Six metro Detroit auto repair shops and dealerships are under fire by the Michigan Secretary of State for allegedly not being in compliance with state regulations.
Two repair shops were ordered to cease and desist from conducting business. The agency also summarily suspended the business registrations of four other facilities.
According to a news release from the agency, the cease and desist orders were issued to:
Star Motor Auto Repair, 21579 Schoenherr Road, Warren, owned by Jack Musa. The facility allegedly performed brake, electrical system and tune-up repairs without a certified mechanic. A regulation agent discovered Musa’s mechanic certification had expired, the agency said, but he was continuing to repair vehicles. Star Motors' telephone number has been disconnected and Musa could not be reached for comment. MC Auto Repair, 1650 Waterman St., Detroit, owned by Michael Castro, for allegedly operating without certified mechanics. A regulation agent completed an inspection at the facility Dec. 11, the agency said, and found Castro, whose certification had expired in July 2005, performing repairs. Castro met with department staff at a preliminary conference in January, and the temporary cease and desist order was issued Feb. 8. Castro could not be reached for comment. MC Auto Repair's number is not in service and the facility is marked "closed" on Yelp. The cease and desist orders prohibit the businesses from performing any more repairs until the facility complies with state law.
The agency also suspended the registrations of the following businesses:
VAN Car Co., 7101 E. Eight Mile Road, Warren, owned by Nadhem Shaiya, was suspended March 15. The dealership no longer is operating at its registered address and failed to notify the department’s Business Compliance and Regulation Division of a change of address. A preliminary conference was scheduled for Feb. 12, but the dealership owner failed to attend. Shaiya could not be reached for comment. Witko Group Inc., 33457 Gratiot Ave., Clinton Township, owned by Don Witkowski, was suspended March 18. A regulation agent attempted to conduct a lot and records inspection Feb. 6 and again Feb. 7, but the dealership was closed with no sign or hours posted. Witkowski told the Free Press on Friday that a dealership is not at the site. He said he owns the building, in which there is a separately operated auto repair business. Witkowski also said he is unaware of any suspension and has not been contacted by the secretary of state. Mogul Trading, 2801 S. Beech Daly St., Dearborn Heights, owned by Milton Small, was suspended March 8. Lot and records inspections were attempted Jan. 16 and again Jan. 28. The dealership wasn’t open during posted business hours and couldn’t be inspected. Small could not be reached for comment. Superior Plus Auto Sales Inc., 10614 Joy Road, Detroit, owned by Ghada Chokr, was suspended March 8. A regulation agent attempted a lot and records inspection Jan. 16 and again Jan. 28. The dealership wasn’t open during posted business hours and couldn’t be inspected. Chokr could not be reached for comment. The dealerships may regain their license if they show they’ve complied with the law. Consumers can verify whether the repair shop they are using is registered with the state by using the online search tool at ExpressSOS.com and clicking “Business Services” and then “Repair Facility Services.”
News Source: https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2019/03/29/michigan-auto-repair-shop-dealerships/3301802002/
Looking for ideas or suggestions maybe something that has worked for other shops.
Again we are a small rural shop, out of the main town about 10 miles. We have several tow companies in the area that will haul by our shop & take to another shop. We mainly do tires but are able to do light mechanic work like brakes, alternators, batteries, starters, etc, etc. I know some customers may request to take it to another shop but I also feel that we are an option that gets over looked & the tow companies may make a little more buy driving on by.
My Question is does anyone have a program that they are working with a tow company to bring cars to the shop when a customer does not have a preference. We have a loyalty program that I thought for every dollar the customer we will give the tow company the same value in points. Do we offer to pay the tow bill upon del so they don't have to mess with? How do we know if the tow driver is bringing to us on his own or the customer requested? Open to ideas & maybe it is what it is.
By Elite Worldwide Inc.
Whenever a customer tells you they can’t afford to do the repairs, and they ask you if you can help them out “this one time’”, you need to give careful thought before you lower your price.
First of all, there is a cardinal rule in sales that says before lowering your price, you need to build more value in your service. Yet as we all know, there are going to be some occasions where no matter how good your sales skills are, the customer simply won’t have the ability to pay for the recommended services. In such cases, you and your advisors will have three options. One, you can let the customer walk; two, you can drop your price; or three, you can follow the proven path we have provided to tens of thousands of advisors over the years.
First of all, if you let them walk, both you and the customer have lost. They’ve lost the time they’ve invested in having their vehicle inspected, and when they leave your shop their problems still exist. You’ve lost the marketing dollars you invested in bringing the customer through your door, you’ve lost the time you’ve invested in inspecting the vehicle and estimating the job, and you’ve lost the opportunity to help someone in need.
The second option you have is to lower your price, and while you may close that sale, you’ll also be sending a message to your customer that if they wouldn’t have asked for a discount, they would have paid too much. If that’s not bad enough, it gets worse, because they know if they ever decide to come back they’ll need to negotiate with you, regardless of the prices you quote. The good news is, there’s a third option, and it’s one that’s used by the top shop owners in America with great success….
Putting first things first, you’ll need to see if the customer qualifies for any legitimate discounts you offer, such as Senior Citizen, AAA or Military discounts. You can also limit the number of repairs to the ones they can afford at the time. Another option (which works well in some cases), is to scale back on some of the benefits, such as the length or terms of the warranty. If you and your customer find none of those solutions to be acceptable, you can consider telling them that you will keep their vehicle at your shop (space allowing), and perform the repairs if and when your time allows (when another customer cancels their appointment at the last minute and your tech has the downtime, for example). What your customer would be sacrificing is the immediacy and convenience.
Please bear in mind that when making any decision to lower your price, you need to ask yourself who is ultimately going to pay for the discount, because the answer will inevitably be your other customers. Secondly, if you have the right advisors, with the right principles, they’ll know in their hearts it’s just not right to charge two people different prices for the same service. To put it another way, I’m sure you would not want your mom or dad walking into any business and buying a product or service when you know the customer right before them… paid less. Never forget, principles, not shell games, lead to two things: higher profits, and the ability to sleep at night knowing you are not playing games… with other people’s money.
Since 1990, Bob Cooper has been the president of Elite Worldwide Inc. (www.EliteWorldwide.com), a company that strives to help shop owners reach their goals and live happier lives, while elevating the industry at the same time. The company offers the industry’s #1 peer group of 90 successful shop owners, training and coaching from top shop owners, service advisor training, along with online and in-class sales, marketing and shop management seminars. You can contact Elite at [email protected], or by calling 800-204-3548.
View full article
It’s Doing the Same Thing Being on the mechanic's side of the counter, I've often wondered what does "the same thing" really mean? Nearly every time a customer comes up to the service counter, who has no background in automotive repair, or any idea at all on how repairs are made and what's all involved, but tells me, “It’s doing the same thing”, I have to ask myself… “How do they know?” Is it really doing exactly the same thing? Funny, how it turns out (99.9% of the time), that it’s NOT doing the same thing. I hear this rhetoric from customers now and then, but when my wife starts in on me with the good ol' 'It's doing the same thing', now I'm more than a little curious. Here's an example. We were about to head on our vacation when the bulb warning light on the dash came on indicating one of the rear lights was out. It was a side marker light on the driver’s side of the car. Easily changed and taken care of, and with all the commotion and last minute preparations, the warning light problem became a distant memory. So off we went on our little adventure. Several states and hundreds of miles later while the wife was driving, and I was taking a nap, she nudges me and says, “It’s doing the same thing”. Now I understand there is always the possibility that it really is doing the same thing, but really my dear … you’re married to a mechanic. Can we at least re-think how to inform me of such things? Yes, the light on the dash is “doing the same thing”, but let’s try rephrasing it to the guy just waking up from a pleasant-no-stress-day-off. How about: “The warning light is back on, dear.” At least that way I won’t feel like I’m back at the shop trying to decipher the latest “doing the same thing” dilemma. I’m on vacation for heaven’s sake! At the next stop I performed the usual "walk around" and noticed the passenger side marker light that was out this time. Not to be outwitted by a little warning light, I gave the lens a little tap. Low and behold, the filament lit up, and off we went. As we traveled down the road I had plenty of time to ponder how many times I’ve heard the phrase, “Doing the same thing”. Over the years I’ve seen this escalate into complete madness at the front counter or end up with a tap on a bulb lens. As in my wife’s case, the dash warning light could only indicate that a bulb was out and which end of the car it was. However, when a customer lays down a chunk of their hard earned cash their interpretation doesn’t include the possibility of multiple issues controlled by the same warning light. From their perspective, it's doing the same thing. A few weeks ago I had a 1995 Saturn in the shop that had been all over town, as well as to every relative who owned a tool box. No one seemed able to get the air conditioning to cool. Part after part was changed, but still no cold air. When I finally had a crack at it I was surprised at what I found. The connector for the A/C compressor was exactly the same style and type as the low coolant level sensor mounted in the over-flow bottle. Somebody had flip-flopped the connectors. Once I found the problem the cure was simple… just reverse the connectors and “Ta-Da” cold air. All the functions were working, cooling fan, line pressure, vent temperature, everything was great. Even the “low coolant” light was operating correctly. But where would this story be without a 'It's doing the same thing' scenario. A few weeks later I get a call, you guessed it… “Doing the same thing”. Now, I’m no dummy, I know what they meant. They're actually telling me that it's not making cold air again. I informed them it was probably leaking refrigerant or something like that, but I seriously doubt somebody switched the connectors again. They weren’t buying that, they kept insisting that it’s doing exactly the same thing as before. Even after reading the description of the repair on the invoice, and telling me they totally understood it… they still can't break away from the common reply... it's “Doing the same thing”. This follows right along with the typical scenario right after changing out a blower motor for a customer and a week later they're back because their air conditioning isn’t cold. I’ll ask, “When did you notice the air wasn’t cold?” The usual answer, “Right after you changed the blower motor.” I should have a guy in the background with a drum set patiently waiting for me to ask, "So when did you notice the problem?" and when the customer delivers the inevitable punch line, the drummer could bang out the classic drum roll-rim tap and cymbal crash. A priceless moment for every counter person. The way I see it, the consumer brought their car into a repair shop for a professional evaluation of a problem, and expect to never see a related or similar problem ever again. But, as soon as the work is done and some other problem creeps up that seems to be more than a little bit like what they just had repaired, the mechanic is soon to have the same thing happen again. The fact that there are other things that can go wrong can be a huge mountain to climb. But, with some diplomacy, and tact, a good counterman can get through these situations. One thing for sure, as the mechanic, you've got to get in there and solve the problem no matter if it's the same thing or not. Generally, (from my past experiences) the same thing is hardly ever the 'same thing'. The Saturn, was a faulty compressor due to the fact the last shop didn't add enough oil to the compressor, the replaced blower motor problem, was a faulty low pressure switch, and the wife's car, well... she hasn't had to tap on the bulb lens ever since. But to me.... it's all the same thing.
View full article
By Elite Worldwide Inc.
By Bob Cooper
According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, some CEO’s are starting to understand the price they have to pay for quick profits, and many of them are now taking a different approach. Although all companies should consider their long-term growth and financial stability, there has been an ongoing challenge that today’s CEO’s face; the relentless demand for immediate profits that is put on them by their stockholders.
Look at it like this. Publicly traded companies (i.e., Delta Airlines, General Motors, etc.) are owned by stockholders just like you and me. Although small investors like us don’t have a voice with such large companies, there are Wall Street fund managers that do have their ear. These are the people that buy and sell stock in staggering lump sums, and in order to entice those fund managers to invest in their companies, and to then keep that money invested in their companies, the CEO’s need to show strong profits not just for the year, but for quarter after quarter. The CEO’s know that if they miss their earnings (profit) mark, then there is a strong probability the fund manager will consider pulling their investment, and investing their money elsewhere.
In summary, investors like you and me put pressure on our stockbrokers to generate good profits for us, and in order to do so they put pressure on the fund managers, who then put pressure on the CEO’s. The end result? The CEO’s know if they don’t deliver, they may very well be out of a job, which is why so many of them are far more focused on short-term profits than long-term success.
Are their exceptions? You bet, and the late Steve Jobs is a classic example of someone who had a long-term vision and who invested his profits back into Apple. Of course there are others who do so, such as Warren Buffet of Berkshire Hathaway and Bill Gates of Microsoft, but they are few in numbers compared to the CEO’s that are driven by short-term success.
So now that the Wall Street Journal is reporting a shift in how CEO’s think about squeezing the golden goose, you may want to revisit your shop’s business strategy as well. Since Steve Jobs is considered by many to have been the greatest CEO of all time, you and I should certainly feel comfortable following his lead.
How you view and operate your shop is certainly a personal decision, and I understand everyone is going to have different goals in mind, yet I feel there are some principles in business that are too good to be new. As Steve Jobs showed us, one of these principles is that we can’t let short-term interest or a quest for immediate rewards overcome our better judgement. Let your competitors make that mistake. Instead, just as Steve did, you need to set long-term goals that you believe in, you need to create a plan for reaching those goals, and then you need to constantly invest in your future. Some examples would be investing in training programs that address the newest vehicle technology, or taking the time now to implement an apprenticeship program that will help you develop your own superstar advisors and technicians in the coming years. I’d also recommend launching marketing campaigns that build your brand and focus on your principles, rather than campaigns focused on discounts that are designed to generate immediate sales. These are all surefire ways of investing in your future, and keeping you well ahead of your competitors.
If you follow the example that Steve jobs set for us by reinvesting in your company, and if you live by the principle of never putting money ahead of people, you will see what your competitors will more than likely never see; a more profitable, successful business that is good for you, your employees, your customers and the industry. I am sure you will agree that beyond the great products, Steve Jobs gave us quite the gift; a lesson in how to build an incredible business.
“Since 1990, Bob Cooper has been the president of Elite (www.EliteWorldwide.com), a company that strives to help shop owners reach their goals and live happier lives, while elevating the industry at the same time. The company offers one-on-one coaching from the industry’s top shop owners, service advisor training, peer groups, along with online and in-class sales, marketing and shop management courses. You can contact Elite at [email protected], or by calling 800-204-3548."
View full article