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  • Similar Topics

    • By Joe Marconi
      With Mother Google literally tied to our hands, through our cell phones; are part margins becoming more difficult to achieve?  Traditionally, shops use a 50% part margin, which they deserve.  But, we live in a world today where part prices are so transparent that maybe we need to rethink this.
      Consider this: What  if we concede on prices?  Hold to a suggested list…BUT…raise our labor rate to offset the loss in overall profit. In other words, keep your parts prices at a margin the consumer will not question,  but raise your labor to make up the part profit? 
      This is being discussed around the country and there are shops that have implemented this strategy.  We can’t give up our overall gross profit, so is this a viable option?
      Your thoughts?
    • By flacvabeach
      Virginia's Governor in his 2020 budget proposal has included elimination of the state's vehicle safety inspection program.  In addition, a state legislator has introduced a bill doing the same.  I serve on the board of the Virginia Automotive Association, a group of over 200 independent shops who have banded together to lobby in the interests of our industry. VAA has ponied up a a $25000 increase in the lobbying budget to fight the move.   As a shop owner, I have mixed emotions on the subject, but if I were gambling I would bet that the program will go away.   On one hand, it's kind of nice that the state's motorists are forced to bring their cars to a shop once a year, giving us an opportunity to make them life-long customers. Also, it has created a cadre of technicians in the state who have been vetted and background checked by the state police.   On the other hand, there are a litany of negatives inluding  customer resentment, anger when their vehicle fails, uneven management by the state police who oversee the program due to limited resources.  Some shops are "by the book" while others are "sticker mills" who will pass anything.  Unfortunately, VAA and others have been unable to produce hard statistics that show that the program .makes a difference in highway safety.  The big studies I have found blame driver error for the majority of accidents.  What is ironic is that just this year VAA won a long battle to get the inspection fee raised from 16 to 20 dollars.   The legislature convenes in January to enact laws that will take effect in June.
      I would like to hear how other Virginia shop owners feel and I would like to hear from other states that have witnessed termination of these programs.
      Mark Anderton
       
    • By hello5555
      I currently employ a mechanic and friend who has been with me for about 20 years. He was formerly a transmission rebuilder, but we have switched to mostly reman units and have no need for a rebuilder. His pay has remained the same despite his value declining. I am currently paying him roughly $100,000 a year. The problem i'm having is that his skill set is not near that pay level anymore. He does light diagnostic and basic managerial work, but I am not confident enough for him to run the shop for more than an hour. With the current state of the industry our numbers have gone down a bit over the last two years. While still being profitable, I can't help but think about the extra income that would be available by terminating this employee, I just dont know how to do it. Any advice on how to do this? I like him as a person and have known him a very long time, but I feel his is paid about twice as much as he is worth. Any help wouldbe greatly appreciated.
    • By Joe Marconi
      Shop owners, you have a little less than two months before the end of the year.  And that means it's time to start thinkning about your Tax Planning for 2019. Don't procrastinate on this. Meet with accountant. Review the year, review profit.  Consider things such as major equipmenet purchases and other major investments you made in 2019.  Look at bottom line profit and determine if you set aside enough cash to pay your taxes come April 15, 2020.  
      One thing, Cash is King, So, before you purhase any major equipment before the end of the year, listen to your accoutant, not the Tool Sales-person.  In many cases, it's better to pay some tax and hold on to cash for a rainy day. 
      A little planning now will save you big time in 2020, and also help you sleep better! 
       
    • By BNC173
      I don't spend a lot of time working in the shop on a day to day basis, but do have to do some after hours services or jump in to help. The shop has a few sets of tools that have been placed around in the shop so you don't need to go looking when you need common tools. Yesterday doing a couple simple tire changes & I needed a pair of pliers they station should have 2 they had none I asked a mechanic he went across the room to go get one pair. I then use the machine to breakdown the tire & it wouldn't bust the bead, so I went to the other machine & it was the same way so I went to do it the manual way. Put it on the rim clamp of the first & it wouldn't close, so I went back to the second & I had to clean & oil so it would clamp. I head to balance & had to move tires that will be installed or had been taken off but had life left so we hung on to.  So a 30 min job took 45 min. I asked come in this morning & before I could ask or say anything I see one of the tire guys doing a car tire by hand, I asked you always do it that way & he said yes neither machine is working. I said I found that out last night & have called the repair guy but how come nobody said anything, I got the I don't know answer.  So my question is how does everyone handle the putting tools back, checking machines & notifying of needed repairs & even sweep the floor. Do you have a person with a checklist go to each station every night, sweep the floors every night. Just seems like we have everyone working right up to quitting time or after hate to push more but our running after tools stepping over tires & machines not working correctly is costing us. Just getting ideas of what has worked for others. Thanks


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