He also stopped letting service advisers discount prices if customers complained or balked at having work done because of the cost.
"Advisers were discounting a lot, and it almost became a negotiation. I wanted to get the advisers out of price negotiations and have fair, competitive, everyday low pricing — and stick to that pricing," he said.
Ganley adopted service prices that weren't necessarily lower but were competitive with franchised and independent shops. Housholder said he also didn't bait customers with money-losing offers and then try to sell them additional services.
"I wanted it to be very transparent. 'Here's our pricing. It's competitive, and, yes, you will find facilities that are lower, but we add value. We wash cars, we have factory-trained technicians, we perform multi-point inspections, we use factory parts.' A customer is OK with that," he said.
One of Ganley's Ford stores ran a $4.95 oil-change special for years before Housholder arrived, but he quickly ended that.
"It brought in clientele that were strictly price shopping. People would drive 30 miles to get a $4.95 oil change. The problem was, they had old, beat-up cars with coat hangers for antennas and exhaust systems bail-wired up. These customers just wanted the lowest price, and it drove their regular clientele away because they didn't want to wait in line with those who were a little rough in some cases," Housholder said.
"My philosophy has always been that I want the next group of customers who want value, instead of going after the lowest-price customers who will leave you as soon as somebody else offers a lower price. Somebody can always beat us on price; they can't beat us on value."
Although the Ganley group was focused on cutting costs, it also increased spending on training service advisers to perform walk-arounds and promote multi-point inspections and menu pricing. In addition, the training sought to improve the service advisers' sales techniques so they didn't alienate customers by presenting them with a budget-busting list of repairs.