Brady has also put some money into creating a job tracking system for the service department, improving it on all ends. To prevent technicians from picking and choosing which jobs they wanted, each was given an inbox where jobs assigned to them are placed. When handing over the jobs, the person writing the service order will consider each technician’s skill level and strengths before assigning it appropriately.
Job status is tracked and falls into one of three categories: “jobs in progress”, “parts ordered” and “to be worked on”. “This way we know exactly where we are,” explains Brady. “When a customer calls to ask about their machine, we can easily tell them the status. One thing we always do is keep the customer in the loop.”
Brady has chosen to control the dealership operation as best he can, where he can. “In the front part of the business, you’re restricted by margins and many other things,” says Brady. “The backroom is your money-making machine and we try to get the efficiency up.”
FAMILY AND FUTURE
As far as the next step for the family business, the Bradys are certain what their future holds. Plans to transition the business to son Tom’s ownership are already underway. Tom has been a part of the business’ success since his college graduation. Though his own son is only two years of age, the family hopes he will one day share the same passion as his father and grandfather.
Steve Brady plans to make himself readily available if Tom has any questions or wants to talk over any ideas he has for the business. Brady’s wife Carolyn will also continue to do the dealership’s book working and Tom’s sister Stephanie Fiege will remain as a counterperson. Though his parents will be around the dealership on a daily basis, the bulk of the workload and decision-making will be left up to Tom, something the whole family thinks he is ready for.
“He’s going to make all of the decisions and I’ve learned to step back and let him do his thing,” Brady confidently shares. “He is very capable of doing what he has to do.” Tom has already begun making plans for the dealership’s next phase. His plans may include taking on a line of snow equipment, spreaders and plows.
Tom has come a long way since his days working in the dealership service department where Carolyn says he was their best tech. “He is the person of last resort,” Brady explains. “If anything can’t be fixed, he’s the one who comes out and takes care of it. It’s good because the guys know that somebody will be able to bail them out of something they are not capable of or just can’t get.”
Tom has taken a lot of pressure off the techs, and will now be taking some of that same pressure off his parents. After two decades owning and operating Brady’s Outdoor Power and nearly another 10 years performing equipment repairs, Steve and Carolyn Brady are ready for the transition and grateful it is going so smoothly. “I’m super fortunate because not many people have another generation for the business to go to,” says Brady. "Times do change, but this business will be here for another generation."