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  1. One of the most common questions our Elite coaches are asked is, “How do I find the superstar technicians and service advisors?” Interestingly, what most shop owners will do is wait until they need a tech or advisor before they start their search. Unfortunately, when they use this technique they inevitably end up hiring the best of whoever happens to be available at the time, rather than the best of the best. So if you are looking to hire the stars, my first recommendation is that you always need to be recruiting, and the best way of doing so is by ensuring that the superstar techs and advisors in your community are aware of your business, and that they understand that your shop is a really great place to work. 

    As I am sure you will agree, with rare exception the superstars are currently employed, and they are more than likely pleased with their jobs. So what you need to do in order to ultimately hire any of these stars is put first things first. You need to connect with them, because people go to work for people, not for businesses. So the million dollar question is: How do you connect with the stars? Well, it’s actually a lot easier than you might think. You need to do what your competitors would never dream of doing, and reach the stars through their family members, their friends and their industry associates. Here is how you can achieve this objective through the use of print media.

    Run display ads in your community newspapers with a theme communicating that your shop is the right place for people to have their cars serviced, because you employ truly remarkable people. Then in each one of these ads you should feature a different employee. Now before you jump to a conclusion that this won’t work for you, I ask that you keep an open mind.

    If your ad carries a nice close up or portrait shot of one of your employees, along with their name, their position and a few kind words about who they are, then I will make you a number of promises. First of all, far more people will look at your ad, because people are always attracted to images of people. Secondly, the curiosity of your readers will inevitably kick in, and they will start to wonder if the person in the photo is someone they know, especially if your shop is in a smaller community. Now that you have your readers’ attention, as well as their curiosity, there’s a good probability that they will start to feel more comfortable with your brand, because as I mentioned earlier, people do business with people, not with businesses. Additionally, imagine how powerful the influence will be over the readers who actually recognize your employee as a family member, friend or acquaintance.   

    Now here’s where the benefits of this approach become even more obvious. Not only will putting your employees in print be a really nice way to let them know just how proud of them you are, but just think about the message you are sending and the buzz that’s going to be created in your community. You are communicating that you have truly talented people working for you, and that you are the type of shop that will run an ad just to give your employees the acknowledgement they deserve.  The uniqueness of this message will have the tool truck drivers, the part suppliers, and the loved ones of the superstar advisors and techs talking about your ad, and you guessed it; they’re going to be talking about your shop as well.

    So if you want to hire the superstars, I am going to hope you never forget a couple of cardinal rules. Number one, you always need to be recruiting. Otherwise, you’re doomed to hire the best of whoever happens to be available at the time. Secondly, if you want to reach the stars, then I am going to hope you never forget that the easiest way to do it is through their family, friends and acquaintances. If you agree with me, then I have every reason to believe you will also agree that running print ads showcasing your employees will not only help you build your brand, but it will show the superstar techs and advisors in your community that you truly care about the people who work with you, and will get them thinking about your shop.

    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 can learn more about Elite by visiting www.EliteWorldwide.com.

  2. If you have been thinking about Shop Management and Training and been shocked by the investment LOOK AGAIN !

    I have a few openings for 2018 that will enable you to have the top quality training your looking to receive to grow your business.

    Management Training, Front Counter Training, Tech Training from the front to the back of your business I work together with you to grow your business making you stand out and be the go to facility in your reach of business. 

    If you have questions contact me and we will work together to achieve goals you and your business deserve.

    Looking forward to speaking with you about increasing profits, training staff, and making your business the best it can be. 

    Make 2018 a great year !

    Dan Stevens 

    Stevens Automotive Services  

     

  3. As a member of AutoShopOwner, you can manage the types of notifications that we provide you for when things happen here, either via email or when you login and view your notifications list (the bell icon). For instance, when you start a new topic in a forum or reply to an existing topic, you are automatically subscribed to receive a notification when new content is posted. That can happen by email or not, depends on how you want to receive it. 

    To get to your notifications management section, first go to Account Settings

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    Then go to Notification Settings

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    There you will see some your current preference settings for overall delivery method, follow preference, browser notifications, etc.

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    Scroll down and you'll see individual notification settings where you can pick and choose how you are notified. For email, an email is sent every time that action takes place based on your delivery method above. For Notification List, every time an action takes place, it will be listed in your notifications panel under the little bell icon.

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    One more setting we have is for our weekly newsletter, which includes a list of topics and activity from the week. You can opt in and out from your account settings as well.

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    If you haven't taken a look at your settings yet, we encourage you to check it out. 😃

  4. Car Count Daily | Episode 14

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

     

    Car Count Daily | Episode 14

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

    TRANSCRIPTION:

    Hey Shop Owners. Captain Car Count here, sometimes known as Ron Ipach. Welcome to yet another edition of Car Count Daily. Now, on a previous episode, I talked about the number one group of people that you should be marketing to. Now this is the low hanging fruit. The people that know, love and trust you, and people that are willing to give you more money, more often. As you might have guessed, it's your current clients. These are the people you should be spending your money, time and effort to get back to your shop, so they come in more often. But as I suspected, I knew I was going to get a lot of push back because I typically do from shop owners. Because, look, you do a great job for your customers, you do exactly what they want you to do, and provide a phenomenal repair and you maintain their car, so, of course they're going to come back to you, right? That's the argument I get all the time, and I'm here to tell you, no, that's not enough. Okay?

    I'm going to take the viewpoint of a customer here. Now I get your business, okay, I know all you do to do a great job and maintain the vehicles and fix the cars, and all the busted knuckles and the bloodied hands and all the stuff you go through to do a great job for your customers. But the customers don't see that, you see that. If I'm Joe Customer here, and I'm bringing my car to your shop and it's broken, I am paying you to fix it. So, when you bring it back to me fixed, you've done the job I'm paying you for. Okay? I paid you to do that job. I don't know how difficult it was. I don't know how awesome you were at doing it. I paid you for a service and I got the service.

    So, that's what Joe Customer thinks, or Jane Customer, is it's ... You're doing what I paid you to do. So, of course, you should do it right. Of course, it should be fixed. Of course, it should be maintained 'cause that's what we're exchanging the dollars for. I'm giving you money, you just give me what I asked for. So, the fact that you did a great job means absolutely nothing to me because I don't know about the bloodied knuckles and how difficult it was to do that repair, or how well trained you needed to be to do that repair because I paid you for that.

    Okay, now don't get mad at me. I'm just taking the viewpoint of your customers. So, doing a great job, and simply just saying you did a great job is enough to bring them back, I'm going to argue with you all day long because if they're just paying you for that, you're providing a service and that's it.

    Write this down, and you might want to remember this at all times, it's not what you do, when it comes to repairing the cars, it's what else you do when it comes to repairing the cars. Okay? I'm paying you to fix my car. What else are you doing to develop a relationship with me? What else are you doing to ensure that I'm going to come back to you versus going to the next shop down the street. Because, again, Joe Customer here, all I want is my car fixed and maintained. I'm paying for that service. So, no matter how difficult it is, I'm going to assume if it was real tough, it's going to cost me more money. Okay?

    It's what else are you doing. What else ... Why are you inviting me back to your shop? Why do you want me to come back to your shop? What offers are you going to give me? What incentives? Why should I come back to you versus going anywhere else? Now, keep that in mind when it comes to your marketing.

    Understand the most important person you can have in your shop, as a customer, is one that's already been. It's that repeat business that will build your business. Simply doing a good job isn't good enough anymore. It's a matter of what else you're doing. Impress me, give me outstanding customer service. Market to me, let me know that you care to have me back in your shop, and I will come back to you. That's why it's the most important group of people that you want to market to.

    Keep that in mind and you will blow your car counts through the roof. I guarantee it.

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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



  5. 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!
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    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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  7. Thousands of Shops Can Be Wrong

    • Over 100 of the most used service categories
    • Hundreds of pre-built jobs, service descriptions & labor notes
    • The most accurate reporting possible
    • More effective appointment scheduling
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    Your shop needs a powerful management system to produce the level of efficiency and accuracy necessary for growth. To achieve this the old manual way, you need considerable time and patience when learning how to prepare it for use. With Jump Start, all that and more is solved!

    How to Get Jump Start:

    Follow these instructions...


    *Available for Manager SE/ShopKey SE users only*




     

  8. Does your shop run on the Scott Systems MaxxTraxx Shop Management System?

    Their latest release, available now, includes two new myCARFAX Shop Tools. Participating shops can now signup customers for myCARFAX in one-click!

    myCARFAX is new no-cost customer retention tool that helps keep your customers coming back for their future preventative maintenance services. Consumers who use myCARFAX get their vehicles serviced 20% more frequently than non-users - getting you more service business! myCARFAX will remind the customer about their next oil change, tire rotation, and state inspections - always telling them to go back to YOUR shop.

    To take advantage, from the server station, select "Setups" dropdown menu, then choose "Carfax Setup". Check the box next to "myCARFAX Shop Loyalty Services", and press OK. Once you've accepted the Terms and Conditions, the myCARFAX Customer Signup button will appear in two windows: the vehicle page of any repair order, as well as the Pay screens. Click the myCARFAX Customer Signup button in either screen, and you'll be able to instantly enroll the customer and their vehicle. When complete, the button will turn green to let you know.

     

    Additionally, the CARFAX Service History report has been updated to allow you to print a hard copy, better inform customers of any open, un-fixed recalls, and make better service recommendations faster. Simply look at the "Last Reported Maintenance Items" section at the top to quickly find out when the last oil change, tire rotation, and 14 other preventative maintenance services were completed on the vehicle. It's formatted in a customer-friendly format that can help you build trust with your customers! The CARFAX Service History button is available on the Repair Order screen, as well as the vehicle record.

    Many other myCARFAX Partners are in the process of integrating these features - look for more announcements soon!

  9. Welcome back…Time to start some of the heavy lifting. The fact of the matter is that if your plan is not written, it will probably not succeed. Let's talk about the preparation. Get a pad of paper and start developing a plan. Equally important as a written plan, is having time based deadlines. No deadlines, No progress. It's that simple.

     

    Whether you have an inspection program that has gone by the wayside, or if your shop never has had such a program, it is imperative that you implement one and stick to it forever. Here are just a few reasons it is so important.

    • You owe it to your clients to keep them aware of the condition of their vehicle. They depend on you and trust you to let them know exactly what's going on with their vehicle.
    • You owe it to your family & employees to make your shop better and grow your business.
    • If you don't do it, some other shop will, or already does this.
    • You must take charge of your business and lead.
    • This will take your business to the next level. A 20% increase is huge to any organization and everyone in the organization

     

    Time to get everyone aboard. Have a company meeting and let your staff know that you want to take the shop to the next level. Let them know that you want their help with designing an inspection form. This gets your team to buy into the plan. This is a key element to success. Set the time for a follow-up meeting and let them know you look forward to getting input from each one of them. Get with your service advisor for input on how the inspection form will be routed & utilized. Ask your office manager for ideas on tracking the forms and possibly how you could compile the information into a summary. Also, how you could best track the ARO information as this new program emerges.

     

    Continue to speak to your entire staff about this new program and why it is important to them individually. People instinctively think in terms of "What's in it for me?". You win their hearts and their minds and best efforts will follow.

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    The world of diagnostic scan tools can be a challenge to understand what you should have in your shop. These tools can be purchased from a long list of automotive suppliers including parts houses, mobile tool dealers, online tool companies, and many more. Not only are there multiple places to purchase this diagnostic equipment but there are also multiple brand names of aftermarket scan tools. The all-in-one scan tool concept historically speaking has been the only answer for aftermarket repair shops as generally these tools will communicate to a broad range of makes from USA, Asian, & European. The down side to ALL aftermarket scan tools is the hit and miss or limited software content outside of the Engine & Transmission. This makes it extremely challenging to finish the repairs on ignition lock repairs, air bag replacements, Instrument panel replacements, etc... There are also times where in the Engine side a throttle body replacement is needed and the idle air relearn is simply not in your aftermarket scan tool, especially on European models.

     

    Steps you should take so that you don't get caught making a bad purchase decision?

     

    1) Don't let the Marketing efforts of a company be the reason you purchase, look at the total package from Tool to Support.

    2) Talk to more than one shop about what they use and why, reason is every shops capabilities are different.

    3) Don't look at only the price, sure everyone doesn't want to overpay but service after the sale is everything.

    4) Repair info in scan tools is typically basic and becomes out dated quickly. Also aftermarket companies that offer repair information can be confusing and also generic. This can sometimes lead to issues when the information provided doesn't match the tool you are using.

     

    Analyzing your current scan tool offering and what is a good first line of attack?

    1) A High quality general purpose to specialty aftermarket scan tool - Must be quick, easy, and dependable in most situations.

    2) A OE Scan Tool based by car count to justify the expense. We usually start with the Big 3 USA Automakers, Big 3 Asian, then European.

    3) A J2534 device and a computer built for automotive shops. This would be a rugged Laptop with a partitioned hard drive for multiple car makes and no virus protection plus enough power to be quick and reliable for years to come. Remember this computer is for automotive repair not an ebay or Amazon machine.

     

    Who should I align myself with to help my shop be the best it can be in the Diagnostic arena?

     

    1) Just like when a customer is looking for a shop to work on their car when a shop is looking for a supplier to purchase their diagnostic scan tools they should be looking for someone who really understands the tools and their capabilities. Also the supplier needs to have aggresively good technical support so that the shop can get full benefit of the scan tool.

    2) Look for a supplier that offers the best aftermarket scan tools and also factory oe scan tools. We will never see an all-in-one scan tool be able to do every function, relearn, & reinitialization so having a factory OE scan tool bridges this gap for the shop.

    3) Shops need to understand that even manufacturers of tools don't understand how to repair cars. Their engineers are challenged to do one thing typically and that is to write code inside of a tool to populate and poll data plus actuate any components that are available. This is far from understanding how to repair the car, so aligning yourself with a supplier who does understand how is instrumental in getting the most out of your tools.

     

    This is just a broad overview of what to look for... Questions and comments welcomed and encouraged!

     

    Thanks

     

    OEST

  11. This article is from my business partner, Terry Keller, who owns Keller Bros. Auto Repair in Littleton, CO. For more information about Terry, you can check out his free ebook on our website, "Is My Story Your Story?" Click here to get it!

     

    Benchmarking

     

    Most of us shop owners understand the process of comparing our numbers to a set of benchmarks or standards. I remember way back over 35 years ago, I had monthly meetings with my accountant where he showed me my shop’s financials with the percentages and ratios, and then told me where they should be. It was always a frustrating experience – not just because my numbers were off, but because I didn’t know how to fix most of them and neither did he.

     

    A decade later, as my experimentation nudged some of my numbers to higher levels, I ended up believing it was impossible to improve them above a certain point. Looking back now, that level of performance was mediocre at best…and by today’s standards wouldn’t allow me to stay in business for more than a couple of months! As uncontrollable overhead continues to go up, we shop owners must have our pencil very sharp and keep our production and profits at the right levels.

     

    So What Are the Right Levels?

     

    This is EXACTLY the age-old problem that every business owner has faced since products, services and money first started changing hands thousands of years ago. Who is to say where sales, profitability and production levels SHOULD BE? How much is enough? How much is too much? Can you try for too much?

     

    If you set your prices high enough to make a good profit but don’t work hard to control your expenses, can you price yourself above the market and out of business? The answer is YES! What if you don’t charge enough to make a reasonable profit…how long can you do that? How long will your family put up with not getting regular paychecks? What if your employees can’t produce an adequate quality or quantity of work? How is that working for you?

     

    Needless to say this stuff is way past important. With the lingering bad economy and higher inflation just around the corner, it is vital to know exactly where your numbers are and where they need to be.

     

    But there’s something even more important than understanding some set of so-called benchmarks put forth by some so-called industry guru. It’s this: do you BELIEVE THEM? Do you believe they are real? Have you seen first-hand evidence that they are really being achieved AND SUSTAINED by other shops just like yours?

     

    Stay tuned for next time, when Terry covers what your shop SHOULD be comparing numbers to and who you can TRUST! In the mean time, if you have any questions, leave a comment below or contact us at [email protected].com.



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