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Icahn Automotive Group has purchased 19 independently owned service locations across the U.S. The acquisitions include: Elliott Tire and Service, a 10-shop center with locations throughout Washington including Everett, Kent, Kirkland, Mt. Vernon, Woodinville, Yakima and four in Seattle. S&S Service in Hamburg, N.Y. Jack’s Service Center in Miami, Fla. Blanchette’s Auto Center in Dracut, Mass. Quality Automotive in Napa, Calif. Honest Auto Service in Seattle, Wash. Two WS Haynes Tire & Service locations in Memphis, Tenn. RL&F Auto Inc. in Morrisville, N.C. Plainfield Tire Center in Plainfield, Ind. The group also recently purchased BS&F Auto Parts, an aftermarket auto parts distributor in New York City. Its owner and CEO, Joseph Ferrer, is now regional vice president for commercial operations over eight locations in three New York City districts. “We continue to aggressively expand our national automotive service network, strengthen our full-service capabilities and invest in our most important asset, our people,” said Daniel A. Ninivaggi, CEO of Icahn Automotive Group. “We are excited to welcome new team members to the Icahn Automotive family and provide them, like our 25,000+ existing team members, the opportunity to be part of a dynamic and successful company.” Icahn, which also owns auto parts chain Pep Boys, operates nearly 2,000 owned and franchised service locations in 49 states plus Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and Canada. It most recently acquired American Driveline Systems with approximately 680 locations in October. The company also added 320 corporate-owned and franchised Precision Tune service locations in July. Source: Tire Review
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Article: Bugs In The Rugs - - - What have you encountered from the insect world while working on a car?Bugs In The Rugs Ants, moths, bees, flies, wasps, spiders, scorpions, roaches, yellow jackets, fireflies, centipedes, silver fish, lady bugs, katydids, mosquitos, termites, fleas, mites, and fly larvae (maggots). No, that’s not a list of insects on the back of a can of insecticide. That’s just about every type of creepy, crawly nasty little bug I have encountered in a car at one time or another. It’s enough to make your skin crawl. Sometimes it’s not so much what you run into, but where. For instance, I was working on a little foreign car, checking out a faulty turn signal. I diagnosed a bad lead on the front turn signal socket, and had already pulled the lens off and supplied a ground to the bulb, so I knew what I needed to do. Just sling under the car and reattach the ground lead that was hanging there. The car was low to the ground, but I managed to wedge myself under there just enough to make the repair. As I managed to turn my head to see the turn signal housing, there… just a ¼” from my nose was a large nest of red wasps. They were all darting around working on their nest totally oblivious to me. I didn’t stick around long enough to introduce myself. Something I’ve learned after being at this for a few years: If you get one of those carpet cleaning trucks in the shop for repair, make sure you have plenty of roach spray handy. It’s not uncommon to pop the lid off of the fuse box to find hundreds of those nasty little critters trying to find a new hiding place. I’ve even seen a few behind the lens of the instrument cluster just minding their own business as they walked over the gauge needles. They tend to eat wires, leave their acidic droppings on circuit boards, and their dead relatives laying in the vents. Nothings worse than getting “bug sprayed”… with bugs when you turn on the blower motor. Now when you’re trying to find an odor, or some reeking smell that has literally chased the owners out of their car, don’t be surprised if you’ll eventually find a dead mouse or some other strange varmint carcass in the duct work, trunk, or under the carpet. The worst is when the flies have found it and started laying eggs on it. For the investigative type mechanic, the fly larvae is a good way to determine how long whatever it was has been decomposing in the customer’s car. You see, a fly can lay more than 100 eggs on a warm moist body and in 8 to 24 hours the larvae will begin to hatch. Those wormy, wriggly, crawly little ugly, nasty things stick around for about 5 days and then start to pupate into an adult fly. A capital “G” for gross. Knowing all of that will allow you to inform your customer when their little friend became post mortem in their cabin filter or wherever it was you found it, although at this point they’re too grossed out to really care about your CSI skills! Spiders can bring out the heebeegeebees in the biggest, baddest mechanic on the planet. I once worked with a guy who was completely petrified of spiders. We were tearing down an old car that was in for restoration when he removed the door panel and a large tarantula came crawling out from the bottom corner of this old rusted door. Honestly, I’ve never seen or heard such a big fella scream like a little girl. He not only came up with his own high pitched language that only he could understand, but managed to dart across the shop and up onto the top of his tool box so fast he didn’t have time to let go of the door panel. He stayed up there perched on his tool box talking some sort of gibberish only he could understand, as he was kicking tools out of the open drawers. The tarantula had to go, or he wasn’t coming down. I got elected to shoo the little critter out the door. We literally had to pry the door panel out of his hands and coax him down with a cup of coffee and a cigarette. His tool box needed a bit of straightening after all was said and done. Ants for the most part are pretty harmless. I’ve never ran across fire ants in a car, but I can only imagine what that would have been like. The ones I’ve run across are just the busy little ant type doing busy little ant things. Sometimes the hardest part is finding where they’re coming from. Half the time you’ll see these little guys marching along one after another in single file heading to another part of the car. If it’s a car that’s been sitting in one spot for a long time chances are they’ve built an elaborate home somewhere in the car and it’s your job to find out where. Good luck with that. Sometimes you wonder how some of these insects find their way into a car in the first place. Like pulling a spare tire out of an old car and find a scorpion staring at you. Or mud dauber wasp nests all over the engine compartment. They sure do find some of the oddest places to build their little nests. One time I’ve even found them on the carburetor choke plate on a car that was only sitting for a few days. The owner tried to start it, but had no luck with it. He then had it dragged into the shop to have the no start problem checked out. After a bit of carburetor spray to dissolve the mud it started right up. The owner being the kind of a jokester he was, now had a new story to tell about his old car. He started his little tale with, “Guess wasp up with my car?” Whether it is a family of arachnids or any other family of insects invading your car, somewhere some mechanic has probably already experienced it. As they say, “There are more bugs in the world than there are people.” So there’s a good chance you’ll run across a bug in a rug or one in the trunk of that very car you’re working on. Just work on some fast reflexes, a few nerves of steel, and it wouldn’t hurt to keep a can of bug spray handy either.
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A customer came in with a 2002 Mercedes C230 and my "C" mechanic took it for a test drive. For some reason (he says accidentally) he hit the sun roof and the interior part opened and will not close. The customer tells us that it was broken when she bought the car and she took it some where to have them put it back and she has not messed with it since them. I feel that we should fix it but my head mechanic says he will not mess with it because he has no experience with it. I can tell him to do it anyway but don't want to end up in a bigger mess than I am in right now. I would like to hear how you guys have dealt with situations like that.
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There are a lot of positive indicators for the future of the independent automotive repair shops. (See below). As shop owners, we need to be proud of the fact that we are still the number one choice of the motoring public. But positive indicators are not enough. Plan now for your future. Be proactive when it comes to your business. Understand your numbers and determine what you need to be profitable. Take care of your employees. Continue to provide the necessary training and above all, provide the absolute best possible customer service. From the Auto Care Associations 24th edition of the Auto Care Aftermarket Factbook: *In 2014, more than 840,000 technicians were employed - a 3.4% increase over the previous year. *The light vehicle scrappage rate in 2015 was 4.4%, the lowest level in 13 years. *In 2014, the number of general repair shops actually increased slightly over the previous year. *The number of licensed drivers in the United States continues to climb steadily and sat at just over 212 million at the end of 2013 *Vehicle maintenance costs are second only to gasoline when it comes to total vehicle operating costs. *The independent aftermarket share of the total market has been 70% for the last four years and is expected to remain steady through 2018. Source: Motor Magazine, John Lypen Editors Report, February 2016. To read the complete article, click the link below: https://www.motor.com/magazine-summary/editors-report-feb-2016/
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We are hiring for a service writer and was wondering what pay plans are working and easy to maintain. I am currently with the ATI program and they are giving me a run around on this. We currently do 15,500 weekly. Was wondering what they should make on this and how to figure it out. I don't feel salary is good nor hourly. Just want to make it worth it for the writer and not break my pocket. Let me know if you guys have any suggestions. Thanks.
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By Joe Marconi
Shop production is a hot topic these days. High production results in higher sales and profits. But there seems to be so many obstacles to overcome to achieve high production levels.
I was discussing production with a few shop owners, and one shop owner mentioned that he recently hired a shop foreman; an “A” tech in his early 50’s. The foreman uses his knowledge and skills to organize the work flow. For younger techs, it’s even more important that they know how to work and keep productive.
What are your thoughts? Does anyone else have a foreman or similar position? And how does this role affect production?
By [email protected]
OK. Not to start another parts markup thread but I would like to look at this from another angle. What percentages do you aim when marking up parts when you look at the part categories?
Just an example below:
Maintenance, etc ,etc
The reason I ask is because even a standard parts pricing matrix can blow certain items out of reasonable sale price. I am aware that less expensive items can net larger profits, which also makes up for more expensive items but I am trying to see a base line of what parts markup looks like with these categories.
There are quite a few threads about pricing but I think it might be better to shift that discussion to value. How do you add value for your customers? For example, we have a very clean waiting room with coffee, wifi, nice music etc... We also, answer the phone in the happiest way possible, we use tablets for inspections, we vacuum the front footwells for all oil changes, we have demo parts to help educate customers and we have a 3yr 36k warranty. Recently I've been trying to dream up ways to add even more value so I can compete hard on what I deliver. For example, I just added a 20 year master tech, I thought I could vacuum every car and leave a thank you note on the dash.
What are you doing to add value? What additional value are you adding that I'm not doing? I would love to borrow some ideas if you are willing to share.