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Am I missing anything and a couple questions


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Hi everyone. I'm the business arm of a very new (Not even open yet) mobile auto repair business in a very rural area. I really just wanted to bounce a few ideas off of everyone, and get some input on what I have so far. We are starting on a shoe string, but Insurance and other fun expensive things are taken care of. Right now for work orders and labor times we're using Real Time Labor guide (Remember we're on a shoestring for these things but would love any recommendations on cheap SMS with more features 😂 ) Google calendar for scheduling and google voice to ring all the partner's numbers so someone can always answer. As of right now, my main problem is trying to source parts. The only parts store we have is a small Auto Value that I'll be talking to the owner of on monday because Auto Values websites seem to be beyond useless. All other parts stores are 40 or more miles away, although there is an oreilly's close to the edge of our service area so they could be used for some. Anybody have any suggestions on this or have any experience dealing with Auto Value? Any other suggestions are super welcome and I thank you all very much.

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I have never heard of Auto Value. I can't even begin to imagine your struggle with not having any parts stores nearby. We have 4-5 stores at both locations that deliver within 15min. 

When I was mobile, I used to pick up parts on the way to the appointment. Problem with that is sometimes, customer tells you it's brakes but it's something else. Or doing brakes and caliper is seized... 

It might have to be a 2 trip repair... one day to diag and another day to install. Amazon.com has amazing prices and bc they are so cheap, you can mark them up quite a bit. I personally would love to use amazon for parts but 95% of our repairs are same day. 

Oreilly delivers so make a commercial account and wherever your hub is (your house) have them deliver there. When I started out with mobile, I put my home address as the shop address. Even after opening a physical location, they keep coming to my house! Apparently it's a pain to change it in the system and they have to remember to take it to my shop address lol

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Also I definitely understand being on a shoestring budget.... really really do because I was there about a year and a half ago. I also started out with no capital and mobile.  I strongly strongly strongly recommend that you get Identifix if you have more than 3 customers a week. If it's only like 1 customer a week, it'll be hard to get.

Identifix has labor times along with factory service manuals. Has all the info you need. Chilton labor time is what they use and generally higher than mitchcell or alldata.

 

The BEST feature of identifix is the common fixes- this will save you A LOT OF TIME. We still diagnose but 90% of the time, it ends up being what people on Identifix has found to be the common problem. PM me if you have any specific questions. Not sure how many people have been mobile on this site but there are distinct situations of being mobile that a shop owner would not understand

 

 

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Thank you so much for the Reply Jay. Amazon is definitely on the list for repairs scheduled a couple days out, as much as I'm not a huge fan of corporate big box stores it's really hard to beat their prices and Prime shipping. As far as Oreilly's goes, I've been waiting for an email back about my account approval for over a week, I'll probably just burn some gas on Monday and go visit one of the stores and see if I can figure anything out.

10 hours ago, Jay Huh said:

I strongly strongly strongly recommend that you get Identifix

 That one is actually on my list, I need to call the rep back tomorrow as I forgot until you mentioned it. My eyes and brains are all buggy from talking to sales reps for all the programs I've wanted to try. Would be nice if they'd just put pricing on the sites so a person would know if it's even in the budget or if they're wasting time by contacting, probably have almost 100 hours already listening to pitches from these company's that I come to find out is way beyond our means at the moment.

 

10 hours ago, Jay Huh said:

It might have to be a 2 trip repair... one day to diag and another day to install

I'm glad you said this, it's actually how we were planning on running it, unless the customer is stuck in the parking lot at work and is willing to pay extra for us to get same day parts as it would involve one of us making a good long trip (If we could even get them)

One other question, do you happen to know a way to search multiple parts stores at once? I know it's a feature of some of the more expensive SMS's but I was wondering if anyone had any other resources as this would cut down on order time tremendously for us since we have different parts stores to the north and south but both quite far away.

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8 minutes ago, torquedwrench said:

Thank you so much for the Reply Jay. Amazon is definitely on the list for repairs scheduled a couple days out, as much as I'm not a huge fan of corporate big box stores it's really hard to beat their prices and Prime shipping. As far as Oreilly's goes, I've been waiting for an email back about my account approval for over a week, I'll probably just burn some gas on Monday and go visit one of the stores and see if I can figure anything out.

 That one is actually on my list, I need to call the rep back tomorrow as I forgot until you mentioned it. My eyes and brains are all buggy from talking to sales reps for all the programs I've wanted to try. Would be nice if they'd just put pricing on the sites so a person would know if it's even in the budget or if they're wasting time by contacting, probably have almost 100 hours already listening to pitches from these company's that I come to find out is way beyond our means at the moment.

 

I'm glad you said this, it's actually how we were planning on running it, unless the customer is stuck in the parking lot at work and is willing to pay extra for us to get same day parts as it would involve one of us making a good long trip (If we could even get them)

One other question, do you happen to know a way to search multiple parts stores at once? I know it's a feature of some of the more expensive SMS's but I was wondering if anyone had any other resources as this would cut down on order time tremendously for us since we have different parts stores to the north and south but both quite far away.

You can haggle Identifix down to $139/mo. I think it's $189 otherwise.

When your account rep for Oreilly sets you up- it will have an online portion where you login and order parts. It'll tell you if they have part in stock or is in the district. We have Advance Auto, Oreilly and Napa up at all times to look up parts that way. My SMS has an integrated feature that looks up all the parts at once but I just do it this way

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1 minute ago, torquedwrench said:

Thanks once again Jay. Do you use the Identifix SMS or do you just use the repair module. I think one is called Direct hit and one is Direct shop.

 

I just use Idnetifix and not the Direct hit shop. For SMS I use shopboss.com- best sms out there in my opinion and low cost too

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  • 1 month later...

Hi torquedwrench,

First of all, good luck with your new venture.  I hope it goes well for you.  I can tell you that AutoValue is my primary supplier and they are awesome.  Not sure if all their stores are like mine, but mine is faster, smarter, more organized, more reliable and more stable than the NAPA, O-Reilly's, and Advance we have in town.  Plus, in the last year they have overhauled their vendors and carry some really high quality product lines that you've probably never heard of.  They aren't very marketing savvy so they don't look all flashy like O'Reilly's or Advance but their operations are smooth and well-oiled.

 

As for their website, I know their old website was a pain for ordering, but their new one isn't too bad.  Well, at least the variation that integrates with Mitchell1 isn't too bad.  I also want to 2nd Jay on Identifix.  It will more than pay for itself especially for doing mobile repairs.

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      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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