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  1. Today
  2. If you can get away with charging $200.00 per oil change you would make some money. These guys are right too, what happens when you miss the coolant bucket and drop coolant or any other hazard chemical in the street, on their drive way, at the parking lot where they work? Also can you get insured being mobile? What would your garage keepers policy look like? My policy replaces the car if we cause a total loss, and covers their medical up to 2 million.
  3. We might be the only ones to have a different outlook on this... but in general... when the "product" is free... you're probably the product. I think what amazes me more about this is that CARFAX is directly competing with the SMS products that it has relied on for years to provide them with information. Which brings about a different set of questions. How will any SMS continue to export information to CARFAX knowing they are actively trying to take their customers away? I know of another large scale company in this industry that was once threatened with, "Do not put this product in the market or we will remove you from all of the shops that use our product with access to your daily business...". To clarify our stance on the "free" version of what we offer. The free version won't always be free. It's being used at this time to entice shops to try the product and upgrade. But once we reach a certain amount of subscribers, the free plan will likely cease to exist for anyone who didn't sign up and use it while it was available. We have plans to replace it with a low cost entry price that will still make sense.
  4. My entire concept of this business changed the day I was forced to move the first time, about 8 years ago. I learned that every tradesman gets paid, but us. That was the day I decided that things have to change if I wanted to achieve success. To give this some context, we have new lifts and equipment installed in a building we moved into across town. While having some problems with the heating unit, which was brand new at the time, I was billed something along the lines of $225 for the first hour and then $1xx for each subsequent hour (forgot exact number but it's not necessary for the lesson I learned here). When I asked about what I thought was exuberant pricing, the explanation given to me was... "My guys need t want to come into work in the morning, in order to do that I have to properly motivate them. In order to properly motivate them I need to pay them. In addition to paying them... I need to make a profit." Regardless of how wrong he was in this scenario, because we were discussing new units that broke.... he was right about one thing. That's the price that his business needed to thrive, not survive. It lead me to embarking on a journey of asking a lot of tradesman what they charged and about their business. The most successful ones, with the most overhead... didn't play games. They had serious prices, because they had serious responsibilities to adhere to. Most of the ones that didn't, had little to no overhead. Once I decided what kind of business I wanted to run... the rest started to follow suit.
  5. When zoning laws start getting strictly enforced... or worse yet... some poor guy gets hurt doing a job in a corporate parking lot... Things will change because that's what it takes for things to change, someone getting hurt and someone getting sued. If there are any mobile guys reading this, I just want you to know that this isn't personal. But when I applied for my business license in my town... I was explicitly told that I would be given citations for working on the street in the area in front of my business. So it burns me a little to pay taxes, be legal and get these kind of limitations thrown at me and have to adhere to them. I wouldn't even work outside, because it's just not what we do. But to have that limitation thrown at me and have it become a business model all around the country... seems like a point waiting for friction.
  6. There are many corporate offices in my area and many have huge multi-level parking decks. I recently found out that someone is performing repairs in one of the corporate office parking decks. Oil change, light bulb, belt, hose, wiper blades etc... No lift, no heat, no a/c but they are out of the rain and sun. They started doing wash, wax, detailing but they apparently have now expanded their operation to include repairs. Local zoning should hopefully put an end to it. I don’t appreciate having a mobile tech operating in my area with no “brick & mortar” overhead but they are crossing the line when they set up a quasi shop in a corporate office building that is zoned office research. This can’t be the only place operating like this so everyone should be aware of the possibility.
  7. Yesterday
  8. that seems to be the constant. undercutting. Do I "Have" to undercut myself to stay competitive? Thats what I do not know. I would imagine that if I provided a decent service at a convienent time and place for the customer, they would be willing to pay atleast the same as a brick and mortar shop for the convience. Hopefully word of mouth gets out and more people trust me as a legit business vs a fly by night backyard mechanic working out of the back of a station wagon. The working environment is a concern of mine. I am currently in the USAF as an aircraft mechanic and have spent most of my 23 years outside in the elements. While I dont mind it, I dont like it. But, being in florida, makes it bearable for most of the year. Mobile is definatley not something I want to personally do forever. Eventually I want my own shop, and a few mobile mechanics to keep that angle going (as long as its profitable).
  9. Hi jfuhrmad! Good question but a little difficult to answer. Mostly because car count, profits, revenues will depend a lot on your overhead and fixed costs. With that said, I will respectfully disagree with parts of things CAR_AutoReports says. First of all, you didn't state what term the 150 was - so I am assuming it's per month, right? If that is correct, then just apply a little math. On average, there's typically 22 working days in a month. 150 cars/month would mean 6.8 cars per working day. That leads directly to another question. Can you handle 7 cars a day?? I'm serious. If you're a one man shop, don't forget you've got to answer the phone, move the cars, test drive jobs, quote jobs, write up quotes, and oh yeah... fix the car too! I will say - and I have no idea what your background, experience or anything is - your target of 150 may be a little high. You may want to start by getting REGULAR; Maybe 2, 3, or 4 a day - and then figure out what you need to change to get the rest. I also disagree with CAR_AutoReports with respect to density and the area your shop is in. Again, some of this will rely on your reputation and what you've done already in the industry. My attitude is that I wouldn't want to be the first or second mechanic my customer thinks of - I WANT TO BE THE ONLY ONE THEY THINK OF - and that doesn't happen overnight. You've got to work on that and it takes time! This short video explains it best! Additionally, I DO agree with the type of work you target - but let's face it, there isn't a customer out there that KNOWS what they need - THE ONLY Thing they KNOW they need is an oil change. So don't crap all over the idea of getting customers to stop in to get that oil change. Because, when you think about it - no matter how good a tech you are - YOU CAN'T FIX THEM DRIVING BY YOUR DOOR! In reality, I would tell you to re-think what your targets are - again, I don't know enough about you and your experience - and think about the ways you're going to get car owners to stop in. That's the first step to getting the work and the customer. Hope this helps! Matthew "The Car Count Fixer" Join me on YouTube Like & Follow on Facebook ** DOUBLE YOUR CAR COUNT FREE COURSE
  10. Do you realize that they actually have a service "specifically" for auto repair shops? Just Google "uber for auto repair shops" and you'll get a bunch of links. Once that came up that isn't a bad place to start is here: https://www.geekwire.com/2018/review-like-use-wrench-uber-auto-repair-sends-mechanic-car/ Hope this helps! In short, why wouldn't you use them?? Does your competition?? If not, that the reason I would run to get it set up in my shop! Make yourself stand out in your market. Offer the service, experience, etc. that makes people want to do business with you. In other words, "make it frictionless!" Matthew "The Car Count Fixer" Join me on YouTube Like & Follow on Facebook ** DOUBLE YOUR CAR COUNT FREE COURSE
  11. Its definitely hot out there! Are you asking about A/C options for your shop?
  12. The other day, a local fellow shop owner, was complaining to me that his plumber just charged him $225 labor for a house call. My response was, "And why do you have an issue with that?" I know this plumber; he is very successful, in high demand in the area, does great work and provides a VALUBALE service. Does this sound familiar? You bet....sounds like you and your business!!! When the day comes that all of us truly know what we are worth and charge for it, that will be the day when all us raise the level of the auto industry, begin to attract more people to us, pay our employees better, build for our future and go home with the pay we deserve. I know this is going to cause controversy....so let's start the conversation.
  13. Last week
  14. Hi everyone, did any of the shops that started the CARFAX Service Shop program ever read the TERMS ?????? ( https://service.carfax.com/csn/csnTerms ) So, basically, they are collecting VIN & Email ( meaning they can target the vehicle make/model/year/valu etc AND customer contact -email )..... they can sell this info to competition ; especially to brand specific shops!!!! or dealerships !!!!! on top of it ... they can STOP The free service ANYTIME they like, and keep using all the data they gathered! anyone else see a problem with all this and other stupid clauses ( ie : no jury , no class action ..) ??? CARFAX® Service Network.pdf
  15. Hey there @Hands On, here's a replay link of the same training I held in our Facebook Group today-- request to join and you'll have full access: https://www.facebook.com/groups/successful.shop.owners/permalink/484011562390573/
  16. We use Uber and Lyft. We use their dashboards that allow the customer to get a text message when the car is coming, easy for return trips too. The customer has a text message that they click when they're ready to be picked up. Lyft is called their Lyft Concierge: https://www.lyft.com/concierge . The dashboard shows all of your rides you've ordered, costs, users, etc. Very handy to know exactly when your customer will arrive too! We stopped using Uber as the prices for "Surge" were getting out of hand.
  17. One thing I never understood... why a mobile mechanic tries to provide the same level of service as a shop... on the road... for less money. Basically undercutting their own ability to earn for a more specialized service that you couldn't pay me to do personally. Additionally, if you knew the rates they have to pay to companies like "Your Mechanic"... it would further make you question the whole movement. I understand the hustle, but I don't understand delivering what your client wants, when your clients wants... for less than a shop. Especially considering you are working in an open environment where the weather is just as harsh as customer expectations.
  18. With the cost of a reliable loaner getting down to affordable loaners, we've opted to turn old customer vehicles into loaners instead of the Uber route. While Uber is useful for the one day turn around, it leaves holes on how the customer is going to get back to your shop and what happens if you need their car for more than a day? We started with one loaner and we now have 3. All are inexpensive, older vehicles that we acquired for a nominal fee and put in less than $2,000 to make them road warriors. Insurance is cheaper as a loaner than I presently pay for insurance as a driver... let that sink in for a minute. With three cars, I now use one as a daily commuter unless it's needed by a customer. With the loaner, the pressure from the customer to get the job done right instead of rush the service, is noticeable. Plus, it fits in with our model of "please schedule non emergency services" and if they want a loaner... they are on the schedule nearly all the time. Helping us provide a better service and more stability to the shop.
  19. This is driven a lot by surrounding demographics. Getting your car count to 150 in a densely populated area might not be that hard, but it will surely require a monthly advertising budget well over $1,000 a month your first few years. Then comes the question of, are you doing 150 oil changes or 50 oil changes and 100 other services that lead to real profit and growth for your business. I think guys focus too much on things like car count and not enough on providing a good service in a facility that is designed or flowed to handling this volume of work. If you want to build a serious business, calculate how much work you can take on a day and actually finish. In this calculation you have to remember that the things you advertise your business does, is generally going to lead to high volume, low margin work with really stiff competition. Because we're all advertising on the items that draw int he most amount of people... tires, brakes, oil changes. Build on reputation and level of service and live mostly ignoring things like "car count". Car count in theory is important, as it draws on the assumption that to raise revenue you need more cars. While that is true, so is the service model. Provide a service that people are impressed by and rely upon... and your car count starts to matter a lot less. Even though proper execution on service will lead to an increased car count based on the hidden brand building you're doing with that model.
  20. When we started to think about how we would handle this... we came up with this... For $37, you get an OE level tech that you can ask a bunch of questions to. If you spend 1 hour chasing your tail, at $100 an hour, you've now wasted 61% of the customers money and 100% of your time. We spend the time documenting everything and relying on the experts to guide us. It also gives us a couple of hours to work on other things while we are waiting for a call back. Sometimes that break of walking away from a vehicle and clearing your head, will also lead to better thoughts on how to tackle the problem. It's truly been one of the best moves we've made as a business. When we call them now,half of the time it's to confirm our diagnosis and thought process and the other half is really hard things that we have little experience with. As an ADAS shop, we're running into the hard things as the learning curve has been steep.
  21. This is truly great advice!!! Thank You for sharing. We have wasted our free calls for far to long, which means we have wasted hundreds of training opportunities. We are introducing a new practice in our store where we will be using our free calls every month and encourging techs and service writers to use the paid service whenever they feel it prudent. $37 is incredibly cheap for technical assistance. Thank you for the insight. This should be a post under it's own heading. Randy
  22. Earlier
  23. Any of you out there care to share your car counts from starting a shop from zero? How many months did it take to get to 150 cars and how did you market to get it there?
  24. Just realized this was about business coaching and not shop training. I'll leave it but have nothing to add about business coaching that hasn't already been mentioned. The most underutilized and underrated service to training while working is Identifix. Identifix is often used as a short cut method and when used improperly... it will lead to technicians starting to get lazy and develop bad habits. However, a few years back we adapted our Identifix strategy and instead of relying on short cuts, we rely on them to educate us in matters we don't know much about. The shop logic we have adapted here is: Everyone gets a certain amount of time to try and figure a problem out Within that time frame, certain basics are expected to have been completed. Things like - full code scans, freeze frame data evaluation when available, bulletin search for customer concern, and some form of basic diagnosis based on the repair information the code indicates. If no luck, we open up an Identifix ticket, we get 2 free per month... but in addition to that, we pay $37 for each additional call. Those $37 pay for themselves in gold and while we use them as necessary... we use them A LOT less as we interview the Identifix "fixer" a lot better than we ever did in the past. When we open the ticket, we relay all of our information to the Identifix Hotline. When their expert calls back, he will have usually taken a few minutes to understand where we are in our diagnosis and when he gives us information... it's either to correct us in a wrong path... or to have us continue down that path to further examine data and variables. The most important question we ALWAYS ASK to the hotline is "WHY?". Why are you having us do "X"? They will usually have a great explanation based on their years of specific vehicle experience that will help us better understand the vehicle logic we are dealing with. We document EVERYTHING in our shop management system, including all communication back and forth with the Hotline In 50% of the instances we actually uncover and determine root causes on our own, after Identifix helped us understand the logic we were dealing with through their experience. What has this done for us? Problems vehicles that would take weeks to determine root causes, have been greatly reduced to a couple days in over 80% of the scenarios we encounter now. We still occasionally hit roadblocks and when we do, we follow the same process forward. It still works great, but we have a major headache and it takes time to resolve them. We accurately track all of our time through our SMS and we bill accurately for diagnosis and have a really solid rate of resolving problems well over 95% of the time now. We are also fortunate enough to have a local vendor host learning classes each Spring & Fall in a variety of topics. To say that these two combined strategies have improved our business, reduced headaches and expanded profitability... isn't an understatement. It's how things work for us now and we couldn't be happier that we changed out mentality from shortcut to education opportunity. We have no relationship with Identifix other than paying for their service like everyone else. This is a completely unbiased post on how we maximize our use of Identifix. To put their service in perspective... we even acquired a dash harness from a 2014 Silverado with some modules... and had them help us get it working on a bench.
  25. These guys are pretty good https://www.autotraining.net/ Jeff
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