I do not want to divide our group by introducing a social/political topic but the recent situation that occurred during a Goodyear training session is interesting. I assume most of you are aware but for those that are not this is the condensed version: During an employee training session a Goodyear employee utilized a slide presentation indicating that BLM and LGBT shirts/pins/hats are acceptable while at work but All Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter, MAGA and other politically affiliated slogans or materials are unacceptable while at work. Another employee took a picture of this training slide, released it to the press and ultimately President Trump retaliated with this Tweet -
Don’t buy GOODYEAR TIRES - They announced a BAN ON MAGA HATS. Get better tires for far less! (This is what the Radical Left Democrats do. Two can play the same game, and we have to start playing it now!)
Again I do not want to divide us but I am wondering if any of you have been faced with a customer who declined a Goodyear tire purchase because of the above information. In my shop this past Friday a husband and wife came in requesting four new tires with “Anything but Goodyear” as their only requirement. I asked if this restriction was based on a past poor experience with Goodyear tires and they quickly referred to the training slide incident outlined above as being the reason. What have you experienced in your shops?
NOTE - The the husband and wife mentioned above did purchase four Cooper tires from me on Friday for those that are curious.
By Joe Marconi
Technicians have been working very hard during tough times the past few months. And I am not just referring to maintaining production levels. The emotional strain is also a factor. They have been true heroes and have not let up with their commitment to their jobs, the companies they work for and the people they help each day.
We need to recognize what they do and say thank you to our techs and let them know how much we appreciate what they do each and every day.
By Joe Marconi
My Thoughts on the Coronavirus and Business
In my 40 years in business, I have lived through many economic downturns. From the stock market crash of the late 1980’s, the housing bust of 1990’s, the tragic event of 911 and the great recession of 2008. This is different. The fears and the realities of the coronavirus has affected us all. And some areas of the country have been hit harder than others. In all other situations, I fought like hell to make a difference and beat the circumstances. Again, this is different.
I am not an alarmist, not a defeatist and I do not get sucked into the sensationalism of the press. Just today, I heard a sports announcer on a talk radio show advise her listeners to stay at home, don’t go to work, don’t go to the movies, don’t go out of the house and isolate yourself from other people. Is this rational? I can’t do that.
I am an automotive shop owner. What I do matters to my family and the community. I…WE….need to be there to ensure that the doctors, nurses, police, public officials and everyone else has their transportation ready to perform. Stay home? Us? Is that an option?
But again…this is different. This afternoon, I was getting ready to go to Church; 4:00pm Mass, when my wife got an alert that Church as been canceled. Wait; let me say this again real slow…Church… has…. been…canceled.
Fear has a way of eating at the fabric of our rational being. I fully understand the reality of what is happening. This virus will take people’s lives. But, do we run away in the face of a threat? Is this who we are? What do we do? Close our businesses for a few weeks? A month or two? How many of us can afford that? We all know the answer to that question.
As automotive shop owners, technicians, service advisors and all the other valuable employees of this great profession, we need to take the proper precautions. Do all you can to protect yourself and your family. If you decide to continue to operate your shop during this challenging time, have a meeting with all your employees. Take the proper steps to protect yourself, your employees and your customers.
Business may get ugly for some. My company has taken a 40% drop in business the past three weeks, directly contributed to the coronavirus outbreak.
I write this to tell you how I feel; not to decide for anyone what to do. I will not force my employees to do anything they feel would put themselves or their families in harm’s way. For me, I intend to fight. I will take care of myself, take care of my family. But there are too many people depending on what I do, and way too may years behind me to hunker down and wait this out.
Stay safe, stay healthy. Take this situation serious. But please don’t give up. We will prevail and we will get through this together. We are the hardest working, most resilient, toughest people on the planet.
Let’s show the world and this virus who we are!
I don't really know what heading to put this under, but I see this as a marketing advantage. I am the first shop in my area to have a no-charge loaner car program, but now I am one of two. So it's really a marketing advantage, so here I am, posting under Advertising and Promotions.
I am in the process of replacing my loaner car. I would like real world advice from my fellow techs and shop owners. We all have our preferences and we all see certain vehicles in our shops more than others. Shop A might see very few imports while Shop B might see a mix. So Shop B could have more insight into what imports have problems and what those problems might be than Shop A.
Okay, now the conditions I have for my loaner, I have wanted a minivan since I put my first loaner into service. I have had a very few customers decline the use of the loaner because they needed more than 5 passenger seating. I have had customers decline the loaner car because their driveway was uphill and we are in Northern Lower Michigan where snow is a consideration, so I have wanted AWD too. My first loaner was a Mercury Sable, replaced by an immaculately maintained Honda CRV so I at least got the AWD I wanted, even though it was not a important while I have had it as it was when I had the Sable.
I know that anything I have will be a compromise for my customers at times. Even if I had a car, a truck, a minivan and a full-sized van, all with AWD, chances are the specific one the customer would want would be out, so compromise it will be. That and I am too small to float the expense of too many loaner cars. So what I am asking is, within the following parameters, what would each of you recommend for a reliable, low cost of ownership vehicle? What would you put into your fleet if you were working within my parameters?
I want to spend about $10,000 No new vehicle leases NO, and I mean NO European brand/influenced models AWD would be preferable but not required Easy to understand operation of such things as lights, windows, ignition, etc. My current CR-V has window switches on the dashboard instead of the door, the ignition has that funny turn-off, stop, push in and turn to lock and the rear hatch has to have the glass released then the door opens like a door. All of this confuses some customers.
My average loaner car usage is between 6,000-8500 miles a year so a higher mileage specimen would not be out of the question. Thank you for all for your time and suggestions.