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SPRING INTO SUMMER !!!


Shopcat

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Get Ready to Spring Into Summer

 

What is your plan for summer? As the weather warms up, people begin thinking about summer activities. It may be a vacation road trip or weekends at the lake. In any case, the focus will return to the family car. There are a few things your shop can do to accommodate your clients, put their minds at ease, and give your shop a renewed sense of purpose.

  1. Focus on your vehicle inspection program with particular attention on summer items.

  • Wiper blades, washer bottle, & washer operation
  • Check brakes, brake hydraulics, parking brake, and test brake fluid
  • Cooling system hoses, test coolant condition, pressure test, inspect radiator and expansion tank, belts, idler, & tensioner
  • Check tires: general condition, measure tread, set tire pressure, and check for jack, handle, and spare.
  • Perform a charging system and battery test. Check battery connections for proper torque and clean as needed.
  • Inspect tune up/fuel efficiency items. Check throttle body, inspect MAF sensor, air filter, and visually check wires, plugs, and distributor cap and rotor if equipped.
  • Check all fluids and use a fluid comparison plate that puts their fluid next to new fluid. The optics of this comparison are awesome.
  • Check steering and suspension.

The general idea with the inspection is to keep your client advised about the condition of their vehicle. It will create sales and improves your average repair order. But by far the most important thing this does is build trust, and that trust is priceless.

  1. When the vehicle is picked up, review the unsold recommendations in detail. Explain the benefits of the recommended repairs and services. Show the fluid plate or pictures. Once those seeds are planted, schedule your client’s next appointment. This will improve your ARO and stabilize your car count.
  2. Follow up with a call in a week or two to make sure they were satisfied with the service and that their vehicle is doing well. Offer a discount on the unsold service. Have an expiration date for the discount to insure some urgency. This will keep your shop top of mind.
  3. Be sure to promote your nationwide warranty. Get with your banner program vendor for handouts and some points of purchase material. Give each client one when they cash out.
  4. Another way to stay top of mind and show your clients some appreciation is to do a cook out. Close the shop and grill out some hot dogs and burgers. Get a DJ or do a radio station remote broadcast. Promote it weeks or months in advance. Promote it at the front counter, in your existing advertising, and on your website. Have raffles and door prizes. When planning the date, be sure it does not conflict with any other local event(s). Be sure to personally invite your very best clients. Give them the VIP treatment.

These are just a few ideas to show your clients your concern and appreciation all at once. Take this opportunity to make the best of your summer. Focused inspections are great for business and demonstrate your professionalism. Summer only comes once a year and we have to make hay when the sun shines. Grab the reins and make it happen. Here’s hoping everyone has the best summer ever !!


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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

         3 comments
      Got your attention? Good. The truth is, there is no such thing as the perfect technician pay plan. There are countless ways to create any pay plan. I’ve heard all the claims and opinions, and to be honest, it’s getting a little frustrating. Claims that an hourly paid pay plan cannot motivate. That flat rate is the only way to truly get the most production from your technicians. And then there’s the hybrid performance-based pay plan that many claim is the best.
      At a recent industry event, a shop owner from the Midwest boasted about his flat-rate techs and insisted that this pay plan should be adopted by all shops across the country. When I informed him that in states like New York, you cannot pay flat-rate, he was shocked. “Then how do you motivate your techs” he asked me.
      I remember the day in 1986 when I hired the best technician who ever worked for me in my 41 years as an automotive shop owner. We’ll call him Hal. When Hal reviewed my pay plan for him, and the incentive bonus document, he stared at it for a minute, looked up, and said, “Joe, this looks good, but here’s what I want.” He then wrote on top of the document the weekly salary he wanted. It was a BIG number. He went on to say, “Joe, I need to take home a certain amount of money. I have a home, a wife, two kids, and my Harly Davidson. I will work hard and produce for you. I don’t need an incentive bonus to do my work.” And he did, for the next 30 years, until the day he retired.
      Everyone is entitled to their opinion. So, here’s mine. Money is a motivator, but not the only motivator, and not the best motivator either. We have all heard this scenario, “She quit ABC Auto Center, to get a job at XYZ Auto Repair, and she’s making less money now at XYZ!” We all know that people don’t leave companies, they leave the people they work for or work with.
      With all this said, I do believe that an incentive-based pay plan can work. However, I also believe that a technician must be paid a very good base wage that is commensurate with their ability, experience, and certifications. I also believe that in addition to money, there needs to be a great benefits package. But the icing on the cake in any pay plan is the culture, mission, and vision of the company, which takes strong leadership. And let’s not forget that motivation also comes from praise, recognition, respect, and when technicians know that their work matters.
      Rather than looking for that elusive perfect pay plan, sit down with your technician. Find out what motivates them. What their goals are. Why do they get out of bed in the morning? When you tie their goals with your goals, you will have one powerful pay plan.
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