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  1. Last week
  2. Yes it is. And, surprisingly, we're still using it daily.... because it's there.
  3. About 70% of my business is powersports (ATV's and UTV's). I also do automotive work. I have 2 techs and myself as well as part time service writer. I can't even imagine operating this business without some sort of shop management program. I started out with baymaster and was extremely happy with them until they were transitioning to online only. The price was reasonable. When they transitioned I panicked as there were alot of flaws and I ended up switching at that point to AllData. I probably would have been better off to stick it out with baymaster, and if they would have held off their transition until they had all the bugs worked out I would have. In addition to AllData, I have added "myshopmanager" which is a marketing program that automatically texts my customers checking in on them about jobs we have completed. It also has a VERY GOOD vehicle inspection part that allows us to send a text to our customers with pictures and videos of their vehicle inspection. This has sold alot of extra work we wouldn't have had without it. In order to grow in this industry at this time, you have to invest in the technology. I think I'm paying $289 a month for "my shop manager", and I'm ok with that as I can see clearly it's bringing in an extra $2,500 a month in revenue per month as long as we are using it. We've been so busy the last couple month that we have not been using the inspection feature as much as we should be. Our biggest problem there is staff. If anyone has any advice on getting quality mechanics that want to work and can show up on time... please share your secrets. I could be a 3 tech shop instead of a 1 1/2 tech shop if I could just find the right people. The 1/2 is my second and isn't efficient or reliable.... and may not be employed for long.
  4. Wow, an Action Movie without the cost or hassle of hitting the theater. Thanks! Also, I'm sold. Usually the crummy batteries that I sell must be replaced immediately after exploding. Looks like the DieHards are reaching peak performance after exploding.
  5. Massachusetts voters are deciding in this year’s election on whether they---and not the vehicle manufacturers---have control over the repair data generated by the vehicle they purchased. The Auto Care Association and the Coalition for Auto Repair Equality (CARE) have supported efforts by the Massachusetts Right to Repair Committee to obtain public support for ballot Question 1, which would give the consumer choice in vehicle repair. “While the battle has been hard fought and expensive, the Auto Care Association is pleased that the most influential publications in the state have seen through the negative advertising campaign being funded by the vehicle manufacturers and have unanimously urged their readers to vote ‘yes’ on Question 1,” said Bill Hanvey, president and CEO, Auto Care Association. “We trust that voters in the state will agree with these publication that the right to repair is important and that advances in vehicle technology should not be used to limit the ability for owners to have their vehicle repaired by the shop of their choice." These “‘Yes’ on Question 1” endorsements include: The Boston Globe on Oct. 13 declared, “The reason the new Right to Repair measure should pass is simple: It is inherently unfair for car manufacturers to have sole access to a vehicle’s mechanical data, because it gives their dealerships an advantage over independent auto-repair shops. That ultimately hurts consumers, because with limited options come higher prices.” The Boston Business Journal on Oct. 15 maintained, “Without the ability to repair cars equipped with wireless electronics, repair shops will see declines in business in coming years as car owners are forced to get repairs done at more expensive dealerships. In the end, more of the millions of dollars that Bay State residents spend every year to fix their cars would go to out-of-state manufacturers. More neighborhood car-repair shops will go out of business." The Sun Chronicle on Oct. 21 stated, “…we think the opponents of the law have done themselves no favors by overhyping the risks it poses. For example, the ‘No’ campaigners lean heavily on a statement from ‘Jane Doe Inc.,’ a Massachusetts advocacy group against domestic violence and abuse. But, on its website, that group now says its position on the referendum has ‘evolved’ and, while saying it’s staying neutral, complains that it’s wrong to use the fears of abuse survivors to promote a political position. For that alone, we think the opponents of Question 1 deserve to get their comeuppance at the ballot box.” The Berkshire Eagle on Oct. 21 stated, “Question 1’s opponents had ample opportunity to explain why this lobby should keep a monopolistic grip on your car’s telematics. They instead spent their campaign dishonestly fear-mongering in an attempt to distract consumers from asking why carmakers should be able to flout the spirit of the extant Right to Repair law to drive more repair jobs to their dealership garages. Hopefully voters will see through this charade.” For more information about the Right to Repair ballot initiative in Massachusetts, visit massrighttorepair.org. Source: https://www.autobodynews.com/index.php/northeastern/item/21245-right-to-repair-ballot-initiative-endorsed-by-major-massachusetts-news-publications.html?start=1
  6. HYANNIS – Proponents of Question 1 on the November 3 ballot say that independent auto repair businesses need access to data collected by cars in order to fix vehicles, while opponents say that Question 1 could risk owner’s personal data as well as safety. If Question 1 is approved, cars 2022 model or newer must be equipped by manufacturers with a standardized, open access platform that would allow auto repair shops to wirelessly access mechanical data using a smartphone-based app with owner’s permission. Currently, telematics data generated by sensors in the cars is transmitted to servers only the automakers can access. Supporters of Question 1 say that the telematics data only being available to the manufacturer means car owners must take the car to its original automaker to receive service and make repairs, diminishing consumer choice in where they can take their cars. “If a person goes out and buys a car, they should own the data that enables that car to be fixed, and they should be able to choose where they want the car fixed. If shops like mine don’t have that information, then we can’t fix the car, which kind of forces someone to go to a place where they don’t want to go,” said Robert Wallace, President and Treasurer of Cape Tire and supporter of Question 1. Wallace said that the limits on customer choice on where they can receive service for their car will lead to a monopolization of the industry by car manufacturers, with a rise in prices and a drop in quality service. Wallace said that he and other supporters would be willing to purchase the data, similar to how the auto repair shops already purchase parts, and that they are not requesting that the data be made available for free. “We’re willing to pay for it, we just want the information to keep our customers rolling.” Conor Yunits, spokesperson for the Coalition for Safe and Secure Data which opposes Question 1, said that the issue of telematics is already covered under the right-to-repair-law that was introduced in 2013. “It specifically says that any information necessary to diagnose and repair a vehicle that is provided to dealer repair shops and only available through telematics must be made available to local repair shops. This is already covered,” said Yunits. Yunits said that currently data is only sent to secure servers owned by manufacturers, then to repair shops or customers through secure systems developed with the automaker. According to Yunits, Question 1 would prevent manufacturers from being a part of the development process of security systems and apps that share the information in the future, sacrificing a layer of security for consumers. Yunits also said that Question 1 unnecessarily risks owners’ personal data by creating opportunities for bad actors outside as well as inside repair shops to access personal data wirelessly. While mechanics or others may be able to intercept and use the data for malicious purposes, Wallace said that is a risk that comes with a lot of modern technology, such as cellphones and other smart devices that collect data on their users, and that it is up to the customer to decide whether they want to take that risk. Yunits also said that Question 1 would also force car manufacturers to comply with an unrealistic timetable which would be impossible to do in a safe and effective manner, with new requirements that would be enforced as early as January 2021. Source: https://www.capecod.com/newscenter/cape-cod-auto-shops-pushing-for-question-1/
  7. A new chapter in the DieHard story begins. Watch as John McClane faces off against old foes and crosses paths with old friends. From fighting his way to Advance Auto Parts to racing against the clock to install his new DieHard Battery – McClane will stop at nothing, to start his car again.
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  9. Hey DAC, I get it. Actually, I've used QuickBooks in some applications when getting some things started and I've got nothing bad to say about it. Maybe it's not centered on the auto repair shop - but it's a lot better than scribbling down names and numbers on a napkin! And understand this - I'm not selling anything - and I can't tell you what app you should or shouldn't use because I haven't worked with any of them for a long time. But here's something I can tell you - You said you've got what you need with QuickBooks. Great. But I always ran my businesses with the "where do I want to go?" attitude (or question). I listened to sales people selling their stuff because that was the only way I could understand what their product/service could do. But the overall focus was me, asking myself, "will this take me to where I want to go?", and in all honesty, that's the real question you need to answer (for yourself - nobody else!) Hope this helps! Matthew "The Car Count Fixer" P.S.: Follow me on YouTube @ Car Count Hackers P.P.S.: How to Get Car Count in 72 Hours or Less - Guaranteed! P.P.P.S.: Facebook?
  10. We are also a small shop in a small town, same situation. I have been contemplating an upgrade myself. We use QuickBooks and it's worked well for us. I may consider an upgrade down the road, but for now it does what I need.
  11. Hey Xtreme Marine! Thought I would chime in on this. I currently do not own a repair shop - I did - and how I help repair shop owners to get the car count they want and need. Your question about value is one that only you can answer. But let me ask you this "How do you stay in touch with customers?" Do you send them Christmas cards; Reminders; Maybe even the odd promotion? What I'm really asking is "how do you mail or contact your customers?" Or do you just want to "churn and burn" - keep wasting money on getting new customers only to have to replace them in a few months. To get to the point, every business (repair shop) will have a loss in customers. Let's face it, some move away; change jobs; buy new cars and some even die. But the BIGGEST reason customers leave your business is "indifference". They think you don't care! So I can't speak to your specific requirements but from what you outlined, looks like you've got things "duct taped" together pretty well. That would be like my repair shop going across the street to borrow their floor jack to lift my car; and then driving down the street to borrow the other shop's oil filter wrench, just so you can do an oil chance on my car. You know - sort of "duct tape" it all together. Sorry if I'm being a smart a** - but your customer list is your most valued asset. After all, without customers you would be running a hobby. But once you go through the learning curve of getting a proper system up and running (because there WILL be a learning curve, I promise) , I'll bet that a good system set up well will prove to be worth the "weight". Hope this helps! Matthew "The Car Count Fixer" More help? Join the conversation on YouTube @ Car Count Hackers
  12. Hey guys looking for a little advise for people that have been in my situation. We are a smaller shop but really starting to transition to doing more volume in the past 2 years. Been in business for 10 years now and currently have 2 full time tech's and myself. I manage most of the office and service writing stuff and even occasionally help wrench in the back when required. Looking to hire a service advisor soon to help with the work load on the counter. Currently we just use a a mix of excel spreadsheets for invoicing and customer history, as well as Google calendar. My questions is will I see a big benefit from moving to a all in one management program? Is it worth the monthly fee's for a smaller outfit like mine? Should mention we are in the powersports arena (mostly boat repair with some other rec equipment) so some of the platforms out there are not 100% tailored to our industry with the ones that are not offering up everything you would get out of a automotive program. Thanks in advance for the help!
  13. victoriaSwalker


  14. Chris Storbeck

    Chris Storbeck

  15. Insta-Lube


  16. We are upgrading this tool to the latest MaxiSys Ultra. This 2.5 year old Elite is looking for a new home. Has a current subscription and the hardware is under warranty as long as the subscription is maintained (renews in December). Only thing I know about is that the battery life has shortened since new. Scuffs in picture are on the screen protector that we never removed. Listing this one at $1849 shipped. I saw a similar one recently sell on Ebay for $2K. (NOTE: This unit is not a Chinese knock-off also seen on Ebay).
  17. We were using Alldata, but I wasn't happy with it, took too long to create R/O's, look up info, etc. We are now moving to Mitchell1 in the cloud and from what I've seen so far, I'm impressed.
  18. What Your Customers Want to Tell You…But Don’t Auto shop owners and managers: Join us for a free webinar series and learn firsthand what actual customers think about the auto repair experience. To learn more about the online event and to register, click the link below: https://mitchell1.com/micro/elite-event/
  19. The governor of California last week proposed a ban on all internal combustion vehicles by the year 2035. A very aggressive move that the EPA is questioning if this is even legal. We all know that the electric vehicle will make an impact in the future, but with the overwhelming of cars being build and sold in the next decade, how practical is the proposed ban? Your thoughts on this? Here's a article from Motor Trend: https://www.motortrend.com/news/california-ban-gas-diesel-executive-order-newsom/
  20. I want to clarify something. I stated in the above post that many shops are getting $135 to $150 per hour. I am not implying in any way that this is too high or unreasonable. In fact, as an industry we need to raise the average labor rate across the board in this nation. What I am saying is that you need to sit down and do the math. Find out what your labor rate should be by determining your overall cost of labor and your expenses; and then adding your desired net profit. Also, I recommend you have multi-tier rates. So, a C-level tech performing oil changes and general service is billed at your standard labor rate and an A-level Master Tech performing complex driveability and other onboard diagnostics is billed at a much higher labor rate. If you are not sure how to do this, you need to get help from a professional, such as a coach.
  21. I bet you have a bunch more heater repairs than I do... One thing I left out. My machine has a line flushing feature for use with hybrids. It burns 1.5 lbs of filter life (limited by Robinair to 150 lbs before filter change). I do use this feature when I hit a bad one AFTER I'm done with the job. I clear the lines immediately after I'm finished... One thing that's cool is when I get a a massively over oiled one and the trap has 8 oz of oil in it the oil bubbles like a coke for 2-3 hours and the 8oz drops to 6oz The oil has liquid refrigerant in it. This phenomenon is useful when you have to open a system. It will "out gas" for a couple of hours AFTER recovery. If you tightly plug the lines it will "pop" when you pull the plugs days later, sometimes it will blow the plugs off (bad). Often I will use a balloon on one side to allow for expansion. If your system is outgassing when you plug it and the plugs stay in the dryer does not get poisoned with ambient humidity and I will commonly re-use the dryer. If I can I leave the systems in vacuum overnight (machine hooked up but turned off) and re-pull in the AM. This vastly reduces the moisture in the system.
  22. @RickD Thanks for the very thorough information. I'm in Northern Minnesota. A/C repair isn't of quite as high demand here I'm sure. Probably just as often as repairing A/C problems, we need to recover to perform other work on the vehicles easier.
  23. I am not accountant and I do not know the tax laws in every state, but it is important that you meet with your accountant way before the end of the year if you received and used an SBA or PPP Loan. Loans used to pay bills may not be used as a deduction on your tax return, and may result in increased taxes. Again, DO NOT TAKE MY ADVISE as an accountant. I plan on meeting my accountant in October to review all the tax implications for my 2020 Tax return. AND, the SBA may change rulings, so stay informed and seek professional guidance.
  24. With so many uncertainties these days, there is one strategy that we can all do that will help to smooth out our overall sales and customer visits throughout the year. Make sure the experience is always amazing during the entire customer visit. And perform the car delivery that gives the customer a reason to return. Here's the key part before any customer leaves your shop: Make sure you discuss their next service appointment and any other future recommendation. Let them know that they will get a reminder by either post card, email or text. BUT, there is one more thing you can do to boost your customer retention, get permission from your customer to call them a week prior to their next appointment. Yes, give them a phone call. Try it, and give it time to work. Oh....won't work, you're thinking??? Well, here's list of businesses that do it: Dentists, doctors, nail salons, hair dressers, chimney cleaners, boiler service companies and Successful Auto Repair shops.
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