The Keys To A Successful Shop
Article & Photos By: Peter Nowaskey
My name is Peter Nowaskey. I have been in and around a workshop for over 32 years. I am a Certified Motorcycle Technician, former Certified Diesel Technician, and former Certified Automotive Technician. In 2004, I opened Pistol Pete’s Custom Cycles in Menomonie, WI. My staff and I specialize in Harley-Davidson motorcycle performance. Over the years, we have been striving to perfect our workspace. After all, a well-thought-out and clean workshop makes for repeatable, quality work. At Pistol Pete’s, we focus on the details. We believe that our facility plays a crucial role in our success.
Today I would like to talk about THE SHOP.
The Shop Floor
The first key to a successful shop is the floor. Yes, that’s right, the floor. You must have a clean and well-kept floor. It is the foundation for a well-organized and professional workspace. A clean floor is a bright floor. It is easy to clean up spills and find that pesky nut that someone dropped. If possible, refinish the floor. Just know that you will have to refinish it someday. A shop is made to work in, so it will get beat up.
Another important factor is lighting. If attention to detail is your focus, then lighting is imperative. It is always a good thing to overlight your shop. It’s best not to have to rely on secondary light sources while working. The better the lighting, the easier it is on the technician working in that space. If possible, consult with a professional and have it done right the first time. You won’t regret it.
Walls and Shelves.
Paint your walls a bright color. White is best, but you will have to clean them once in a while. Clean, neatly painted walls make any workspace brighter and more pleasant to work in. Make sure you have ample shelf space on those walls. When working on multiple projects, it’s best to have well-thought-out shelving. It keeps everything organized and ready for the next step. In between projects, clean the shelves off and maintain a clean storage space for those high-end parts.
Tools and equipment.
Shop tools and equipment are an extension of the technician using them. Set yourself up for success. Outfit your shop with quality equipment that has a good warranty and support. Clean and maintain that equipment regularly. Stay updated on the things that make your work easier and more efficient. Invest in sound software systems for dealer management and vehicle diagnostics. Ensure that once you implement any of these systems, you have a plan to keep them up to date.
Last but not least, the bathroom.
A clean and well-maintained bathroom is essential for a successful shop. Make sure the facility is well stocked with all of the necessary items. Add some decoration and a nice mirror. Update the stool and the sink. Set a cleaning schedule and stick to it. Make it so your mother would be proud to use it. I can’t stress this enough.
A clean, professional shop is something that you can achieve “one step at a time.”
Most people can’t just “drop everything” and “start from zero.” You can, however, start by picking up a broom or a paintbrush. Start at one end and work through. Make a plan and block off a little time each week for cleaning. Pick a section of your facility to make improvements on. Do this on a regular basis and begin to see the difference!
At Pistol Pete’s Custom Cycles, we have combined these key factors to create the ultimate Performance Harley Shop. We believe that these factors play a major role in our ability to create and recreate industry-leading performance Harleys. Our customers can see the pride we take in our work and the care we use in handling their machines. We are constantly improving our workspace to ensure our customers have the best possible experience at Pistol Pete’s.
Thank you for reading about my Keys to a Successful shop. Future articles will touch on Showrooms, Rigs, Specialty Equipment, and Uniforms.