I am the operator for BHM Auto Service LLC and help with some fabrications in the garage. It all started then I was very young and my father and brother’s was in the driveway under the vehicles. I used to watch as him and my brothers would work on the family vehicles. We didn’t believe in taking the vehicle to the garage for anything that we could handle ourselves. After I got in my teen my brothers and I were in the car seen I guess you could say. We used to cruise up and down the street of Binghamton going from place to place to see who wanted to race their project car. I started with V8’s and the basic Firebird, Formula, and Camaro’s. You’re also talking 1994-1996, wow that was a while ago. I met my husband in 1994 and we reconnected in 2002, and it’s all garage time from there. We are a great team and we work in the garage together. We build together, race together, complain together, and have in-depth automotive conversations together. I run the family business BHM Auto Service LLC. We have 5 lifts, fabrication shop, and a fair amount of diagnostic equipment. BHM is a full functioning garage from basic maintenance, custom off road rigs, roll cages, fabrications, drift vehicles, drag cars, UTV modifications, UTV roll cages, UTV tube doors, and whatever walks in the door. I do all the sales, financial accounting, marketing, service writing, customer service, pricing, and garage work if needed.
I started working in a garage in 2010, but I have been in garages since I can remember. I was the office manager for Avery Auto Service LLC, Service Manager at Firestone Complete Auto Care, Store Manager at Mr. Tire, and now the president/ operator of BHM Auto Service LLC with Bonehead Fab. I just started to get in to fabricating with the 1984 Toyota 4Runner Build we have been working on for the last two years.
What is your welding experience?
I have welded on a few projects with my husband, and with my father-in-law. They have shown me a few tricks, but I am still in the beginning stage of welding. If push came to shove I could weld it to stay, but it might not be pretty.
My husband and I working together for fun in the garage
What is awesome about being a woman in the garage?
The look on the customers face when I don’t have to grab one of the guys to answer the questions, and diagnose their vehicle. There are still a few that want a man, but the guys usually let them know I could have helped them. I am part of a growing company, and get to learn about the automotive industry as it develops.
What are some projects or vehicles that you have worked on that you are most proud of?
- 1984 Toyota 4Runner Complete frame, roll cage, floors, firewall, and interior body panels fabricated out of steel.
- 1977 Chevy K1500 V8 race motor, mutha thumper cam, frame up rebuild, and mud truck
- Rat Rod T Bucket, Frame, suspension attachment points, front axle, all fabricated, and more
- 1974 Buick Rivera dropped low
I am currently working with my husband on a 1985 AE86 Toyota Corolla Drift car full roll cage, front tubed frame, new rockers, fenders, and much more. My father-in-law is also leading the build on a 2017 Maverick X3 UTV.
Don’t give up on what you want. There are so many road blocks, but usually men are accepting to a lady willing to get her hands dirty or ever be a service writer. Learn your systems, and all the experience and knowledge will come in time. Don’t let the difficult situations break you. Learn the common problems, know what you need to do a job, and make sure to estimate all of it. Example: Some timing belts require you to remove the water pump. Sell the job with the water pump and timing kit, coolant, labor, and anything that is required to accomplish the job. If you’re a tech make sure the service writer understands the job, and explain it if not. COMMUNICATION!
Being in a garage can be very stressful at times. Time management is essential to keeping the customers happy, and keep the customer informed as soon as you can. Follow up on the techs, and make sure they know the plan. Listen to your techs they are your greatest asset. Respect your techs, and learn together. To run a garage successfully I believe you must have a great team, great communication, and be willing to listen. Don’t let the little things stress you out or you will be overwhelmed quickly, learn to prioritize, and overcome.
The book will get written if you're all on the same page!
What are you hoping to learn during the Ladies Offroad Garage?
How to be competitive in my current market, and build BHM into a national name for quality service. Learn better marking skills, get some tips on welding, meet some amazing people, and of course, I want to see some cool projects.
Click here to learn more about the 2017 Ladies Offroad Garage.
Author: Ann Woodward