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I think we all know that diagnostics is the most costly service we provide in the automotive repair business today. In today's automotive repair environment, you need to be selling diagnostics, and getting paid for it. I'm looking for feedback on when things don't go exactly as planned.
Let's say a car comes in and you sell some diagnostics, by the hour, or from a menu. After you complete that work, and you still don't have an answer, do you go back to the customer and sell some more? Do you continue at your expense? If you do go back to the customer, and you have nothing conclusive after that, then what? Do you keep going back and selling more diagnostic work until you solve the problem? If you continue to go back and sell more, how many times can you do that? We've all had that car that we've worked on for weeks to find some strange problem. I doubt many customers are willing to pay for the 40 hours you spent on the car.
Now lets say after 5 hours of work that the customer agreed to, you are no closer to finding the issue than when the car came in. Do you charge them for the 5 hours and send them down the road even though you have not provided them with a diagnoses? Do you start spending your time trying to solve the issue because you have a hard time charging for 5 hours and are unable to provide any answers?
I'm asking these questions as I am rethinking my business strategy on diagnostics a little. Our shop is known for its abilities to diagnose problems. We have other shops bringing cars to us on a regular basis because of these abilities. I actually get several calls and emails weekly from across the county for help diagnosing problems. There are times, a lot of times, when I think this is more of a curse, than a blessing. I know we are in the business of fixing cars, and we need to be able to find problems if customers are going to keep coming back. But after my lead tech and I spent a considerable amount of time over the last 15 days diagnosing the strangest intermittent no start issue on an Audi, and watching his frustration grow everyday, not because of the difficulty of the issue as we both love the challenge, but because it held him back from addressing the other work that was coming in the shop.
So, as rewarding as it was to solve that mystery, I can't help but look back at what it cost me financially, and the frustration to the technician, and realize we have to come up with a way to try to avoid going down those rabbit holes. Right now my idea is to give it 1 hour. If after an hour, we are not relatively certain that we will find the issue, with another hour or two, then let the car go. Let the customer know that it's not that we can't fix the car, but that we cannot fix it efficiently. If I lose that customer, it would probably still be cheaper that working on his car for 2 weeks.
Love to hear your thoughts.
By Elite Worldwide Inc.
Elite Pro Service is a peer group made up of 90 of the most successful shop owners in North America, and is always full, but as of 11/14 we have a couple of rare openings! "Rare" isn't an exaggeration, as well over half of the 90 shop owners in this peer group have been members since Pro Service was started over 10 years ago.
In a world where information is everywhere, it is the quality of the information you have access to that will separate you from the competition, and at Elite we feel there's no equal to the quality of real-time data and best practices that come directly from 90 of the industry's top shop owners.
Pro Service is more than a “20 Group” process; it is a community. Not only do our Colleagues believe that 90 minds are better than the standard 10-20 that are most groups, but just about every colleague will tell you that Pro Service has connected them with lifelong friends. There have been several occasions where a Colleague was in trouble with their business, and other Colleagues would “jump on a plane” to help them in any way they could.
Pro Service is a caring culture. It’s not only about increasing profits, but about becoming better leaders who create better lives for their employees, take better care of their customers, and make more meaningful impacts on their communities. It’s about achieving personal and business success, but also about elevating our great industry and every life it touches. It is worth your time to visit the Pro Service web page to learn more.
Pro Service Benefits
90 successful, business savvy shop owners working with you to improve your shop’s performance One-on-one coaching from a nationally recognized business coach with over 20 years of coaching experience and over 40 years spent in the Automotive industry Comprehensive host shop meetings performed twice a year, including onsite shop visits, collaboration and training to provide immediate solutions to current issues Yearly Pro Service Conference with training from outside the industry addressing leadership, marketing, recruiting, employee retention, succession planning and more! Monthly online meetings to keep you tuned up Information-rich financial Dashboard with charting, trending and analytics to benchmark performance Extensive library of information resources developed for owners, service advisors, managers and technical staff Support 24/7 To learn more or to find out if you qualify, visit the Elite Pro Service web page: https://www.eliteworldwide.com/20-group.html
Anyone know or recommend a company that offers a 3-5 day workshop to train a service writer/manager to learn how to SELL and manage tech workflow? Not looking for a consulting firm wanting thousands of dollars. We have an awesome personable approachable person who was one of our techs and wants to move up front but needs help. Thanks so much for your input
By Joe Marconi
There's a time to work, and there's a time to relax a bit. We are in the middle of a three- day weekend; Labor Day. The very name Labor Day should make us all think about how hard we work all year long. We need balance in our lives. We need time with friends and family. So, take a break and recharge your batteries this holiday weekend. It will do you a world of good. Trust me, the business will be there after the weekend is over.
Happy Labor Day Weekend!
I'm trying to hire, and literally cannot find anybody. Ideally I'm looking for a full time parts hanger. Somebody that has little or no diag experience or isn't comfortable with electrical work, but can do the basics on their own. Where do I even try to look? I've tried CL and Facebook to no avail. I've called both of the local community colleges with automotive programs, and it's just crickets. I don't even want to pay them flat rate, I'll more than happily pay them hourly.
And PLEASE, for the love of god, I don't want to hear the lecture on 'you need to hire nothing but master techs'. That doesn't help me, nor fix my current problems. I know what I need. I just need help trying to figure out how to find it. Nobody becomes a mastertech without doing basics first anyways.