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  1. Yesterday
  2. Mental Health/Depression

    Same boat here. I struggled for 3 years to improve my business doing tons of different things, always with a focus on customer service, and made it barely to mediocrity. My income for those three years was about $25k a year give or take a few hundred. I hired a mechanic and started woodworking in the back corner of the shop just to forget about it all for a couple of months. Then things changed when a retiring shop owner approached me wanting to sell his business and building. He found us based on the many 5 star reviews posted online. We moved in and everything changed. Now I struggle with keeping up, renovating, and finding the right staff to keep up with production. The moral of this story is if you keep doing the right things and plugging away, eventually the universe (or god, however you want to look at it) will throw you a bone. Don't give up, never surrender. Perseverance is the name of anything worth having in life.
  3. Last week
  4. This is an interesting discussion for those it could help and the tools they need to achieve them. In order to manage a business we need the correct tools. The smaller the business the less tools we need. But as a business grows, more tools and measurements must be used to diagnose problems within the business. Tech time management as originally taught by RL O Connor refers to 3 different measurements. Sold, actual and available time. Sold time is the amount of time you allot to the technician to get a specific labor function completed. The dollars and cents do not matter for this calculation. Only tech gets one hour to hang said part on car. Actual time is the time it actually takes the tech to hang said part. Available time is the time the tech is onsite ready and able to perform job duties. Why do we need to track all 3 instead of some sort of hybrid. To diagnose problems. Tech Efficiency The technician for the most part is responsible for this. IF he/she focuses on the job at hand, properly tooled and trained should be able to bill out many more hours than actually working on cars. Sold divided by actual = Efficiency. A good tech can easily be 150% efficiency. Productivity The business is mostly responsible for productivity. If the tech runs out of cars to work on he can not be productive. We are all human and need a few minutes throughout the day for non productive functions such as piss breaks but if we have enough cars and jobs get sold correctly, we can be 90% productive. We CANNOT BE MORE THAN 100% PRODUCTIVE. 8 hours worked vs 8 hours actually working on cars. Actual divided by available is productivity. 90% is a high mark IMO. RLO used to have non productive categories for a tech to punch in and out of when not working on cars in order for us to measure unproductive time. If a tech was on the phone calling parts stores he is not productive. Now, of you want to talk dollars, like how many dollars for diag procedures or how few dollars for an oil change we are talking about effective labor rate. At the end of any day take all the labor dollars for completed work and divide by total available hours and you have effective labor rate. This is solely a management function and the tech has not control over this. But I am off subject. Why do we need to track these metrics, to properly diagnose a malfunction. You may think you know by gut or watching, can be very effective for smaller businesses, but truth is in a larger business metrics dont lie. We have all heard at one time someone bellyaching we're not making money, all my techs are slow, dont know what their doing etc. Then we go look at the layout of the building and find out to do one job the tech has to walk to both ends of the shop to retrieve something he needs frequently, or does not have the tools he needs with him and back and forth to the box which is 3 bays away. Of has to go to the parts room to get the only scan tool for whatever reason. OR..... the tech is always being interrupted to do something other than fix cars. Tell boss I dont have an oil filter in stock but boss is busy talking to wife about weekend plans (or customer or whatever) and tech grabs a smoke break and a phone and calls Ed down at the parts house, after 10 minutes of BS finally order the oil filter that should have been in stock but was not there. Or take a customer home because management could not do it. Waits for the last part to fix that car and there are no more cars to work on or no more bays to work in. If you measure and monitor these figures and then spend the time to make corrections as necessary you will achieve the net profit goals discussed by some gurus. It is easily attainable. I can go on and on about it but it's time to go home. I hope this benefits someone.
  5. tyrguy said it correctly, Productivity = Hours billed / Hours worked. Yes it's possible to bill 9 hours for an 8 hour day for 112.5% productivity, if you're billing by the job, not by the hour, and then your techs beat the job time. You are correct, however some shops bill it differently. Instead of 1.5-2 times the shop rate for diagnostics, some shops cut the time instead. Bill 1 hr "normal shop rate" for diagnostics and the tech gets .5-.7 hr to diagnose in that time block, which causes the shop to sell more time than the tech works. But in general, you are 100% correct.
  6. We have always referred to productivity as hours billed to hours available. I see that in another above post the writer refers to this metric as utilization. However, I would say that to achieve high productivity numbers it starts even before shop setup, tooling and such. It actually starts with marketing because no matter how good the techs, if you don't have the work, you can't bill the hours. We had a 15 year run where our productivity numbers averaged 96-97% year after year with 1 year [2004] that we hit 101% [6511 hr/6440 hrs] with 3 techs. Then the recession hit, coupled with 5 car dealerships opening up within a 1/2 mile and we saw those numbers decline to 72% in 2015. In 2016 1 tech retired and with 2 techs I've been able to get that number back up to 83% last year. Lastly, although I agree with charging a full and proper rate for diagnostics, the "rate" has nothing to do with the productivity number. It's just the fact that you charging the "time" that affects productivity.
  7. I'm confident we don't define productivity the same. As KPI referred to productivity as I understand it is time available for a tech (at shop for 8 hours) vs time actually doing work (think piss breaks). This figure cannot be over 100% it is an impossibility.
  8. I completely agree with Wheelingauto as a lot of people understand these terms to mean different things. We work with dealers and vehicle importers in roughly 20 countries, and this does get a bit confusing some times. As a way to define the perspective of my answer, we actually utilize three terms when monitoring performance Metrics. The first is Productivity, which can also be referred to as clocked hours. Basically it's a comparison of how long your tech was clocked into your shop as compared to how many hours they were clocked onto vehicles. So if they were in your facility and available for work for 8 hours, and clocked onto actual jobs for 7.2 hours, they would be considered 90% productive. The second term we look at is efficiency. Think of it as how efficiently is the technician working during those clocked hours. Referring back to the last example, if your 90% productive technician was clocked on vehicles for 7.2 hours, yet invoiced 9 hours, (or billed 9 hours), their efficiency would be at 125%. The final figure we look at is called Utilization, which isn't too common a term in the United States, but is very common overseas. Utilization is a comparison of Invoiced (Billed) hours as compared to Available Hours. Again referring to the above example, your technician invoiced 9 hours while available for 8 hours in your facility. This results in a Utilization of 112.5%, which is the target we look to achieve with our dealers on a consistent basis. As you can see, you can now fluctuate between different techs and personalities where some techs are highly productive but not as efficient, or vice versa of lower productivity yet higher efficiency. As long as the Utilization at the end of the day, month, year is averaging 112.5%, you're reaching your targets. Another thing to realize is that this is a shop average, so a department with 8+ technicians may have some techs not achieving this while others are others exceeding it. We try to focus on averages realizing that due to the different types of jobs (gravy work vs. longer troubling jobs), you may not have every technician achieving this, so again, focus on the workshop average. Now I'm sure there will be a lot of people on this thread with different definitions and there is no right a wrong way to define these measures, as long as you are in fact measuring them. This is just the way we do it and the targets we set for the dealers and shops we work with.
  9. I'm confident that Alfred is referring to productivity, not efficiency. There's lots of posts on here that define the two and how they differ. Industry benchmarks nowadays are over 100% shop productivity and 125-150% efficiency per tech for top tier, well managed shops. How can you have over 100% productivity? It starts with a well laid out shop and proper tooling, billing for things "by the job" not by the hour, having "set-it-and-forget-it" equipment that works in the background while the tech temporarily moves on to another job, and charging a "full and proper" rate for all your diagnostics, which should be 1.5-2.0 times your regular shop rate, not to mention a minimum diagnostic charge at least .5 hr. Difficult? Yes. But impossible to do consistently? Absolutely not, shops around the country are doing it right now on a regular basis. Productivity = profits.
  10. This is where this discussion becomes lost. This discussion needs definition of efficiency, productivity and other terms being thrown around so those who need to understand it better might. Instead it scares some who dont feel they can get to some numbers and others who are well above. For instance, a seasoned tech with plenty of space should be significantly above 120% efficient. Overall a shop needs to consider the talent they employ before they can assess a goal for efficiency and productivity. Above 90% productive, incredibly hard to do and even harder to do consistently. This is by my known definitions of the terms though.

    Well in fairness, I should say our pay is "commensurate with experience". If a guy is asking for let's say $27/hour and the skills and experience he has are worth it, we'll pay it. I guess it just depends on what the candidate is bringing to the table, however we're open to at least considering any salary a candidate is looking for. Honestly we just can't seem to find anyone qualified. The ones that do apply have less experience, licenses, etc than we want, and the qualified ones that have come through seem to be looking for "managerial" type positions. They clearly want something different than we want. We can't seem to find the person in the middle.

    update: We finally went to mediation and then court on May 11, 2018 The 3 people couldn't quite get their stories straight. The judge wouldn't let me use car fax as he said it was heresay. When he heard that we had given her everything she wanted back in December when she took us to the BBB, He asked what more could she want. We had spent multiple hours preparing, but wasn't necessary and the judge would not give us storage, but the whole thing is done, I hope. We had to give her a 30 day warranty on the engine and turbo. Thanks for all you comments and support PS I have a best friend from high school that has dementia and went on DUFRESNES FB and gave us a 2 rating. I called her husband, also a good friend from high school, and told him. She did this at 1:03 am. Also she will call in the middle of the night and tries to video chat. You never know what is going to happen
  13. One tech can do over 90% no problem if given the space. One tech one lift not happening. My guy has 4 lifts so there's no waiting or putting back together. Last year I ran with just myself and one tech and my stress went way down, our numbers went up, and we are both happier. Appointments are stretching out farther than I'd like but it's working.
  14. Anyone have a repair plate ?

    In NY the dmv rejected my request for a transport plate. I had to get dealer plates. Worked out good because I'm a dealer now and that generates more income than the plate costs. A lot more.
  15. Tricky situation

    Sometimes small claims is bad for you. The local judge is trained to be on the consumers side. Consumer paid for repair, car still broke, you are a thief that stole their money. That's how it works in my town I'm happy never to set foot in that circus again. I'd try to reason with the customer and maybe give back the mc money you may come out ahead with losing a little.
  16. Our labor guide marks up the standard labor by 30%, so a starters that pays 1 hour becomes 1.3. Some jobs take longer some less but it all pretty much works out. Some jobs like a starter on a 5.3 trailblazer require bending the tranny lines out of the way. We quote new lines on a job like this because you just aren't bending them without a leak. Remember an estimate is just that, as soon as you realize your going to lose stop and call the customer. It's a balance between too many conversations and just getting the job done, so by starting out with a bit of a cushion your life gets easier.
  17. Anyone familiar with AutoLab's management software Automotive Expert, the desktop version?
  18. yes they are more interested in attendance than training... A sad state of affairs, money money money .. I could go on and on ranting about this kind of stuff but will spare everyone
  19. New Employees Needed

    Off and on from 1999 to 2011, our shop had a booth at various technical colleges’ career fairs. We hired several students to train as R&R techs with the hopes of moving them up to rebuilding. We didn’t have a very good experience with ITT Technical College in SLC nor WyoTech College in Laramie, Wyoming. The best employee we ever hired out of a technical college came from Salt Lake Community College. Both ITT and WyoTech are for-profit colleges. WyoTech is part of the Corinthian College system. Around 2014 or so, both ITT and WyoTech filed for bankruptcy and eventually went out of business, but I didn’t really understand why until now. The story of why these colleges failed is the subject of a half-hour documentary on PBS’s Frontline. Before you decide to get involved with a for-profit college, I would like to suggest to watch the short documentary, A Subprime Education, online at https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/a-subprime-education/ It will also make sense why our federal government has also instituted a “student loan forgiveness” program to help students who can’t find a job in the field they were allegedly educated in. Sad, sad, sad.
  20. Repairs on your own vehicles

    This is how I do it also. I do not show any labor on invoices for our personal vehicles, just parts @ cost, for the trucking company I do the same thing just tax-exempt with a exempt form on file for the company.
  21. Repairs on your own vehicles

    I make an invoice for the parts at cost and pay it plus tax. ny is pretty funny about their sales tax so I'm paranoid. I could just buy the parts and pay sales tax on the spot and not write a r.o. But it's easier this way. My techs are hourly so they don't care or I just do it myself.

    We rotate free if they bought the tires from us. It allows us to upsell alignments, check the brakes, and generally keep our customers happy and coming back regularly. If they bought at Walmart it's $20 and up. A couple years ago I went to a ride and drive and we tested 2 cars with 2 good tires on the front/back back to back on a circle track that had one spot hosed down. It mimicked an off ramp. The car with crappy front tires under steered but regained control. The car with crappy back tired went into a spin. Nobody could maintain control with the car that had bald (2/32") rear tires, not even the pro driver. Trouble is putting snows on the rear on a fwd car is useless hence the all 4 recommendations.
  23. I just helped your review score. I find most of my 1 stars are totally undeserved and come from scumbags and people who want something for nothing.

    My daughters boyfriend works at a factory. He lifted over 150,000 lbs during his last shift. $21/HR no stress no brain needed except to lift fast and consistent and sweat for 8 hours. I'm ready to buff myself out and work there. I pay my help very good, overpay maybe. They get tons of time off and flexibility. Some people think I'm nuts but I don't want my tech to quit to go work at a plant somewhere where he's not worried about comebacks.
  25. BBB

    $875 was my quote no thanks. Maybe before the Internet they offered a valuable service but now I'm just not seeing it.
  26. Negative review while serving vehicle

    Google me lol I can only laugh about it. I put in the guys part during my lunch break and it didn't fix his problem so I'm worse than the devil himself. It taught me a lesson; if the guy doesn't want to pay me diag time I don't want his business. End of story. We all get negatives it's part of owning a business.
  27. Tire prices

    We can't compete with Walmart or SAMs club on price. They win every time. We offer free rotations free flat repair and all that but I simply ask my customers to support local business. I explain that I pay my tire guy over $20 an hour compared to walmarts $9.75 so they are supporting a sustainable business that pays a living wage not a sweat shop. Most of my customers are die hard liberals. Hard choices are required to put your money where your mouth is. Does it work? We sell our share of tires so it seems to be. Wally has 195/60-15 tires for $45 we aren't wearing out our lift for that.
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