more.
This can be a store that’s precisely that. We principally assist put collectively a plan and a format the place not solely can they service automobiles in their group, but in addition they will train different veterans on how to work on these automobiles.
There’s some twists that we’ve executed, but in addition there’s no handicap. Everyone can use the gear. It’s very straightforward for them to work round it.
In case you’re disabled, we have now specifically constructed gear for disabled vets. I feel that is going to be actually, actually, it’s going to be superior. It’s in all probability going to tug at your coronary heart string just a little bit although.
M&C: Are you able to inform me the place this storage is situated?
Chris: Journey from the Atlanta, Georgia space.
M&C: You then went to South Dakota…
Chris: Sturgis, South Dakota. That’s a wonderful state. I’ve by no means been up there. I’m telling you in case you ever want a trip spot to go, see Mount Rushmore.
Not solely is Sturgis an enormous deal, however there’s so many hundreds of thousands of folks that come to South Dakota, which the place they’re at, Sturgis could be very shut to Mount Rushmore. Simply the tourism too.
That’s one other factor. They (Jacobs household) wanted to capitalize on that. Yeah. We’ve accomplished South Dakota and California. We went down south, fairly far down south, perhaps the farthest down south [you] go in this nation. I’ll depart it at that.
M&C: The place else?
Chris: Two islands (in the south), yeah, that wanted assist. You’ve obtained to assume, they’ve had some dangerous storms come by way of lots of the resort areas, and they need assistance too.
M&C: Was that Padre Island (Texas) you have been down in?
Chris: Shut to that. Yeah. Say no extra. We’ve been all over the place. The one factor we haven’t been up to is the northeast.
I’m hoping that we’ll see slightly bit extra northeast come up in the subsequent couple of garages that we’re going to be doing.
M&C: I’m positive area is a matter too in the northeast. I do know you guys have been seeing outdoors of customized builds and we having older automobiles, individuals are driving hybrids and electrical automobiles now. That’s an entire totally different talent set. Do you’ve got an opinion about that or something you need to say?
Chris: Properly, one of the issues that we’re going to see with quite a bit of the hybrid and electrical automobiles is disposal of the batteries when these want to be modified.
Quite a bit of hybrids include greater than six batteries contained in the car. We’re going to have to have particular outlets that understand how to service and correctly recycle these batteries.
I haven’t seen that but as a result of nonetheless that hybrid know-how is slightly bit new. We can be seeing that.
We’re going to see outlets that specialize in hybrid know-how and electrical automobiles.
Personally, I haven’t been round it. The outlets that we’ve carried out are somewhat bit extra established. They’ve been round for 15, 20 years, in order that they actually haven’t been messing with these.
Even once we have been out in Sturgis, as we’re doing the store, as we’re making an attempt to work on the store, clients they’re nonetheless coming in.
It’s everyone from me, Russell, or Richard, and even the digital camera guys go up to these clients and go to clarify the state of affairs, “Oh we’re currently rehabbing this garage, but yet they’re still open. Here’s a phone number. You can contact them.”
Right here was a Tesla SUV in Sturgis, South Dakota that wanted a tire modified. That tire is totally different on a Tesla than a traditional car, so we now have to ensure that he’s going to have gear that’s going to have the ability to service every thing even so simple as a Tesla tire.
Sure, the SUVs, the electrical automobiles, the hybrid automobiles, they’re going to be a bit of bit totally different to service.
Having the programmable gear to have the ability to reset and examine a tire strain monitor system on some of these newer automobiles is required.
We make it possible for in the event that they’re going have something to do with tires or that sort of upkeep that you simply’re going to have the gear that’s going to give you the option to scan that principally ensure that that automotive by no means has to depart to go to one other store or dealership.
It ought to stick with you. You must by no means have to ship it down the street. That’s what we attempt to do.
Garage Rehab premieres Tuesday, January eight at 8PM ET/PT. New episodes will proceed to air Tuesdays at 9PM ET/PT.