Johnny’s Automotive went from one store to three stores in 16 months — a move the owners say wouldn’t have been possible without Protractor.
The Donahue family — Dad Brian, Mom Niki, and daughters Niki and Sahra — is 17 years into building Johnny’s Automotive into an institution in Florida’s Polk County Area — one that “never puts money ahead of people,” as the three-store chain’s mission statement reads.
Sahra, who was six years old when her father opened the Haines City location in 2006, says the business has been on a post-pandemic growing spree, one that seemed to coincide with Johnny’s move from Mitchell-1 to Protractor in 2021. “We just kept hearing the Protractor name pop up — at other shops, in mastermind groups, and at Transformers University. It’s what everyone seemed to be using,” she says. “It’s a really smart system, but you have to invest time learning and building it how you want it. I would recommend it based on our progress since adopting the system — how it helped us identify where problems exist.”
Expansion happened over 16 months, with Johnny’s Automotive adding the Winter Haven location in September 2021 before acquiring the Lake Wales location — where Sahra serves as the service advisor — in December 2022. By then, Johnny’s had Protractor customized how they wanted it. “The third shop we added happened fast. And they literally went from pen and paper to Protractor overnight, and I know they love it,” she says. “What made Protractor the best option for us is we could transition all those learnings and settings right into the new stores. I’m not sure what we would have done without it.” “The other thing is, we’ll move technicians around,” she adds.
Because we’re on Protractor enterprise, they simply log in with their credentials, and everything they need goes with them.”
LEVELING UP OPERATIONS
Sahra says she’s still amazed by how powerful the shop management system (SMS) is every time she flips it on or ventures into another feature. That happened when Johnny’s assumed the fleet accounts that came with the Lake Wales location. Johnny’s had never managed fleet accounts prior to the acquisition. Protractor’s accounting tool made the transition simple.
Protractor also changed how Johnny’s manages parts warranties and inventory. While she admits the chain hasn’t fully tapped Protractor’s capabilities, Sahra says there’s no more digging for invoices for returns. One thing Johnny’s asked Protractor’s support team to do was consolidate every report the operation checks regularly into one report — a huge time-saver recommended by a member of Protractor’s Facebook user group. The support team also helped Johnny’s define its margin matrix rules that determine how Johnny’s margin matrices apply to selling prices. The support team did the same on the labor side.
Sahra says the ability to analyze operations in real-time has proved especially helpful, as has Protractor’s ability to flag errors like missing labor lines or parts pricing. Then there’s the report within Protractor that tracks services sold. Sahra says the tool has inspired a number of canned jobs employed across the operation.
In her role as service advisor, Sahra says the SMS has been life-changing — from the seamless integration with the operation’s digital vehicle inspection tool and parts suppliers to how quickly she can move through the writeup process. The feature she really appreciates is the ability to add notes to customer profiles — a capability that allows Johnny’s to deliver a personalized service experience.
“With Protractor, I can note in the customer’s contact if it’s the wife’s car, whether the customer works nights, how long they intend to keep the car — information that directs how we engage customers in our database,” she says. “And that information is shared across the enterprise. So, if a customer goes to another store, the advisor understands what the vehicle means to them — how hard to go for a sale.
Protractor changes lives,” she adds. “It has everything you need to take your shop to the next level.