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The town I live in has a college in it that teaches auto, diesel.

My dealings with most of the students over the years has been they don't have the sense to get out of their own way.

These kids come in with hi hopes and big dreams of being the next Smokey yunick, Richard petty  or Don Garlits

Most not all when they are through with schooling or somewhere in the middle decide they know it all there is to know so they open up a rented house one car garage in a neighbor hood which is illegal in my city.

Then they hit the internet and any place they can post a flyer to let people know they do repairs better and CHEAPER than anyone else in the world.

Most these young kids have never wrenched on a car in their life till now and as with most people today the word cheap is like cheese to a mouse they just cannot resist the deal until they get just what they paid for Cheap work.

They can afford to give their work away because they have no bills to pay and most advertise they will put your brakes on for 50.00 dollars.

Some even state they will do the work for X amount of dollars and you bring the parts well if the customers stop and think for a minute they are not saving much if anything at all.

I am now 55 years old I have been at this since I was 2 helping my father off and on in the garage at home then at his business everyday after school and beyond until his passing 9 yrs. ago this April 2017

I still consider myself in a learning mode in life I never claim to know it all but this college in town leads these boys and girls to believe that they can go to any shop small or large and make top dollar right off the bat and never have to work their way up the ladder to get to the top.

Most of these CHEAP shops close soon after they open or after the kids graduate school and they head back to where they came from or to bigger cities and then they leave you to deal with the customers who left you just because they thought they could get the same quality of service they got from you but at a cheaper price.

But its like I have said many many times cheaper is not always better Kelly bluebook and the Nada are guides NOT GOSPEL on used car prices.

I just wish this college would not fill these kids heads with top of the ladder dreams when most are not even ready to start the climb

 

 

  

 

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I guess at least its keeping those "cheap" customers out of our shop - they can have them. I heard once that the people with the least amount of $ are always the biggest pain in the a**. Wow has that proven itself to be true for me. A lot of times, you're working on a piece of junk, with multiple problems, and you get blamed for stuff that is ridiculous. I just had a customer with an Honda Odyssey pos. 1000000000 miles on it. We did a timing belt, told them there motor mounts were hollible, they declined to fix them. Called a few days later and said that we MUST have screwed something up, because there engine has never clunked this loud before we worked on it. I put that fire out, then the next day he accused me of snapping off a rear lugnut (which I explained we never had the rear tires off). His response was that it must have happened when we hoisted the vehicle, and that we were still responsible. Haha! I guess you just have to laugh and let it roll.off your shoulder sometimes.

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yes I have been down that road many times.

 The worst two words I ever want to hear from a customers mouth is EVER SINCE.

years ago we restored a gentleman's 1965 rambler this car looked better than show room new.

Several months after we delivered it to the customer he called and threatened a law suit because we supposedly had stolen his steering wheel and replaced it with one from a semi truck LOL

he was comparing the wheel size to his mid 80's small Chevrolet which of course did not have a wheel the size of the older car.

took us months to finally get that monkey off our back.

it has even been our fault in a customers eyes because their car ran out of gas a week after we did a tune up.

I often wonder where they get their correlation between work done and their new troubles.

 

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One of my all time favorites was when we did an alignment and the customer came back the next day complaining that her radio didn't work any more. Well, she had it turned up so loud my tech had turned it off. That's what the problem was but she had never turned it off before and didn't know how to turn it back on.

 

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I do not come from the bays, my background was from the Towing business and I bought an auto shop. My ex partner was supposed to run the shop but I got dragged into the customer service end. Over the course of a couple of years I quickly learned I have little if any tolerance for dirtbags (price first types) and it seems these are the ones who try to take advantage of every situation. I decided at that point I would do everything I could to keep those types from crossing my threshold.

My marketing implies we are professional and not price driven in any way shape or form. No coupons, specials and price based offers at all. Only pretty pictures and discussion of our expertise and good intentions. Our office is not filled with menu boards or automotive related items, more like a dentists office with local kids artwork on the walls, clean furniture and conveniences for out customers. No point of sale items at all.

My intent is to deter without stating it outright. The best response when someone first absorbs my branding is either that's the place for me or that's NOT the place for me. I'm actually ok with either response. I do not have to win over all consumers to win at this game.

Luckily what I've done has worked. Although I clearly remember the pain of dealing with those types I rarely do anymore and the one or two who slip though the cracks every once in a while no longer dictate our policies. We move on to those who wish to be served and understand quality comes at a reasonable cost.

I welcome the low cost/low end repair facilities or providers, they increase my value.

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On 4/10/2017 at 6:47 AM, Custom Coach said:

The town I live in has a college in it that teaches auto, diesel.

My dealings with most of the students over the years has been they don't have the sense to get out of their own way.

These kids come in with hi hopes and big dreams of being the next Smokey yunick, Richard petty  or Don Garlits

I just wish this college would not fill these kids heads with top of the ladder dreams when most are not even ready to start the climb  

 

We have a tech school for auto repair in our town.... it is just a three blocks down the road.  The "instructor" only teaches computer diagnostics and electronic repairs.  In his opinion that is all that cars are now.   Our owner hired a kid from the school that was the top of the class.  1.  He stared at a transmission for 45 minutes to figure out what tools he needed to remove it.  THEN  2. He didn't know lefty loosey, righty tighty.    He was gone by the end of the day.

The kids coming in for interviews think they deserve top dollar pay with no experience.  Their instructors tell them that's what they will get upon graduation.  

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papshop.

That's the way it is here today.

we hired one kid about 10-15 years ago as a favor to his dad (his dad and mine were friends)

He became a certified air brake mechanic in 2 weeks and never laid a hand on any part of an air brake system.

The teacher had the students form a semi circle behind him and watched him do all the work then they took a test and got to use the books with the answers in the lesson.

and there was not a day that went by when my brother did not threaten to kill him for not listening to his instructions.

I got my macs R12 license through them I took the book and test read the book left it at work went home took the test and missed one question.

The instructor graded it and asked if I used the book I told him no and where the book was while I answered the test questions.

He replied well if you would have used the book like we let our students do you would have gotten all the answers right because they are in the book.

I looked at him like he had lobsters crawling out of his ears and I thought to myself how is that learning anything if you already have the correct answers.

Today you can go on that side of town and tell what kids are in the auto or diesel classes there at school

 They are out in public day or night looking like they just used themselves to change the oil and tranny in a car or diesel (dirty bodies filthy clothes) steel toed shoes that don't fit (so they sound like a Clyde's dale walking through the store) and this facial hair that looks like they all shaved a dogs butt and glued it to their face in no uniformed manner.

The only kids that I have had the pleasure of getting to know there ( are few and far between ) but they work for a local parts store as delivery drivers and they grew up on dad or grand dads farm or shop so they are there to learn and take that tech home to help out on the farm or rural community.

The rest are there just to help this non profit college expand their fleet of 18 wheeled race car haulers at last count was 7 nascar style semi trucks (capable of hauling 2 cars in each) and a couple semi truck style motor homes.

 

 

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On 4/13/2017 at 6:04 AM, Custom Coach said:

papshop.

That's the way it is here today.

we hired one kid about 10-15 years ago as a favor to his dad (his dad and mine were friends)

He became a certified air brake mechanic in 2 weeks and never laid a hand on any part of an air brake system.

The teacher had the students form a semi circle behind him and watched him do all the work then they took a test and got to use the books with the answers in the lesson.

and there was not a day that went by when my brother did not threaten to kill him for not listening to his instructions.

I got my macs R12 license through them I took the book and test read the book left it at work went home took the test and missed one question.

The instructor graded it and asked if I used the book I told him no and where the book was while I answered the test questions.

He replied well if you would have used the book like we let our students do you would have gotten all the answers right because they are in the book.

I looked at him like he had lobsters crawling out of his ears and I thought to myself how is that learning anything if you already have the correct answers.

Today you can go on that side of town and tell what kids are in the auto or diesel classes there at school

 They are out in public day or night looking like they just used themselves to change the oil and tranny in a car or diesel (dirty bodies filthy clothes) steel toed shoes that don't fit (so they sound like a Clyde's dale walking through the store) and this facial hair that looks like they all shaved a dogs butt and glued it to their face in no uniformed manner.

The only kids that I have had the pleasure of getting to know there ( are few and far between ) but they work for a local parts store as delivery drivers and they grew up on dad or grand dads farm or shop so they are there to learn and take that tech home to help out on the farm or rural community.

The rest are there just to help this non profit college expand their fleet of 18 wheeled race car haulers at last count was 7 nascar style semi trucks (capable of hauling 2 cars in each) and a couple semi truck style motor homes.

 

 

We have been advertising for an experienced tech in our second shop for 6 months and have only had very few applications.  They have either come from the local tech school or they got their experience working on friends cars, and they look like they crawled out from under the car and forgot to shower or put on clean clothes.   

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On 2017-04-12 at 6:12 AM, Wheelingauto said:

My marketing implies we are professional and not price driven in any way shape or form. No coupons, specials and price based offers at all. Only pretty pictures and discussion of our expertise and good intentions. Our office is not filled with menu boards or automotive related items, more like a dentists office with local kids artwork on the walls, clean furniture and conveniences for out customers. No point of sale items at all.

My intent is to deter without stating it outright. The best response when someone first absorbs my branding is either that's the place for me or that's NOT the place for me. I'm actually ok with either response. I do not have to win over all consumers to win at this game.

I have always been puzzled by shops that use discount marketing and then complain about type of customer it attracts... If you advertise $19 oil change and then get frustrated by not being able to sell other services you should be reevaluating your marketing. How you present yourself is what is attracting those people.

By careful when selecting advertising. Marketing sales people will always push discount advertising since it is easy to sell, easy to create, and, unfortunately, what many small business owners default to. Good marketing takes thought, planning, and careful selection.

One shop owner I know calls auto repair bargain hunters and coupon clippers "snake bite" customers: unpredictable, never satisfied, always looking to get something for nothing or rip you off, and will bite you if given the slightest chance. Always more trouble than you ever imagined. You are better off washing the windows than dealing with these customers. Avoid them at all costs. And always be nice to them and politely decline to do work for them. Many are so vengeful they will post negative online reviews complaining about "high prices" or rude treatment in retaliation and that will only damage your reputation... and scare away the good customers! You should have a policy and train employees on how to deal with customers you don't want. Have pre-written scripts helps any employee that is on the phone or answering emails.

Shop owners need to clearly state what they do and who/what customers they want to attract. That's called "branding". When you have defined the type of customer they want you can figure out how best to attract those customers. It's not easy but is what it takes to make your business grow (or survive).

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I use discount oil change marketing, and it's been the single best thing I've ever done for my business.

I've gone over what I've done and what numbers it has produced ad-nauseum in other threads. All I'll add is that if anyone wants specifics they can contact me. I'm an open book, and I'll share my numbers with anyone who asks.

 I hope that every one of you can have the sort of success that I've had, not that my way is the only way. There are others here who have had similar success using completely different methods, some have done even better. But it's definitely a way that can work, and work quite well if done correctly. Don't let anyone tell you it can't work, or you'll go broke attracting nothing but the wrong customers. That's simply not true.

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Auto repair, general contracting, towing, you name it someone will always hang out their shingle with unreasonably low prices. I call it magic. How can someone do quality work so cheap? They can't is the answer. Even one man shops in the backyard, if the guy is good he is eventually going to get so busy and so far behind by offering the low rate he will raise his prices to slow down the calls. Or it's a trick like most of the chains. How can you get your oil changed cheaper than the cost of the materials? The sales team is not going to let you leave with just the coupon lof, they need the upsell to make any profit. I like the mouse and cheese analogy, even when Micky sees his brother get snapped he still wants that free lunch and believes it. 

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I like Anderson Auto's philosophy. Sure, we market the oil change offer to get first-time customers in my shop. Some will need more and some won't. If they don't need more then we smile, give them a great experience, and thank them! They'll be back and when they're car is ready for additional service so will we be and so will my customer BECAUSE we've built trust, valued their time, valued their business. There isn't anything that brings in car count like an oil change. Once they get here we make it our mission for them to like us unless we DON'T like them for various reasons (like rudeness, hygiene, consistent declines of safety issues, or obvious repairs done by other shops). Can't win them all over but you sure can try. 

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I just had a customer walk in yesterday telling me he has been to two other shops and they cannot figure out what his  overheating problem is on his Benz.

I asked him if the check engine light was on and he said it was.

I told him that's the best place to start.

He then proceeds to tell me that's where the others started but found nothing I took the customer home and told him I would call when I was sure I found the trouble.

I scanned the 2006 C230 Benz and it was loaded with codes found most were low voltage codes noticed ALT had been changed cleared those codes and started car all checked out as no codes found but check engine was still on.

I went back and brought up power train and read codes there it was a P0694 (engine and ac suction fan with integrated control ) output stage .

Did the recommended tests a to make sure it was not the temp sensor and even with the ac compressor running no fan moving which means to even a novice that the fan is bad.

The customer will not tell me where he had it and I will not push the subject either but to miss something this clear and simple leads me to believe they are either a novice with no clue on what to do or they have a cheap over the counter scanner which will not give them all the codes on some of these foreign cars.

Either way I am leaning toward the previous two mechanics (using that word lightly) to be tech school kids with no clue on what they are looking for but hoping to score a fix like a gun fighter getting another notch for their gun belt.

😱 oh my.  

 

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

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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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