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  1. Last week
  2. KEY POINTS The tight labor market can be a boon for blue-collar workers: They are more likely to find good-paying jobs and experience rapid wage growth. More employers are trying to tackle the aversion to manual labor jobs by offering workers higher salaries, tuition reimbursement and apprenticeship programs. Technology is also transforming blue-collar workplaces, making more advanced skills in demand. Across the country there are more drivers on the road, and many of them hanging on to their vehicles longer than ever. That means workers like Michael Gerhart are in demand. Gerhart, a master auto technician at Pep Boys, has been fixing cars for nearly three decades, keeping on top of his skills as technology advances and learning how to do his job in a new way. Today, his focus is on engine diagnostic work, including things like the driveability of vehicles and emissions testing for the state of New Jersey. He works on different vehicles throughout the day, flexing his knowledge base on makes and models of all kinds. “Cars have changed a lot, even in the past 10 years as far as the diagnostic end of things, and training has become more advanced as far as what’s required to fix the current vehicles,” Gerhart said. “It definitely doesn’t get boring and it’s always changing.” Some 46,000 automotive service technicians and mechanics will be needed to fill roles through 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, at a time when the skills gap and worker shortage is particularly acute for blue-collar jobs. As economic growth is expected to continue in 2019, so too is a labor shortage both blue-collar and low-paying services occupations, a recent study from The Conference Board found. Baby boomers are aging out of the workforce at the same time the pool of available labor has become more educated, and thus less interested in blue-collar jobs. Automotive mechanics and technicians like Michael Gerhart are in high demand as a blue-collar worker shortage is expected to continue this year. Kate Rogers | CNBC “In the U.S., more than most other advanced economies, the American dream is to go to a four-year college and not have a manual job. For a while it was a not a problem because there was no shortage. Now, there is a big shortage, and people with a bachelor’s degree are just not interested in those jobs. There is a stigma connected to manual labor that is very hard to break,” said Gad Levanon, chief economist at The Conference Board. The report says the shortage will be most visible in transportation, production, health-care support, food services, cleaning and maintenance occupations. To help bridge this gap of available workers, Icahn Automotive, with brands like AAMCO and Pep Boys, recently launched its “Race to 2026” program, to invest in and support future automotive technicians and students who might have an interest in the trade. The program will offer scholarships, tuition reimbursement and apprenticeship programs, along with job placement and continuing education opportunities in partnering with schools like Lincoln Tech and Universal Technical Institute. Part of the message is that this isn’t the blue-collar work of years past. “I think there’s a stigma around, you know, the type of work and it’s still this old, kind of get-your-hands-dirty, greasy job. But as you look around, there’s been dramatic change in the way that a shop looks. And today’s shop is really more of a house of technology where students today should be thinking about that role as really a STEM career,” said Brian Kaner, Icahn Automotive Service and Real Estate president. While the median salary for auto service technicians and mechanics was around $40,000 a year in 2017, those with experience and more advanced certifications can potentially earn six-figure salaries during their career. The Conference Board study points out that continued tightness in the labor market, while frustrating for employers, can actually be a boon for workers: They are more likely to find good-paying jobs and experience rapid wage growth. For technicians like Gerhart, it can also foster a passion. “It’s been great doing this — I raised a family on this. It’s a challenging field to get into, but at the end of the day, I think it’s worth it. As long as you can keep up with the technology that’s out there and you’re given a chance to use it, it can be a very rewarding career,” he said. Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/08/skilled-auto-technicians-are-in-high-demand.html
  3. We are AAA and we are with Unifirst, a provider of AAA. I had originally signed a 3 year lease with no auto renewal. Then I sent them a cancel letter within the time period. I checked with all the other companies for the new contract. Everyone before they came out, I informed them that no matter what, I was not signing a 2 or 3 year contract only a 1 year. Each one came out and pitched their company and how different they were. None of them would do that when it came down to it. I then called Unifirst and said I wouldn't cancel if they would do a 1 year and no auto renewal. They agreed on the price and and the increase year would be 5% at the end of 1st year if we continued.
  4. I have been in business a long time, and the only tows I am interested in are from our own customers, or when someone calls and asks to be towed to us. I have arrangements with a few tow companies. I pay them a wholesale rate and I charge the retail rate to the customer. I don't rely on tow companies bringing me work that they recommend. There aren't many people that breakdown and don't know where to have their car tows. People do breakdown on the highway, and we do get tows from that, but it's not a major source of income.
  5. Looking for ideas or suggestions maybe something that has worked for other shops. Again we are a small rural shop, out of the main town about 10 miles. We have several tow companies in the area that will haul by our shop & take to another shop. We mainly do tires but are able to do light mechanic work like brakes, alternators, batteries, starters, etc, etc. I know some customers may request to take it to another shop but I also feel that we are an option that gets over looked & the tow companies may make a little more buy driving on by. My Question is does anyone have a program that they are working with a tow company to bring cars to the shop when a customer does not have a preference. We have a loyalty program that I thought for every dollar the customer we will give the tow company the same value in points. Do we offer to pay the tow bill upon del so they don't have to mess with? How do we know if the tow driver is bringing to us on his own or the customer requested? Open to ideas & maybe it is what it is. Thanks
  6. what do you think?https://atcautocenter.com/grovetown/
  7. In PA we can charge whatever we want, the market will adjust your pricing.
  8. Here's the direct url if anyone is looking https://bay-master.com/advanced
  9. They have a nice public facing video right on their website front page. Was curious so I took a look.
  10. I remember being at a meeting with my staff where I voiced my opinion on an important issue. When I was finished, I asked if everyone was in agreement. Everyone nodded their heads yes. After the meeting, one of my service advisors told me that half of the employees did not agree with me. When I asked why did they agree, he replied. “You’re the boss, you intimidate others.” This made me think about my leadership style. Being unapproachable will prevent you from hearing other opinions; which is important to the success of the company. When speaking with your employees, ask a lot of questions. Avoid giving your opinion until you have heard from others. Praise suggestions and the opinions of others, and thank others for speaking up. The most successful teams are those that build strategies through a collective effort.
  11. Earlier
  12. Question. Did you change the brake booster along with the other components? It’s standard at our if the master cylinder needs replacing then we automatically change out the booster also.
  13. Thanks for all the responses. I went with the local guy(Capital Bankcard), though Elevon was my second choice. For those of you doing high volume(over 10K/month), you might want to look into Fattmerchant. Flat monthly subscription of $99 + 8 cents per transaction + direct cost of interchange One time cost of $250 for counter terminal No contracts, no fees to cancel
  14. Virginia's Governor Northam signed a bill into law that increases the fee shops can charge for the annual safety inspection from $16 to $20. This was made possible through a lot of hard work and lobbying by the Virginia Automotive Association. You can learn more about VAA at vaauto.org. Done properly, Virginia's inspection process takes about 45 minutes per car, so shops are still running a deficit, but it's a long-awaited improvement.
  15. I would fight in on principle alone. You did a thorough job of going through the process. It can feel like a no win situation but there's a silver lining in there somewhere. Did another shop fix the issue they deprived you of fixing? You should not have to have the old parts to prove what you did fixed a needed safety repair in my opinion. If that is what we're coming to then I would think we'd be best served to simply ALWAYS return all non-core parts that are R&R'd.
  16. Hey @RMF, we are sending you an email with some information about our platform. Thanks for the interest and the kind words.
  17. Hey NATURE, those do sound like pretty good rates. When we took over our shop about 4 yrs ago, we looked around a bit as well and came to find Elevon to be pretty reasonable and they are running on average about 2% - 2.1% per month. It seems as though CC Processing companies are getting a little more competitive now days and I have been recently seeing rates in the range you are describing. I have been pondering switching myself after seeing I paid about $4k in processing fees last year. More of that in my pocket would be a good thing!
  18. Hello CAR_AutoReports! I would be interested in receiving some info about the free and paid for software you are developing. It sounds pretty awesome!
  19. No, the OEM sensors are a smaller style sensor head. These are a more common head size that fits in the TS601 that I have. It took some doing but it works and I expect future repairs to take less time.
  20. Thanks for the follow up. Greatly appreciated. Do the replacement sensors look like the OE ones? Autel TS508?
  21. Quick update: Did the relearn again, followed the instructions to the T, road test, and the car's system reads the MX sensors from Autel like it should. No dealer needed.
  22. Programmed the MX Sensors from Autel to the car, installed, road test and tire light went away. The on-board display is still showing tire pressures that don't make sense and I'm scratching my head why we can program the sensors to the car, get them to turn off the TPMS warning, read fine with my tool but yet this. Part of the way there.
  23. I am also a longtime BayMaster user and I think you should give them a call since they already offer digital inspections. I copy and pasted the information below from their web site. Digital Inspection Forms (FREE WITH CUSTOM JOBS!) Completely Customizable inspections for your shops individual needs Full Tablet and mobile device support Prints alongside jobs on invoices Show recommended inspection and repair alongside a quote for the repair Save with the ticket in history to be able to reference in the future Can be as short or as long as needed with no limits USE WITH A TABLET TO SPEED UP INSPECTIONS AND SHOW CUSTOMERS!
  24. I'm actually brining in the 433mhz mxtpmsensors from Autel. Will hook up to the WRX, get the ID's, program the sensors, install them, relearn procedure, and road test. If it works I will have a solution for these that I can package as individual or a set and make better margin while saving the customer some money. I had another setup that was supposed to work like this but didn't. We will see come Thursday.
  25. The best advertising comes in the form of referrals, which are usually free but don’t happen overnight. Advertising is perhaps the most confusing part of owning any business, not just an auto repair business. Advertising is, to take your marketing materials and broadcast them in mediums where you anticipate your target audience. The internet has drastically changed advertising as most understand it. We used to think of advertising as the “yellow pages” and newspapers. However today, the yellow pages comes in many different forms these days. All of which promise you the world and few of which will deliver. We recommend taking a broad approach to advertising to test what will draw in the most amount of new business to you. When thinking about how to advertise for your business, below are some suggestions to consider. First, establish a yearly/monthly budget, then to execute a plan. The most important part of your plan is to follow through on asking your new customers how they found you, that way you know what advertising is working. Our advertising model assumes you have a few things in place, as we also discussed in Part 2: website with contact module, Google Business Page, and a Facebook Business Page. We are firm believers that Google’s vast grasp on search is what makes it the king of advertising for now. Most people start their searches on Google, and if you’re not on Google maps and your website hasn’t been crawled by Google… you may not exist. We can argue this until the cows come home, but the truth is they hold a grasp on nearly 80% of all search in the US. Picture 10 people searching for “auto repair in my town”, nearly 8 of them are using Google. It’s much easier and fruitful to advertise to 8 out of 10 than 2 out of 10. We are going to assume you have a $250 budget, the starter plan would be something like this: Google Business Page – Free Facebook Business Page - Free Adwords Campaign through your Google Business Administration Page – Budget Dependent - $100 per month recommended Local Paper Advertising – Prices Vary – Assuming $100 per month This leaves you with $50 left over. Personally, we recommend a service called Yext, however we are unsure of their price these days as they have gone into a "Demo mode". This means they likely introduce you to the price after you’ve demo’d their product. For a one location auto repair business, we believe their estimated price may be over $600 a year, which kind of busts the budget a bit. But once you see how much time their platform can save you… you may reconsider. Yext does a few great things that stand out: They broadcast your correct business information to well over 100 directory systems, including Google and Facebook. They also allow you to make business updates from their platform and broadcast it to all the directories in the network. They manage your inbound reviews from your customers on all those platforms and immediately inform you when you receive them. They allow you to broadcast messages of specials you may want to promote. They link your business website from 100 different directories, instantly giving your business credibility online. The most underrated thing they do… is save you time from trying to log into 100 different directories and fix errors, omissions, and broadcast them all at the push of a button. Can you imagine the time it takes to create 100 different accounts and to regularly check and manage them? We did, so we tested Yext at our founder’s facility and have been a subscriber for well over 5 years now. This article originally published in CAR's News Section View full article
  26. I'm assuming that in using their sensors, you clone the original number onto that sensor so the vehicle just looks for that same signal? Look forward to learning about how you made it through. My situation was for an insurance claim and I had to use OE everything and have receipts for it. Using an aftermarket unit was not an option.
  27. I have since spoken to Autel. I've spent two hours trying to speak with them/chat with them and get something going. Updated my tool and they said as long as you get their sensors you can program them. I'm going to give it a shot. We didn't use our tool to program the sensors as someone on staff thought the car would self-program which is a laugh. This is on me for not staying on top of this with my team. Will report back and see what we can do...
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