Knock Off the F*$#ing Excuses!

by Jerry McNee

Now, I know that we all have a lot of fun at work (ha), but it’s time to break away from the four walls of your shop to attend the 2024 NORTHEAST® Automotive Services Show – scheduled for March 15-17 at the Meadowlands Exposition Center (MEC) in Secaucus, NJ – the best thing about being part of this industry!

If knowledge is power, that means education is the key to unlocking that power and your success. NORTHEAST is the largest regional automotive trade show in the country where the best of the best share their knowledge to help shops move forward and do better (check out this year’s educational slate on page 28). And it’s where over 150 exhibitors showcase the latest tools, products, equipment and services. Not to mention, where else do you have a chance to win $500 in NORTHEAST Dollars or compete against other auto body repairers to prove you’re the best in the Bodywork Bowl? 

But I get it; I used to be the same way…You’re too busy to get away from the monotony. “I’ve got cars to get out the door.” “Weekends are my chance to veg out and put my feet up; I can’t miss reruns of my favorite TV show.” Excuses, excuses, excuses. We’ve all got them because they’re easy to come up with, but you know what they say about excuses, right?

Well, there are lots of things they say about excuses, but perhaps the most relevant for independent shop owners is that excuses lead to missed opportunities and hinder our progress toward our goals. That also happens when you get stuck inside the same old box, doing the same thing day after day without ever lifting your head to look around you. NORTHEAST is a prime opportunity to see the world outside your shop in a brand new light. It just means that you have to be open-minded enough to accept something new.

Stop dwelling on what else you could be doing and focus on what just might happen if you invest the time and energy into doing something different, stepping outside that damn box and getting involved with the best thing happening in 2024, right in your own backyard! 

You’re going to learn something new that helps improve your business. You’ll meet new people with similar or different ideas that might lead to implementing a process improvement in your shop (or even just making a new friend to grab a cold beer with while walking around the show floor). You may find some new tools and equipment to make your job easier come Monday morning. And that’s just during show hours! After the doors close at the Meadowlands, you can grab dinner and drinks with friends and engage in invaluable conversations with some of the industry’s finest – that’s the cherry on the cake!

Over the years, I’ve learned that working harder for less isn’t the answer, but uncovering the solution to our industry’s many problems requires putting our brains together, and NORTHEAST is the best place for repairers to gather as much information as you can because you’ll have the chance to ask questions and have more in-depth discussions with others who really understand the challenges you face.

For those of you who show up for just a few hours to strut your stuff, you have gained nothing when there’s so much that’s being offered, so take the time to really show up and get involved. 

Running a shop can definitely be difficult, but what have you done to improve your business and this industry yesterday, today or tomorrow? Nothing in, nothing out. 

Supposedly, death and taxes are the only thing guaranteed in this life, but I can guarantee something else: you’re going to gain a lot more from attending NORTHEAST than you would get from sitting at home and watching TV in your underwear. So, stop second guessing what you’re going to be doing March 15-17 and just do it! Register now at

Want more? Check out the March 2024 issue of New Jersey Automotive!