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Auto shop owners are always looking for ways to improve production levels. They focus their attention on their technicians and require certain expectations of performance in billable labor hours. While technicians must know what is expected of them, they have a limited amount of control over production levels. When all factors are considered, the only thing a well-trained technician has control over is his or her actual efficiency.
As a review, technician efficiency is the amount of labor time it takes a technician to complete a job compared to the labor time being billed to the customer. Productivity is the time the technician is billing labor hours compared to the time the technician is physically at the shop. The reality is that a technician can be very efficient, but not productive if the technician has a lot of downtime waiting for parts, waiting too long between jobs, or poor workflow systems.
But let’s go deeper into what affects production in the typical auto repair shop. As a business coach, one of the biggest reasons for low shop production is not charging the correct labor time. Labor for extensive jobs is often not being billed accurately. Rust, seized bolts, and wrong published labor times are just a few reasons for lost labor dollars.
Another common problem is not understanding how to bill for jobs that require extensive diagnostic testing, and complicated procedures to arrive at the root cause for an onboard computer problem, electrical issue, or drivability issue. These jobs usually take time to analyze, using sophisticated tools, and by the shop’s top technician. Typically, these jobs are billed at a standard menu labor charge, instead of at a higher labor rate. This results in less billed labor hours than the actual labor time spent. The amount of lost labor hours here can cripple a shop’s overall profit.
Many shop owners do a great job at calculating their labor rate but may not understand what their true effective labor is, which is their labor sales divided by the total labor hours sold. In many cases, I have seen a shop that has a shop labor rate of over $150.00 per hour, but the actual effective labor rate is around $100. Not good.
Lastly, technician production can suffer when the service advisors are too busy or not motivated to build relationships with customers, which results in a low sales closing ratio. And let’s not forget that to be productive, a shop needs to have the right systems, the right tools and equipment, an extensive information system, and of course, great leadership.
The bottom line is this; many factors need to be considered when looking to increase production levels. While it does start with the technician, it doesn’t end there. Consider all the factors above when looking for ways to improve your shop’s labor production.
By Gerald Martin
No one loves comebacks. But they are a part of life. They come in all shapes and sizes:
1. Faulty parts. We have more part quality issues than ever before, including (less frequently) OEM parts.
2. Tech error. A tech fails to properly tighten brake caliper frame bolts. A belt is installed with one groove off the edge of a pulley. Some techs rarely make these errors. But mistakes will happen.
3. Warning lights on or new symptoms noted "ever since you worked on it". Always needs to be taken seriously - sometimes issues identified are fall into category 1 or 2. Or further OBD monitors ran since repairs were made and other issues are coming out of the woodwork. And sometimes people will try to pin every new issue on the shop that last worked on the car.
How do we deal with warranty cases?
When tech error is involved, is the employer responsible to pay the tech's time to correct his own mistake? Does it make a difference if there is a pattern of carelessness? If the employer picks up the tab for everything, doesn't this reward the making of mistakes?
It seems reasonable that the tech should not take responsibility for part failures not caused by tech error, doesn't it?
And what about that follow up scan to see why the warning lights are on? Should the tech handle this as a courtesy until determined what area the fault is in? It may be, after all, that he left a vacuum line off the air cleaner box. But it shouldn't take too long to know if the advisor needs to request more testing approval from the client...
And should any of these questions be influenced by whether the shop pays flat rate or hourly?
I know that's a lot of questions. But I hope it starts a conversation, because it's an area we really need to develop an SOP and stick with it.
Recorded Live at AAPEX 2023, Andy Bizub and part owner Brandon Ludwikowski discuss the transition from technician to business owner, the importance of a positive attitude, and the tools and knowledge required for technicians. The conversation also covers the division of responsibilities within the company, decision-making processes, and the importance of understanding business fundamentals and financials. Brandon Ludwikowski, Midwest Performance Cars, Chicago and Northbrook, IL. Andy Bizub, Midwest Performance Cars, Chicago and Northbrook, IL. Andy’s previous episodes HERE. Show Notes
Attitude is Key (00:02:12) Brandon emphasizes the importance of having a positive attitude in the face of challenges and setbacks. Providing the Right Tools and Knowledge (00:03:19) Brandon discusses the need for owners to provide technicians with the necessary tools and knowledge to perform their job effectively. Finding the Best Training Sources (00:04:51) Andy explains how he identifies knowledge gaps in his team and seeks out the best training sources to enhance their skills and capabilities. Using a dashboard for learning and improvement (00:09:10) Discussion about the usefulness of a dashboard in identifying areas for improvement. Dealing with overconfidence and ego in technicians (00:09:42) The challenges of working with technicians who believe they know everything and the importance of leaving ego at the door. Considering succession planning and bringing on an ownership team. (00:11:01) The reasons behind bringing on an ownership team, including geographical considerations and planning for the future. The journey to becoming part owners (00:17:56) Brandon discusses the process of becoming a part owner of Midwest Performance Cars and the decision-making involved. Andy describes the complementary skills and characteristics of the three owners: Chris, Ryan, and Brandon. Future plans and ownership transition (00:24:34) Andy explains the terms of the deal, including the timeline for the owners to fully pay for their shares and the possibility of Andy staying on as an advisor. The importance of balance sheets (00:31:46) Andy explains the importance of understanding balance sheets and how they show the true worth of a business. Teaching finance to the team (00:34:02) Andy discusses how he teaches finance to his team, emphasizing the importance of understanding numbers and making informed decisions. Transitioning from a single owner to a business owner (00:34:24) The conversation shifts to the challenges faced by single owners and how they can start transitioning to becoming successful business owners. The balance sheet and cash flow statements (00:34:40) Explanation of the importance of understanding balance sheets and cash flow statements for business owners. The benefits of having a coach (00:36:17) Discussion on the positive impact of having a coach for business owners. Transitioning to a business mindset (00:37:08) The importance of shop owners understanding the business side of their industry and becoming businessmen, rather than just shop owners. Thanks to our Partners, AAPEX and NAPA TRACS Set your sights on Las Vegas in 2024. Mark your calendar now … November 5th-7th, 2024. AAPEX - Now more than ever. And don’t miss the next free AAPEX webinar. Register now at http://AAPEXSHOW.COM/WEBINAR NAPA TRACS will move your shop into the SMS fast lane with onsite training and six days a week of support and local representation. Find NAPA TRACS on the Web at http://napatracs.com/ Connect with the Podcast: -Follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RemarkableResultsRadioPodcast/ -Follow on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/carmcapriotto/ -Follow on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/remarkableresultsradiopodcast/ -Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/RResultsBiz -Visit the Website: https://remarkableresults.biz/ -Join our Insider List: https://remarkableresults.biz/insider -All books mentioned on our podcasts: https://remarkableresults.biz/books -Our Classroom page for personal or team learning: https://remarkableresults.biz/classroom -Buy Me a Coffee: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/carm -The Aftermarket Radio Network: https://aftermarketradionetwork.com -Special episode collections: https://remarkableresults.biz/collections
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Raising labor rates is not just about increasing prices. It's about finding more value in the industry and positioning ourselves as professionals. Join our panel as they highlight the need for understanding the concept of effective labor rate, ensuring services are charged appropriately, viewing the business as a professional entity, providing a positive customer experience and addressing core business problems before raising labor rates. Our panelists encourage shop owners to take a comprehensive approach to their business strategy, considering all factors and not just focusing on raising labor rates. Aaron Woods, X-tra Mile Auto Care, Stillwater, OK. Institute for Automotive Business Excellence. Listen to Aaron’s previous episodes HERE Brent Fleischman, Yocum Automotive, Republic, MO. AutoFix Auto Shop Coaching. Listen to Brent's previous episodes HERE Jennifer Hulbert, Service Plus Automotive, Calcium, NY. Institute for Automotive Business Excellence. Listen to Jennifer's previous episodes HERE Show Notes:
Raising Labor Rates: Importance and Impact (00:00:01) Discussion on the reasons to raise labor rates, the impact it can have on a business, and the need for a long-term strategy. Factors to Consider Besides Labor Rate (00:04:14) Exploration of other factors that contribute to a business's success, such as overall business strategy and addressing pain points. Calculating Effective Labor Rate (00:07:34) Importance of understanding and calculating effective labor rate, including the need to charge appropriately for all services provided. The mindset shift and the need to raise labor rates (00:08:33) Discussion on the importance of raising labor rates and positioning the industry as valuable and professional. The impact of undervaluing the industry (00:09:52) The negative effects of undervaluing the automotive industry, including difficulty in attracting technicians and obtaining loans. The bottom line and approaching the business as a business (00:12:10) The importance of considering the bottom line and treating the automotive business as a professional enterprise rather than a hobby. The importance of customer experience (00:17:59) Discussion on how people buy feelings and the need to focus on providing a positive experience in the automotive industry. Sharing new labor rates with the team (00:18:39) Importance of communicating labor rate changes to the team and how it helps maintain profit structure and make investments. Effective labor rate and its impact (00:19:03) Exploration of effective labor rate, its calculation, and the need to consider menu jobs and their effect on gross profit dollars per hour. The importance of personnel and procedural issues (00:27:40) Discussion on identifying whether the problem lies with personnel or procedural issues in a shop and the need to align the shop's mission and vision statements with its culture. Addressing cultural issues and offering training (00:28:50) Exploration of the top-down approach in addressing cultural issues, identifying personalities, offering training, and monitoring staff to create long-term relationships with customers. Considerations before raising labor rates (00:30:07) Importance of analyzing gross profit percentages, solving core problems, and focusing on profitability and core processes before considering raising labor rates.
Thanks to our Partners Shop-Ware and Delphi Technologies Shop-Ware: More Time. More Profit. Shop-Ware Shop Management https://getshopware.com/ Delphi Technologies: Keeping current on the latest vehicle systems and how to repair them is a must for today’s technicians. http://DelphiAftermarket.com Connect with the Podcast -Follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RemarkableResultsRadioPodcast/ -Follow on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/carmcapriotto/ -Follow on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/remarkableresultsradiopodcast/ -Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/RResultsBiz -Join our Insider List: https://remarkableresults.biz/insider -All books mentioned on our podcasts: https://remarkableresults.biz/books -Our Classroom page for personal or team learning: https://remarkableresults.biz/classroom -Buy Me a Coffee: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/carm -The Aftermarket Radio Network: https://aftermarketradionetwork.com -Special episode collections: https://remarkableresults.biz/collections
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By Transmission Repair
Matt’s Mailbag: Hiring Bonuses, Flat Rate Pay and Building a Network of Friends [E110] - Diagnosing the Aftermarket A to ZBy carmcapriotto
Join Matt Fanslow as he answers some questions from his listeners in his 'mailbag.' Matt discusses the hiring bonus dilemma, compensation and profit sharing, the power of training, the flat rate pay system, book recommendations and how to create a network of industry peers.
Have a question for Matt to answer? Email him at: [email protected]
Hiring Bonuses for New Techs (00:02:27) Discussion on the fairness and impact of hiring bonuses for new technicians and how it affects existing employees. Broken System of Compensation (00:04:58) Exploration of the different ways technicians are compensated and how it can lead to resentment and difficulties in hiring new technicians. Ethical Profit and Long-Term Benefits (00:07:31) Explanation of how Matt's shop rewards employees based on ethical profit and how hiring bonuses can benefit both the shop and existing employees in the long term. The Mismanagement of Compensation (00:09:59) Discussion about the mismanagement of compensation in the aftermarket automotive industry and the potential impact on employees. Concerns about Flat Rate Pay (00:13:33) Addressing concerns about transitioning to a flat rate pay system and the potential negative impact on technicians' income and job satisfaction. Recommended Books for Auto Repair (00:19:49) Discussion on the importance of reading books on auto repair Building a Network in the Automotive Industry (00:26:06) Advice on how to build a network of connections in the automotive industry, including attending trade shows and utilizing social media. The importance of networking (00:29:42) The value of building relationships and networking in the automotive industry.
Thanks to our Partner, NAPA Autotech napaautotech.com
Email Matt: [email protected]
Diagnosing the Aftermarket A - Z YouTube Channel HERE
Aftermarket Radio Network: https://aftermarketradionetwork.com/
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