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  • Similar Forum Topics

    • Customer's buying their own parts

      Hey guys. I'm new to the forum and was looking for this subject but couldn't find it. Sorry If I'm posted something that's already been discussed. I own a brake shop in Austin, TX. We do anywhere from 10-20 brake jobs a day. We only do brakes so I don't know how much full service auto shops deal with this problem but... Customers are constantly calling in claiming they've bought the best parts or they want to provide their own parts because they've done research and know what is best. This drives me crazy. First of all they don't know whats best. Then after being told no they get offended and act like tons of shops allow this. What is the best way to handle these customers? Just send them away? I'll quote them a price using our parts and they act as though its a rip off. What shops are doing this for their customers? I feel like I'm letting jobs get away from me. Any experience with this?

      By Jonathan Ganther, in General Automotive Discussion

      • 78 replies
      • 3,739 views
    • Free Simple Shop Management Software

      Hey Everyone, I'm Ricardo from Complete Auto Reports.  You may have heard about the shop management software that we made at a shop in Linden NJ.  We've been really busy over the last year trying to refine the process at a shop through the software.  We have come up with something we think that people can and will benefit from.  We want to start with smaller auto repair facilities who are looking for something to transition out of paper and pen, as well as word documents and/or excel spreadsheets.   We've taken our software and made a free package that allows the following from any device with a updated and functional browser: Take appointments from your customers Digital Vehicle Inspections - Included in every service request and sent to each customer if performed Workflow - Pending, Under Process, Awaiting Approval, Approval Completed, Work In Progress, Completed Ratings - Customers can communicate ratings directly to you Messages - You can communicate with customers through the platform Customer App - All service history available, can schedule appointments with the app, transfer vehicle records to new owners Sales Reports 100% mobile - Works on everything from your 5inch iPhone to your desktop.  You can presently upload all of your customer information: name, address, phone numbers, email. Paid for versions offer parts ordering through PartsTech.com and Employeement modules that track employee time on jobs. Are there members here who are interested in trying the free platform to see if it's a fit for their business? Anyone interested in the paid for versions, can also get 60 days of free use and discounted rates available from our SEMA promotions.

      By CAR_AutoReports, in Management Software, Web Sites & Internet

      • 4 replies
      • 301 views
    • Article: Poke It With A Sharp Stick - car repair is so simple...even a cave man can do it (NOT!)

      Poking it with a Sharp Stick         It's not so much that I work with the general  public in my daily business, it's more of what  kind of 'public' gives me the business.  I'm not  talking about people who can think and reason  like most educated, knowledgeable people.  It's  that ever present cave man mentality.  You know the type, the guy who's elevator doesn't go to the top floor, or the couple who can't seem to keep both oars in the water.  The all seem to lack one simple characteristic, common sense.  The very quality that every halfwit adventure I've either seen, (or been a part of) have in common.  (I can't leave myself out of this one... guilty as charged)         It stands to reason if some of these mental giants were among the intrepid pioneers who crossed the great divide in a Conestoga wagon, they probably would be the ones that never made it. But, with so many modern conveniences like diet, clean water, and modern medical care, these half-wit trail blazers roam freely throughout every part of the countryside.           There was a comedian some years ago who told a story about his ancestors from the Stone Age.  He commented on how some people felt it necessary to leave the safety of the cave to take on some huge beast with nothing more than a sharpened stick, only to be trampled to death by the same prehistoric behemoth.  He went on to say, “My relatives were the ones who stayed in the cave... how else can explain my being here?!  If my ancestors were the ones who got killed off, how would it be possible for me to be standing here telling you all about them? My relatives had the good sense to stay out of harm’s way.  Were my ancestors brave? Sure they’re brave, they’re just not stupid.”            “Oh look, large man eating beast outside the cave, I’ll stay here… you can go out there.  I’ve gotta sharpen my stick, and while you’re gone I'll paint your picture on these cave walls. Our ancestors will think you’re great hunters that way.”  (“Right, when in fact they’re running for your lives…!”)  Funny, yes, true... I guess so, and in similar ways, it’s how some people tackle car repair.            In most states there’s no regulation to keep someone from poking their pointed stick under the hood of their car, or hanging a shingle on a shop door and call themselves a “mechanic”.  The unsuspecting consumer is at the mercy of the phone book (and other sources) to find a shop that can actually make the appropriate repairs on their car.  It's like the car has turned into a huge mammoth, and the person attempting the repair is just taking stabs at it with a sharp stick.  No training, no experience, and more than likely no clue what they are doing.  This is but one of the many reasons why the automotive field gets such low marks in the consumers’ eyes.  As one of my customers told me, “It's getting harder and harder to find a good mechanic these days”.  And, from what I can tell, it hasn’t been much better in previous decades either.          A typical example of this was last week.  An older gentleman came into the shop with an air conditioning problem on his 1967 Thunderbird.  Sweet ride, entirely original... just the way he liked it.  He had been to several shops trying to get the air conditioning working.  This car was factory equipped with the old style compressor and A/C lines that didn't use a Schrader valve, but instead had the hand shut off valves that you moved (in the correct direction) to recharge or change the compressor.  The owner’s story was that every place he went to, no one knew how to use the hand valves correctly to refill the system.  They were all good at replacing parts, but had no clue as to how the system worked.    I'm old enough to have worked on these when they were very common.   All the previous shops could have figured out how they operated, if they would have just put down their pointy stick, and did a little research.  (FYI - There's only 3 positions to be concerned about: Front seated blocks off the compressor, Mid-position is used to allow flow between entire system, compressor, and the gauge port, and the most important one, back seated, which allows the entire system to work normally.)          Turned into an easy job for me; all in all, the A/C system was blowing cold air in no time.  All it took was a little basic knowledge rather than guessing at it. (No telling what parts actually needed replaced, by the time I saw the car everything was new, oiled, and mounted correctly.)  Too bad for the owner though, he paid each and every one of them to do what I just did... make cold air. The T-bird owner was overjoyed to finally have his air conditioning back in working order.  (He did tell me he wasn't about to use those other guys ever again.)  I guess after so many pokes with that sharp stick the T-Bird owner had had enough.           Then there’s the DIY'r trying to repair the car in the family cave.   First it’s a jab with the pointed end of their stick, then two, then another, until they either figure it out, or they find the information they need to make the repairs.  There's been a lot of talk lately about the factory information not being available... really??  What Neanderthal told you that?   I've been working professionally in the car repair business for a long time and I've never had any problem obtaining factory information. The hard part is getting the right scanners (at reasonable prices) and education these days.  It's out there; it just may take a little poking around to find it. (Pun intended)  The big thing is, it’s not free, never has been.  Poking the sharp end of your stick at the manufacturer and expecting him to roll over like a wounded mammoth and hand you the information for free … just ain't happening… ever.          I have this mental image of a DIY'r and their protégé the “untrained mechanic” as the cave men portrayed in the painting with the great mammoth in center.  The cave men are throwing their spears into the beast, but the huge behemoth of prehistoric times still isn't quite finished off.   It's not a futile effort, if they keep stabbing at it they’ll eventually get the job done.  Gee, doesn’t that sound just like a couple of guys trying to figure out what’s wrong with the car by throwing part after part at it?  It does to me.            Poking around with that Stone Age sharpened stick method of diagnostics is a slow and unproductive way of making any kind of automotive repair. But, I still see the same kind of poor workmanship even today.  Working on modern cars, and even one from a few decades ago requires the right tools, the right information, and some good old fashion common sense.  If you’ve got all that, you’ve got half the battle won.  That common sense and good repair practices goes a long way. One thing’s for sure… it beats poking it with a sharp stick.  
      View full article

      By Gonzo, in AutoShopOwner Articles

      • 2 replies
      • 101 views
    • 3rd party tire warranty insurance programs

      I was just wondering the most competitive 3rd party tire warranty programs.  Let me know who you use, thanks.

      By BroyotaMark, in General Automotive Discussion

      • 0 replies
      • 274 views
    • Article: Defining Your Ideal Customer

      We all have our favorite customers. You know who there are. They’re the ones that throw their keys on the service counter in the morning and say, “Do what you need to do and I’ll see you at 5 p.m.” They never question your price, they trust you and they keep coming back. But does that person define your true profile customer? The answer is probably yes. But it’s not the only criteria. It’s a little more complicated than that. Defining your true profile customer starts with you. It starts with who you are, why you are in business and the culture of your company. By the way, determining your true profile customer has nothing to do with excluding certain people due to their income level. The young 23-year-old college graduate who sets aside part of her paycheck to shop at Whole Foods does so because she believes in the company and for what they stand. It’s not about what she “supposedly” can or cannot afford. She is Whole Foods’ profile customer because she aligns herself with that brand. And Whole Foods welcomes her with open arms. Many of my profile customers endured tough economic times during the Great Recession of 2008. They lost their ability to pay for some of the things they previously could afford. What they didn’t lose was their loyalty to my company. So, what did we do? We helped them through that difficult time. We helped them manage their car care needs better, offering services that would save on fuel, reduce repair costs, and reduce breakdowns. We showed them how to squeeze every mile out of their tires and brakes. We took care of them and we still do to this day. We consider them family and we don’t turn our backs on family. One thing we didn’t do, and will never do, is compromise on price to get a job. That would not be fair to all my customers, my employees or the company. With regard to pricing your services and repairs, it’s a delicate balance between being profitable and competitive. But I don’t know of any shop that prefers a customer walk away or sends someone to another shop because he or she cannot afford a particular price. A smart service advisor will give options, prioritize the work needed, and offer finance options. If you’re a startup company, your doors are wide open to everyone. You need customers and car counts, and you need them right away. But as your business matures, you begin to realize that not everyone is your customer. And there’s nothing wrong with this realization. As you build your customer base, you begin to see that there are customers that respect the work you do, align themselves with your culture and appreciate what you do for them and for the community. They become your profile customers. Let’s say you sponsor a youth baseball team in your area, help out at community events and involved with local fundraisers. You will become known as the business person that cares about the community and children. That’s making your business stand out among the rest. As you define who you are, you also attract those that want to do business with you and support your brand. While I do recommend treating everyone the same, I don’t recommend trying to be everything to everyone. That’s not a sound marketing strategy—that’s a recipe for failure. Defining your customer and targeting your market does not isolate consumers. It actually increases market share. Here’s an important fact: In your geographical area, automotive shops basically do the same thing; they repair and service automobiles. So, how is a consumer going to choose you over another? You need to stand out. You need to be different. You need to build a brand culture and establish a marketing position that will make people take notice. By the way, every successful company, large and small, understands its true profile customer and creates a marketing plan on attracting them. One last thing: When you build a business around your culture, you put the focus on your brand and the value you provide. This strategy is one of your pathways to success. When you combine value with culture, you will have an enduring and profitable company. If you want to build a great company, ask yourself these questions: Why are you in business? What’s your life’s purpose? Your culture? Build a marketing strategy and a brand message around the answers to these questions. Not all people will take notice, but your profile customers will.    This story was originally published by Joe Marconi in Ratchet+Wrench on August 3, 2018
      View full article

      By Joe Marconi, in AutoShopOwner Articles

        
      • 0 replies
      • 113 views
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