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By Joe Marconi
We sell service, not products. Yes, we sell water pumps, brake pads and air filters. And yes, those are products. But it’s the service we sell, the customer experience, which lives on well beyond the customer leaves your shop.
Think of it this way; when you buy a watch, or a new cell phone, the experience of what you purchase continues after the sale. When we replace a customer’s water pump or air filter, there is very little about those items that lives on beyond the sale.
But, what does live on is the customer experience. The better the experience, the more likely the customer will return to you. So focus on the customer experience, not the products you install.
By [email protected]
I'm hoping some experts can help me out. I'm buying an existing full-service shop and need to polish a transition business plan not only for my lender and partners, but also to help give us some focus and direction. I'm certainly not coming into this empty handed, but would love to see what others might have used so I can be as successful as possible. HELP!
We've been searching for a new lube technician since October and I am beginning to wonder if we will ever find someone. We have had at least 5 not show for an interview, a few that showed up late and the best one was doing a working interview and never came back. If this a preview of what we have to look forward to with this generation of up and coming individuals wanting to get into the autmotive industry, then we are doomed.
I think we all know that diagnostics is the most costly service we provide in the automotive repair business today. In today's automotive repair environment, you need to be selling diagnostics, and getting paid for it. I'm looking for feedback on when things don't go exactly as planned.
Let's say a car comes in and you sell some diagnostics, by the hour, or from a menu. After you complete that work, and you still don't have an answer, do you go back to the customer and sell some more? Do you continue at your expense? If you do go back to the customer, and you have nothing conclusive after that, then what? Do you keep going back and selling more diagnostic work until you solve the problem? If you continue to go back and sell more, how many times can you do that? We've all had that car that we've worked on for weeks to find some strange problem. I doubt many customers are willing to pay for the 40 hours you spent on the car.
Now lets say after 5 hours of work that the customer agreed to, you are no closer to finding the issue than when the car came in. Do you charge them for the 5 hours and send them down the road even though you have not provided them with a diagnoses? Do you start spending your time trying to solve the issue because you have a hard time charging for 5 hours and are unable to provide any answers?
I'm asking these questions as I am rethinking my business strategy on diagnostics a little. Our shop is known for its abilities to diagnose problems. We have other shops bringing cars to us on a regular basis because of these abilities. I actually get several calls and emails weekly from across the county for help diagnosing problems. There are times, a lot of times, when I think this is more of a curse, than a blessing. I know we are in the business of fixing cars, and we need to be able to find problems if customers are going to keep coming back. But after my lead tech and I spent a considerable amount of time over the last 15 days diagnosing the strangest intermittent no start issue on an Audi, and watching his frustration grow everyday, not because of the difficulty of the issue as we both love the challenge, but because it held him back from addressing the other work that was coming in the shop.
So, as rewarding as it was to solve that mystery, I can't help but look back at what it cost me financially, and the frustration to the technician, and realize we have to come up with a way to try to avoid going down those rabbit holes. Right now my idea is to give it 1 hour. If after an hour, we are not relatively certain that we will find the issue, with another hour or two, then let the car go. Let the customer know that it's not that we can't fix the car, but that we cannot fix it efficiently. If I lose that customer, it would probably still be cheaper that working on his car for 2 weeks.
Love to hear your thoughts.
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Free webinar for all members hosted by @Ron Ipach from Captain Car Count!
As you already know, finding good, qualified technicians isn’t as easy as it was in years past. Gone are the days of simply placing a few ads online or in the newspaper help-wanted section.
When you combine the fact that more shops than ever are in the hunt for qualified applicants, with the ever-shrinking pool of technicians to draw from, it’s no wonder so many shop owners are frustrated with their search.
Attracting good technicians today requires a radically different approach, and on this highly informative online training event, Ron Ipach, president of Repair Shop Coach, will walk you through the same strategies that his clients are using to attract lots of highly qualified to their shops on a consistent basis.
CLICK HERE TO REGISTER
Time slots vary and are held weekly:
Please reach out to @Ron Ipach for additional information.
By Elite Worldwide Inc.
The top shops in America realize that in order to build a successful business they will need to have team players that are self-starters, who can produce, and who will never compromise their ethics. Over the years I’ve not only been fortunate enough to hire many of our industry superstars, but I have seen hiring mistakes made every day by shop owners all across America. In order to help you with your business, I’d like to share what I believe to be the 5 most common hiring mistakes that shop owners make.
1. They are afraid to pay top buck. In business there are a number of rules that are timeless, and one is that you get what you pay for. The reason the superstars can command top buck is pretty simple; it’s because they can produce. The techs and advisors that earn average incomes all have one thing in common; they produce average results, and average employees will never take you to the top. Every top shop owner that I have consulted with will agree that once you hire a superstar, you will quickly see that they are one of the best investments you will ever make.
2. They are afraid to provide a respectable guarantee. Most shop owners are reluctant to give a respectable guarantee because they are afraid the new hire may not produce, and they will be stuck paying a big guarantee. Now here are two important points that they don’t understand. First of all, if they believe they are providing the potential employee with a great opportunity, then providing a respectable guarantee shows the candidate that they have confidence in their business, and in the position they are looking to fill. Secondly, most shop owners are so concerned about how much the guarantee could cost them, they completely forget that if the employee doesn’t produce, there’s a simple solution: You let them go.
3. They use the wrong criteria when making their employment selections. Most shop owners hire techs and advisors based on their level of knowledge and industry experience. Although those are both important considerations, what’s more important is the attitude of the applicant, their aptitude and their ethics. A wise man once told me we hire people for what they know, and we fire them for who they are.
4. They don’t look beyond the candidate. The shop owners who employ the superstars all realize that when they hire Larry they get Mary. What this means is that if the candidate has a significant other in their life, you can rest assured that they will play a role in the candidate’s decision. This is why at Elite we encourage all of our clients to ensure their compensation and incentive package has what we refer to as “go-home” benefits. Examples would be retirement programs, paid holidays and vacations, well-days, etc.
5. They forget that the superstars will be interviewing them. The top shop owners all realize that the superstars they are interviewing will have no trouble at all finding a shop that will hire them. Accordingly, throughout the interview process the superstar will be interviewing the shop owner, and they’ll be asking themselves whether or not they would like to work at the shop. They will be evaluating you by the type of questions you ask, and the interviewing-qualification process you take them through. If at any time they feel you are hiring out of desperation, rather than ensuring it’s a great fit for everyone, one thing is for certain: They’ll walk, because what they are looking for is the opportunity to work at an ethical shop that enjoys a good reputation in the community, has team spirit, and has leadership that allows them to clearly see their future with the company.
Since 1990, Bob Cooper has been the president of Elite, 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 sales, marketing and shop management courses. You can learn more about Elite by visiting www.EliteWorldwide.com
By Elon Block
Alex suggested I post in this forum.
For those of you that may new to the forum, I have created a blog here with
helpful articles and videos:
We also have a large archive of free training materials on our website:
Let me know if we can be of help to you and your business.
By Joe Marconi
Perhaps the worst time to look to hire a technician, is when we lose one. At that point we go into “Crisis Hire” mode. We most often settle for anyone, rather than taking our time to find the right person.
We need to take a lesson from large organizations and sports teams. Their strategy? They continually recruit. I did not say continually hire, I said continually recruit.
You need to be on the look out for the talent in your community. Find where the best of the best are working now. Reach out to these people, get to know them.
Make is part of your overall business plan to stay in touch with trade schools, the military for returning vets, and any other employee agencies. Identify key people in your local auto community and ask questions; where are the best technicians? How can I contact this person? Who knows this superstar tech?
In other words, allocate a significant portion of your time in the area of recruiting. Your goal is to have people in the pipe line. So when you lose an employee you have a list of contacts to reach out to.
In the book “Work Rules”, a book about Google and its employee strategies, the author states that Google follows this rule: “Hiring is the single most important activity in any organization"
By Joe Marconi
Its no surprise to anyone in the business that it is getting increasingly harder to find qualified entry level techs. Trade schools are producing graduates, but where are they? And, how qualified are they?
We need to address this industry problem. Timing is right; more and more people are realizing that the trades are great alternatives to professional markets that are saturated with lawyers, accountants and financial positions.
Where do you go to find techs? How many are home-grown anymore?