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  • General Discussion

    • Article: Bugs In The Rugs - - - What have you enco…
      Bugs In The Rugs          Ants, moths, bees, flies, wasps, spiders, scorpions, roaches, yellow jackets, fireflies, centipedes, silver fish, lady bugs, katydids, mosquitos, termites, fleas, mites, and fly larvae (maggots).          No, that’s not a list of insects on the back of a can of insecticide.  That’s just about every type of creepy, crawly nasty little bug I have encountered in a car at one time or another.  It’s enough to make your skin crawl.           Sometimes it’s not so much what you run into, but where.  For instance, I was working on a little foreign car, checking out a faulty turn signal.  I diagnosed a bad lead on the front turn signal socket, and had already pulled the lens off and supplied a ground to the bulb, so I knew what I needed to do.  Just sling under the car and reattach the ground lead that was hanging there.  The car was low to the ground, but I managed to wedge myself under there just enough to make the repair.  As I managed to turn my head to see the turn signal housing, there… just a ¼” from my nose was a large nest of red wasps.  They were all darting around working on their nest totally oblivious to me.  I didn’t stick around long enough to introduce myself.           Something I’ve learned after being at this for a few years: If you get one of those carpet cleaning trucks in the shop for repair, make sure you have plenty of roach spray handy.  It’s not uncommon to pop the lid off of the fuse box to find hundreds of those nasty little critters trying to find a new hiding place. I’ve even seen a few behind the lens of the instrument cluster just minding their own business as they walked over the gauge needles. They tend to eat wires, leave their acidic droppings on circuit boards, and their dead relatives laying in the vents. Nothings worse than getting “bug sprayed”… with bugs when you turn on the blower motor.            Now when you’re trying to find an odor, or some reeking smell that has literally chased the owners out of their car, don’t be surprised if you’ll eventually find a dead mouse or some other strange varmint carcass in the duct work, trunk, or under the carpet.  The worst is when the flies have found it and started laying eggs on it.  For the investigative type mechanic, the fly larvae is a good way to determine how long whatever it was has been decomposing in the customer’s car.  You see, a fly can lay more than 100 eggs on a warm moist body and in 8 to 24 hours the larvae will begin to hatch. Those wormy, wriggly, crawly little ugly, nasty things stick around for about 5 days and then start to pupate into an adult fly.  A capital “G” for gross.  Knowing all of that will allow you to inform your customer when their little friend became post mortem in their cabin filter or wherever it was you found it, although at this point they’re too grossed out to really care about your CSI skills!          Spiders can bring out the heebeegeebees in the biggest, baddest mechanic on the planet.  I once worked with a guy who was completely petrified of spiders.  We were tearing down an old car that was in for restoration when he removed the door panel and a large tarantula came crawling out from the bottom corner of this old rusted door.  Honestly, I’ve never seen or heard such a big fella scream like a little girl.  He not only came up with his own high pitched language that only he could understand, but managed to dart across the shop and up onto the top of his tool box so fast he didn’t have time to let go of the door panel. He stayed up there perched on his tool box talking some sort of gibberish only he could understand, as he was kicking tools out of the open drawers.  The tarantula had to go, or he wasn’t coming down.  I got elected to shoo the little critter out the door. We literally had to pry the door panel out of his hands and coax him down with a cup of coffee and a cigarette. His tool box needed a bit of straightening after all was said and done.          Ants for the most part are pretty harmless. I’ve never ran across fire ants in a car, but I can only imagine what that would have been like.  The ones I’ve run across are just the busy little ant type doing busy little ant things. Sometimes the hardest part is finding where they’re coming from.  Half the time you’ll see these little guys marching along one after another in single file heading to another part of the car.  If it’s a car that’s been sitting in one spot for a long time chances are they’ve built an elaborate home somewhere in the car and it’s your job to find out where.  Good luck with that.          Sometimes you wonder how some of these insects find their way into a car in the first place.  Like pulling a spare tire out of an old car and find a scorpion staring at you.  Or mud dauber wasp nests all over the engine compartment.  They sure do find some of the oddest places to build their little nests.  One time I’ve even found them on the carburetor choke plate on a car that was only sitting for a few days.  The owner tried to start it, but had no luck with it.  He then had it dragged into the shop to have the no start problem checked out.  After a bit of carburetor spray to dissolve the mud it started right up. The owner being the kind of a jokester he was, now had a new story to tell about his old car.  He started his little tale with, “Guess wasp up with my car?”           Whether it is a family of arachnids or any other family of insects invading your car, somewhere some mechanic has probably already experienced it.  As they say, “There are more bugs in the world than there are people.” So there’s a good chance you’ll run across a bug in a rug or one in the trunk of that very car you’re working on.  Just work on some fast reflexes, a few nerves of steel, and it wouldn’t hurt to keep a can of bug spray handy either.            
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    • Repair shops need a proactive approach to sales
      This is not new topic for me, but I need to revisit it again. And I will keep revisiting this topic for the sake of our industry.  For independent repair shops to "thrive" today, you must take a proactive approach with regard to business.  If you only want to "survive" you can stop reading now. Waiting for the phone to ring, or for cars to breakdown, or for a customer to drive into your shop asking for a repair or service is business suicide. The days of broken cars lining up in front of your bays are over.  Sure, cars still breakdown, but you cannot thrive with a wait-and-see strategy. Make sure you perform multipoint inspections on all cars in for any type of service. Yes, any type of service or repair.  Look up vehicle history on all vehicles. Let the customer know of needed services, missed services and services due. And lastly, book the next appointment.   Yes, I know....Joe's been preaching this over and over and it does not work in your shop. Fine, then let me focus on those shops that do book the next appointment.  Because those are the shops that are adopting a proactive approach...and I will see those shops in the future.      
    • Labor rate
      What's your houlr labor rate and where are you located? We're currently at $95 in Texas
  • Regional Automotive Shop Management Discussions

    • New Jersey Governor Signs Unsafe Used Tire Law
      http://www.moderntiredealer.com/news/724720/new-jersey-governor-signs-unsafe-used-tire-law A new law in New Jersey forbids the sale of unsafe used tires. The legislation, signed by Gov. Chris Christie on Aug. 7, 2017, was supported by the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA), Tire Industry Association and the New Jersey Gas Station-C-Store Automotive Association. The law fines businesses that sell tires that exhibit any of these unsafe conditions: — tread depth of less than 1/16 inch measurable in any groove;
      — damage exposing the reinforcing plies of the tire, including any cuts, cracks, bulges, punctures, scrapes or wear;
      — improper repairs, including, but not limited to: any repair to the sidewall or bead area of the tire; any repair made in the tread shoulder or belt edge area of the tire; any puncture that has not been sealed or patched on the inside and repaired with a cured rubber stem through the outside of the tire; any puncture repair of damage larger than 1/4 inch; — evidence of prior use of a temporary tire sealant without evidence of a subsequent proper repair;
      defaced or missing tire identification number;
      — inner liner or bead damage; or
      — signs of internal separation, such as bulges or local areas of irregular tread wear. Violators will be subject to a fine up to $500 for a first offense. A second offense will be considered a violation of the Consumer Fraud Act and subject to a penalty up to $10,000. Additional violations will be subject to a penalty of up to $20,000. Anne Forristall Luke, CEO and president of the USTMA, said, “New Jersey has taken a bold step to protect motorists from high-risk used tires that have no business being put back into service on New Jersey roads." The USTMA says its research shows more than 30 million used tires are available for sale nationally. The legislation does not ban all used tire sales. It targets used tires that have specific, well-established, unsafe conditions The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says worn-out tires are three times more likely to be involved in a crash than tires with sufficient tread depth. NHTSA crash statistics indicate about 200 fatalities and 6,000 injuries are attributed to tire-related causes annually. The law was sponsored by Democrats Shavonda Sumter and Raj Mukherji. Sumter said, "What initially seems like a good deal ultimately can be deadly in the market for tires. Retailers who sell damaged tires to consumers endanger not only their customers but also everyone else on the road. Banning the sale of damaged tires simply is a common-sense matter of public safety." Mukherji said, "Drivers in New Jersey should be able to buy tires and rest assured that the items they've purchased are safe. The lower cost of used tires does not warrant putting lives across the state at risk. Damaged goods that put consumers in danger simply should not be on the market, especially when it comes to tires."
    • 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.
    • Anyone going to aste in Cary,NC?
      http://asteshow.com/event-schedule/   Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk    
  • Automotive Repair Shop Management

    • CUSTOMER ACQUISITION COST
      What do you think your CAC is (cost to land a customer in your shop) and what do you think it should be ? This is a very important part of your business ! 25, 50, 75, 100, 200 ??? Let me know 
    • You are the Master of your own Destiny
                                                                                         ... You are the Master of your own Destiny...   I see there are some good people in here that have a lot of concerns about Car Count , Labor Rate, Marketing etc. Let me tell you these issues have been around for a long time. There are many different way to solve these issues. Some may need more work, some to fine tune what they have, some both and if you need help on anything drop me a message I would be glad to talk with you. All you need is PASSION a PLAN and a PATH = SUCCESS 
    • Advance Auto Parts Marketing Continues to Hurt Aut…
      Let me give you a prime example of what we are going through as a result of the Advance Marketing strategy:

      Last week a customer came to us with a steering pull and requested a wheel alignment. After our routine inspection, we informed the customer that the ball joints were worn and they would need to be replaced before the alignment was done. The customer thanked us and said he would let us know what he decides.

      The customer came back yesterday and told us, "I decided to go to Advance, bought the ball joints from them and they even LOANED ME THE TOOLS TO DO THE JOB!"

      But, he is the real story: The truck now has clunks and noises and the steering wanders all over the road. His attempt to do his own ball joints, has now left his truck unsafe to drive due to his lack of expertise to perform the job properly.

      This is what I have been battling with Advance and no one will listen. Why? They made the sale and that's what's important to Advance. Not the safety of the consumer, and certainly not the shop that lost the sale and is now stuck trying to figure out what went wrong.

      The Advance marketing strategy will hurt the independents and send the wrong message to the consumer. Free testing, free battery installation, reading codes in the parking lot,loaner tools sets; will all do more harm than good to the relationship between Advance and the repair shops. How can Advance expect me to buy from them when they want to compete with me? That makes no sense.

      And please don't tell me, "That's not your customer." I am so tired of hearing that. It is my customer! The entire motoring public hears and sees the advertising.

      This is why I have serious issues with Advance, and cannot support them. And nothing will change as long as Advance listens to Wall Street and not Main Street.
  • Automotive Repair & Technical Discussions

    • 4.3 bucking at 4000 rpm no codes
      2000 Chevy Blazer 4.3 V6 auto 2WD 174000 miles. Runs strong till 4000 rpm then starts bucking. If I stay in it, it will eventually pull thru and easily climb to 5500 rpm. This is in every gear. No codes at all. No misfires counted in live data. Nothing that looks out of the ordinary in live data. Fuel pressure looks good but can not see or record it while driving. If it was fuel related I do not think it would continue to climb. Same with a plugged cat. Any thoughts? I'm running out of ideas.
    • 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.
    • some get it, some don't?
      I am complexed about how many "Mechanics" just don't get it... I work with two guys older than myself, I am no spring chicken but not old either.. One of the guys had a car with a p0171 as most know a very common code lean bank 1. He had replaced the o2 sensors two weeks ago on a Saturday a day I don't work.. The customer came back with the same code IMAGINE THAT ! So they asked me to take a look at it with the other mechanic, I had shown this guy about fuel trims a few weeks ago. I hooked my scanner up looked at 02 data , maf , long and short term fuel trims.. at idle the LTFT was high 19 not high enough to set the code, and the O2 showing what you would think low voltage (lean).  I raised the rpms and noticed the maf readings still low and the LTFT rising. At which point I put the car in drive and the LTFT really started to rise at idle and maf stayed low, I raised the rpms the car hesitated and the LTFT kept climbing..  I asked the guy what he thought he had no Idea.. So I told him pop the hood the air induction hose is broken between the maf and the throttle body.. He thought I was joking, He opened the hood and was in shock "how did you know that"? I told him simple I know what I am looking at and how things work, but my question to him was how come he did not know that. He looked like a deer in headlights..  He replaced the induction tube, at which point I hooked the scanner back up to show him that now we can prove our repair was good.. I asked him what he would think would happen he had no Idea. so I pulled up all the same items and told him to watch the LTFT and that it will fall quickly and the O2 would come to life.. Sure enough it did in fact the LTFT went a little negative -5 I asked him why he thought that happened he had no Idea, I explained it had been adding fuel for so long it is probably saturated and there is probably a lot of fuel still in the engine and exhaust manifold.. it would clean out as time goes by but that proves the repair is good. At which point I unplugged the scanner and that was that.. now today same lean code on a different car the guy looked at me I said remember what we did ? He said yea, I went over after about half an hour and he had not figured anything out.. in fact he had all kinds of not needed data up on the scanner.. I shook my head pulled up the fuel trims did a few easy checks noticed that the fuel trims went back in the good range with the rpms raised told him to look for a vac leak . HE found one I showed him the fuel trims again and how it verified the repair was good...  He still has no Idea of what we went over! is it me or is there a need for a lot of learning to be done .. do some people just have the knack and others are just destined to be guessers and parts changers? 
  • Blogs With Recent Activity

    1. Car Count Daily | Episode 12

      Click Here To Subscribe For DAILY Car Count Daily Tips Straight To Your Inbox

       

      Car Count Daily | Episode 12

      Click Here To Subscribe For DAILY Car Count Daily Tips Straight To Your Inbox

      TRANSCRIPTION: 
      Hey shop owners, Ron Ipach here, sometimes known as Captain Car Count, and welcome to yet another episode of Car Count Daily. Now on today's episode, I'm going to be covering the most frequently asked question that I get as an expert marketer for auto repair shops. And that question is, "Who should I market to?"


      The answer I always give seems to disappoint shop owners, because it's a lot simpler than what you might think. Everybody thinks there's some secret society, or this secret group of people that you have to really attract to your shop to be successful and get more customers to your shop. And it's not anything special. Really, it is your own customers, the people that you've already done business with, the people that know, love and trust you. The people you've already done good service for. Those are the best people that you should be marketing to.


      Why? Well, let's face it. They're not coming back to you as often as they really should. Most shop owners tell me that the average car should be in the shop at least three times a year. But I'll bet, if you look at your database and count how many times each car's been in your shop, it's not three times. So what I'm telling you is you need to encourage them. You've got to give them a reason to come back to you more often.
      And let's face it. There are more cars sitting in the driveway than that one car you might be seeing. They may have two or three other cars sitting in the driveway that you're not seeing. They're being taken somewhere else, and maintained or repaired. They're not happening, it's not happening at your shop. So by marketing to the people that you already know, you know what they're buying habits are, you know if they're good customers or if they're bad customers. You just need to get your message to them.


      I mean, think about it. You can go and spend a lot of money to attract somebody new to your shop, and you have no idea if this person is interested in fixing and maintaining their car. You have no idea if they're willing to spend the money it takes to keep their car running properly. You do know that about your current customers. So why not take any money that you're spending to attract a new customer and start paying attention to your own customer.


      You know, I've heard the only reason why you're going to lose a current customer is because you're not paying attention to them. You're allowing other people who are advertising to spend more time and energy and effort and market to them than you are. You're just kind of letting them go. Don't let that happen any more. The best customer to get in your shop is the person you already have a relationship with.
      So take all those marketing dollars that you're using to attract new customers and start marketing to your own customers and I absolutely guarantee you're going to get a lot more car count. That's going to do it for today's episode. I hope it helped. If you like what you're seeing, if you like what you're hearing, leave me a comment down below this video.

    2. By Bob Cooper

      As we all know, the use of illegal drugs has been around for many years. From the early part of the last century, all the way through the mid-seventies, the only illegal drug that was worthy of discussion among shop owners was marijuana. During those times, even cases of marijuana use were few and far between. It was during the early eighties when our nation (and our industry) began to see a number of other drugs emerge, which resulted in many shop owners deciding to implement drug-free workplace programs. I am proud to say that I was one of them, and our objective was quite simple: To protect our employees, and our customers, from the accidents that can be caused by the use of illegal drugs. Interestingly enough, all the top attorneys in America pretty much agreed that drug-free workplace programs would be a gray area, in that we had to protect the employee’s right to privacy, but also had to protect our staff and customers. This meant that we needed to be very careful about how we administered the plan. From that point on questions continued to arise regarding how and when to test, and what we were able to do if someone did test positive.

      Now here we are just a few decades later, and not only are there many more types of illegal drugs on the streets, but as you well know, in some states marijuana is legal. Add to that, many users are now abusing prescription drugs with the help of questionable doctors, and the use of illegal drugs is more socially acceptable than ever before. So the question is, what are you going to do in these changing times to effectively safeguard your employees and your customers? And what about your business?  As I am sure you’re aware, an employee’s drug use can lead to injuries and losses that will drive up your insurance rates, it can lead to absenteeism, poor performance, and even theft. If you’re unsure of what to do, then you’re reading the right article.

      Let’s start with some basic understandings. First of all, we need to recognize drug use as an illness long before we consider any laws that may be broken, or damage caused to our businesses. By taking this approach, I feel we can not only better understand those that use recreational drugs (both legal and illegal, as well as alcohol), but we can better understand how to deal with those that use drugs.

      Secondly, we need to understand that by hiring someone that uses illegal drugs, not only are we running the risks that are associated with employees that use illegal drugs, but we are also knowingly hiring someone with an illness, and that is knowingly breaking the law. This is one of the many reasons you should consider pre-employment testing.

      I also realize that laws will vary from state to state, and many states now view drug dependency (including alcohol) as an illness. This means that by employing a drug user, you may not only find yourself involved in a situation where you are unable to terminate the employee, but in some cases you may be responsible (in part) for their rehabilitation.

      As a shop owner you need to conclude what type of people you are looking to hire, and the kind of culture you are looking to create in your shop. I sense you would agree that abstinence from non-prescription drugs is not only a testimony to someone’s self-discipline, but it is a reflection of their values as well.

      Lastly, I would recommend speaking with an employment law attorney regarding the discrimination considerations when it comes to applicants that use legal, recreational drugs such as alcohol, and in some states, marijuana. You should also discuss a pre-employment drug testing program with them, as well as an ongoing drug-free workplace program that you can implement. 

      In closing, by implementing a drug-free workplace program in your shop you will not only be better safeguarding your employees and customers, but you will be sending a very powerful message to your community that you are principle-centered, and that you really do care about people.  Drug use may very well become more common than less common, so I would encourage you to do what your competitors aren’t doing, and take the next steps to solidify your shop’s drug-free culture.

      Since 1990, Bob Cooper has been the president of Elite, a company that strives to help shop owners reach their goals and live happier lives, while elevating the industry at the same time. The company offers coaching and training from the industry’s top shop owners, service advisor training, peer groups, along with sales, marketing and shop management courses. You learn more about Elite by visiting www.EliteWorldwide.com.


       

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      Recent Entries

      Business has been very slow here in Philadelphia, i need to get my office person to start doing what i had him doing when he first started but can not find any of my sop's for him. been with me 5 years and have gotten to friendly.
      the last advisor stuff i found is from Elite 2003. any help would be greatly appreciated.
      Wayne



    3. A shop owner friend called me the other today to complain about one of his technicians. He went on and on about his bad attitude, he comes in late, is always miserable, and brings down the morale of the shop. So I asked him, “Why do you keep him?” He replied, “He’s my best producer”

      How many times have we heard this story? How many times have you said those exact words? As a shop owner you need to come to terms with the fact that a toxic employee will bring down the entire shop. Making excuses or giving this employee a pass because he’s a great producer is not a valid argument.

      Eventually, the entire shop will spiral downward. Morale will deteriorate to a point where employees will shut down. In addition, the other employees will begin to question your judgment of people and “your” integrity. You will lose your credibility as owner of the company. When that happens, expect good people to leave.

      A bad apple will destroy the bunch, and never leave the bushel unless you physically remove it. Once removed, morale will go up and so will production. And don’t be surprised when your other employees come to you and say, “Hey boss, what took you so long?”






      Source: Got a bad apple in your Repair Shop? Remove it!
    4. blog-0405933001477790214.png

      The Digital Shop® takes shape in Schools
      Lindsay, our trainer extraordinaire went back to school. Not as a student but being a professor for two days at the Career and Technology Center Fort Osage. Based on the initiative of SmartFlow users in and around Kansas City, MO, Bill Lieb, and Bryan Compton – teachers of the Automotive Classes at CTC – AutoVitals provided equipment and training for the next generation automotive technicians.
      It has been an honor to support this initiative. The technician shortage and hesitance for new technology by older generation techs make it a necessity to have young technicians equipped with the knowledge about the tools available and how to use them. SmartFlow can not only guide these students to the digital frontier, but also learn about productivity and efficiency that is typically missing in everyday curriculum.
      As you can see in the pictures below, the students and Lindsay had a lot of fun with the lab portion of the training. Each group performed digital inspections on their vehicles, and expanded on the importance of documentation and pictures. Four classes in two days showed high school students the opportunity in this industry, both present and future. Professor Lindsay had a blast!
      Are you a School interested in taking your Automotive Program to the next level, or know of one? Please use our contact-us form to reach out!
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