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So, I feel like most shops on this forum are performing some sort of multi-point inspection on just about every car that comes in. I know we do. I'm curious though what everyone's inspection consists of. Are you having techs pull every cabin filter and air filter? Test drive every vehicle? Are you pulling wheels to check and measure brakes? 

Also, are you paying your techs for these inspections on top of other services? If so, how much?

Here is a copy of one of our digital inspections if anyone is curious.  http://2un.me/yssm 

Personally, I've struggled with checking cabin and air filters for 2 reasons. 1.) It is a bummer to pull out those filters, take pictures, make the recommendation, and the customer decline, just to turn around and put them back in. 2.) Some filters a real pain in the ass to check. I really struggle justifying pulling out a glove box assembly to find a clean cabin filter, or to find a dirty filter and the customer decline replacing it.

I've also struggled with with the following situation: We find a radiator leaking, build a quote, present to the customer, and they decline. I've toyed around with the idea of scrapping all component specific inspection points and simply informing the customer that we found a coolant leak on their vehicle and using that information to sell a '$49 cooling system inspection'... I haven't pulled the trigger on that yet.

It would be cool to see what kind of inspections you guys are doing on every vehicle and how you are handling different aspects of it. 

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  • 2 weeks later...


We don't diagnose leaks unless it is obvious.  So, a left front axle seal is obvious but a coolant leak always goes to pressure test to diagnose.  We average $4.77 in air filter sales/oil change and about 33% of my oil change customers do a rotation.  These are legit air filters and rotations.  In fact I could probably do more.  We don't check difficult air filters like in Chevy Ventures or some Caravans where there is a lot of work involved (but we check every Silverado and they suck).  But we mark them as "did not check."  As for brakes, we do our best to look with tires on.  If we don't know or can't see, we mark them as "difficult to estimate pad depth" and move on.  Then, if we feel like they might be less than 30%, we inform the customer that they should do a rotation so we can see them better.

The way I look at it is that a rotation is 100% gross profit and an air filter is over 50% gross profit, so if I can take $10 in gross profit from an oil change and make it $40 then I've 4x my gross profit for that hour.  It makes the oil changes more productive.  Same for batteries, wiper blades and belts.  Anything that I can do in the the allotted time slot is fair game as long as it's good for the customer and not just for sales sake.

You want that oil change time slot as profitable as possible because you're paying a guy for time, so any parts that can be sold should be.

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I agree with Joe. Don't waste your time building an estimate for a radiator or valve cover leak or whatever. Sell the customer a cooling system pressure test, oil leak diagnosis etc. If it's super obvious, tell them you'll do the test for free if they decide to fix it. That way you're not wasting time bidding jobs that the customer doesn't care about.

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I find that I really don't have trouble selling jobs full of the small things like air filters and cabin filters, bulbs and the major work like axles, brakes, valve cover gaskets. If a customer declines a service it usually because of a money issue and not because of doubt or distrust. I am still friendly in the event of a decline and give them the estimates on paper and many times they call back and schedule the remaining work. 

I have a pretty unique approach to selling and make the customer comfortable and part of it is being assertive in the approach and confident in the repair while praising the condition of the vehicle or the value of the vehicle and this gives them confidence that they aren't spending money just because I told them but they believe it is a wise investment. 

Although this would be difficult to explain in words it may be better if one day I made a short video showing how I approach this. 

Just yeasterday a guy came in and his electric seat wouldnt move, automatic lift tailgate doesnt work, and engine mount broken. He initially came in saying that if the seat track is a $700 part plus labor then he didn't want ro spend the money. I gave an estimate of over $1700 for all the items and he called me back after talking to his wife and said to do it all. 

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

         5 comments
      I recently spoke with a friend of mine who owns a large general repair shop in the Midwest. His father founded the business in 1975. He was telling me that although he’s busy, he’s also very frustrated. When I probed him more about his frustrations, he said that it’s hard to find qualified technicians. My friend employs four technicians and is looking to hire two more. I then asked him, “How long does a technician last working for you.” He looked puzzled and replied, “I never really thought about that, but I can tell that except for one tech, most technicians don’t last working for me longer than a few years.”
      Judging from personal experience as a shop owner and from what I know about the auto repair industry, I can tell you that other than a few exceptions, the turnover rate for technicians in our industry is too high. This makes me think, do we have a technician shortage or a retention problem? Have we done the best we can over the decades to provide great pay plans, benefits packages, great work environments, and the right culture to ensure that the techs we have stay with us?
      Finding and hiring qualified automotive technicians is not a new phenomenon. This problem has been around for as long as I can remember. While we do need to attract people to our industry and provide the necessary training and mentorship, we also need to focus on retention. Having a revolving door and needing to hire techs every few years or so costs your company money. Big money! And that revolving door may be a sign of an even bigger issue: poor leadership, and poor employee management skills.
      Here’s one more thing to consider, for the most part, technicians don’t leave one job to start a new career, they leave one shop as a technician to become a technician at another shop. The reasons why they leave can be debated, but there is one fact that we cannot deny, people don’t quit the company they work for, they usually leave because of the boss or manager they work for.
      Put yourselves in the shoes of your employees. Do you have a workplace that communicates, “We appreciate you and want you to stay!”
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