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  1. Today
  2. I want to clarify something. I stated in the above post that many shops are getting $135 to $150 per hour. I am not implying in any way that this is too high or unreasonable. In fact, as an industry we need to raise the average labor rate across the board in this nation. What I am saying is that you need to sit down and do the math. Find out what your labor rate should be by determining your overall cost of labor and your expenses; and then adding your desired net profit. Also, I recommend you have multi-tier rates. So, a C-level tech performing oil changes and general service is billed at your standard labor rate and an A-level Master Tech performing complex driveability and other onboard diagnostics is billed at a much higher labor rate. If you are not sure how to do this, you need to get help from a professional, such as a coach.
  3. I bet you have a bunch more heater repairs than I do... One thing I left out. My machine has a line flushing feature for use with hybrids. It burns 1.5 lbs of filter life (limited by Robinair to 150 lbs before filter change). I do use this feature when I hit a bad one AFTER I'm done with the job. I clear the lines immediately after I'm finished... One thing that's cool is when I get a a massively over oiled one and the trap has 8 oz of oil in it the oil bubbles like a coke for 2-3 hours and the 8oz drops to 6oz The oil has liquid refrigerant in it. This phenomenon is useful when you have to open a system. It will "out gas" for a couple of hours AFTER recovery. If you tightly plug the lines it will "pop" when you pull the plugs days later, sometimes it will blow the plugs off (bad). Often I will use a balloon on one side to allow for expansion. If your system is outgassing when you plug it and the plugs stay in the dryer does not get poisoned with ambient humidity and I will commonly re-use the dryer. If I can I leave the systems in vacuum overnight (machine hooked up but turned off) and re-pull in the AM. This vastly reduces the moisture in the system.
  4. @RickD Thanks for the very thorough information. I'm in Northern Minnesota. A/C repair isn't of quite as high demand here I'm sure. Probably just as often as repairing A/C problems, we need to recover to perform other work on the vehicles easier.
  5. Yesterday
  6. I am not accountant and I do not know the tax laws in every state, but it is important that you meet with your accountant way before the end of the year if you received and used an SBA or PPP Loan. Loans used to pay bills may not be used as a deduction on your tax return, and may result in increased taxes. Again, DO NOT TAKE MY ADVISE as an accountant. I plan on meeting my accountant in October to review all the tax implications for my 2020 Tax return. AND, the SBA may change rulings, so stay informed and seek professional guidance.
  7. With so many uncertainties these days, there is one strategy that we can all do that will help to smooth out our overall sales and customer visits throughout the year. Make sure the experience is always amazing during the entire customer visit. And perform the car delivery that gives the customer a reason to return. Here's the key part before any customer leaves your shop: Make sure you discuss their next service appointment and any other future recommendation. Let them know that they will get a reminder by either post card, email or text. BUT, there is one more thing you can do to boost your customer retention, get permission from your customer to call them a week prior to their next appointment. Yes, give them a phone call. Try it, and give it time to work. Oh....won't work, you're thinking??? Well, here's list of businesses that do it: Dentists, doctors, nail salons, hair dressers, chimney cleaners, boiler service companies and Successful Auto Repair shops.
  8. I use a Yellow Jacket "trap" (38080) on every car I recover. I'm running a Robinair 34788 NI-H and have not had any trouble in 5 years. I recover from low side ONLY (less oil come out) and the trap has not missed a drop. The machine never recovers oil. I intentionally recover my own cars without the trap to test the machine once a year. Oil recovery works fine then. The machine needs a tiny amount of oil to keep the solenoid seals lubricated. I believe 90% of the vehicles I service have sealant in them. The little test kits are not worth the trouble IMO. I do not use them. They are not accurate enough for me and take too long to test. It is difficult to find straight refrigerant in the DIY auto stores. Almost everything has oil and sealant... I have NEVER seen the sealant fix a leak but I have seen the sealant take systems out. The usual culprit is a membrane that the American manufactures like to use as a debris screen. The tiny holes in the membrane get clogged with the sealant and you find ALL of the oil in the system on the feed side of this membrane. GM SUVs with rear AC are the worst culprits. The tiny screen is inside the liquid line at the bulkhead fitting in the rear. Most techs don't know it's there as it is not a normally changed part (and it should be). A Murray part # for the little screen is 39335. It looks like a 1/4 scale orifice tube screen. The liquid line front to back has enough volume for the entire oil charge. If you have a plugged one and you don't change it you will have a comeback within a year. Rear AC will be wimpy as well. GM condensers with a replaceable dryer cartridge (Cadillac SRX) also have a super tiny membrane inside the dryer that will clog. Symptoms are low pressures on both sides, piss poor cooling, and a viciously hot discharge line. There is a TSB regarding this. If you refuse to service your customers cars because they might have sealant you are destroying your relationship with those customers. We have to service the systems and educate the customer. Occasionally I hit a system that has been massively over oiled. The sealant is everywhere. I will commonly replace compressor, condenser, orifice/TXV, dryer/accumulator, and discharge line. I will over flush remaining lines and evaporator and offer NO warranty. I haven't had a comeback on ANY of those but I believe I have been lucky. Customers will seldom pay to have the entire system replaced and see the shop as an "over charger". They will not come back to you for the other things they need. My Robinair machine's manual states "any leak sealers found inside the machine voids all warranties"... I run a shop in Texas that specializes in AC repairs.
  9. Last week
  10. Good to know! We've looked at this one, but haven't pulled the trigger. How's customer service in their off hours, if you've needed it? That's been my concern with a West coast based service.
  11. Earlier
  12. From as far back as I can remember, labor has always been an issue. As and industry, we have struggled to get paid properly for the work we do. And those shops that understand how critical labor is, are the shops that have done quite well. In today's auto repair shop world; Getting the right labor dollars is no longer a buzz topic or debate- Labor dollars will be the salvation of your business. Labor translates into profit, and will also allow you to build for the future and to attract the quality people we need in our industry. If you don't know what your labor should be, you need to find out. Don't call ABC Auto, down the street to ask him. The odds are he did not do the math. Plus his expenses are not the same as yours. Depending on what you pay your techs, your overhead, and knowing your numbers will determine your labor rate. I can tell you that there are shops that are paying techs a very good wage and those shops are getting $135 to $150 per hour, and more. That is not a typo. And there are shops that have multi-tier rates. So, for Diag and labor jobs that have no parts associated with the repair, their labor is much higher than their standard labor. It's fair, it's honest and it's time we all raise the bar. Please, do the math, get help and make sure your labor is right for your shop.
  13. 11 years ago I moved from rock and chisel to Tabs Autofluent. It's awesome and easy. About 5 years into it I purchased the software and now just pay $73 a month for all the updates and any assistance I ever need. The staff is great and can talk me through an issue or remotely hands on fix or show me what I need help with. I highly recommend
  14. I use this kit on every system. The one I had that proved to have sealant I asked the customer about it and he was sure he had never put stop leak in the system. They had added canned refrigerant themselves several times, but the leak had gotten bad enough it only lasted a day or two. He wasn't aware that about half those walmart cans have stop leak in them. I don't trust the customer with my equipment investment, and even if they meant no harm, there is no way to know if my customers kid or husband or even another shop had ever added the stuff. I highly recommend this kit. https://rotunda.service-solutions.com/en-US/Pages/ItemDetail.aspx?itemID=122683#:~:text=Neutronics QuickDetect™ A%2FC,before attempting recovery or repair.&text=Sealants can void warranty.
  15. We always ask if they have added any refrigerant themselves, if so we ask to see the can to check for sealer. If it does have sealer we do no service them due to the possible damage that can occur to our a/c machine.
  16. "Maximizing Morale, Productivity & Profits", a live online course for shop owners, starts on 9/21! Learn the best-kept secrets used by the industry's top shop owners when it comes to how to keep your employees supercharged, deal with challenging employee issues, and create a work environment that ensures you reach your shop's potential. To reserve one of our last spots in the course, just visit https://www.eliteworldwide.com/event/925/maximizing-employee-morale-productivity-profits.html?fbclid=IwAR3olGqPNilawfAR2AR_vtV0HbElR3v5THSNdsKQRddkIO9qf8MnI0jsfT0#
  17. Keep Your Shop's Summer Momentum Going! Elite's Supercharge Your Shop, a series of 4 live online courses for shop owners, starts Sept 14th! Learn to master your shop's numbers, recruit the top techs & advisors, maximize employee productivity, fill up your bays with your ideal customers and more! These live online courses will be taught by industry superstars Joe Marconi and Kevin Vaught, who have both experienced extraordinary success as shop owners, so everything you'll learn has been proven to generate extraordinary real world results! You have the option to either enroll in the whole Supercharge Your Shop course series, or pick and choose the individual courses that will help your shop the most. Here's the course schedule: Sept 14-15 - Mastering Your Shop's Numbers and Cost Control Sept 16-17 - Hiring America's Top Techs & Advisors Sept 21-22 - Maximizing Employee Morale, Productivity and Profits Sept 23-24 - Filling Up Your Service Bays with the Ideal Customers To enroll in the complete series of these 4 live online courses, just visit our Supercharge Your Shop Page to reserve one of our last openings!
  18. The ongoing "special session" of the Virginia legislature can best be described as "the inmates are in charge of the asylum." A couple of weeks ago HB5130 was introduced as follows: following the declaration by the Governor of a state of emergency pursuant to § 44-146.17 that includes or is followed by any additional executive order in furtherance of such declaration that includes a stay at home or shelter in place order, employers shall (i) compensate its essential workers at a rate not less than one and one-half times the employee's regular rate of pay for any hours worked during the closure order. We were originally overjoyed that our trade was considered essential, but this bill, if passed could be the death knell for business as we know it. I responded to our legislators with this: I strongly urge you to vote AGAINST HB5130. My family and I own and operate a business defined as essential during the pandemic. For six months we have struggled to keep our trained, experienced staff employed and paid in an uncertain market. Labor is the largest expense we incur and every labor dollar paid to the employee costs $1.25 when you account for additional expenses for taxes, insurance, etc. Employers can not absorb increases in labor costs and survive, rather, they pass them on to the consumer, but the consumer has no one to pass these costs to. Instead, at some point they stop purchasing goods and services that have been priced out of their reach. The essential employees that this bill hopes to help could soon find themselves unemployed in a market that can no longer afford their services. Researching the background of the eight sponsors for this bill (all D), I found that it doesn't appear that any of them has ever held a real job, much less owned and operated a business with employees. Almost all of them began their political ascent by first being elected to local school boards, then city council and on to state legislature. I am guilty of never having paid much attention to school board races because my kids have long since been grown up and gainfully employed. Believe me, I will research future races and eye each candidate as a potential legislator and beyond. If any of you live in Virginia, I urge you to contact our legislators and tell them how you feel about this Here are key email addresses: [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] Thanks, Mark Anderton First Landing Autocare Virginia Beach
  19. I'm using the latest version of RO Writer, and it's absolutely horrible. Imagine if someone designed a car with every single feature you could possibly imagine, but it would only go 20 mph and it broke down every single week. That's what using RO Writer is like. It's a very good software when it works, but it's always slow and is full of bugs. From what I understand, they're still using a Microsoft Access database system from the 90's.
  20. Again "hope is not a plan" A plan is better than no plan at all. It has been a tough year for the US 🇺🇸. This year has been our break through year. We have increased our sales by 10% . The last quater is always the hardest. There are, like it was mentioned before some factors to consider for the last months of the year. Google business has been a great tool for us... In the last 2 years we have been working on branding and promoting our business on social media with that intent. We're a 7 yr old brake and front end shop and we're beginning to see our efforts to pay off. Regards JP
  21. we have tekmetric and the really bad part is they use MOTOR for the labor guide and it is absolutely horrible. Labor times are really low compared to mitchell and missing info on vehicles and some vehicles it has no labor information whatsoever. We use XLPARTS mainly which offers mitchell labor guide lookup while you search for parts. Aside from that we really like the program.
  22. I contacted AMS Protractor for a trial, and frankly I see some real potential, and the cloud part isn't as "scary" as I thought. The service packages concept (Intelligent Canned Jobs) seems to be well thought out. Sadly, Bolt-On Technology doesn't have an integration for them, yet. One thing we rely on is a caller ID function with Bolt-On/Mitchell. Is this available with protractor.net? One of the integrated DVI's we're looking at is autotext.me Anyone here using them or have experiences to share? Specifically, a workflow that's using Protractor and Autotext.me? Is there any other combination that would represent true progress from what we have now with M1/Bolt-On? Gerald
  23. Most of you probably already know what I am about to say: The Service Advisor position is the most crucial position in the shop. I know, I know, what about the mechanical work done by the techs? Well, that's important too, of course. For the most part, customers spend their hard-earned money and most of time don't really know or see what was done to their car. Let's face it, the customer can't see the water pump or T-belt. And most of the time, the customer does not feel any difference with the car as they drive out of your parking lot. What the customer does see (or experience) is how she was treated. And that makes all the difference in the world. Plus, great service advisors also motivate the technicians, because great advisors are also great leaders of people. Think about this...Six months from now, your customer will not remember the fuel injection relay or the mass air sensor that was replaced....but she WILL remember how she was treated. And trust me, that OE-quality fuel injection relay install by a certified A-level Master tech using Snap On tools and a Launch Scanner IS NOT the reason WHY your customers return to you....She returns because of the level of service your provide.
  24. As we celebrate Labor Day, let us all remember that we, the automotive professionals, keep America moving! Be proud of the work you do each and every day! HAPPY LABOR DAY!
  25. @Gundy's welcome to ASO! Any particular forms you are looking for?
  26. This is your last chance to enroll your service advisors in Elite's Masters Service Advisor Training Program starting September 10-12! To ensure that we're able to comply with social distancing and keep your advisors safe, this is a rare opportunity for your advisors to receive this industry leading sales training entirely online! Your advisors will not only receive 100% of the training that we offer at the live 3-day course, but you'll be able to save on travel and hotel expenses, and your advisors won't have to spend any extra time out of the shop due to travel. Most importantly, after the initial 3 days of online training, your service advisors will still get the identical 6 months of sales coaching from Ratchet & Wrench All-Star Award winner Jen Monclus, which has been proven to increase sales by an AVERAGE of $10,750 per month after the training! This is your last chance to enroll, so give us a call at 800-204-3548 to take advantage of this rare opportunity. For more info, feel free to visit our Masters Program web page.
  27. So far, Lawson. They set me up with bins. The hardware is expensive, but still cheaper than running to the nearest hardware store 20 miles away. Their sales guy quit stopping by, I think because of health reasons. But I just replenish online and refill my own bins as needed now.
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