What's in Your Shop?

How a Leading Dealer Has Created a Well-Oiled Machine

Tim Peterson's service department in his San Luis Obispo, CA, dealership.
Tim Peterson's service department in his San Luis Obispo, CA, dealership.

Tim Peterson has owned his San Luis Obispo, CA, Noble Power Equipment dealership since 1985. Since then he has continuously invested in technology and tools in the service department, focusing on the dealership’s profit center.

He has paid special attention to providing technicians with tools to make their jobs easier and their work more efficient. Their work mirrors the clean and organized shop. Here is a peak into his service department and what helps it run smoothly and profitably.

Flat Lift

The shop has a flat table lift that was designed for use in the motorcycle industry. Many people buy them for outdoor power equipment to be able to raise lighter machines (750 pounds).

“We actually use it for quite a few different things other than just working on our power equipment,” explains Peterson. “It works nicely as a workbench too.”

Shop Lifts

“Lifts are something that we use every single day all day long,” says Peterson. “It’s nice not being on the ground. Efficiency goes up a lot and technicians’ backs and knees are protected.”

The lift located in the center of the shop can be raised overhead allowing the technicians to quickly complete underbody repairs without lying on the ground. Width and length can be adjusted as needed, and it has the capacity to hold up to 2,000 pounds.

Everything in Its Place

“What means more to me than anything is a clean shop,” says Peterson. “My grandpa always told me that if you have a clean shop you do clean work. That goes back to safety as well.” All hand tools are organized on the peg board, keeping the work stations clean. Having everything in its appropriate place makes tools easy to find, helping efficiency.

Safety First

Peterson once tripped over an air hose lying on the floor of the shop, spraining his thumb and rendering him useless in the shop for days. The shop now has retractable hoses and better organization to keep things off the floor and work surfaces. Plywood was installed to cover the front of all the benches to prevent techs from storing things there haphazardly.


There are 13 computers in the store, all equipped with Ideal Computer Systems software. Four computers are located in the shop and two in the parts department, which is right next to the service department. “Each tech has their own computer at their workstation for accessing work orders, and looking up and ordering parts without having to leave their bench,” says Peterson.

A parts picker delivers specialty parts to technicians, while frequently used things like spark plugs, trimmer line and fuel filters are located in the shop.