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  1. Car Count Daily | Episode 5

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

     

    This is something that I'm hearing from shop owners constantly when we're talking about car count levels in their auto repair shop:

    "Car count is down in my shop because cars are made better."

    If I've heard it once, I've heard it a thousand times, and chances are you've probably said it yourself. Look, I'm not going to tell you cars aren't made better because that would be sheer stupidity.

    The fact is that cars are made better. Cars are made to last much, much longer than they used to.

    But... That's not the reason why car count is down in shops.

    How do I know that? Well, a recent study came out that said the average car on American roadways is over 14 years old.

    Let me say that again... The average car is over 14 years old. That's not a new car. The average. That means for every brand new car out there, in order to have an average of fourteen years, that means there's a car that's 28 years old. There is a balance there.

    If the average car is 14 years old, those are the cars you work on. Right? 14 years ago the cars weren't made as good as they are now, and even if they were, they're 14 years old right now, odds are that they're going to need a lot of maintenance now or in the near future. It's important to make your shop available for those repairs.

    Don't get caught up in the thinking that the car count is down simply because cars are made better. Those cars that are made better are not your business. Those aren't the ones that are going to give you more cars in your bays and increase your profitability. The most of a shop owner's profits is going to come from the cars that are older, and the average car is much older than it used to be.

    Clear the "cars are just made better" excuse out from your mind, understand that there are plenty cars out there, it's just up to you to go focus on your marketing and attract more customers to your shop.

     

  2. By Bob Cooper

    It’s only natural that most of your employees would like to take their vacations during the summer. Unfortunately, that’s typically your busiest time, right?

    Let’s say you have a technician who typically produces 50 hours a week during your peak summer months, but during the month of February, when your car counts are lower, he typically produces just 38 hours a week. If you bill at $90.00 per hour, and if you are operating at a part to labor ratio of .75 to 1, then those twelve additional hours would represent an additional $1,890.00 in sales! So rather than losing that additional income, do this…

    Review your shop’s historical performance to determine the months when your techs typically produce the least amount of billable hours. Compare those months to your peak summer months, and then provide off-season vacation incentives that will work for you as well as your technicians. You can tell them if they take their vacations during one of the off-season months, you’ll be happy to provide them with a ski-pass, an extra day of vacation, etc. Obviously they are not forced to take advantage of the offer, but if they decide to do so, it can be a big win for them, and a win for your bank account at the same time.

    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!
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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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  5. Thousands of Shops Can Be Wrong

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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:

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  6. 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!

  7. 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

  9. 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].

  10. According to Google CEO Eric Schmidt, Bing is its main competitor - not Facebook or Apple. He sat down with Alan Murray of the Wall Street Journal, who was kind enough to post an embeddable video of the conversation. "What's interesting is we think of neither [Facebook or Apple] as a competitive threat...our competitor is Bing. And it's interesting, for years, people have asked about Microsoft and everyone has forgot about Bing." He calls Bing a "well run, highly competitive search engine". He doesn't get into Bing's partnership with Yahoo, but that clearly has to be considered a big part of Google's headache in search competition.

    When asked about being more concerned about Bing 5-10 years down the road, he said, "Facebook is too early to tell. Facebook is a company of consequence, and they're doing an excellent job building a social network." He also says that people forget Apple is a partner of Google. Schmidt talks about a number of other topics, such as privacy, China, his thoughts on the "web is dead" article, President Obama, social media, and more.