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  3. We purchased one for each of our two locations. The biggest struggle is finding the right pricing and also explaining to the customer why the price is so much higher. We have probably used them 10x combined over the course of 12 months so we are a long way away from covering the investment. The process is much, much longer (1 hour minimum to run through all the steps on the machine), but it's still a valuable service as we are able to work on other vehicles while the machine does its thing.
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  5. We bought a dual machine a few months back. We have been seeing older cars (2013 Dodge Dart!) with the 1234. Because fo the cost of the refrigerant, we began using co2 to check for leaks. It has worked well. My advice? If you can get a deal on one, buy it. You will need it very soon if not already
  6. Sounds a lot like our shop. We have weekly management meetings and that item seems to jump on the agenda when it gets crazy busy like it is now. What eased the pain a bit for us is building a fleet of loaner cars so that if you have to keep a car overnight, the client isn't without a vehicle. We have 4 techs and try to limit car count to 16 per day. While that helps, we always have "sleepovers" (cars that don't get finished and sleepover until the next day). Yesterday we had 8 sleepovers to add to our 16 that were coming in today. I feel your pain. Very often that 45 minute oil service turns into a 6 hour $1,500 repair order and we didn't have the 45 minutes to do the oil service!! I like Newport5's suggestion of looking at deferred work when someone makes an appointment. I am going to have our front counter staff start to try to presell that def work so we have a better handle on the hours sold. I hate to push people out a week.
  7. Thanks for all your feedback. I think we're all saying & doing virtually the same things, finding the sweet spot for our specific shops. I was hoping there was a magic recipe that maybe I was missing, but I guess not. Seems we're all in the same boat when it comes to trying to schedule an orderly day but I guess the right combination of all those things works for all of us.
  8. We have expanded our service range to Auto Electrical services and Air con repairs and ECU repairs and Stage1 and 2 performance upgrades which is currently the big thing here in SA. We secured Denso accreditation and do repairers for the OEM's that use Denso systems under warranty in our city. I have 2 online stores not related to the motor industry focusing on quality consumer goods not made in China. we dont know what the future holds for the motor trade and white South Africans n SA. Hence the 2 online shops.
  9. Good morning Looking forward to retirement at 55 since i was 25, i have discovered that one can only travel so much and see so many things before i get bored. I am at that point in my life were retirement seems like a good option, my son is working in the business and will take over the business and will provide me with a passive income. After years of searching i got all the right people in the right positions and even with my son not there, its business like usual. Covid-19 did its damage but we don't cry over spilt milk, we are fortunate to have survived through the difficult time. Our biggest concern at this time is that one of the employees (or ourselfs) get Covid -19, and still i cant seem to pul the trigger on retirement. Retirement on its own seems to comes with its own challenges for a busy body like me.. I dont think i will retire just yet.
  10. I have three bays and three techs. For years we have scheduled using a desk blotter that has vertical columns for each day of the week. I write down the customers name and brief description or acronyms of the work needed such as OFL, ROTI for oil/filter/lube and rotate tires. If the job requires known parts to be ordered in before arrival then I write up the job using my shop management system, order the parts, print a work order, record the customer’s name on the blotter in the appropriate column and write “TIR” indicated a worker order or “ticket” is started already and in the rack. Other than that it is all gut feeling, experience and the ability to say “No” when your instinct tells you that taking on a prospective job that was not scheduled is a “bridge too far” based on current work load. Good communication with the customer concerning delays is a must. When the crap hits the fan and you know the vehicle won’t be finished call the owner right away and keep them informed. Waiting until the end of the day never helps that type of situation. Since Covid I have been sending canned text reminders for scheduled work the day before or the morning of using my shop management program which has helped to eliminate “no shows”. The canned reminder also contains instructions for a safe, minimal exposure drop off during Covid so it serves two purposes.
  11. We have been trailing NY by 1-2 weeks with everything concerning the pandemic and our indoor malls still remain closed at this time. Stores that are accessible from the street have recently reopened which does make me feel like we are getting back to normal as Joe indicated. My location is surrounded by corporate offices which also remain closed. I have been told that when they do get a green light to open that most will only allow 10% of employees to return per month. Most or all have also announced that it is ok to not return to the office and continue working from home. We may not see 50% occupancy at the corporate offices until December or later which is a concern.
  12. It's nice to see things starting to come back to some level of normal life! I went to Home Depot and it was busy as usual for this time of year, which was good to see.
  13. With the COVID-19 situation, many shop owners of retirement age may be putting thier retirement plans on hold. I get this. It makes sense in many cases. But, please think about you and your family. Many shop owners have a 30, 40, even 50-year plus history in the auto business, with most of those years owning and running a shop. If it's possible, perhaps succession plan with the right person, or hiring a general manager to run your shop is a possibility. Perhaps a family member? The key thing is to have a secure business that, if you do plan on holding on to it, will bring you an income with stress-free time away from the shop, and back to your family. Your plans, thoughts, opinions?
  14. No, I have not lost my mind. I just wanted your attention. We all know that we have competitors. However, what we have just witnessed the past few months, due to COVID-19, gives me great hope that the independent auto repair shop is not just alive and well, but is sitting on the opportunity of a lifetime! While many dealers and big-box franchise either scaled down or temporarily closed, the majority of auto repair shop across this great nation remained open, adjusted their expenses and payroll, and are now experiencing a surge in business. Proof positive that the reasons we will thrive is because we are still, and will always be, the preferred choice of the motoring public. We are not a transactional, discount-driven business. We don’t hang Corporate logos above our bays. We are successful because we are part of the community. And we build relationships. Want to really thrive past this pandemic? Become even stronger in your community. Get involved in fund raisers, and all other local events. Great days are coming. Be part of it!
  15. Let us all take time this weekend and reflect on the things that are priceless...Family and Life itself!
  16. That is a real tough question. Although we are all auto repair shops, we don't all have the same business model. There are specialty shops, heavy trucks, large shops with quick lanes, on and on. For my shop, we are a general repair shop working on just about all makes a models. We have 11 bays and 6 techs. This gives each tech a spare bay for jobs that need time to complete. We do a lot of diagnostic work, but try to limit to a few per day as not to overload the techs with higly-complicated jobs. We also schedule a lot of service work, which brings on much-needed profit dollars. Lasty, we try to balance the wait customer to drop offs. Too may waits can get stressful. Boy, I hope this helps...tough question to answer.
  17. Today is the first day of summer, and we are still dealing with the dreaded COVID-19. However, there are positive indicators that business will be better than expected this summer. People will be taking more road trips, will avoid airplanes, trains and Ubers and will take to the roads in record numbers. Gear up for a great summer and look for opportunity with each vehicle visit. Perform those multipoints as if your business depends on it….why?....Because it does! We have a lot to be thankful for. Keep positive, be a leader and thrive!
  18. A ride to the Mall with my wife today (yes, I went to the Mall, got a problem?) gave me assurance that things are really getting back to normal. The stores were full, the roads were packed and expect for the masks people are wearing, you would think it's just another ordinary summer weekend!
  19. ( 9 hoists, 9 mechanics, 3 service writers) We do not have an official policy in place for scheduling work. I've tried different techniques but nothing ever really seems to stick. At the moment we use Mitchells software to take down names and numbers, then we place them on the day in which they will be coming in (we do not take specific times and do our best to have people leave there vehicles all day). Mitchel's scheduler is not very user friendly, its also very poorly designed, but its better than nothing. I would not fall into the "tech trap". Software and apps can seem attractive but usually they are a waste of time. I do not think it matters what you "use" the real secret I believe lies in being disciplined, and organized. If you cant make a scheduling process work with just a phone and paper than your not going to make it happen with an app. (Sometimes I wonder if paper is the way to go). Back to our shop, we typically "eye ball" our days. If you called for an appointment I would look at the day in question and if I see that there are not too many scheduled for that day I go ahead with scheduling you in. This bites us in the butt all the time. I'm wondering as well if anyone has a solid method that is tried and true, simple, uncomplicated, and preferably not done using software. What I would like to see is a scheduling process done on paper, that breaks down the shops capacity and abilities. Using a formula that determines how many Diagnostics, Brake jobs, A/c repairs we can do Mon-Friday. To make that work we would need to know what kinds of mechanics we have "A-C" What there current work load is and project it out for the week. As you mentioned, there is always the problem of unexpected delays. How do we handle delays?
  20. Although COVID-19 has brought our industry plenty of challenges, it has also taught us a valuable lesson. Many of us have seen a drop in our car counts, but have simultaneously witnessed an increase in our AROs and happier customers. These slower days give us the opportunity to spend more time with each and every individual and vehicle that enters our shop, yielding positive results for both our business and our customers. From this point forward, in order to maximize every single opportunity at your shop, I recommend you implement the following three items. First, I recommend you hold a meeting with your employees as soon as possible and make sure they know that each vehicle that comes in should be properly, professionally and ethically inspected. Make sure they also know that everything should be documented. Next, it’s important that every single customer that enters your facility gets full disclosure on what is going on with their vehicle. This includes what needs to be done now, what should be done in the near future, and what may need to happen in the long run. Lastly, make sure that everyone in your company believes in all of your products and services. When a tech or advisor is on the phone with a customer, they must truly believe in their recommendations in order to really get through to that customer. The customer will be far more likely to listen if they know the recommendations are coming from a place of honesty and care. If you can implement the three items above, not only will you see sales go up, but you will have happier customers as well. I can assure you that the more time you spend on each vehicle and with each customer, the more successful you will be. For additional help making the most of your shop’s opportunities, visit the Elite website or call 800-204-3548. View full article
  21. I believe we all WISH there was a system that worked! My suggestions: Schedule Mondays and Fridays light, for the breakage over the weekend and the need for their cars for the weekend. When making appointment, look into recommendations: such as, pads at __ % or __ mm. Check mileage for spark plug replacement. Get tentative approval for the above when they drop off their car to keep your tech busy. Include extra time for check engine lights for diagnosis and parts replacement time. Try to get some cars for 2 days so you can juggle.
  22. We purchased separate components for servicing 1234YF; a recovery machine, tank, evacuator-pump, guages, scale and a cart (welding cart or small-medium size tool cart in our case). All Robinair brand. Except tool cart; Harbor Freight, which is getting surprisingly better products especially tool boxes at very reasonable prices. Not automatic, but for the limited use, everything was $2500 with tax, instead of $6500 for the fully automatic machine. We can read a scale and spend an extra 10 minutes for that at this point. The electronic leak detector for R134 works for 1234YF. My concern is the very high cost of 1234YF freon when dealing with leaks, especially slow ones. We may use nitrogen charging, as costs can quickly get out of hand with expensive freon loss.
  23. DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. & RALEIGH, N.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- As NASCAR Weekly Series sanctioned events begin to return at select tracks across North America, NASCAR and Advance Auto Parts (NYSE: AAP), a leading automotive aftermarket parts provider, today announced a multiyear official partnership, designating Advance as the series entitlement sponsor. As part of the agreement, Advance also becomes the “Official Auto Parts Retailer of NASCAR.” This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20200610005058/en/ "It's great to have Advance join us in welcoming the return of NASCAR-sanctioned grassroots racing," said Ben Kennedy, vice president, racing development, NASCAR. "Advance’s commitment to our Weekly Series will develop some of the brightest NASCAR talent across North America. Advance has a long history in racing, and we’re thrilled to see its expanded presence from the grassroots all the way through our national series.” The NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series is one of the oldest series in NASCAR, where champions are crowned at NASCAR-sanctioned Home Tracks. The NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series was paused in mid-March due to COVID-19 and recently returned with sanctioned events at select tracks beginning June 6. The series is run at nearly 60 NASCAR-sanctioned Home Tracks throughout the United States and Canada. NASCAR Home Tracks are a group of local short tracks sanctioned by NASCAR. “Drivers and race fans in North America have not been able to attend their local tracks due to COVID-19. We are excited to be partnering with NASCAR and the NASCAR Weekly Series to support tracks, drivers and fans as they resume live racing this year,” said Jason McDonell, Advance’s chief marketing officer. “We are committed to helping our customers advance in our stores, online and with this multiyear partnership with NASCAR. We are passionate about advancing local communities where we serve, and through this sponsorship we’ll be able to help grow racing at the grassroots level while supporting the next generation of champions.” Race fans can catch select NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series races live and on-demand via TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold, the new streaming service from NASCAR and NBC Sports. NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series races are part of the NASCAR Roots package for $2.99/month or $19.99/annually. The full TrackPass package, which includes NASCAR Roots, IMSA and American Flat Track events is available for $4.99/month or $44.99/year. TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold will be available on desktop web browsers and via the NBC Sports app on iOS and Android phones and tablets, Apple TV (Gen 4), Roku, Amazon Fire TV, AndroidTV, Xfinity X1, Xfinity Flex and Chromecast devices connected via HDMI. About NASCAR The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) is the sanctioning body for the No. 1 form of motorsports in the United States and owner of 16 of the nation’s major motorsports entertainment facilities. NASCAR consists of three national series (NASCAR Cup Series™, NASCAR Xfinity Series™, and NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series™), four regional series (ARCA Menards Series, ARCA Menards Series East & West and the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour), one local grassroots series and three international series. The International Motor Sports Association™ (IMSA®) governs the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship™, the premier U.S. sports car series. NASCAR also owns Motor Racing Network, Racing Electronics, Americrown Service and ONE DAYTONA. Based in Daytona Beach, Florida, with offices in eight cities across North America, NASCAR sanctions more than visit www.NASCAR.com and www.IMSA.com, and follow NASCAR on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat (‘NASCAR’). About Advance Auto Parts Advance Auto Parts, Inc., is a leading automotive aftermarket parts provider that serves both professional installer and do-it-yourself customers. As of April 18, 2020, Advance operated 4,843 stores and 168 Worldpac branches in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Company also serves 1,258 independently owned Carquest branded stores across these locations in addition to Mexico, the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos and British Virgin Islands. Additional information about Advance, including employment opportunities, customer services and online shopping for parts, accessories, and other offerings can be found at www.AdvanceAutoParts.com. View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20200610005058/en/ Investor Relations: Elisabeth Eisleben T: (919) 227-5466 E: [email protected] Media Relations: Darryl Carr T: (984) 389-7207 E: [email protected] Source: Advance Auto Parts, Inc.
  24. Thanks for the update @rpllib I spoke with my CPA yesterday afternoon and we're doing the same. 100% will be spent on payroll. We're ok on headcount. My CPA is still thinking that the taxes noted here are not consistent with the initial PPP desire to help. There's a chance they may review it later as the final 2020 tax rules are prepared. But for now, as you noted, taxes are due. Bad news for my guys.... the gravy train dried up. Even still, I'm happy as we've made their lives better with some "found money" (bonuses).
  25. TODAY IS THE 76TH ANNIVEARY OF D-DAY. LET US ALL REMEMEBER: Codenamed Operation Overlord, the battle began on June 6, 1944, also known as D-Day, when some 156,000 American, British and Canadian forces landed on five beaches along a 50-mile stretch of the heavily fortified coast of France's Normandy region.
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