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Parts, Paints, & Supplies

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The debate rages on and we would like to hear from auto body shop owners on how they feel about using aftermarket parts and original factory parts. Do aftermarket parts compromise your work? Are all factory parts better, or is it hype? What paints and supplies do you use?

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    • 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. 
    • 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. 
    • 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. 
    • 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. 
    • Anyone familiar with AutoLab's management software Automotive Expert, the desktop version?
    • 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 
    • 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.
    • 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.