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Car cut off limit. How far do you go?


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Hello, I was wondering if there was any other shops that have a cutoff limit to repairs they will do? I specialize in undercar, Tires both new and Used, Driveability....With that being said. Ive done two engines this month, Diagnosing transmission issues..I cant say no! How do you say no to work when they are loyal customers?

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Great Tire Deal

We don't have the time to do engine swaps. We average 10 cars a day with 2 techs working, taking a guy and having him spend 2 days on a motor job = 10 unhappy customers minimum.

I dont have the time either, I am a one man shop. I will spend two weeks on a engine job. =everyone pissed.

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  • 5 years later...

I run a two man shop also.  (Although the shop itself has 8 bays we are still fairly new and still expanding which is why we currently only have two techs...but having the extra bays allows us to keep long term jobs around)

We do not turn away heavy line work during these uncertain times. In my mind another wave of COVID lockdowns could come at any time, so I'm taking in anything I can while I can.

The only things we turn away are things we truly can't do because we don't have the equipment and/or training: (Body Work such as dents and paint, Exhaust Welding Work, transmission rebuilds, and tires)

Even then we don't truly turn anything away. We sublet it out. I have a tire shop, transmission shop, exhaust shop, and body shop that all give me wholesale pricing on their services so I can charge the customers basically the same they would have paid at the other shop and make a small profit while the customer doesn't have to go anywhere else.  (In return I give these other shops wholesale pricing on alignments or other services they can't/prefer not to do themselves) 

Anyway....
The key to these big jobs, is properly setting expectations. And good communication and status updates while the car is in your shop.

I tell the customer right up front that this is a two man shop, and we can't devote more than a couple of hours a day to any one job and properly service our other customers. 

I also find that if I touch base with them every day or two to give them a quick status update they are satisfied that we haven't forgotten about them or shoved them completely to the back burner and generally speaking are pretty patient.

Last month, I had a customer come in with an Acura TL that had a blown head gasket. He wanted us to also just go ahead and replace the timing belt and water pump while we were already in there. 

I told the customer up front that the job is bigger than what a two man shop would normally want to tackle, but we'd be willing to do it IF he could leave the car with us for several weeks. 

He was fine with that (nobody else wanted to do it at all, and some of the other shops were booked out 2-3 weeks anyway).

When we got the heads off, we noticed it wasn't just the head gasket but he also had some burnt valves (He towed it in, so we didn't see the blue smoke to diagnose this in advance)

So, I also sold him a valve grind job. We have a great machine shop we work with that can turn these around in just a couple of days. 

All in all, we got him completely taken care of in under two weeks and he was pleased as punch, and we didn't have to piss off any other customers because we only worked on his when we had time to do so.

During the same two weeks we also had a pickup truck come in with a loud tappet tick. We diagnosed it as a blown head gasket (allowing water into that cylinder causing the hydraulic lifter to collapse), but once we got the heads to the machine shop and they pressure tested them we realized he actually had cracked heads as opposed to a simple gasket leak. 

Sold the customer new heads, new set of lifters and lifter trays. 

We got both of these jobs done in the same two week period without ticking off any of our customers who had smaller jobs, simply through good communication and made a couple thousand dollars in GP combined that we would not have gotten if we turned them away.




 

Edited by Grace Automotive
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  • 2 weeks later...

I also have a two man shop.  From the very beginning, I knew that I had to focus on the jobs that I could do better than most of my competitors.  I am a BMW/Mercedes shop, but end up taking many other makes and models in as a result of my reputation for quality work.  I'm not the cheapest, not the fastest, but honest and thorough.  I turn away many types of jobs because either we don't have the tools to do it, or the job is not one that I am well enough educated/experienced on.  We take on many larger jobs, dealing with a dozen or so cars at a time.  My car count is lower than some shops, but the ARO is a hell of a lot higher than most other shops as a result.  You have to play to your strengths, and do the best you can at what you're the best at.  Trust your gut and do your research. You will be fine! Good luck!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I always add at least an extra day to big jobs, often bill at a higher rate. I also include options, for example used engine, I will have an extra optional job called re seal. 6 hours to re do all gaskets on the used engine. This way the client understands if he declines that job, we are not going to cover his oil leak 6 months from now. If they walk because the price is too high I am pleased as punch. If they decide to move forward I am still profitable that week.

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  • 5 weeks later...
On 1/10/2022 at 5:38 AM, Joe Marconi said:

You bring up good points. All too often, if not all the time, the labor guides a  not even close when it comes to big jobs. 

Customer: But my cousin says he can do it in 4 hours Me: Why are you wasting the good oxygen in my office.

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

         0 comments
      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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