Follow The Future

Tuesday, March 15, 2022 | March 2022

How one shop owner used his passion for the changing industry to expand his growing business



Owner of My Mechanic auto repair shop in Illinois poses in front of shop bay garage glass doorThe field of auto repair could be described as a bit of a boomerang industry. Most people who try to leave the field end up getting pulled back for one reason or another. For the majority, fixing cars is just in their blood—and no matter where they end up in their career, they can’t stop working under the hood. This is proven to be true with Mike Larson, owner of My Mechanic in Elmhurst and Clarendon Hills, Ill. But something else also brought him back to the industry and has been the driving force behind his extreme success of growing the one-man shop he bought in 2001 into his current two-location business.

Larson’s interest in auto repair began in high school, and he soon found himself in community college for repair and with an ASE certification—all while working on cars throughout. Then, for a career shift, he decided to go back to school for mechanical engineering. Over a 12-year span, Larson worked at three different companies in the field—all while still working on cars on the side. But while Larson was working as a mechanical engineer, things in the automotive world were changing—cars were becoming more technical. And this technological shift is what boomeranged Larson back into auto repair.

“After receiving a highly technical education, I fell more in love with how vehicles work, how they function, and how to repair them,” he says.

Larson now takes his experience with mechanical engineering and passion for the industry to spearhead and grow his business.


In order to grow My Mechanic from a one-man shop into the two-location business it is today, Larson had to make a lot of changes. The first was to move from their original Brookfield home base to their current, more centralized Elmhurst location.

outside shop of My Mechanic auto repair shop in Illinois with signs, number, address“I was looking for a bigger facility to handle a larger capacity of customers,” he says. “The new location would also bring better organization and more parking.”

Moving to the new 6-bay building also brought on the opportunity and need to hire on more employees, building up a team of more full-time technicians and service writers. The larger team also required Larson to put a greater focus on how the shop would be run, including communication between the front office and the back of the shop—from advisors to technicians. The team now has monthly meetings and weekly check-ins as a way to communicate where everyone is at and what needs to be discussed.

“I've also taken training in the past that has helped me develop procedures and policies for the shop,” Larson explains. “The guidelines outline each process from beginning to end from when the customer brings in the car, to when the work order is written, to when it goes out to the technician.”

mechanics at My Mechanic auto repair shop in Illinois using tools to open head of engine on silver car in shop EXPANDING MARKETING PLANS

Larson attributes a lot of his growth to his marketing efforts throughout the years. Back when he first bought the shop he had a basic website for My Mechanic but has since updated the site and made it more user-friendly. Lively photos of staff and customers now welcome site visitors to the page with a large button labeled “Ready?” at the top to easily make an appointment. Reviews, staff photos, and contact information can be found further down the page. Tabs for more information on services, specials, and team members are filed at a top banner of along with a blog with entries filled with tips, facts, and debunking myths. Everything on the website is personable, simple to use, and helpful to current and potential customers.

His team also now makes weekly social media posts that link to the shop’s blog, as well as advertise deals and give holiday greetings. The shop has a newsletter that goes out to customers as well.

This boost in marketing is in part due to Larson’s business coach, who has a marketing background and helps with advice and other assistance with the shop’s website and online presence.

owner of My Mechanic in Illinois with service advisor sitting in office chairs behind the front desk of shop with blue brand colors in back on wallA NEW VENTURE

The boosted success of Larson’s business pushed him to think about expanding. The space at the Elmhurst location would not be able to hold the growing customer base and the property of the shop was too small to expand the building, so he began to look for a second location.

“Finding a facility that's available as an auto repair shop close to a residential area proved to be very difficult,” he says.

Because of the zoning challenges, it took Larson around 10 years to find the new Clarendon Hills location—about five miles away from the Elmhurst shop. And although the timing was a bit unlucky (the second location opened in July 2020, in the midst of the pandemic) Larson and his team brought the same success to the additional location. He now works out of an office in both shops.


owner of My Mechanic in Illinois stands in the middle of his staff of female and male mechanics, advisors and managers in front of vehicle lifts in shop area that has a white car raised in the air behind themLarson’s background in mechanical engineering really shines when it comes to the higher-tech operations at the shop. As vehicle technology advances, so do the services performed at My Mechanic. He is also looking to continue to invest in newer additions to continue to keep up with the same advancing industry that drew him back into the field. He also encourages these advancements with his staff.

“I put a big push on training and education and I want my guys to become certified,” Larson says.

Online training, in-person training, and a variety of classes and seminars are all important to Larson and his team and continue to be what makes his business stand apart from the rest.