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  2. It takes a while for any new employee to get up to speed in thier new position, no matter how seasoned they are. We have found that using checklists for basic procedures are a great way to acclimate new employees. What strategies to you use to get new employees up to seed?
  3. There are many shops in urban areas that are using Uber and Lyft, and it's working. Perhaps better than having a shuttle service.
  4. We have purchased the Robinar unit end of last year and have used it maybe 4 times. Most of them have been subleted to us by other shops as well however I do expect to start seeing more this year as we have gotten the word out and so far only 2 shops in our community besides the dealerships have it.
  5. Us too Frank....not sure what to do at this point. A local Body shop has the machine, and if we need a recharge we can farm it out to him. I guess wait a little longer...maybe the price will come down more.
  6. Joe to this point we have only saw about 2 vehicles where we could have used one of these units.
  7. I believe tech pay will be going up rapidly, but so will shop labor rates. With the low unemployment currently, wages are going up in every industry. With the average tech pay of $41,000, if a tech was at work 40 hours a week all year he's only making $19.71 an hour. While that's a decent wage for many, most techs have to invest in a lot of costly tools. I was in a McDonalds a few months ago and saw signs all over the store advertising for employees with starting wage of $14 an hour. Of course my breakfast there gave me sticker shock also. The same will have to happen to the automotive repair industry or there will be no more techs. I see shops all around going out of business. It's not because of it being a profitable business. It's because the shop labor rates throughout the area are to low to be able to pay techs well enough to attract them and keep them while most customers gauge the cost of one shop vs. another entirely on the shops labor rate. Hands On says we have to have the same knowledge base of a doctor. Considering they only work on one make and two models, I'd say we may have to have a larger knowledge base in our profession. If we operated as doctors, we would also have a specialist for heater blower motors, and a different specialist for hood release cables and yet another specialist for brakes. The same tech that replaces the spark plugs wouldn't even consider working on the exhaust system. If we are going to keep techs coming to our industry, it will not be long before it will have to be an 80K or better per year profession. That will be achieved as shops either raise the average shop labor rate significantly or go out of business placing more demand on the shops that survive.
  8. We are begining to see the need for a Y1234 recharge machine. Who has purchased one and what tips can you share?
  9. Tech pay is determined by the profits generated by the repair shop. Too many repair shops struggle and want to remain competitive, but don't realize that all too often we compare our prices to the masses that undercharge their services and repairs. I have seen this time and time again for decades. It has changed somewhat since I started in 1974, but we need to go further. Sit down and do the math. Determine all your normal costs of doing business: Your rent or mortgage, insurance, workers comp, utilities, tools, equipment, computer programs, training, advertising and all other ordinary expenses. Then add up all those monthly costs. These expenses occur without even making a sale. AND, you haven’t even factored in payroll yet, or payroll costs. Once you have this number, you will then have a better understanding of what you need to charge in order to pay all your expenses and to generate a profit….yes…a profit.
  10. @Ollie G Its driven only by what members enter, so it would really depend heavily on that data. Its meant so you can see where others are, here in the community. So here's what we see for south Florida (only members that have entered their rates)
  11. For metro areas, there's always Lyft and/or Uber. There's a topic on this here:
  12. We do, and it's going very well. You will have to assign an employee or hire someone to shuttle customers and have a specific vehicle to use. We opted to buy a small Van and have our logo on the vehicle. There is a cost to have a shuttle service, but it does pay for itself by offering customers options. I don’t know your geographical area but set a few guidelines. For us, a ride to work could mean taking them to Manhattan, an hour-long drive. We live in a world today where convenience drives business. Shuttling customers could be a competitive advantage.
  13. This mape is crazy . I work with extended warranty companies every day. They send us data buy zip codes every week. south Florida euro shops range from $130 to $165 for independent shops. Goodyear and firestone are 125 ++ in 33020 I have no idea how this map is so low. NYC avg rate 150 San Francisco 235 WTF If you pay your techs 28-35 hr and your service advisers 4% or apx $1200 a week Shop , Insurance, Workers comp ,Health ins etc and mortgage how in the world does make it? I know my rate is $112 to $180 depending on the kind of work and car. Please if there are any A techs who want to make a great living come on down.
  14. The Hawk Eye Elite is probably the best alignment machine out there but for the few amount of alignments we do i will take the Atlas. The Atlas rolls on a cart easily every night. Plus we have limited space and our aliment rack is outside covered with a metal roof. We don't have the space for a Hawk Eye.
  15. We do. Customers love it. We are only coming up on our first year in business in February, I believe it sets apart from other local shops.
  16. I am certainly in a different situation of many shops. My shop is 1 of 3 businesses in our metro area. We are an extremely small town. The two larger towns in our area are 20 miles east or 20 miles west of here. I couldn't survive on just my local market area so customer retention has always been my highest priority. I have customers from 150 miles away (the twin cities) that are now loyal customers returning for work on a regular basis. EVERY customer should be treated as the MOST important customer. We try hard to provide that as without them we couldn't be here. Because of our loyal customers we have been able to expand our services year after year. I agree with you. I believe I do understand and expect in most areas where there is a large pool of NEW customers, many shop owners don't do everything possible for retention. Even here every month shops are folding because they aren't profitable. They probably would be profitable with better customer retention. My question would be where is that 27% number coming from? Customers that were here a year ago that came again within 12 months? New customers from last week that haven't been back yet? I just watched the video referring to the 27%, and I agree with the theory of what you are saying. I know alot of the customers I get tell me horror stories of shops they have been to. I am thinking that my business doesn't fit the statistics just because I already put so much emphasis into building a long standing relationship with EVERY customer that comes through my door.
  17. dfrisby, Thanks for your input. You may have misunderstood what the 27% was about. That's the average rate of a NEW CUSTOMER returning to you. In fact, I just reviewed a customer list from a new client gasping for car count. Almost 2,000 customer on the list. An overwhelming majority (like 85% or more) had the same start/end date. In other words, first service and last service was the same. If there was some attention to customer retention, he wouldn't be paying me to fix it. Matthew
  18. Or did we just fix their car to well? Most cars don't need repairs every month. Other than routine maintenance it's not uncommon for cars to go years without the need of any major repairs. I believe at least in our area, alot of customers perform their basic maintenance themselves, and even basic repairs like brake jobs. We end up with the more difficult jobs and the jobs requiring expensive diagnostic equipment. I'm not concerned when I don't see a customer for several months. I'm confident our service and reputation has made them a customer for life. I'd be more concerned about a customer that has the same vehicle visiting us multiple times in one month with different concerns we hadn't spotted and discussed prior. If they have to bring the same car in week after week or even every month for yet another repair, eventually they are going to shop elsewhere hoping for a better result. Our customer retention is good, but because they don't need service every week, new customers are necessary every day. Of course customer retention is important. But I know my percentage of new customers becoming loyal returning customers is also important, and I'm pretty sure it's alot higher than 27%. We try to build a relationship with every customer that comes through our door.
  19. We hit last years January total revenue on the 15th of this January. Pushing double last year if all keeps up. It seems customers are more willing to spend the money on repairs as the confidence in the economy is better, at least in our area. Hoping this trend continues! Good luck everyone!
  20. Set a limit for requiring a deposit on jobs. A $3,000 job should MOST certainly have had a deposit on it. Most states require you have clearly posted signage in order to charge storage fees. Make a nice looking notice, frame it and mount it on the wall in your office that is clearly seen when a customer comes in. Check with your state on the rules you may need to follow. Asking your customer to pick their vehicle up within 72 hours is well within reason. Remember you are not being a jerk, you're trying to run a successful business.
  21. We do not price match, I didn't pull a number out of a hat to put on an estimate. My estimate is specifically designed based on my needs. Parts are marked up according to what I need to be profitable, same with my labor rate. If your looking for the best price in town, I am not it. I am a professional and I want you to come to my business because of the service we provide, not because of my prices. Also why are you guys not making any money on tires??? Marked up 43% for 30% profit. I am not a tire store, I am only going to install tires if I am making money. Let the tire stores whip tires in and out. We have a diagnostic and repair work to do. I would like to say I think some owners need to slow down in their day. Being busy is just an illusion of being profitable. Bust in to your books and build your prices based on what you need.
  22. Imagine....You walk into Starbucks....You ask for a large cappuccino. The cost? Over 4 bucks with tax. You ask the barista if she could match the price from the local deli across the street….$1.95. You tell me what would happen. And for those who say it’s not the same. It is.
  23. Years back we never considered the car dealer a threat. But today it's different. After the great recession, the dealers that survived understand that in order to thrive they need one thing….the independent aftermarket consumer. In other words, your customers. New car dealers today are more competitive, their customer service has improved, they make a big deal at the time of the sale to get that customer back to the dealer for service, and they are very proactive with giving away oil changes and selling maintenance packages. Your customer may be loyal, but under the spell of very convincing salesperson, a new car buyer just might cross over to the dark side. What are you doing to retain your customers?
  24. Joe, I agree with you totally! So many shop owners I speak to forget about the “relationship” and “retention” issues. In fact, in this video, I talked about the 3 things shop owners need to focus on in 2020. But what I feel (and see so many times) is that shop owners ignore are the facts… and the fact is that when you’re dealing with a new customer, you have less than 27% chance of them returning to you for a second visit. And that ONLY happens if they have an excellent customer experience! That 27% change is not very good - yet shop owners still call them “THEIR” customer. You don’t own the customer. In total, most of the car count issues I see would be solved if shop owners focus on RETAINING the customer’s they’ve got - and doing that generates more referrals, more car count and it just keeps snowballing. Hope this helps! Matthew "The Car Count FIxer" P.S.: Watch Marketing your shop in 2020 P.P.P.: You ONLY have a 27% chance of new customers returning P.P.P.S.: Don't ignore your customer - Start texting customers before this time tomorrow - and it's FREE!
  25. Our car count last year to date 1/18/19 was 209. This year to date 1/18/20 is 177. Our ARO is up though, so we are only down 5K so far. All businesses around here seem to be slower than last year. Might be a regional thing.
  26. So far for winter 2020, we are having a better than normal season. This is good news since, late fall sales fell. I am hopeful this will continue. Sales of new cars fell last year, with the average age of cars on the road are at an all time high. Near 12 years. And the scrappage rate has greatly declined. What are you seeing in your area?
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