Don’s State of the Industry

By: McLachlan Auto Solutions   |   07 Dec 2016
It Starts With a Story

The key to being the successful Dealer Principal that I am today begins with a story, from me to you.

I started working early on, perhaps as young as six years old, at my Dad’s GM dealership. I helped him out in the shop by holding his tools and watching him work. As a teenager, I started spending more time after school hours messing around with vehicles and getting on my Dad's nerves by spreading his tools all over the place.

Fresh out of high school I began working for my father and started my apprenticeship as a mechanic. I achieved journeyman status in 1980. That was a very proud day for my father and I. One evening, I remember going to the bar with a whole bunch of fellow employees from the shop. I was in my early 20’s. To this day I recall sitting around a big table drinking beer and telling some of my fellow employees that one day, some of them will be working for me.

Most, if not all of them, laughed at me. Two weeks before my 26th birthday in 1982, I started into business on my own in a three-bay gas station. Things were completely different compared to what they are now with the exception of the fundamentals of business.

I've seen many things in business including horrific swings in the stock market, massive layoffs at the local smelter, home mortgage interest rates exceeding 17%, the tragedy of 9/11 and the worst economic upset that I can ever remember in 2008.

It's hard to believe that I made it through them all.

In 1999, I moved my business from an Esso gas and service station to the location I am currently at. It was a bold move into a 15,000 square-foot building and I can tell you that although the challenge scared the crap out of both my wife and I, together we were up to the challenge.

Roughly 40 years later, I can say that a few of those friends who laughed back in that bar all those years ago have indeed worked for me. I'm certain that my late father is also proud of that fact.

In the end it boils down to what it's all about. The answer to that is not as complicated as some would think. It's about making a proper living and it's about taking care of your customers. That's not as easy as some would think. After all, if it was that easy there would be a heck of a lot more people in business and there are now.

I once heard a saying that if you take care of your customers during good times, they will take care of you during bad times. That saying couldn't be more true. I have seen some incredibly good times and some terribly bad times, but they are times that I wouldn't trade for anything.

I can tell you that there have been many occasions over the past 35 years that my wife and I have looked at each other and wondered what the hell we are doing. So that begs the question why I would continue down this route.

It's all about passion. I have always been a passionate person. I am not a quitter and I have never been more passionate about my business and I am now. So why is that? At the age of 60 now it's about legacy.

I think it's fair to say that most would think that legacy has to do with people remembering your name and who you were after you have passed. That's not what legacy is to me. To me, legacy is all about how you have touched and changed the people who you have been in contact with.

It's about how you have taken care of your customers. It's about changing the lives of people who have worked for you. It's about the feeling that you have done something right.

That's how I feel about my business. My wife and I have done something right and although it's been tough we know that we have made a difference. If everything goes the way it should, in four years I will be passing the baton along to somebody who I am proud to know. A man who has as much passion for this business as I do. And I'm certain that Karl will do the same thing.

So you wanted to know what it's like to be the owner and general manager of a business? Here it is. It's all about what you have accomplished with your customers and with the people who join you in this business as we continue the journey to the future.

Being in business is all about the future, and the future is nothing short of incredible.


At McLachlan Auto Solutions, we’re all about the future of business. We listen to our customers needs and accommodate them with service that is appropriate, affordable, and most of all, an interaction they’ll never forget.  We pride ourselves on our commitment to our customers and that includes everything from practicing and upholding excellent customer service, to answering whatever questions you may have pertaining to your vehicle, to perfecting performance tuning and custom upgrades just for you.

Do you have an important question regarding your vehicle? Send your questions or comments to us here at McLachlan Auto Solutions and we will happily send feedback. Call us today at 1-(855) 432-2022 or contact us online.


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