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Evening Hours/Second Shift

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About 5 years ago, we tried extended/duel shifts. We felt we needed to be more convenient for our customers. This was a reaction to all the dealers and tire shops that now are open 7 days a week.  While we did have customers come in, after 6 months, we did not see any difference in business.  Unless you increase staff, all you will do is to trade hours from one time to another.  We went back to our regular schedule.

Last winter we experimented with extended hours from Mon to Friday and close on Saturdays (We are open Sat from 8 t 2pm). That was a disaster. After being open Saturdays for 36 years, we angered a lot of "Saturday Only" customers.  With regard to being open on Saturdays, I am not saying you have to. There are tons of shops that I know that are open only 5 days a week and are very successful. For me, I built a Saturday clientele, so it did not work.

Great topic! I hope to hear from other shops!

 

 

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Where I work now when I first started 26 years ago we use to have a second shift come in from 5-10 pm . We slowly got rid of it since the night guys would pick and choose what they wanted and leave the rest for the day shift. It got to the point where they were setting up all the Gravy "easy" work for the nights and the daytime guys had all the difficult stuff. On another note we use to stock almost everything you needed of course back then cars were much simpler, as the years went by and parts houses became more abundant and delivery times came way down we got rid of all the stock. Also with the change in business it was better to get rid of all the overhead. 

That being said is it cost effective to have a second shift? Will it end up costing more keeping parts in house? Will it be a gain or a drain on the wallet? Lots of factors need to be looked at and analyzed before implementing such a plan

just my $.02

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Before opening my own shop, the job I had required you to be there every Saturday, rain or shine.  Basically, you worked 6 days a week.  When I did open my own shop I tried the Saturday routine and found, (just has Joe commented on) the Saturday customers tended to be "Saturday only" customers.  I got really tired of the 6 days a week routine so, I opted to not be open on Saturdays.  

The amount of business I probably lost over the years is hard to measure without comparing what could have been if I was open on Saturdays.  

As far as longer hours, or two shifts.  I did try a late Thursday rather than all week.  On Thursdays I would stay open until 10.  Seemed to work, but profit wise I doubt it brought that much in.  The other thing was the weather.  In the summer the shop can get over 110 and since the doors face west you get the setting sun glaring down on you all the way to the back of the shop.  Way too friggin hot for my tastes.  So, that pretty much put an end to the late Thursday approach.

Now, after three decades of service I'm more content to go home early, and come in early.  I'm more selective than I used to be with new customers and I'm more likely to say NO to certain jobs than ever before. 

 

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The only problem I see from opening late is that commercial parts stores are closed. Napa closes at 6 and there are no delivery drivers past 5:30 for most other stores.

Saturdays are our busiest days but I opted to close Sat for 2 out of 3 stores so I can give my employees weekends off/ have rotating Sat. 

One of the things I am trying to figure out right now is opening hours for my 2 new shops. With having to pay overtime, extended hours makes overhead a killer. One of my shops hours is only 9-5 mon - fri - 40 hour work week for my crew. We have a nightdrop box and options for picking up after hours. Hard to gauge if I am losing customers from the limited time I am open.

My first shop hours were 7:30am - 6pm Mon- Fri and 9am - 3pm Sat. I changed that a few months back to 8:30 open time

 

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I'm open 7-7 six days a week. The main driver in that decision was to make things more convenient to my customers.

Techs work 7:30 - 6:30 and Advisors work bell to bell. We run a rotating schedule so everyone works a 4 day work week, and I'm able to have a full staff every day I'm open. Because of the way the schedule rotates, everyone gets a 5 day weekend every 3 weeks.

Back when I opened my shop I said I'd never be open Saturday because when I was a tech it was a wasted day. Nothing but oil changes. But the way I do Saturdays is different than the way most independent shops do Saturday. Most shops are open half day with half staff, and do almost exclusively oil changes all day. Not profitable for anyone, and techs especially hate it. By being open all day, and having a full staff, Saturday isn't much different than any other day. We're able to get some real work done, so it's worthwhile for the techs and advisors to be there. We have slightly higher car count, and slightly lower average RO, with revenue being just like any other day.

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1 hour ago, AndersonAuto said:

I'm open 7-7 six days a week. The main driver in that decision was to make things more convenient to my customers.

Techs work 7:30 - 6:30 and Advisors work bell to bell. We run a rotating schedule so everyone works a 4 day work week, and I'm able to have a full staff every day I'm open. Because of the way the schedule rotates, everyone gets a 5 day weekend every 3 weeks.

Back when I opened my shop I said I'd never be open Saturday because when I was a tech it was a wasted day. Nothing but oil changes. But the way I do Saturdays is different than the way most independent shops do Saturday. Most shops are open half day with half staff, and do almost exclusively oil changes all day. Not profitable for anyone, and techs especially hate it. By being open all day, and having a full staff, Saturday isn't much different than any other day. We're able to get some real work done, so it's worthwhile for the techs and advisors to be there. We have slightly higher car count, and slightly lower average RO, with revenue being just like any other day.

This is very similar to what we keep talking about doing.  We are a much smaller shop as of today, but we are planning to grow quite a bit over the near future.  How many employees do you have to make that system work?

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59 minutes ago, J.P. GLENN said:

This is very similar to what we keep talking about doing.  We are a much smaller shop as of today, but we are planning to grow quite a bit over the near future.  How many employees do you have to make that system work?

We did this also as part of a big growth phase. It was definitely not without challenges. I currently have 6 techs and 3 advisors. The schedule works on a 3 week rotation, so we have 3 "teams" of 2 techs and 1 advisor. They're not really teams, just guys who are on the same schedule. The biggest challenge I had when going to this model was that I had more hours to cover than work to do. I had to hire more people than I needed just to cover the hours. For the first year I didn't have the 3rd advisor, but I needed the hours to be covered, so I worked 6 days a week until I could justify the 3rd advisor. I also ran with holes in the schedule out in the shop as well. As I added techs, I filled in the holes, but there was a lot of months where I had only one tech in the shop certain days of the week. Of course I made sure the times I had one tech also coincided with having one advisor.

The other big challenge that took a long time to get over was the fact that jobs have to be shifted from one tech to another or one advisor to another. I didn't really come up with a solid policy on this, the guys pretty much figured it out on their own. It's been a few years since I've had a lot of problem with this, but at first it was very difficult. Techs didn't want to jump into a half done job, and advisors would forget about monitoring a job that wasn't theirs. Now they're all just used to it. Techs know to pass off a job before they get started on it if it's going to need to be finished while they're off, and the advisors know to pass off a vehicle to the other advisor who's still going to be there the next day. It's all better now, but it was tough.

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We are open M-F from 7:15 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. Techs work from 8 to 6. Sat. 8 to 12. We bust ass hard all day long and 4 hours really hard on Saturday, and we get done all we need to do during these hours.

Back in the day I ran a diesel engine machine shop and we worked 2 shifts in order to keep the work flow going and to run some of the machines 16 hours per day. It worked well for the type operation it was.

Nowadays our clients appreciate our weekday hours and Saturday mornings being open,  so that is what we are sticking with.

 

Hi-Gear

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We are open late and on Saturdays but it is due to the amount of fleet work that we do. If we did not do fleets that require extra hours, we would be closed on Saturdays for sure and shorten the day as well. 

M-F: 7am-8pm

Saturday: 7am-3pm (closed to public at 3pm, often work after to finish up)

Sunday: Closed to public (occasionally have work that needs doing before Monday pickup)

 

 

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