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  • General Discussion

    • Opstrax
      Anyone here use or heard of opstrax.com. My lexus dealership recommended me to sign up and order through there for lower prices. Is it safe? 
    • Daily Car Count
      I have a small shop with 2 Lifts and an Alignment Rack, and we have been delivering an average of 6 cars a day. Because of our number of bays, and lack of space, days that we see more cars are not financially productive. I'm tying to get some inputs from you guys on how you organize your daily schedule. How many cars, per Lift ?   Do you limit the amount of Oil Changes you do in a day? How many billable hours, per Lift? Do you charge anything, for diagnosing a vehicle?    Thank you in advance, for your replies! 
    • Happy Summer Solstice
      Happy Summer Solstice 2017! Your marketing should be going strong, due to the rain and cooler weather A/C servive demand has been soft, no worries. Your 4th of July specials should be on customer's hands and road trip special for August should be heading out the door.
  • Regional Automotive Shop Management Discussions

    • Some People Are Cut Out For This
      Wow, some people are really cut out for this. I've been doing it in my 2 bay shop since 09, and I think it's time to close the doors.
    • Nys inspection to test window tint
      Just over the wire today is all nys inspection stations will be required to test window tint as part of the inspection starting Jan 1. Anything blocking more than 30% light fails. More equipment to buy, more time, not to mention how does the average shop deal with removing window tint? I'm not opposed to keeping police safe from thugs with limo tint on the drivers window but I feel that's the police's job not the "safety/emissions" inspector.
    • Anyone in the Triangle? NC
      Anyone here in the Triangle area in NC? I'd love to meet up and get coffee
  • Automotive Repair Shop Management

    • Advertising In The Yellow Pages Still Works!
      You might be thinking I'm going crazy, right? Talking about advertising in the Yellow Pages in this day and age, but for some shops, advertising in the Yellow Page still makes sense. Now, bear with me. Don't stop and think I've gone off my rockers. Let me explain what I'm talking about: Everybody's clientele is different. What is the average age of your clientele, of your better clientele? You want the people that are coming in and spending money with you. If you're finding that you have an older clientele, chances are, most likely, they're still using the Yellow Pages. Admittedly, I had to go over mom and dad's house to get a Yellow Pages because I don't have one at my home, but look, I'm not of the age demographic that is off of the internet. A lot of people are on the internet but quite a few people are still intimidated by the internet, and they're more likely to grab a Yellow Pages and search for a business to do business with. We don't want to alienate them, and if you're staying out of the Yellow Pages, you have a 0% chance of them ever calling your shop. This isn't for everybody. I mean, All I've been doing recently is broadcasting the importance of getting found online and getting referrals. Look, I get it, and I can't wait to hear the comments down below the post after this. For some, as a matter fact, for a lot of auto repair shops, advertising in the Yellow Pages still makes sense. If you recall, if you go way back depending on how long you've been in business, when I first started working with auto repair shops about 20 years ago, Yellow Pages was the dominant place where everybody advertised. If you remember what it was, it was very expensive and there was just page after page after page after page of display ads, and your chances of getting noticed amongst all that noise were pretty slim and none. Everybody hated the Yellow Pages because it was so expensive, but I found a way, and a lot of my clients found a great way to put in a really good ad and get a lot of business from the Yellow Pages. If you've been with me for a while, you know my style of advertising is a lot different than what most other people will do. The ads that we put in the Yellow Pages actually got a ton, and I do mean a ton, of phone calls, from perspective clients. If you put together a kick-butt ad now you could get the same results. I currently have a Greater Cincinnati Yellow Pages book here with me. I'm in a suburb just north of Cincinnati. There is an entire auto repair section. It starts on one page and it ends on the very next page, and that's it. A front and back of one page is all it is. Remember, this used to be pages and pages and pages of display ads. Right now, display ads, this one has one, two, three, four, five. Five display ads on this side, and we've got a small ad right here and an even smaller little in-column ad, a couple over there, and that's it. That's for all the auto repair shops that are in this area, and there are quite a few of them, by the way. Everybody else has decided to stay out of the Yellow Pages. Remember the problems with the Yellow Pages before. They were busy. There were too many, too much competition. They were expensive. Right now, that's not the case, so that's the reason why I would encourage shop owners to maybe look at using the Yellow Pages if you're trying to attract an older clientele. Again, if you find your older clientele are not the demographic that you're going for, then the Yellow Pages is the wrong idea, but if you're in a retirement community, if there's a lot of elderly people around you and you want to attract them to your shop, this could be a really good place because they still use this. They're not walking around with their mobile phones looking for a shop to do business with. They're actually still using the Yellow Pages. There's a lot less competition. The ads have gotten extremely cheap compared to what they used to be. The Yellow Page reps, the reality is since everybody's shying away from the Yellow Pages, they're giving great deals. I mean, they're giving away everything possible to get you to advertise in the Yellow Pages. Leave no stone unturned. Investigate the possibility. Look at the clientele that you have. You might even start asking people, "Hey, do you still use the Yellow Page, Pages?" and if a lot of them do, that might be a really good place for you to start advertising again. -- Ron Ipach (a.k.a Captain Car Count) President/Founder of Repair Shop Coach More articles and content like this and originated through Ron Ipach's Car Count Daily campaign Auto Repair Shop Owners, Managers, and Automotive Industry Professionals are invited to join 'Car Count Daily Boosters' LinkedIn group to provide resources and gain insight on boosting car count DAILY and filling up the bays in their shops.
    • The State of The Auto Repair Shop Industry in 2017
      Struggling in today’s new economy, trying to build your car count and make the money you know you deserve while “big box” auto repair, new car dealers and that ‘price cutter’ down the street “eat your lunch?” If you’ve tried to grow your repair shop and profits but have failed, it may not be your fault. It could be you’re just using the wrong methods and tactics.  You’ve heard that old adage “It’s not what you say… it’s how you say it”, right? Truth is, that applies to just about everything in life – and especially your marketing and advertising.  There’s no shortage of schemes and scams sold as “new marketing ideas” along with “gurus” that go on and on with solutions as they tell you to “just send them a piece of mail”, or “just send them an email” or even “just send them a text” – but it’s the message that’s important – not the way you send it.  So you’re left asking “Is it really is possible to grow your car count and profits?” It is, but first let me tell you a little about myself.  I owned a repair shop just like you – and I struggled. In fact, I faced bankruptcy – looking it straight in the eye. It’s not pretty. It wasn’t until I focused on specific direct marketing strategies and developed a deeper understanding of ‘how customers think’ that I was able to turn my shop around and finally get what I wanted out of life. Today, working strictly with auto repair shops to grow their business, I research and develop marketing strategies and tactics to the point it’s consumed and embarrassingly large amount of my time and energy. Family and friends say that my pursuit borders obsession. They’re wrong. I crossed the line long ago.  I know of no subject more fascinating - yet often more confusing. The confusion is not only unfortunate; it’s largely unnecessary.  In reality, given today’s fast pace world and unlimited opportunities, it has never been easier to stand out and steer clear of the 5 dangerous trends that each shop faces. It doesn’t require good looks, a silver tongue, charisma or a magnetic personality. It’s really simple when you cut through the smoke and mirrors. Cutting through the smoke is the hard part.  In fact, if you haven’t grown your car count, profits and lifestyle to the level you want, it likely has nothing to do with you. It’s not your fault.  Given the shell games of strategies being sold like “shovels and maps at the gold rush”, it’s a wonder we still have an independent repair shop industry at all.  If this barrage of schemes, programs and complicated systems has left you more confused, take a deep breath and relax. We’ll take aim at this confusion, blow away the smoke and remove the mirrors and make things as simple as possible – and we can work miracles.  But first – we must clear the smoke.  When you get down to the “nitty gritty”, it’s all about direct response strategies. Thousands , or even hundreds of thousands of postcards sent to the wrong market with the wrong message can’t compare to a single well organized, tested and proven strategy. It’s those simple, effective and proven ways shop owners that know me make money every single month.  How do they know they’re making money? They deploy simple systems and track everything - because the numbers don’t lie. Above that, those shop owners understand that there really are only 3 strategies repair shops need to focus on.  Those 3 Strategies – known as “The Auto Shop Marketing Pyramid” cuts through the clutter and confusion that’s being pushed and sold to you – while making your marketing plan simple; regardless if you’re a new shop – or if you’ve been in business for years. (I cover that in detail in “The Auto Shop Owner’s Unfair Advantage” and you can get unlimited free access to Module 1 below.) Don’t let yourself get caught chasing “shiny objects” and the latest “new-fangled-thing”. Marketing hasn’t changed in decades – delivery channels certainly have – but marketing hasn’t.  Put your shop on a strict diet of “direct response marketing strategies” that work time and time again – and don’t get fooled by those “shiny objects” and so called authorities that lead you like a horse chasing a carrot. 
      Hope this helps! Matthew Lee
      "The Car Count Fixer" Get "The Official Guide to Auto Service Marketing" Fix Your Car Count in 17 Minutes... Guaranteed! The Shop Owner's Unfair Advantage FREE Access
    • 3 Marketing Ideas To Fill The Appointment Book
      Let's say you're looking at your shop's appointment book, and you could stand to use a few more cars in the shop today. You need to know how to get cars in the shop right away. I'm going to give you three very quick, easy, and cheap ways to get the phone ringing, and get that appointment book filled: Idea Number One It's not earth shattering. It's using email marketing. If you've collected and have current email addresses for your clients, all you have to do is just come up with a terrific offer. Now, remember, we're trying to get them in your shop today. So, we want to give them a great offer, to show up today. Let them know that they're getting this special offer, because you need more cars in the shop today, you need them to respond right away, and you need them to bring their car into your shop today. So, the offer is very, very important. A wishy-washy offer isn't going to get somebody to respond. Come up with a kick-butt offer, and email it to them. Now, the problem with email is, not everybody looks at their emails every single day, and you don't have emails for everybody in your database. But, hey, it's easy, it's simple, it's cheap, so go ahead and do it. And hopefully, some people are going to see it, and they're going to respond today. For idea number one, if you've sent emails before, then marketing via email shouldn't be a difficult thing to do. Idea Number Two This is the way that I love more than anything else, is using a mobile phone and text message marketing your offer to them. So, if you've been collecting and getting permission to send them texts (which you should be doing), you can just simply send a kick-butt offer to them, and get them to respond immediately via text. Now, you can do them one by one, just grab your phone and start texting people individually, or there are some services out there that you can group text everybody, and get them all done in one sweep at a time. But the important thing to know about text message marketing is, it's a brilliant way to contact people, because 99% of texts get opened. And even more importantly, 95% get opened within the first three minutes [Forbes]. So, you send out a text, people are going to look at it, and they're going to respond within five minutes. Now, if you put together a kick-butt offer, you will get your ringing right away. I love that idea, and on a separate video we'll kind of go into detail on exactly how to do your texting and everything. That's a much larger subject to cover. Certainly not one I'm going to be able to cover here. Idea Number Three You're going to hate this idea. I know you're going to hate it, but it's a tool you already have, and most people under-utilize the tool. And that is using one of these. A phone, okay? Just a regular, old-fashioned, home phone, and you start dialing for dollars. I mean, think about this. How many people have been in a shop that declines services? Well, wouldn't it be a great idea to call them up, and just kind of look at all the people that decline services, and come up with a kick-butt offer to get them in the shop today. Let them know: "Hey, we have a few slots open, I'd like to fill it." "This is once in a lifetime offer." "I'm going to give you an offer you can't refuse." Dial for dollars, and that will get people in shop. Now, I know you hate it. Let's face it nobody, especially an auto repair shop owner, wants to get on the phone and start cold-calling people. But, hey, you want to put people in your shop today? You've got their phone numbers, you've got their buying history, you've got their unsold service history. Dial for dollars, and people will come to the shop./ Now, those are three quick and easy, down and dirty, inexpensive, almost free ways, to get people into your auto repair shop. Pick the one you want, and do it. --> Ron Ipach (a.k.a Captain Car Count) President/Founder of Repair Shop Coach More articles and content like this and originated through Ron Ipach's Car Count Daily campaign Auto Repair Shop Owners, Managers, and Automotive Industry Professionals are invited to join 'Car Count Daily Boosters' LinkedIn group to provide resources and gain insight on boosting car count DAILY and filling up the bays in their shops.
  • Automotive Repair & Technical Discussions

    • BATT TESTING EQUIPMENT
      What is everyone using for battery testing. We have an old SnapOn carbon pile tester and a Midtronix MDX700HD. We are wanting an upgrade, but still want the carbon pile capability.
    • Autologic user input / feedback
      I would like to know if any other shops out there using Autologic have run into programming issues. I was informed last week that they have stopped doing any coding as of January 2017. This was the first I have heard of it. Any other users out there being told the same thing? If so what did you do to solve your problem? (New equipment or buy the pass thru equipment through them?)
    • Dedicated alignment lift or 2 post with stands?
      Anyone using alignment stands on a 2 post lift? How are they for daily use?   I have a smaller shop with 2 techs and 3 bays, We have 2 lifts and 1 small "flat" bay. We are Japanese specialty shop that is growing and we were planning to add a new lift to the flat bay. The bay is not deep enough for a true 4 post alignment lift, so I was planning to purchase a new 2 post lift and add stands with an alignment machine in the near future. In searching for the right lift to be used with stands, I was just offered a used 2 post Hunter alignment rack that would fit in the bay for the same price as the 2 post with stands... and that really got me thinking...   We do an average of 25 cars a week on 2 makes and we are adding 3 more early this year (thus the need for another lift). We just started doing tires this past year and only sublet alignments when they are absolutely necessary. Our situation is pushing us towards needing an alignment machine in house, but we could use another lift for "over flow" just a much.     Knowing that we will be doing alignments out of necessity in the near future, I am leaning towards having a dedicated alignment lift. My questions are:   1. Does anyone regret purchasing their stands over an actual alignment lift? 2. Does anyone do "other" work on their alignment lift? 3. And how many alignments should I really expect?     If space were a major issue, what would you do? (Drive-on alignment lift -OR- 2 post lift with alignment stands?)