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Repair/Diagnostic Help & Tech Tips!

Are you stuck on a vehicle? Need some help from your peers? Got a tip to share? Post your technical tips and repair help requests here.

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  1. Back to the Dealer?

    Is it dealer only? Is this a service that you have to turn away? Is it a part that is unavailable, except at the dealer? Share your thoughts and experiences.

    20
    posts
  2. Right To Repair Act

    Right To Repair ActSupport the "Right To Repair Act". Are there times when you have hit a brick wall while servicing your customer’s car due to lack of information and software, undefined fault codes, specialized equipment which results in sending your customer to the new car dealer? AutoShopOwner.com will forward the information to National Automotive Task Force (www.nastf.org).

    33
    posts

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    • YES. We have two shops in southeastern Pennsylvania. We were hit hard during the peak of the Covid pandemic. Although we were considered essential and allowed to remain open, our phones stopped ringing entirely. We didn't have work so we couldn't remain open. We closed for just over a month. We reopened a few weeks ago and we're seeing things bounce back slowly but surely. We struggled quite a bit during this pandemic, we worried quite a bit during this pandemic; we do not want to go back there again. We have signs on our office doors stating that masks must be worn upon entry.  We aren't fooling ourselves that masks and gloves will complete prevent us from catching or spreading the virus entirely, but we'd rather play it safe and do our part. We've implemented policy changes, removed waiting room chairs, placed complimentary masks on our counter for customers that forget to bring them, stopped allowing in-office waiting, etc. This isn't just for them, its for us as well. In addition, most of our customers are wearing masks themselves and want to see this from us - they feel safer seeing us practice safe distancing, wearing gloves and masks, etc., It instills a sense of security in our customers, & we're happy to do it!
    • Hi all, I feel like this is a broad question but I'm curious as to how other shops manage "scheduling". This has been the bane of our existence for years, searching for the perfect formula so that we won't overwhelm or underwhelm ourselves on a day-to-day basis, and yet the secret to this still eludes us. Do you use software that manages the daily car capacity for you based on the type of jobs scheduled? Do you manually manage the intake? How do you allot time for inspections when some can take 45 minutes and others could last several hours if much work is required to pass inspection? Or dealing with delivery delays on top of an already tight schedule? We've been in business for many, many years and obviously what we're doing is working - but I guess I'm just looking for feedback as to how we could improve this for increased efficiency. I've been thinking about upgrading our software to include a scheduling component but I'm not sure if this would be worthwhile or further limiting. Thoughts and feedback would be most appreciated!!!
    • I think the responses to your post will mainly be predicated on the location of the shop. Areas not hit as hard as others will naturally have more relaxed standards. I am in NJ and the entire state is still shut down except for essential businesses. Every business that is allowed to be open has signs posted indicating face mask required. I have to agree with bantar’s post that most customers wear the masks incorrectly and they will partially or fully remove the masks when talking. Odd how people nationwide feel the need to remove the mask during the time when it is really required. I need to constantly remind people to “mask up” so in most cases I just ask them to step outside. I removed all waiting room chairs back in March and I have no place for customers to wait. Nobody wants to wait, everyone is still scared and on heightened alert. Occasionally during quick jobs some customers take a walk over to a strip mall behind us but every store is closed and they get depressed looking at shuttered stores.
    • I've heard it all over the place that texting customers should now be a given. I've heard the Elite Worldwide coaches, the ATI coaches and other say it is a given. Honestly, from a business owner perspective it does seem so much better, faster and seems to generate a higher ROI than say using email. There are many good solutions in our industry from texting.  AutoTextMe, Kukui, etc. Although, I'm also interested if as an industry are we taking the time to listen if as an industry we are taking time to listen to vehicle owners and what they prefer.   Let me explain. Although we're just getting the first results of our vehicle owner survey back... this next statistic I share may shock auto repair professionals around the country.  When we asked vehicle owners, "What method would you prefer as the most convenient way to book an appointment with your local auto repair shop?" .. So far, as of 5/30/2020, a large majority (61.5%) of our vehicle owner survey respondents answered, "Book and confirm appointment in mobile app".   Note:  "Send a text message to my shop" was only chosen as the preferred method by 11.5% of the survey vehicle owner respondents. Does this consumer insight where texting trails mobile apps by almost 50% lead us to ask if 2020 is the year where shop owners need to consider getting their own vehicle owner mobile app?? Where their customers can manage and track their vehicles in their custom mobile app keeping their brand front and center on their smartphone??   Perhaps to help answer this for your shop, I've put together a quiz so any auto repair shop owner can see where their shop ranks in a digital brand score compared to say a Fortune 500 and how they are using the latest in mobile app technology to blend email, YES texting too, but all seamlessly integrated with in-app push notifications too. https://www.appfueled.com/quiz
    • I've heard it all over the place that texting customers should now be a given. I've heard the Elite Worldwide coaches, the ATI coaches and other say it is a given. Honestly, from a business owner perspective it does seem so much better, faster and seems to generate a higher ROI than say using email. There are many good solutions in our industry from texting.  AutoTextMe, Kukui, etc. Although, I'm also interested if as an industry are we taking the time to listen if as an industry we are taking time to listen to vehicle owners and what they prefer.   Let me explain. Although we're just getting the first results of our vehicle owner survey back... this next statistic I share may shock auto repair professionals around the country.  When we asked vehicle owners, "What method would you prefer as the most convenient way to book an appointment with your local auto repair shop?" .. So far, as of 5/30/2020, a large majority (61.5%) of our vehicle owner survey respondents answered, "Book and confirm appointment in mobile app".   Note:  "Send a text message to my shop" was only chosen as the preferred method by 11.5% of the survey vehicle owner respondents. Does this consumer insight where texting trails mobile apps by almost 50% lead us to ask if 2020 is the year where shop owners need to consider getting their own vehicle owner mobile app?? Where their customers can manage and track their vehicles in their custom mobile app keeping their brand front and center on their smartphone??   Perhaps to help answer this for your shop, I've put together a quiz so any auto repair shop owner can see where their shop ranks in a digital brand score compared to say a Fortune 500 and how they are using the latest in mobile app technology to blend email, YES texting too, but all seamlessly integrated with in-app push notifications too. https://www.appfueled.com/quiz
    • For many of us, it's been a wild ride the past few months. We had to take care of everything, making tough decisions, dealing with banks and the SBA and running the shop from the trenches. But, with things looking better each day, it’s time that we get back into the role of building and operating the company.  For many, the COVID-19 crisis is far from over.  However, the sooner we begin to adjust and build for the future, the better off we will be. Shop Owners are among the hardest working people on the planet. We find ways to get through the most difficult situations. I have no doubt that the lesson’s learned from this crisis will make us stronger and more successful.
    • Hoping to hear back soon on ideas we can add into the custom mobile apps we build. Why is this so important to us? According to Grazitti Interactive, "72% of consumers have a more favorable view of the company if they provide a customer service mobile app" So what do your guests, and your prospects who are smartphone addicted think of your auto repair shop when looking on their iPhone? Check out what Lauralee VP of marketing at Schmidt Auto Care came up with for her auto repair shop's brand in this exciting 30 second video clip! https://www.facebook.com/AppFueled/videos/842605312915298/ If you've considered an app but think it is too costly. I've made the next step easy. Start here to get your instant quote! https://www.appfueled.com/quote Honestly, I can't see any reason that if you set your mind to it, and set aside a budget you could be in the app store in 30* days or less! *pending Apple's approval.
    • This might not be popular....   No masks required at our shop, nor are we wearing masks.   We see about 40% of our customers coming in with masks and very few (1 per week maybe) ask for us to wear gloves.  And many of those with masks will take them off or have them on incorrectly or take them off to talk, but wear them when not talking.   Most wait in the waiting room, but we have a handful that are waiting outside.   Give it a few more weeks and this will go away as the Texas sun pops out.  We do have hand sanitizer on the counter and keep our waiting room clean, even before this virus.   We wipe down frequently used surfaces, but, IMO, this is largely a feel-good farce.    We can't hide from a virus unless we behave like an operating room and are completely fastidious, wiping everything and changing gloves and masks after everything we touch.   (My repair business is mostly drop-off.   The waiting room is generally filled with waiters for Quick Lube Services). I've changed my marketing to call out our clean facility.  We generally get compliments on cleanliness.   Many are changing their marketing and some are opting for a higher-level of cleanliness such as seat covers, surface wipe downs, etc.  I'm not seeing much of a call for this.  Dealers were advertising this heavy on TV, yet they laid off almost all service staff.   It didn't seem to bring the nervous folks forward.   I know some shops that are selling a $50 sanitization service.    We do our best to respect the wishes and needs of those that grace our doors.    When people call in that sound worried, I generally recommend that they put the service off until later.   In reality, I would not want to disappoint someone that truly needs or expects a higher level of safety than we can provide.   I have noticed that those whom are more concerned will sanitize their cars themselves.  They have wipes in the car and will wipe it down to be sure that it was done correctly.   In truth, this is likely the best model for true personal safety.   We assume that everyone wants social distancing and try to respect their space. I shake hands with those that are comfortable and this is more than you would think.  To me, it seems that there  3 types of people:  1) Live Free or Die, 2) Cautious and 3) Scared. Personally, I won't go in a place the makes me wear a mask.   (Ask me why I still need a haircut).  Ever since the restaurants have reopened for dining in, we've started patronizing them.   No longer patronizing take-out only.   I fall squarely in the Live Free or Die camp.  Luckily, I'm under no local rules that mandate social distancing or other behavior.  


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