Thanks for all the great input guys..
I agree that the owner should be technically competent....that I am. But I disagree that the owner has to be a Master technician personally.
I am currently in the high tech sector and can tell you that you NEVER want an engineer running your company. I see this as no different. By saying that the owner must also be a technician almost also implies little or no trust on the part of the employer toward his/her people. It's the old debate over whether employees should be trusted to do the right thing or they need to be hand held.
What I will agree on though is that hiring the right people is crucial and that mistakes will be made in the process. However, the true character of a business is not necessarily if they make a mistake here and there but rather if they do the right thing when that mistake is made. Customers are generally quite understanding if you are willing to make things right and you dont make a habit out of making mistakes.
That also means holding your people accountable for doing a good job and praising/rewarding them when they do. In my book it's pretty straightforward. Many times as managers we are required to higher people into jobs that we ourselves could not do 100%. That is where the trust part comes in. It is usually pretty obvious when people aren't working out. Excessive customer complaints will come to light very quickly.
The bottom line is that this business should focus on the overall satisfaction of the customer. That is why this is different. Many shops are technically competent and do a good job but only a few can do a good job and make the customers visit as stress free and convenient as possible. Do you know that right now if I wanted to have one of the indies here work on my vehicle I would either have to get a ride or rent a $30/car? In my book that just isn't an option.
Thanks again for all the construtive feedback guys. I really appreciate your input!