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Hello, from McKinney TX


bantar

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Hi Guys. I've been lurking for quite a while, absorbing as much goodness as possible. Been trying to open a shop for the last 2.5 years and I've run into more road blocks than a collapsed mountain pass. I'm bruised but still moving forward. McKinney is a northern suburb of Dallas. One of the major challenges is finding a quality location for an auto-shop. Not welcome in many shopping centers, or too near residential, etc. Finally found a spot at what I believe will be a busy and frequented intersection in a high-end demographic. We broke ground in December and hope to be open late summer. It is a Kwik Kar store, which appears to be a franchise, but it's not. They license their name, build the stores, and sell supplies. I own the land and soon a building. I have no franchise fees, nor am I obligated to purchase anything from them, nor do I get corporate oversight (beyond maintaining the brand positively). 4 bays will be quick lube and 6 are for repair. In this market, it is a respected brand. But, I'll be honest, amongst others in the trade, it's not spoken of highly due to the quick-lube business. Where it matters, with customers, as best I can tell, it is respected.

 

My focus will be on quality repairs. I expect the business to be 50/50 lube/repair, but 90/10 with car counts. When I first started looking at this, I thought that we needed another honest shop, but as I studied it more, I've come to realize that the market is dying to have another competent shop. I've been secretly shopping many different places and I've seen poor quality work being done for very honest reasons. While I'm there, I talk to anyone and everyone that will speak with me. And I was surprised by what I've found. The need for competency, and I put this blame squarely on the management. A great technician at a bad shop is not at his full potential.

 

I'll say that I've learned quite a bit from reading the forums here and over at another technician forum. I feel like a paper tiger with all that I've learned (just about to walk into a paper shredding museum). I want to thank each of you for your contributions here. I've certainly valued your input. I'll try to share what I can and give back to the community as well.

 

--brian

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

    • By Joe Marconi in Joe's Blog
         4
      Typically, when productivity suffers, the shop owner or manager directs their attention to the technicians. Are they doing all they can do to maintain high billable hours? Are they as efficient as they can be?  Is there time being wasted throughout the technician’s day? 
      All these reasons factor into production problems, but before we point fingers at the technicians, let’s consider a few other factors.
      Are estimates being written properly? Are labor testing and inspections being billed out correctly? Are you charging enough for testing and inspecting, especially for highly specialized electrical, on-board computer issues, and other complex drivability work?  Is there a clear workflow process everyone follows that details every step from the write-up to vehicle delivery? Do you track comebacks, and is that affecting production?  Is the shop layout not conducive to high production? For example, is it unorganized, where shop tools, technical information, and equipment are not easily accessible to every technician?  Are you charging the correct labor rate and allowing for variables such as rust, vehicle age, and the fact that most labor guides are wrong? Also, is there effective communication between the tech and the service advisor to ensure that extra labor time is accounted for and billed to the customer? These are a few of the top reasons for low productivity problems. There are others, but the main point is to look at the entire operation. Productivity is a team effort.  Blaming the techs or other staff members does not get to the root cause in most cases.
      Maintaining adequate production levels is the responsibility of management to create the processes that will lead to high production while holding everyone accountable. 
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