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  1. Auto Body Shop Discussions

    Auto body shop discussion forum. Business and general topics relating to the automotive collision industry.

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    • It takes a while for any new employee to get up to speed in thier new position, no matter how seasoned they are.  We have found that using checklists for basic procedures are a great way to acclimate new employees.   What strategies to you use to get new employees up to seed?   
    • There are many shops in urban areas that are using Uber and Lyft, and it's working.  Perhaps better than having a shuttle service. 
    • We have purchased the Robinar unit end of last year and have used it maybe 4 times.  Most of them have been subleted to us by other shops as well however I do expect to start seeing more this year as we have gotten the word out and so far only 2 shops in our community besides the dealerships have it.  
    • Us too Frank....not sure what to do at this point.  A local Body shop has the machine, and if we need a recharge we can farm it out to him.  I guess wait a little longer...maybe the price will come down more.   
    • Joe to this point we have only saw about 2 vehicles where we could have used one of these units. 
    • I believe tech pay will be going up rapidly, but so will shop labor rates. With the low unemployment currently, wages are going up in every industry. With the average tech pay of $41,000, if a tech was at work 40 hours a week all year he's only making $19.71 an hour.  While that's a decent wage for many, most techs have to invest in a lot of costly tools.  I was in a McDonalds a few months ago and saw signs all over the store advertising for employees with starting wage of $14 an hour.  Of course my breakfast there gave me sticker shock also.  The same will have to happen to the automotive repair industry or there will be no more techs.  I see shops all around going out of business. It's not because of it being a profitable business. It's because the shop labor rates throughout the area are to low to be able to pay techs well enough to attract them and keep them while most customers gauge the cost of one shop vs. another entirely on the shops labor rate.  Hands On says we have to have the same knowledge base of a doctor. Considering they only work on one make and two models, I'd say we may have to have a larger knowledge base in our profession. If we operated as doctors, we would also have a specialist for heater blower motors, and a different specialist for hood release cables and yet another specialist for brakes.  The same tech that replaces the spark plugs wouldn't even consider working on the exhaust system.  If we are going to keep techs coming to our industry, it will not be long before it will have to be an 80K or better per year profession.  That will be achieved as shops either raise the average shop labor rate significantly or go out of business placing more demand on the shops that survive.
    • We are begining to see the need for a Y1234 recharge machine. Who has purchased one and what tips can you share?   
    • Tech pay is determined by the profits generated by the repair shop.  Too many repair shops struggle and want to remain competitive, but don't realize that all too often we compare our prices to the masses that undercharge their services and repairs.  I have seen this time and time again for decades. It has changed somewhat since I started in 1974, but we need to go further. Sit down and do the math.  Determine all your normal costs of doing business: Your rent or mortgage, insurance, workers comp, utilities, tools, equipment, computer programs, training, advertising and all other ordinary expenses. Then add up all those monthly costs. These expenses occur without even making a sale. AND, you haven’t even factored in payroll yet, or payroll costs. Once you have this number, you will then have a better understanding of what you need to charge in order to pay all your expenses and to generate a profit….yes…a profit.   


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