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Hi, I am a small auto shop owner; I am trying to see if we are competitive or low in our prices for mounting, balancing etc. Mounting 9.99 Balancing 9.99 Disposal 2.00 Vlave stems 2.99 tire rotation 10.00 We are in central New Jersey Thanks Denise
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Breaker, Breaker… In my many years of repairing cars I’ve helped out a countless number of other shops with their electrical problems. Some shops I would see a few times a month, and others only once in awhile. This was years before the internet was around, and cell phones were only a fad and way to expensive to have. So, most everything was done by a land line or over the CB radio. Back in the mid 80’s and 90’s I had one shop that I talked with nearly every day. Great guys, but not so great as mechanics. The owners name was Joe. His shop was small and seemed to be a place for wayward towed vehicles and obscure customers looking for dirt cheap repairs. His main business was his tow service, and the repair shop seemed to be there just to fill in the gaps on those slow days. One afternoon I got a call from Joe about a car his crew had given up on. They threw the parts cannon at it, but couldn’t get this car to come back to life. Joe was with tows, and needed the mechanics he had to drive the other tow trucks. This particular car had been in his shop for quite some time and I don't think the customer was too happy about it. So, to speed things up a bit, he dropped it off at my shop. “I’ll be on the road all day. I've got to get back out there. I've got tows lined up all day. If you get it going, could ya run it back to my shop,” Joe said, as he made a dash for his tow truck. “No problem Joe, I’ll get right on it,” I said, just as he drove off. The car was an 80’s GM. I could see all kinds of shiny new components under the hood, and could tell they put a lot of effort into swapping parts to find out what was going on. The symptom was; if you flipped the key to the crank position it would immediately start, but die just as quickly. The parts they changed were the predictable parts cannon fodder that the typical parts slapper would try. Tune-up parts, an IAC, TPS, MAP, ECM, etc… etc… all of which might, could, should’ve, probably, maybe, and of course, eventually with enough darts thrown at it, could have hit the target and fixed it. But it didn’t. I wasn’t about to go that route. Time for some real diagnostics and not just shoot from the hip. Why not start with the basics- fuel, air, and fire. Spark was good, timing looked good, and the intake had a good air pull. I gave it a shot of carb. cleaner, and as long as I kept spraying… it kept running. Ok, time to check the fuel pressure. Interesting... there was pressure. Hmmm, now what to do? The next obvious thing (to me) was to check fuel volume. I disconnected a fuel line and gave the key a flick into start. The fuel shot out into the drainage bucket, but then trickled to a stop. I did it a second time. Not as much fuel made it out this time, but the scenario was basically the same. It was always a quick burst followed by a trickle. Maybe I should look at that gas gauge. Well, wouldn’t ya know it, the gauge is ready E. It had just enough in the tank to pressurize the fuel lines but not enough to keep it going. Might as well grab a gas can, and put some in the tank. I’ll try it again… vroom, vroom, vroom, alright! It’s running great! Looks to me as if the entire problem was that it was out of gas. However, with all the new parts they installed, I couldn’t be sure if this was the 'only' problem or an after affect of having the car in the shop so long while trying to solve another problem. It could have been any one of the other components (within reason) they changed that really 'did' need to be changed. Later that day I drove the car back to Joe’s shop. He wasn’t there, but his dispatcher was in the office sorting out tow tickets and monitoring the CB with the volume up full blast. In the background you could hear the CB chatter from all the area’s tow companies. About then I heard Joe’s voice over the CB, “Did Gonzo call yet? Need to check in on him, we need to get that car back to the owner.” “He just walked in Joe, over,” the dispatcher told him. “So what was wrong with it,” Joe asked between the squelch of the CB radio and all the other chatter from the other tow companies. The dispatcher turned to me and pointed at the mic. So, I told him . The dispatcher, with a stunned look on his face, said, “I can’t tell him that. He is going to be so pissed.” “I don’t think you should either. At least not until he gets back,” I said, while breaking into an ear to ear smile. The CB comes back to life with Joe’s voice again; “So what did he find out, over,” Joe's frustration was showing through as his voice barked out of the CB speaker. The dispatcher said to me, " Old Joe sounds pretty pissed." I don’t know whether it was the way his day was going or how much time and money he's spent on this car. Either way, he’s not going to like this answer. “Go ahead… tell him,” I said to the dispatcher, still sitting there hold the mic button, “He wants the answer, so let him have it.” “Alright, Joe, are ya ready for this, over?" the dispatcher said, then waited for a response from Joe. "Yea, go ahead, over." "It was out of gas.” A dead silence came over the CB. No chatter, nothing, not another sound for what seemed to be an eternity. Then, all hell broke loose. Tow drivers from all over the city were razing poor Joe. The CB was full of laughter and goof ball comments, but not a word from Joe. Poor Joe, you asked for it, and now you got it. “Tell Joe to stop by the shop, he can settle up with me then,” I said, while trying to hold back the laughter. As I walked out the door, the CB chatter could be heard all the way to the parking lot, and the comments were still flying. It was one of the funniest moments I’ve ever had for doing nothing more than putting gas in a car. When Joe came up to pay the bill I told him I had a little something for him. I handed him a little tiny gas can on a key chain. I figured it might be a good reminder for him to always check the basics before loading up the parts cannon again. After all these years I’m sure he hasn’t forgotten about it, and I’ll bet he doesn’t tell too many people where he got that little gas can key chain from… but now, it wouldn't be so much on the CB, but over the internet.
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There are many different website services, packages, and programs available when choosing the right company/webmaster for your auto repair business. You can sign up to a service that provides a robust website, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), analytics, marketing services, social network management, integrations, etc. You can also sign up for much simpler solutions which usually only include a website and some SEO. You can also try to use an online website builder to get yourself online with something very basic, which is better than nothing. So many different option and they all have their associated costs. In some cases there are initial startup costs as well. In most cases however, there are monthly costs associated with operating a business website. Please take a moment and share, if you would like, about your website costs and associated services. Please also take a moment to answer a few quick question in the attached poll. Thank you.
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I am writing this on my last day of vacation in California, spending time with family. It took me a few days to totally relax, but made it a point to not look at emails or call the office. We all need downtime. I know there will be a ton of work to be done when I return, but I also know that the time away has recharged my batteries and I will be more productive. Being away from business and spending time with family puts things into proper perspective. You realize that a lot of the things you stress over, are really not as important as you think. Take time to enjoy life. We all know how quickly time passes us by. And remember, no one on their death bed ever said they wished they spent more time at work.
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When it comes to customer complaints, most shop owners are aware that there’s some economic price they’ll ultimately have to pay for the complaint, but will typically have no idea how much each complaint actually costs. This article will aim to bring some clarity to this long-disputed issue. When a customer complains, the first direct cost that you’re going to incur is the loss of your time. This is the time you spend listening to the customer, discussing the resolution, and following up with the customer to ensure that their complaint has been properly resolved. Let’s call this direct expense “customer communication time”. I realize that the amount of time will vary with each complaint, so let’s assign 25 minutes as a realistic number for your average complaint time. These 25 minutes are comprised of 5 minutes when the customer first calls you with a complaint, 15 minutes when they return for correction or resolution, and then an additional 5 minutes for follow up.
Now let’s look at the time spent on the internal communication that comes along with each complaint. This is the time that you spend with your technicians and service advisors discussing the cause, the resolution, and the prevention of future complaints. I feel that 15 minutes is a realistic number when it comes to this internal communication. We’ll also need to consider the same amount of time, at a minimum, of an employee’s time spent to help you resolve the issue. So, your internal communication will cost you at least 30 minutes with each complaint. Let’s shift gears and talk about the cost of customer attrition, and the marketing cost that will come along with each customer complaint. Let’s presume that you run a good business, and are able to properly address each concern to retain 80% of the customers who complain. In this scenario, you’ll still be losing 20% of those customers with complaints. In other words, out of every five complaints it’s safe to say you’ll lose one customer, so you should consider the marketing cost of each complaint to be 1/5th of the cost of generating a new customer. Lastly, you need to consider the “loss of productivity” that is associated with each customer complaint. Simply put, while your employees are discussing the complaint with you, they are unable to generate additional income for the company. Based on everything we have discussed, here is the math you can use to calculate the total cost of each complaint, which you and your employees may find to be quite surprising.
Note: The below cost of customer complaints calculation is predicated on a shop labor rate of $100 per hour, the shop producing $200 per hour per technician, and the cost of generating a new customer being set at $30.
25 minutes of customer communication (25min/60min X $100) $42
30 minutes of internal communication (30min/60min X $100) $50
Direct marketing cost to replace 1 of 5 ($30/5) $6
Loss of productivity (30 min) (30min/60min X $200) $100
If you think that $198 is a big number, please bear in mind we’re talking about the cost of customer complaints themselves, not the cost of additional repairs, services etc. that need to be performed to satisfy the customer. In addition to the $198, we haven’t taken into consideration the economic damage to your reputation, the damage to employee morale, and the loss of income that is associated with the loss of the customer and/or the direct cost of any repair. This considerable cost is one reason why the industry superstars invest in training, they go the extra mile to deliver extraordinary service, and they follow up with each and every customer to ensure that they met with the customer’s expectations. These top shop owners know that they are far better off investing a little more money in their people, than they are spending that money resolving customer complaints. So do absolutely everything that you can do to provide exemplary service, and ensure that each and every customer… is a satisfied customer. Since 1990, Bob Cooper has been the president of Elite, a company that strives to help shop owners reach their goals and live happier lives, while elevating the industry at the same time. The company offers coaching and training from the industry’s top shop owners, service advisor training, peer groups, along with sales, marketing and shop management courses. You can learn more about Elite by visiting www.EliteWorldwide.com.
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