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  1. Yesterday
  2. I agree and would like to elaborate on a few things. Re: “Explain what they need now and what to be budgeting for in the near and distant future …” I so agree. May I add that I see it as roughly, 1/3, 1/3, 1/3. Their car comes in for a check engine light and their service is due soon, so do it now – first 1/3. You do an inspection and find several things that need attention - second 1/3. You spot things they need in the future – final 1/3. So … they NEED the first third – very little “selling” (see below for more). The last 1/3 is in the future, so little selling. And the middle 1/3 I say, “Lets come up with a plan.” Again, I’m not selling, I’m explaining and advising. I think the shop owner should be careful expecting a high closing ratio. It would be too easy for the service advisor to write up less in the last 1/3, the future work. Or, “sell” more of the future work. Either way, it’s not taking care of the customer first. “ … always building that personal relationship CONSTANTLY !” Agreed. They trust you now. Heck, I’ve told them what not to do now, the last 1/3. Meaning, I’m not after their money. My aim is to take care of them and their car. I then “explain” the middle third and why they need it. Most times they say yes. “I can guarantee if you build this type of business relationship with your customers in a few visits to your shop they will lay there keys on the counter and say fix it. It happens with every shop I work with and it amazes them.” Again, agree. It’s based on trust, that personal relationship. “I smile and say, it’s just being a people person and we are in the people business.” We are taking care of people, not just cars. “Services advisers should be talking to the customer to become their friend and extract information. Put a comment in the customer info on what he or she likes from your conversation and you will be very happy in the return you will receive.” Agreed. Then, during their next visit, you can ask: How was the camping trip? How was the trip to your son’s/daughter’s future college? How was the big golf tournament?” You are friends talking friend’s stuff. So instead taking time to sell “safety, value and benefits,” you’re talking friend’s stuff and they say yes to the additional work, because they trust their friend. “I have always said a service advisor is NOT a sales person but a problem solver.” Nobody likes to be sold: it’s almost an automatic defense mechanism. “Solve their problems and be friendly.” So simply put
  3. Last week
  4. Frank; thoughts and prayers go out to you and your employees. You are right, this is no joke, let's not get complacent at this point! Speedy recovery my friend!
  5. I started having symptoms on the 7th and tested positive for the virus on January 9th. My symptoms were fairly mild but breathing became an issue by the 14th. My oxygen level was dropping. I had to sleep setting up. I received antibody infusion therapy on Saturday, January 16. I started feeling better yesterday and feel better today. If you have Covid and can get the antibody infusion therapy go for it. It is a game changer. I drug my feet when I could have had 5-6 days earlier. Three of the seven people at our shop tested positive. Be sure you take this serious. It is no joke.
  6. Very good advise Joe. Get the most out of what you have first. Explain what they need now and what to be budgeting for in the near and distant future always building that personal relationship CONTANTLY ! I can guarantee if you build this type of business relationship with your customers in a few visits to your shop they will lay there keys on the counter and say fix it It happens with every shop I work with and it amazes them. I smile and say, its just being a people person and we are in the people business. Services advisers should be talking to the customer to become there friend and extract information. Put a comment in the customer info on what he or she likes from your conversation and you will be very happy in the return you will receive. I have always said a service advisor is NOT a sells people but a problem solver. Solve there problems and be friendly. Always ask to set up there next appointment ,as Joe stated everyone does it.
  7. This is where I started (as stated by others) "Create an exit strategy, or succession plan". I would take that a step further and say "make a personal plan" for your next 20 years. For me, I would by the property, let the rental income be the return on my money, for the time being(assumes no banks or mortgages involved). I would not feel pressured to decide today, what ultimately would be the plan. I would be comfortable in the knowledge, that I just improved my real estate position substantially. But that's just me. My plan is to be no more than a landlord within three years, and that plan is well in place. Here's a good guy to talk to" https://www.perpetualbusiness.co/ You would not have a wasted minute, in a conversation with Bob
  8. I want you to invest in this episode, beginning to end. It is one of the most important topics we can discuss today. You’ve heard me say that apprenticing will be an essential strategy to fill the technician ranks. We need to collectively engage a reliable apprentice program at every professional shop in North America. This is an episode where there is a lot of ‘HOW TO’ discussed. With me is Mike Davidson, shop owner and creator of an apprentice program that has been put through all the rogers. Mike is president of Industry Essentials. Also speaking is. Pete McNeil and Jake Sorenson from McNeil's in Sandy, Utah who created their own apprentice program and it was picked up by NAPA nationally. This episode will help you get started. There is a lot in here to understand and learn. Yes, we need to do this, but there is no super easy button that makes it happen. I challenge you to commit to an apprentice program and engage a willing ‘student’ who wants to become a journeyman technician. The show notes page contains a link to the PowerPoint slides and links to important sites to help you start. You can find our guest’s other episodes and the key talking points for this episode at https://remarkableresults.biz/e605/ https://player.captivate.fm/episode/6447a547-aef0-4977-aa31-3d68f1d042ff
  9. Take Your Shop's Profits to the Next Level New Online Event for Shop Owners!  Small Changes That Bring Huge Profits Tuesday, January 19 – 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM PST Wednesday, January 20 – 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM PST We know how hard shop owners work, but when you know exactly what numbers you need to hit, and where your time should be spent to have the greatest impact on your bottom line, you’re able to work smarter. Join us for this powerful course and industry superstars Bob Cooper, Kevin Vaught and Rachel Spencer are going to take a deep dive into: · Where small changes can be made to have a huge impact on your profits · How to ensure you have accurate data to make the right decisions · Which KPIs are most important to monitor, and how to move them · The 6 timeless rules of profitability · Exactly where you need to land with GP on parts, GP on labor, advertising investment, sales closing ratio and 18 of the most important KPIs! If you’re unable to join us live, no problem – the recordings will be available to you for 90 days. It's only $395 to enroll and seating is limited by design, so take advantage of this rare opportunity to ensure 2021 is your shop’s best year yet! ENROLL NOW Enroll Now ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌
  10. We seem to be having a catalytic converter theft problem throughout most of Michigan right now. Our shop was hit by thieves twice now, they manage to avoid the camera ID with hoodies and masks. One was in the parking lot, when the customer didn't pick up as planned over Christmas. Others were in our fenced in, locked yard. They cut the chain link. They look like pros as they slither through the lot. Every one has been hit around here in our small town, as well as dealerships in surrounding towns. How do they cash in on 50+ brand new catalytic converters at the scrap yard anyway? We have cameras pointing in every direction, but they see those and find a way around detection. A private security guard runs upwards of $3,000 a week. Scrap is at $2.10. I think as long as they can catch a few bucks that way they will. So tell me, are you having problems and what are you doing to deter theft?
  11. First, I would be the last person to tell anyone that car counts is not a measurable and important KPI. Every shop needs to know their needed car count and what their sweet spot is. And then use that KPI to understand other important KPI's - ARO, Labor margin, part margins, etc. Now, with that said, the industry in general, has and will see, a decline in the amount of times your customers will visit your shop. It was not that long ago when we had customers bring their cars in 4 to 5 times per year. That has changed. Plus with COVID and many people not using their cars as they used to, we cannot rely on trying increasing car counts. We should, rather, making sure that we make every vehicle visit...COUNT. Here is my strategy to drive up sales per visit, while promoting the right culture with your customers: Ensure that the customer experience is the best on the planet! - Give every customer a reason to return back to you. Perform a complete MPI on each vehicle, but find out the particular needs of customers. What is their car used for? Get your entire staff to understand that the customer is everything and their safety and their car care needs are most important. Promote your Culture of taking care of people, not sales - Believe me, sales will come and so will the profits. Promote vehicle maintenance, safety, and reducing the overall cost of owning their car. NOW HERE'S THE TOUGH ONE: PLEASE BOOK THE NEXT APPOINTMENT AT CAR DELIVERY! Doctors do it, dentists do it, boiler service companies do it, hair dressers do it, nail salons do it, ..even chimney cleaning companies do it! It's not hard, just do it. Hope this helps. Thoughts???
  12. The choice is yours, of course. But don't make age an issue. I did a major expansion at the age of 55, and then opened up two more stores by age 60. I am now 65 and working on my exit strategy. I am down to one store at this time, my main location I started with 40 years ago. What I can tell you is that you will need the RIGHT people around you. The wrong people will drive you to drink. Trust me on this!!! The right people will lift you to another level that will allow you to reap the benefits down the road. One last thing, and this is NOT due to your age...Create an exit strategy, or succession plan. Everyone reading this, no matter how old or how long in business, needs to think about life after owning a business. No one can predict the future, but to work to help create the future is key. BEST OF LUCK!
  13. Joe managed to capture an accurate description of our lives in a few sentences. I bet everyone read his words and thought “Wow...that’s me....that’s my life”. Given that should we really wonder why our trade struggles to find qualified employees?
  14. Earlier
  15. I know what you mean, and I get it. Shop owners, techs and other auto-related employees in our industry have always been on the front lines. We come to work in the middle of a snow storm, go to work when we feel sick, and try to drum up work when it seems impossible during an economic downturn. We work in conditions that makes us cold in the winter and hot in the summer. For once, it would be nice to hide and get paid for it. It's just not us. But, I get it.
  16. As if getting Covid is not enough you also have to try your best to finish all of the “in progress” jobs and contend with being down for an unknown amount of time. Running a small business has it’s rewards but I bet right now you wish you could just go home and get paid for hibernating under the covers like the majority of the population has done. I wish you and your tech a quick recovery.
  17. It's hard to believe that it's almost a year since COVID-19 hit. And for many businesses, and repair shops, it's been a challenge. While many areas around the country have not seen a downturn, there are other areas that have been harshly impacted. Areas such as mine have seen a decline in miles driven per customer of up to 50% or more. Just consider working from home, the drastic decline of going out to dine and other activities, a decrease in after-school activities, a decease in youth sports, buying online and every other action that has become the norm, and it adds up to a negative impact for so many shops. NOW, you know ME. I always put a positive spin on everything. At this too shall pass. COVID-19 will be behind us and we need to prepare for great times ahead. I urge everyone to focus on people: Your family, your employees, your customers, and the community. With regard to your customers, they will remember you and their experience long after the water pump or mass air filter you replaced in their car. If you are having a decline in sales, here a few tips: Establish your new goals, look at your expenses, reevaluate your breakeven, make sure your labor and part margins are in line. BUT, never forget that your most important strategy is the culture of your business. Lastly, cherish every minute with family. This Crisis has brought Clarity. And let's never forget the things that money cannot buy.
  18. @xrac I’ll echo what @Joe Marconi said, hope you guys recover and get well soon!
  19. Above all, Frank, the health and welfare of everyone is number one. I hope that you and your tech recovers fast, with no continuing issues. When I hear stories like this, it really opens my eyes once again as to the seriousness of this virus. As a small business that relies on a constant input of customers, this virus will no doubt take a toll on many repair shops. Keep us updated and best of luck.
  20. And it keeps on affecting. One of my techs and yours truly have tested positive. I have the shop with no one to enter the building except people that I have no symptoms and are waiting on test results. Trying to clear out cars that are in the shop so people don't go days or weeks without them. Maybe not perfect but I think it will be effective. So far it only feels like a mild head cold.
  21. Thanks to all the folks who put in the hard work that makes this site so interesting/valuable.
  22. Joe is correct that Covid-19 has affected everyone to some degree. Our gas volume is still off by 30-40% which is both a concern and hardship but repairs have been good so I feel very fortunate. There are a handful of varied businesses that have prospered during Covid such us drug chains, Urgent Care facilities, testing labs etc. Sadly there are so many businesses such as restaurants, movie theaters, hair/nail salons, catering halls, fitness centers, hotels/motels ..... that have closed up permanently. A shopping mall near me has a severe failure rate with 40-50% of the stores shuttered for good. A Hilton in my backyard closed permanently. Huge corporate office buildings in my area still lay dormant with all employees working from home. The overall business climate is still very poor in our are and concerns me. To answer Joe’s question as to what lessons I have learned - Adapt to change as quick as possible, do not financially over extend yourself, realize and react to untapped opportunities, increase and improve communication with customers and employees and be thankful to be able to come to work every morning because too many people are unable to do that.
  23. A lot has happened since last Winter. In some ways it's seems like years have past. Tough times reveals how tough people really are. My hope is that everyone learns from the events of COVID and takes those lessons to continue to push forward in business and in life. And of course, take the time to celebrate the things that money cannot buy. Life, health and family.
  24. Happy New Year everyone! Maintain the right attitude. Be positive and keep moving forward. 2021 will be a great year!
  25. We are still down about 20% from normal for this time of the year. It's not that we have lost customers, they are just not putting on the miles that they used to. 2021 will be a better year. I think we will see a surge by late spring and it will carry through the end of the year.
  26. Matthew, There's actually 2 places you can get the information. One is from the U.S. Economic Census, and they are absolutely free. However, they have a convoluted website (of course, it's the federal government) that give you the same data in spreadsheet form. However, they don't have an interactive map; just spreadsheet form only. They are at https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/economic-census/data/tables.html The interactive map comes from Cubit Planning in Austin, Texas. Talk you Kristen at https://www.cubitplanning.com/ and tell her I sent you. Now you can mail me $100 bucks.
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