By Andrew Cutler
This is a rant, pure and simple, but I hope that it can serve as a cautionary tale for others. Unifirst came in with a proposal as the "AAA preferred uniform vendor". As we are a AAA approved shop we qualified for special pricing, almost 30% less than what we were paying at that time. We gave them our business and it has been a cluster since. It took almost 6 months for them to deliver, and when they did the sizes were all over the map. About half of my employees (and myself) had to have size changes. They embroidered all our dark shirts with dark logos and had to re-do them which took months. They actually embroidered them wrong TWICE before they got it right. My tech's shirts came back with with huge oil and rust stains after their first washing and have never been clean since. The towels are usually oily and sometimes have metal shavings in them. They routinely mis-deliver and fail to deliver uniforms, leaving techs short for the week. I've had the service manager, plant manager, and regional manager all in my office to tell me that this would all be corrected, to no avail. We have a new service starting in December and I anticipate threats to sue on the three year agreement they require. I've been cataloging, photographing and corresponding with them over the past 8 months and I am confident that we can prove that they are unable to provide anything close to the level of service they promised. I have learned, yet again, that you get what you pay for. Don't let Unifirst in the door.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. House on Wednesday unanimously approved a sweeping proposal to speed the deployment of self-driving cars without human controls by putting federal regulators in the driver’s seat and barring states from blocking autonomous vehicles.
The House measure, the first significant federal legislation aimed at speeding self-driving cars to market, would allow automakers to obtain exemptions to deploy up to 25,000 vehicles without meeting existing auto safety standards in the first year. The cap would rise over three years to 100,000 vehicles annually.
Representative Doris Matsui said the bill “puts us on a path towards innovation which, up until recently, seemed unimaginable.”
By Elon Block
In case you hadn't heard, here's something you need to be aware of...
AAA is making some changes, in the way they are doing business.
Within the last few years, AAA has decided to build their own company-owned facilities.
Here is a link, with an example of search results, drivers will see when they type in a zip code:
Pay special attention to the search results marked (AAA Owned Facility).
The facilities are impressive and are gaining traction:
As you can see, their slogan is, "Auto Repair From A Name You Trust".
This is genius marketing, on their part...
Because customers equate the AAA logo, as a shop they can trust.
The other major change they've made is...
The new requirements for the AAA certification renewal.
Many shop owners did not read the fine print or notice the changes to the agreement.
In other words, the fine print requires certified shops to give AAA access to the shop's customer database.
The biggest concern is if you give them access to your customer database and then, they open a AAA Owned Facility, in your backyard...
They now have a built-in customer base they can market to.
What that means to you is...
This a major conflict of interest because now, they have all of your customers' information, which they can use to actively market and essentially steal your customers.
So, this is something to be considered, in deciding to continue to be affiliated, as a AAA certified shop.
By Joe Marconi
AAA has a long history, and has been a partner to the auto repair and service industry, especially with Approved Auto Repair (AAR) certification for the independent auto repair shops. But, in recent years the AAA has caused a lot of friction among shop owners, resulting in many shop dropping their affiliation with the AAA. For a number of reasons, I too have decided not to renew my AAR contract with the AAA.
Let me be clear, AAA is regional, so the northeast may have a slightly different program from the southwest. But, we need to remember, that the AAA in the eyes of the consumer is one brand and they do cross channels with their concepts and objectives.
AAA has competing shops in some areas in the country, and in some regions wants a backdoor access to the shop's customer information through the shop's business management system. This is a step in the wrong direction.
Whether you are an AAR shop or not, you need to be informed on this important issue.
Below are a links to a few recent articles in Ratchet and Wrench, one written by Mitch Schneider.
I strongly urge you to read them.
By Joe Marconi
The AAA is growing a chain of repair shops in the mid-Atlantic states. AAA started in 2011, and now have 11 repair shops which they use to sell insurance, increase membership and perform automotive repairs. AAA plans on opening up more facilities in the next few years. AAA has different clubs across the country and each have different strategies.
As an AAA Approved repair shop in New York, you can only imagine that there are questions I would like to have answered.
Below is a link to an article in Tire Business Magazine.
What are your thoughts on this?