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Thoughts on new shop/ Thoughts on website?


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So about a year ago I retired and moved 400 miles away to Indianapolis Indiana with the plans on never touching a car again. That being said, I needed a compressor and lift but that was really it considering I had all my other tools including trans/coolant flush machines, snap on versus ultra and every other tool made for auto repairs. It started out harmless enough repairing family's vehicles and then something else happened but I'm still a little fuzzy on that part. Ether way, I kept getting calls for people with high end vehicles that only wanted me to repair their vehicles so I did one here and there. Problem was their vehicles weren't insured and I didn't have a business license here and when you have multiple Vipers in your garage (40 x 60) the fear of a tornade or even sharknado is a bit overwhelming.

 

So now I've started a business at my home and I'm not exactly sure how to go foward with things. I don't plan on working on 10 year old rusty jeeps anymore and want to choose which car I work on. Now my problem is that I can't justify charging $95/hr since I have no addid cost besides insurance, mitchell and some other small things <$500/month. I have went as far as visiting the other Indy shops in the area and the very few good ones are so backed up with vehicles they say we need more competent shops to ease the load so I am not stealing customers (from those that deserve them at least). So my delema is what should I charge, how should I advertise and how in the world do I selectivly advertise and not offend people? It isn't a large town and I'm not trying to make any enemies.

 

Here's a link to the website which is still under construction. Don't mind the "Prices" tab, just messing around with it but I doubt I'll actually leave it.

 

http://www.ancautollc.com/home.html

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so by not charging 95 an hour you are limiting yourself to the same old thing day in and day out. I mean, you cant buy newer tools, updates, specialty tools, ac for the shop, (here in Texas that would be awesome but dont know if its needed there). It sounds like you dont need the money, but you are very good at what you do so you should go into this to make things easier on you, your not getting any younger?

 

anyway, thats my short opinion. no need to cheat yourself and its not wrong to charge that.

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If the market will bear it, charge a premium. $110 an hour. Nothing give great pleasure than doing the job right and getting paid a premium on it. Plus customers love it when they have a problem and you take care of it with no questions asked if it is a warranty job, which a premium allows you to do.

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Lots of great points and that's exactly what I struggle with. I'm only 35 so the working part doesnt bother me but the price end is very tricky. I'd like to work on nice cars for many reasons some of which include the "no hassle" in getting permission to repair what is wrong, cars are clean and well kept and are normally only weekend cars so I can take my time. That being said, I am sort of out of the city so people normally have a good drive to drop their vehicles off. I want to charge a fair price but it's not like I have a 12k/month mortgage and I also believe that when you charge too much people have unreal expectations. I current have a Dodge Viper on my rack, getting all the fluids changed, spark plugs, fuel filter etc. During the drop-off the owner saw mine which is lowered, so then we added that to the bill for his car. The next day I found the sway bar links were toast, output shaft seal leaking, doors needed realigned and hood needed ajusted and it was no big deal to him even though I was going to have it for longer and the cost had trippled.

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So now I've started a business at my home and I'm not exactly sure how to go foward with things. I don't plan on working on 10 year old rusty jeeps anymore and want to choose which car I work on. Now my problem is that I can't justify charging $95/hr since I have no addid cost besides insurance, mitchell and some other small things <$500/month.

 

 

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I think you can easily justify the labor rate you want to charge! You sound blessed to be in a position to set up a small shop, work on only what you choose to take in, and it's likely you are very good at what you do....so why not charge what the service is WORTH, and not just charge according to what checks you think you have to write at the end of the day.

 

Kudos to you, Phynny! I wish you the very best!

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Yeah, the cheap route isn't going to work, just too many flaws. I really just don't want to get big and have to go buy a facility, staff it and then deal with the daily headache a large shop creates.

 

LOL, I'm certainly not a troll. I didn't plan on starting a shop here but there was a need and it seemed like more and more I was repairing vehicles. It started making me nervious to have 80k and 100k+ cars on my lift in my shop with no insurance should the worst happen. So I had to create a business, get permission from the county then get insurance and now there is a business that needs to pay for itself. I'm not looking to make a ton of money from it but a lot of my customers have no where to turn. My fellow Viper club members were paying $175/hr to have some "viper tech" learn how to work on vipers at their expense.

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My fellow Viper club members were paying $175/hr to have some "viper tech" learn how to work on vipers at their expense.

 

If the market will bear it, charge a premium. $110 an hour. Nothing give great pleasure than doing the job right and getting paid a premium on it. Plus customers love it when they have a problem and you take care of it with no questions asked if it is a warranty job, which a premium allows you to do.

 

Sounds like this is exactly what you should be doing if this is the case. Don't sell yourself short.

It sounds like you've already got a name built for you, and you're the only outfit in town who they even want touching their vehicles.

Most people (especially high end clients that you seem to have) pay for good service and good work, not cheap prices.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Trust me, people that drive expensive cars don't care what it costs to get them fixed as long as their money isn't being wasted on techs learning like you said. Give a guy his S class back with grease on the steering wheel and the service minder not reset and he paid too much no matter how cheap the bill. I have lots of well heeled clients, they simply don't want to think about car repairs. They want someone who can do it, thats about it. In their book I'm the same as their lawyer or accountant, once in a while I'm needed to take care of problems they don't want to invest any time or effort into. They don't even want me to call them with a price in most cases. They will audit you at Christmas dinner, when someone brings up a dealership story and the conversation is "I had to take it back 3 times to fix my telematics ". That's where you gain new customers. If you can make it easy for them to get their problems fixed with money you got it made.

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      It always amazes me when I hear about a technician who quits one repair shop to go work at another shop for less money. I know you have heard of this too, and you’ve probably asked yourself, “Can this be true? And Why?” The answer rests within the culture of the company. More specifically, the boss, manager, or a toxic work environment literally pushed the technician out the door.
      While money and benefits tend to attract people to a company, it won’t keep them there. When a technician begins to look over the fence for greener grass, that is usually a sign that something is wrong within the workplace. It also means that his or her heart is probably already gone. If the issue is not resolved, no amount of money will keep that technician for the long term. The heart is always the first to leave. The last thing that leaves is the technician’s toolbox.
      Shop owners: Focus more on employee retention than acquisition. This is not to say that you should not be constantly recruiting. You should. What it does means is that once you hire someone, your job isn’t over, that’s when it begins. Get to know your technicians. Build strong relationships. Have frequent one-on-ones. Engage in meaningful conversation. Find what truly motivates your technicians. You may be surprised that while money is a motivator, it’s usually not the prime motivator.
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