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Hello, I have a small 2 bay shop with lifts in both bays, I also have a 3rd bay that has a chassis dyno. I try to do performance work, but working on the marketing aspect of that. I've always done heavyline engine and transmission work, alot of it for other shops. I've found a lot of value on here. I was talking to Elite Worldwide about consulting to help me with the general repair side of things. I'm still in sticker shock from the Conversation, but they did lead me here.

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Any consulting firm is going to cost some money. Most of them are about or more than what Elite charges. You can try to wing it on your own and there a lot of great resources available for free or lower cost such as this forum, classes sponsored by your parts vendors, other shop owners that can mentor you. In my experience however if you want to cut down your learning curve dramatically then you have to invest educating yourself.

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Any consulting firm is going to cost some money. Most of them are about or more than what Elite charges. You can try to wing it on your own and there a lot of great resources available for free or lower cost such as this forum, classes sponsored by your parts vendors, other shop owners that can mentor you. In my experience however if you want to cut down your learning curve dramatically then you have to invest educating yourself.

 

Believe me I understand what your saying, just hard to take a jump like that for a shop that has been grossing less then 6 figures for the last 5-6 years.

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Hello, I have a small 2 bay shop with lifts in both bays, I also have a 3rd bay that has a chassis dyno. I try to do performance work, but working on the marketing aspect of that. I've always done heavyline engine and transmission work, alot of it for other shops. I've found a lot of value on here. I was talking to Elite Worldwide about consulting to help me with the general repair side of things. I'm still in sticker shock from the Conversation, but they did lead me here.

Many shop owners who have a specialty niche, such as yourself, are looking for ways to expand

and diversify their business. This is a smart move.

 

General repair is a natural extension of what you already do. However, auto repair and selling

service is a totally different animal because the general public thinks an oil change is an oil

change. Anyone can take care of a brake job.

 

You've been able to attract customers because of your specialty, which is a good thing. However,

when it comes to auto repair and maintenance, you need a totally different strategy. Otherwise,

you're stuck with competing on price, which is what you don't want.

 

Here's what I believe. Just like any other investment you make in your business...

 

Consulting should be self-funding. In other words, you should be able to clearly see what your

return on investment will be.

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I've already learned so much from being on here the last week. I'm trying to implement a few things into my shop asap. The biggest thing I've focused on is cleaning the reception area first, and then moving to the shop area. Slow going with me being the only person doing it all.

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The first thing that a consultant from Elite or similar would probably do is have you revisit your labor rate and markup. Last October I attended a meeting sponsored by Jasper Engines and Transmissions with a presentation by the CEO for independent shop owners. Upon registering Jasper asked for the labor rate at every shop and reported the results at the meeting. We are here in the hinder lands in the mostly rural Midwest/southeast. The shops represented were from Southern Indiana, Southern Illinois, and Western Kentucky. The reported labor rates ranged from $48-$109 per hour. The average was $78. If one had excluded the shops from the smaller towns I am sure the average would have been in the low to mid $80's. Our current labor rate is $90.00. Your labor rate is lower than average for this area.

 

Here is a good thread on labor rates: http://www.autoshopowner.com/topic/10160-labor-rates/?hl=jasper#entry26198

 

Based on my actual City I'm on the upper end, the local chrysler dealership is only $85/hr and they just recently went from $80 to $85. The highest independent I'm aware of is the next city over at $77 or $78.

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$70/Hr. Parts markup is on a matrix, anywhere from 40-60% on most parts. My biggest problem is 90% of our work is headgaksets, engine rebuilds, replacements etc.

Your biggest problem is you are wasting your time on too many non profitable actions. If your hourly rate is $70.00 an hour and you worked 8 hours a day. You should be making $560.00 a day in labor. If you worked 250 days out of the year you would make $140,000 a year without any parts sold or marked up.

 

So let's assume you made $75,000 last year. If you did then your labor rate is effectively $37.50 per hour. If you made $50,000 last year your labor rate is $25.00.

 

If you worked more than 250 days last year your hourly rate is obviously less than the above figures. If you are including parts with your double digit income you very well could be working for less than $10.00 per hour.

 

So quit screwing around and get back to work and reality. This sounds more like a hobby than a business.

 

You need a goal, a purpose, a plan and some discipline. What you have is a floundering start-up.

 

If you were my employee I would tell you to audit your day. That's what we do with a below standard production level employee to see where the time is being wasted and document problems/reasons/excuses. Then either handle or terminate.

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Your biggest problem is you are wasting your time on too many non profitable actions. If your hourly rate is $70.00 an hour and you worked 8 hours a day. You should be making $560.00 a day in labor. If you worked 250 days out of the year you would make $140,000 a year without any parts sold or marked up.

 

So let's assume you made $75,000 last year. If you did then your labor rate is effectively $37.50 per hour. If you made $50,000 last year your labor rate is $25.00.

 

If you worked more than 250 days last year your hourly rate is obviously less than the above figures. If you are including parts with your double digit income you very well could be working for less than $10.00 per hour.

 

So quit screwing around and get back to work and reality. This sounds more like a hobby than a business.

 

You need a goal, a purpose, a plan and some discipline. What you have is a floundering start-up.

 

If you were my employee I would tell you to audit your day. That's what we do with a below standard production level employee to see where the time is being wasted and document problems/reasons/excuses. Then either handle or terminate.

 

I totally agree with you, currently I'm waiting on parts. I have both bays tied up with fairly major work, waiting on parts that weren't in stock for both. I haven't done a brake job in probably 2 months, I've probably done 3 stand alone oil changes. I need to market to more general repair and clean my shop up. I don't have tire machines or balancers, no alignment machine, so I don't get those jobs. I gave myself until June of 2016 to get this place on the right track or I'm closing shop and going to work for someone else.

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I totally agree with you, currently I'm waiting on parts. I have both bays tied up with fairly major work, waiting on parts that weren't in stock for both. I haven't done a brake job in probably 2 months, I've probably done 3 stand alone oil changes. I need to market to more general repair and clean my shop up. I don't have tire machines or balancers, no alignment machine, so I don't get those jobs. I gave myself until June of 2016 to get this place on the right track or I'm closing shop and going to work for someone else.

You can get it on the right track.

 

What are your present time resources?

 

2 bays, what else?

 

What can you do today?

 

What kind of jobs can you do today with no barriers with the knowledge, tools and equipment you have?

 

What will make you money

now?

 

What is the population in the city where your shop is?

 

What is the distance of your 3 closest part distributors? Are they local parts stores or national chains?

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I have 2 bays with lifts, I have a 3rd bay in the back of the building where the chassis dyno is, it's not useable for much else. Currently there isn't anything In the shop that can be done today. The majority of my work takes multiple days or weeks with rebuilding an engine, ordering parts etc. I diagnosed and scheduled a car yesterday for today, but they were a no show.

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I have 2 bays with lifts, I have a 3rd bay in the back of the building where the chassis dyno is, it's not useable for much else. Currently there isn't anything In the shop that can be done today. The majority of my work takes multiple days or weeks with rebuilding an engine, ordering parts etc. I diagnosed and scheduled a car yesterday for today, but they were a no show.

Ok, got it.

 

City population?

 

Parts stores locale?

 

Rent per month?

 

Total business overhead monthly?

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City Population 21,000, 80K within 20 miles.

 

Have Autozone, Advance, Napa, and O'Reillys all delivering parts.

 

No Rent Building is paid for from my grandfather.

 

Overhead is Roughly $2500/Month, a good chunk of that is tools/equipment because all the equipment that was here was completely wore out. That will go away in a couple years if I can stay afloat. Then I'll have property taxes which are only 2k a year in a Our Tiny Town.

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City Population 21,000, 80K within 20 miles.

 

Have Autozone, Advance, Napa, and O'Reillys all delivering parts.

 

No Rent Building is paid for from my grandfather.

 

Overhead is Roughly $2500/Month, a good chunk of that is tools/equipment because all the equipment that was here was completely wore out. That will go away in a couple years if I can stay afloat. Then I'll have property taxes which are only 2k a year in a Our Tiny Town.

Ok, got that.

 

Are you on a main road and are you surrounded by a residential or an industrial area?

 

What percentage of your business is retail and what percent is wholesale?

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On a main road, County Road, In an industrial area but residential is just 2 blocks down. My shop is directly facing the road with letters on the building with just my name. This year so far has been less wholesale work, mainly because I ran one Dealer away because of slow payment. Last year was probably 30-35% wholesale. This year is only about 10%.

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On a main road, County Road, In an industrial area but residential is just 2 blocks down. My shop is directly facing the road with letters on the building with just my name. This year so far has been less wholesale work, mainly because I ran one Dealer away because of slow payment. Last year was probably 30-35% wholesale. This year is only about 10%.

Ok, got it.

 

If you were to complete those 2 jobs occupying your lifts right now, how long would it take to get 2 more cars on those lifts to cause the same problem you have now?

 

How many incoming phone calls and walk ins do you get on a typical day with interest for your services?

 

Do you enjoy communicating with people or do you consider talking to others, especially customers, a necessary evil?

 

Do you cower from the idea of communication when you encounter new people?

 

Do people like you?

 

How are people finding out about you and your business now?

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If I complete both Jobs, I have 2 more fairly large jobs in the parking lot. One is a engine overhaul, I spent most of the day cleaning and preparing parts to assemble that engine. Incoming phone calls vary on the day, I'd say 2-4 phone calls that could be prospective customers, maybe 1 walk in a day that could be a customer. I'm not bad at commuicating with people, If I have bad news for a customer I sometimes have trouble calling them and letting them know. Had to do that today, customer brought in a 08 F150 that needs an engine, I don't rebuild those because of a few issues, had to give him a $7000 quote for a reman Jasper. I don't cower from talking to people, it just seems like by the time people make it to my shop they are at there wits end. I tend to think people like me, I have some loyal customers, have lots of friends.

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If I complete both Jobs, I have 2 more fairly large jobs in the parking lot. One is a engine overhaul, I spent most of the day cleaning and preparing parts to assemble that engine. Incoming phone calls vary on the day, I'd say 2-4 phone calls that could be prospective customers, maybe 1 walk in a day that could be a customer. I'm not bad at commuicating with people, If I have bad news for a customer I sometimes have trouble calling them and letting them know. Had to do that today, customer brought in a 08 F150 that needs an engine, I don't rebuild those because of a few issues, had to give him a $7000 quote for a reman Jasper. I don't cower from talking to people, it just seems like by the time people make it to my shop they are at there wits end. I tend to think people like me, I have some loyal customers, have lots of friends.

First let me mention that I am not a consultant nor have any intention to become one in the future. But I am willing to help you because you need it and you cannot afford to pay anyone anything at this point.

 

It is crucial that you follow directions to become a viable and solvent business.

 

After you become a viable and solvent business, which in fact should not take longer than 1-3 months depending on your level and speed of execution you should sign up with Elite or Elon Block to propel you further.

 

Ok, let's begin:

 

What do you want to have?

 

You will need both personal and business goals.

 

Your goal(s)?

 

I'm not asking what do you think is possible to have. I'm asking what end product can you imagine in your wildest dreams you as a successful individual and as a business owner could create if you had no limitations or excuses.

 

Remember you are not your business and your business is not you. You are two separate entities. Business is business. Personal is personal. Your business does not need a wife. And your personal life does not need a new dyno.

 

Remember you can have anything. Big fishing boat. 12 children. $1,000,000, etc.

 

They are your envisioned goals. They don't have to seem probable at this point.

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Improbable goals, seems hard to think about those because I've been thinking about just trying to do baby steps. My business goals are to be able to expand the shop I'm in and make it state of that art, top of the line aligner, balancer and so forth. I want a nice clean shop with a few good techs. It's hard for me to imagine anything too crazy. My personal goals are simple, I just want to be able to do things that I want to do when I want to. I don't want to work 7 days a week, every week like I am currently. I want to be able to enjoy my life, have a decent house and some toys.

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Improbable goals, seems hard to think about those because I've been thinking about just trying to do baby steps. My business goals are to be able to expand the shop I'm in and make it state of that art, top of the line aligner, balancer and so forth. I want a nice clean shop with a few good techs. It's hard for me to imagine anything too crazy. My personal goals are simple, I just want to be able to do things that I want to do when I want to. I don't want to work 7 days a week, every week like I am currently. I want to be able to enjoy my life, have a decent house and some toys.

You are thinking to small, you are producing to small. So your goals need to be extremely specific. You don't have to post them here but you better right them down specifically so you know EXACTLY what you are aiming for. And you need to look at them EVERY SINGLE DAY! You need to know them like you know your mirror image. This is the only way to have anything. KNOW IT, WANT IT, GET IT!
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I use all data currently. The biggest thing I can implement I believe is getting my parts margins up. They are at less the. 40% average. And next is getting car count up. Like Andre said, too much wasted time. It looks for the year I've basically averaged 15 hours a week billed.

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Don't tie up both bays with large jobs. Keep one bay for in and out repairs. While Waiting on parts for a the engine overhaul you can use the other bay for jobs parts are readily available for. Brakes, wheel bearings, oil changes. By tying up both bays with big jobs waiting on parts, you make it difficult to pick up the gravy work that comes along. Brakes grinding? If I can't get it in my shop by tomorrow, that customer is going elsewhere.

 

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If I complete both Jobs, I have 2 more fairly large jobs in the parking lot. One is a engine overhaul, I spent most of the day cleaning and preparing parts to assemble that engine. Incoming phone calls vary on the day, I'd say 2-4 phone calls that could be prospective customers, maybe 1 walk in a day that could be a customer. I'm not bad at commuicating with people, If I have bad news for a customer I sometimes have trouble calling them and letting them know. Had to do that today, customer brought in a 08 F150 that needs an engine, I don't rebuild those because of a few issues, had to give him a $7000 quote for a reman Jasper. I don't cower from talking to people, it just seems like by the time people make it to my shop they are at there wits end. I tend to think people like me, I have some loyal customers, have lots of friends.

Let's start simply by saying that this location has been a profitable and functional repair shop started in the 70's when grandpa owned it.

 

Let's acknowledge that the property is paid off in full by grandpa. Thank you grandpa!

 

Let's say it has a name and a reputation and a customer base. (Though we don't know what your active customer base actually is.)

 

Let's acknowledge that through hard work and perseverance you have been keeping your shop alive as an army of one since 2009. You deserve accolades for that!

 

We know that your surrounding population is 21,000. Let's say that out of 21,000 we have 5000 reachable drivers. Let's say that out of 5000 reachable drivers only 1000 people like you. You would need to create $500.00 in labor per customer per year to reach your goal of 500K per year in sales.

 

You have 2 workable bays for now per this equation. You work 5 days a week, 250 days a year. You need to produce 1000 per bay per day x 2. You work from 8 to 5 with a one hour lunch break. You have 8 hours to produce 1000.00 per bay. That would bring your labor rate to $125.00 per hour. Yours is $70.00

 

Let's go back to your goal of 500K.

 

What do we have to do to make this happen?

 

Per your labor rate.

We have $70.00 per hour per one man.

We will put your efficiency at 8 hours per day equaling $560.00 per day per person.

 

You have a $1440.00 dollar per day deficit towards your goal of 500K at maximum efficiency.

 

You will need four people minimum to get you to your goal. I don't want to overwhelm you here but you cannot keep on going the way you are going and expect to see any gain.

 

As of right now you are taking on both mental and physical burden of running a business. You must unburden yourself.

 

You need to strategically hire here. The first person you will need is a mechanic or mechanics assistant.

 

I am assuming you are in your 20's. Hire someone that you are senior to in age at this point so they don't take advantage of you or try to invalidate you. Exactly 50% of the people we interview have gone out of business. You don't need that, they will put you out of business too with their failing ideas. As you get more secure as a business person you can handle and disregard incoming stupidity.

 

What you need is a willing and able human being with reasonable aptitude and IQ. You cannot tell through basic conversation if that is the case with most people. You cannot afford to hire on the basis of like or dislike alone.

 

I would post an ad on Craigslist to start for $20.00 or whatever they charge.

 

I would write - Now Hiring mechanics and apprentices. Pay is minimum wage and production bonuses. You do not want to pay anything more than minimum wage (Ohio $8.10) at this point.

 

On bonuses you will only want to pay for produced billable hours paid over 20 hours produced. So if a guy produces 20 hours for the week in billable hours, pay him an extra $6.90 per hour when they hit the first 20 hours. And then an additional $6.90 per hour produced and billable over 20 hours. So now your paying him $15.00 per hour as a starting mechanic. If he produces 40 hours per $15.00 great. If not you are only paying him $8.10 per hour at the end of the week for his 19 hours produced though 40 hours "worked". You need to limit your risk of lack of productivity and/or lack of efficiency while at the same time unburdening your work load.

 

You will need to make first payday on a one week delay. That will allow you an extra week to collect and get employee pay together. You can reduce the payday lag time down the line. But for your intents and purposes while still complying with the law this is what is necessary.

 

I have not included parts revenue or tax as part of the equation for gross income. Just gross labor revenue.

 

HIRING IS YOUR MOST CRITICAL STEP AT THIS POINT!!! Not cleaning. Not more space.

 

HIRE ONE PERSON immediately and get them productive. They don't have to be the perfect employee. They just have to be able to breathe, look, listen, understand directions and work effectively to unburden you. You will have to help them in the beginning, and that is ok for now. Efficiency will come way later and at a different level than you are playing right now.

 

Let me know when the first step is complete! POST AN ADD IMMEDIATELY!

HIRE IMMEDIATELY!

 

There is a sequential pattern that must be followed here.

 

PS- Trust me on the minimum wage thing.

 

If you have any hiring questions, just ask. I will assist you.

 

I also do not want to hear that you cannot afford to hire because you definitely cannot afford NOT to hire someone.

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Great advice there. Overhead eats a one person shop. I started out just me. I now have 2 mechanics working as well as myself as I can. A lot of my overhead doesn't increase by hiring another tech. All data doesn't cost more per month, rent stays the same. Now there's three of us contributing to the overhead. We work on everything land based from lawn mowers to class 8 trucks. I use a pay structure similar to what Andre posted above, and it works. If an employee can't consistently average 20 billable hours a week, they cost me to much and need to be replaced. I'd hire 2 more techs tomorrow if I could find them. I've also been advertising for a service writer/manager. With the two techs I have, I'm spread to thin to stay on top of everything. I'm sure there's parts getting installed that aren't getting billed. Will that service writer cost me money? Not if they increase my revenue on the work we're already doing.

 

Efficiency should come with time. Once a week take a look around and find the wasted motions. What shop equipment is used regularly, but all the way across the shop from where the techs usually are. We turn the compressor and welder off at the breaker box every night. The compressor get's turned on with the lights in the morning, but the welder only get's turned on when we need it. Once or twice a week. The breaker panel is at the opposite corner from the welder in my shop. I realized once every other day or so, somebody would go to the welder and turn it on, then all the way across the shop to hit the switch on the breaker panel. Now I make it a habit to flip it on in the morning as well. Might only save 2 minutes a day, but it's two minutes we'll never get back.

 

What kind of big jobs do you have plugging up your shop waiting for parts that can't be moved? I know a lot of times we get into that situation, but we've also gotten a bit creative on ways to get vehicles back out of the shop when their in the way and can't be finished at this time. We had a car a few months ago that we pulled the engine and trans on. This required the whole front end to be pulled apart. Ended up the engine had more damage than expected and customer decided to find a used engine. Well, we weren't going to reassemble just to pull it out, and it sure wasn't staying in. We welded a simple frame together out of some scrap we had out back. Basically a wide jack stand. Tacked some pneumatic casters to it and set the car on the frame. Pushed out to parking lot till junk yard engine came, then pushed back in. Took about an hour to fab up, but that bay made money the rest of the week.

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I've got a C5 corvette in one bay with the front timing cover off for a warranty issue as I built the engine in it, that requires pulling the rack, and I also don't feel comfortable leaving that vehicle outside every night. I've been trying to finish it, but also trying to finish the engine job to get some cash to make sure all the bills are paid this week. The other bay is actually the F150 with the valve covers off of it, I'm going to push it out Monday morning, was just trying to get an idea of what they are going to do with it before pushing it outside. I'm going to put a help wanted thing up as soon as I can. Andre are there some affordable apptitude and IQ test that I can give prospective employees? Like you said I don't want to hire someone based on like or dislike, did that with a guy part time and it ended up burning me big time.

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I've got a C5 corvette in one bay with the front timing cover off for a warranty issue as I built the engine in it, that requires pulling the rack, and I also don't feel comfortable leaving that vehicle outside every night. I've been trying to finish it, but also trying to finish the engine job to get some cash to make sure all the bills are paid this week. The other bay is actually the F150 with the valve covers off of it, I'm going to push it out Monday morning, was just trying to get an idea of what they are going to do with it before pushing it outside. I'm going to put a help wanted thing up as soon as I can. Andre are there some affordable apptitude and IQ test that I can give prospective employees? Like you said I don't want to hire someone based on like or dislike, did that with a guy part time and it ended up burning me big time.

Take it from someone who's been in you shoes and in reality still is to a point. Get those big jobs out of there, they waist to much time and money for a small shop. Quit building engines, start selling engines. Quit building transmissions, start installing transmissions. Stop wasting yourself on jobs you can't turn a profit on. That's what we did. We're a 6 figure shop and it's still a struggle. Props to you for keeping your head above water. I agree with the above, hire some help and quit taking on big jobs. Market some brake jobs and maintenance services. Once you build yourself up maybe take on some big jobs. No offense, but your not capable of big jobs right now.

 

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Take it from someone who's been in you shoes and in reality still is to a point. Get those big jobs out of there, they waist to much time and money for a small shop. Quit building engines, start selling engines. Quit building transmissions, start installing transmissions. Stop wasting yourself on jobs you can't turn a profit on. That's what we did. We're a 6 figure shop and it's still a struggle. Props to you for keeping your head above water. I agree with the above, hire some help and quit taking on big jobs. Market some brake jobs and maintenance services. Once you build yourself up maybe take on some big jobs. No offense, but your not capable of big jobs right now.

 

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It's so hard for me to quit doing that work because thats what were known for, thats our niche so to speak. But I understand completely, and with the help of some guys on here, I'm re-evaluating every thing about my shop. I've already placed an add for a entry level tech, and had some response in a day so we'll see how that goes.

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It's so hard for me to quit doing that work because thats what were known for, thats our niche so to speak. But I understand completely, and with the help of some guys on here, I'm re-evaluating every thing about my shop. I've already placed an add for a entry level tech, and had some response in a day so we'll see how that goes.

I was the same way, and I still do some of it. But it's just not profitable in either of our situations. If you intend to keep doing it, you'll have no choice but to bill by the hour!

 

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I was the same way, and I still do some of it. But it's just not profitable in either of our situations. If you intend to keep doing it, you'll have no choice but to bill by the hour!

 

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That would be a surefire way to get rid of all that type of work thats for sure.

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That would be a surefire way to get rid of all that type of work thats for sure.

You'll be suprised how much you still do! Besides, when a plumber comes to your house, is their a book he looks in to decide how long it should take?

 

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I share the building with my dad who runs the automotive machine shop, when my grandpa retired he split the business between my father and I. That's why I rebuild them because I just disassemble them and have him do the machine work without even leaving the building.

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I share the building with my dad who runs the automotive machine shop, when my grandpa retired he split the business between my father and I. That's why I rebuild them because I just disassemble them and have him do the machine work without even leaving the building.

Are you pricing the work similar to say jasper or another reman company? For instance if jasper sells it for $5,000 do you do a rebuild for that and removal and install by the book?

 

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I share the building with my dad who runs the automotive machine shop, when my grandpa retired he split the business between my father and I. That's why I rebuild them because I just disassemble them and have him do the machine work without even leaving the building.

Do you and your father operate two separate businesses with two separate corporations on the same piece of property, or are you 50/50 partners on the same property and same corporation? Or some other agreement or disagreement?

 

The main point is who is the final decision maker on day to day operations? Can you effectively execute a plan for the shop with executive authority? If not that is ok, just another barrier to overcome and work out.

 

Also, is your lag time due to lack of working capital that creates a parts delay?

 

Is it turn around time from you dad's machine shop?

 

Does your father have his own employees or is he a solo act as well?

 

Added on:

 

To be successful as a partnership you both must be in alignment with the shops vision, present and future.

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They are seperate companies on the same property. I have full authority to excute a plan in my shop. Lack of working capital does cause a delay at times, I don't have any net 30 accounts for my parts, I write checks for them as they come. Which I'm realizing is killing my cash flow. Turn around time from him is fine most of the time. I pay him just as a walk in would. He has one employee that works for him. Also our prices are usually much cheaper then a Jasper but we don't offer the warranty that they offer.

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Andre are there some affordable apptitude and IQ test that I can give prospective employees? Like you said I don't want to hire someone based on like or dislike, did that with a guy part time and it ended up burning me big time.

 

Since we are limited on cash we need to be more creative.There is a Mechanical Aptitude Test that I found at the Google app store. This will work for now. It's called Mechanical Test Trainer by ApPro services.

 

Download it. Get familiar with it. Use it.

 

You will have to administer it from either your smart phone or a tablet.

It will give you a very basic idea of mechanical aptitude. I would have every single person interested come in and take it. This is a very different "aptitude test" than the the one I administer but we have different needs and wants for employees at this point with a significant deviation for pay plans. So I have to be alot more thorough than you do. You need to keep things lean and simple for now.

 

DO NOT HIRE ON THE SPOT!

Think things through, use good judgement! Any questions, just ask.

 

Print out a generic job application from online and have every prospect fill one out. Make sure there is a spot for references of previous employment. ALWAYS CHECK REFERENCES! Since you will not be giving personality tests, charecter references will be our insight.

 

When interviewing:

 

Look presentable, professional and respectable during interviews. Handle yourself with certainty, confidence and friendliness. DO NOT COME OFF OVERWHELMED! You are not desperate, you are intelligent at making decisions here.

 

Appearance:

 

Clean pants, clean shirt, clean boots and well groomed.

You want to look like an Executive not like Sloppy Joe's hack shack slave laborer.

 

If anyone throws you off with a question just acknowledge them for asking and let them know you are still working out the details in your mind and move on. Disregard comments or stupid statements. Pay attention for clues and indicators of bad habits or potential trouble. And if you get a bad feeling about someone, trust it and do not hire them no matter how desperate you are are how qualified they seem to appear.

 

NEVER, NEVER, NEVER speak to an employee or prospect about your financial well being or lack thereof. Their business is doing the job you are paying them for, NOT advising you nor sympathizing for you! All an employee should be thinking about at work is his/her own work and not worrying about the finances of the shop.

 

This is just the recruiting and hiring phase.

 

The next phase is hatting a newly hired employee, expectations, policies, agreements and pay.

 

 

 

I've got a C5 corvette in one bay with the front timing cover off for a warranty issue as I built the engine in it, that requires pulling the rack, and I also don't feel comfortable leaving that vehicle outside every night. I've been trying to finish it, but also trying to finish the engine job to get some cash to make sure all the bills are paid this week. The other bay is actually the F150 with the valve covers off of it, I'm going to push it out Monday morning, was just trying to get an idea of what they are going to do with it before pushing it outside. I'm going to put a help wanted thing up as soon as I can. Andre are there some affordable apptitude and IQ test that I can give prospective employees? Like you said I don't want to hire someone based on like or dislike, did that with a guy part time and it ended up burning me big time.

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Well, why do you have issues with capital for your parts? Do you not ask for a deposit upfront? I mean this is not a brake job here. if you are rebuilding engines, I would have the customer give you at least the cost of the parts up front. The rest when you are done. Oh, and you don't start the repair, until you have that cash or w/e in your hands.

 

When I do a big job for a customer like say a head gasket, I will ask for the cost of parts, and machine work up front. No shame in that.

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Well, why do you have issues with capital for your parts? Do you not ask for a deposit upfront? I mean this is not a brake job here. if you are rebuilding engines, I would have the customer give you at least the cost of the parts up front. The rest when you are done. Oh, and you don't start the repair, until you have that cash or w/e in your hands.

 

When I do a big job for a customer like say a head gasket, I will ask for the cost of parts, and machine work up front. No shame in that.

 

I do get a deposit on any job over $2k. But if I'm working on a few big jobs at once and not doing any cashflow work I still burn through that deposit money.

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Hello,

I am a new member and just read through this thread and decided to put in my 2 cents worth. You have received some very good advice so far, labor rates, hiring tactics, etc. I have been through much of what you are describing and I just want to say that you first need to decide "who" you want to be in this business. If you want to turn wrenches and fix cars, then your first hire should be someone to field the front counter and phone (as much as customers are needed, they eat away at you time like nobody's business), even if it is only part time to start. Someone who exudes a sense of trust and friendliness. So, where do "you" want to be? In the shop, or on the counter? You cannot be both effectively. If you want to eventually be the "business owner", you will end up being neither, but for now you need to decide if you want to work on the cars or handle the customers.

 

Next, if you intend to keep on doing big jobs you need to find a way to do the smaller ones, ($200.00 jobs pay the bills) possibly with a low-rise lift that can be placed outside a service bay for brake, tire and chassis work while you are still working on the engine jobs.

 

Don't try to take every job as a challenge. This is my biggest downfalls. You will end up spending way too much time on things you cannot bill for.

Know when to send a job down the street. Pride is one of the 7 deadly sins, especially for a business.

 

As far as more advice, I would need to know more about your goals. Do you WANT to do the physical work on the cars, WANT to talk to and build relationships with customers, WANT to OWN and operate a business? They are all separate things and if you try to do all of them you will wear yourself out and resent the very business that you own.

 

You CAN be successful as long as you know who YOU are in all of this.. You can work on cars at least part of the time, or work on the counter part of the time, and own the business too as long as you know that as a business owner your role goes way beyond that.

 

Just decide what you want personally and the business will be build around that.

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Hello,

I am a new member and just read through this thread and decided to put in my 2 cents worth. You have received some very good advice so far, labor rates, hiring tactics, etc. I have been through much of what you are describing and I just want to say that you first need to decide "who" you want to be in this business. If you want to turn wrenches and fix cars, then your first hire should be someone to field the front counter and phone (as much as customers are needed, they eat away at you time like nobody's business), even if it is only part time to start. Someone who exudes a sense of trust and friendliness. So, where do "you" want to be? In the shop, or on the counter? You cannot be both effectively. If you want to eventually be the "business owner", you will end up being neither, but for now you need to decide if you want to work on the cars or handle the customers.

 

Next, if you intend to keep on doing big jobs you need to find a way to do the smaller ones, ($200.00 jobs pay the bills) possibly with a low-rise lift that can be placed outside a service bay for brake, tire and chassis work while you are still working on the engine jobs.

 

Don't try to take every job as a challenge. This is my biggest downfalls. You will end up spending way too much time on things you cannot bill for.

Know when to send a job down the street. Pride is one of the 7 deadly sins, especially for a business.

 

As far as more advice, I would need to know more about your goals. Do you WANT to do the physical work on the cars, WANT to talk to and build relationships with customers, WANT to OWN and operate a business? They are all separate things and if you try to do all of them you will wear yourself out and resent the very business that you own.

 

You CAN be successful as long as you know who YOU are in all of this.. You can work on cars at least part of the time, or work on the counter part of the time, and own the business too as long as you know that as a business owner your role goes way beyond that.

 

Just decide what you want personally and the business will be build around that.

 

I understand what your saying, it's a struggle to decide which is the right move, the problem for me, is seeing the immediate benefit of someone up front all the time vs someone in the shop all the time. I'm better suited for the shop for sure, as I can struggle with dealing with people.

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

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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.
      One last thing; the cost of technician turnover can be financially devastating. It also affects shop morale. Do all you can to create a workplace where technicians feel they are respected, recognized, and know that their work contributes to the overall success of the company. This will lead to improved morale and team spirit. Remember, when you see a technician’s toolbox rolling out of the bay on its way to another shop, the heart was most likely gone long before that.
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