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By Joe Marconi
If you are going to the Ratchet and Wrench Conference next week, I will be there to kick things off as the Key Note Speaker on the first day. I will also be making a presentation; Charging for Diagnostics on Friday, Sept 21.
If any member is attending the conference, please let me know and hopefully we can meet.
Here is the link to the conference: https://www.ratchetandwrench.com/articles/5651-ratchetwrench-announces-details-of-2018-management-conference
Article: Let's Make A Deal! For some, car repair is all about cutting a deal...NOT...quality of the workmanshipBy Gonzo
LET’S MAKE A DEAL You know everyone wants a deal, something cheaper, something “thrown in” to sweeten the pot. Money (as always) is always the driving force, and I don’t think that will ever change. A deal is a deal, but if you can’t make a deal… well, then, deal with it. One bright morning, a mid-90’s Subaru showed up at the shop on the back of a wrecker. It’s one of my regular customer’s young teenager’s car. The phone rang, it was the dad, Oh, and did he have a story to tell… a real whopper of a story. “My son told me he was driving along when the car bumped the curb and flattened two tires. I haven’t seen the car, but my son said there wasn’t any real damage. So, I don’t think it should take you very long to get it back on the road. Do what you can, and call me with the estimate.” I only saw the driver’s side of the car when the tow truck pulled up. The tow driver came in and tells me, “Wherever you put this, you won’t be able to move it again. You’ll have to drag it or put it on “dollies”, it’s pretty messed up. If I were you, I’d stick it directly on the lift.” Ok, ya got me, no real damage aye? But, the tow driver tells me differently… now I’ve got to go look for myself. No real damage? Hmmm, let’s see…the whole passenger side of the car looks like someone tried to peel the sheet metal off with a can opener. Underneath the car was even worse. The upper and lower passenger side control arms are bent. The wheel, spindle, and tire are sitting on the oil pan area. The sway bar looks like a pretzel, both rims on the passenger side are beyond reuse, the tires are torn apart and shards of rubber are peeling off of the steel belts, and the transmission has been ripped off its mounts. Yea, you’re right……he just bumped the curb……..yea sure he did. Looks more like he rode the edge of the curb like a bucking bronco for a long-long way. My guess is somebody was trying to drift around corners or slide it sideways with the emergency brake on, and probably took out every bus stop, park bench, and light pole for a block or two. Ok, the tow driver gets a “thumbs up” on this one; let’s put it on the lift. I told the customer what I had found and the estimate for the repair, and as always I let him know about any “hidden” problems that might be lurking under all this stuff. He was not a shocked as I thought he would be even after I gave him the price for all the work that needed done, but definitely concerned. He kept hinting around as to what I thought might have caused the problem. From the conversation on the phone he was hoping I would say something like… mechanical failure, slick road conditions, defective part, or something like that. The farthest thing in his mind was that the kid might be the problem. I told him what I thought had happened, he didn’t want to believe it, but he was going to check into to it. In the mean time, order the parts and start getting it ready to get back on the road. Several days later all the parts showed up, and I could get a better idea of the damage with parts that weren’t bent like a pretzel. It wasn’t long before I found a few more flaws in the little “Scooby-do”, nothing major but the kind of thing that should be replaced. The extra parts were just a few brackets that were bent, but I knew dad’s pocket book was getting tight. His main concern now was how much I was willing to chew off the original bill to help him out, and to my surprise he confirmed my suspicions as to what caused the accident. Oh yea, the kid was trying to drift the Subaru. (DAH! Now how do ya drift a front wheel drive car… ah, slide with the e-brake???) Now I can do a lot of things, and lower repair costs in order to save the customer money is one of them. Money, or not, I think there is a lesson to be learned here. I thought it was appropriate to make a small request to good old dad. If he wanted a cut on the price of the job, then let’s make a deal. “You bring the little ridge runner to the shop dressed for work. He can earn his keep and save you a few bucks in the process. Maybe even take a different approach to driving in the future,” I told the dad. My customer was a little taken back by my deal to save him some money, but it sounded like a good idea. Now his only job was to get the lad down to the shop ready to fulfill his part of the bargain. Work stopped until I heard back from him. In the mean time, the car is stuck on the lift with no wheels and only half a suspension. With a service bay tied up, it’s starting to cost me money. 2 days go by, then 4 more, another week and still no answer. Finally on a Monday morning when I reached the point where I wasn’t going to wait any longer… the dad calls, “Just fix it, and call me when it’s ready. My son doesn’t want to do it, and I’m not having much luck in getting him to your shop to help at all. So I guess I’ll have to deal with the cost of the repair instead.” A little different deal than I expected. Well, a deal is a deal. I’ll handle my end of the bargain, and old dad has decided on how to handle his. There’s an old saying that comes to mind, it goes like this; “If you want to save a dollar … do the job yourself, but if you have to pay someone else to do it… don’t ask for cheap work, unless you’re willing to share the cost in some way.” After another day of getting everything back into place the car was ready for the road again. Sure there are few battle scars still showing, but mechanically the car is in great shape. That only leaves one more deal that’s not quite finished. … … the father needs to deal with the son. . . .
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The following are posts I made on the AOCA website outlining an issue(potential nightmare) we had on 2017 Chevrolet Colorado:
Joined: Dec 21, 2011
Total Posts: 83 Feb 8, 2018 3:03 PM Unfortunately, I believe this is exactly what this may turn into for shops and consumers. We recently had a report of an oil filter failure on a 2017 Chevrolet Colorado with 13304 miles on the truck and the issue occurred 400 miles after our oil change. Customer had a check engine light come on so he headed right off to the dealer to have it checked under warranty. It had a VVT code stored and the dealer started looking into the issue. They found the filter failure and sent a picture of the image off to the customer. We used a Performax P0171 filter. The customer sent me the attached image of the obviously failed filter. I am immediately highly concerned, but the dealer is being unusually understanding of the failure. We spend some time with the service manager and find out that their appears to be an issue starting to show up on these vehicles, where the stand pipe in the filter housing is coming off with the old filter and being disposed of without the techs knowledge. We had great video of the oil change and their was nothing visible with the old filter as it was removed. The premises is that without the standpipes restricting/diverting functionality in place, full oil flow is blowing out the filter and the everything flows right down the filter housing port into the cylinder heads and remainder of the motor and plugs up components and passages. We asked for a picture of the filter housing and received image 2 attached. This appears that it may be a problem starting in 17 model year, but i can't be sure of that yet. I am digging for additional info now and will update as more information becomes available. Randy_Lucyk
Joined: Dec 21, 2011
Total Posts: 83 Feb 9, 2018 7:59 AM This appears to be both a GM issue and a in-shop issue.
Now that I see the notification GM released last week, i believe this issue occurred at the original oil change prior to the one we did. As I said, we had great video of the open end of the old filter as we removed it from the vehicle and I don't believe this stand pipe could have possibly been inside. Their is also no evidence of the tech struggling with anything "down in there" other then the normal A/C line interference issue. .
Looking at the design and the A/C line interference, I suspect that the stand pipe is being knocked loose as the filter is being "angled" around the A/C lines to get the old one out. I suspect the oring on the stand pipe is the only thing holding it in the oil filter housing. Once the standpipe is disposed of, the housing has to be replaced, as the stand pipe is not available separately. The housings are in short supply with only three left in the country on dealers shelves and none in Gm distribution centers. Their is a new part number for the housing and those are not available yet. Original pt# 12675707 and new pt# 12682014.
Looking at the attached illustrations and notice, it would not be easy to completely miss the fact that a problem was evident. The stand pipe looks too big to me to be easily missed. I suspect it is plastic and the words "housing cracked" was mentioned in the conversation with the service manager. I wonder if the stand pipe is actually cracking during removal of the filter, making it difficult/impossible to reinstall. If we did not do it, then why the old filter had not failed yet ours did, comes into question. Cold weather "full oil flow" was also mentioned in the conversation with the service manager, and those were the conditions at the time of the failure.
The images also create some questions for me. The new housing does not appear to be identical to the OE installed housing, so is it an already redesigned housing? The filter bulletin in the Napa/Wix box talks about an update to the filter to include a check valve in the top of the filter. Our old filter does not appear to have this check valve, the Napa/Wix does and our new stock P0171 filters also have it. Looking at the design of the stand pipe in the new housing, it would almost appear that the small nipple on the end of the stand pipe might make more sense if it fit into the open hole of the old filter. The stand pipe design almost seems wrong for the filter with the check valve, unless it is shorter than it looks and never reaches the upper end of the filter. Would be great if the next shop to have one of these off would post some additional pics to try and help reduce confusion.
Based on the notice from Gm, this does indeed look like it could get ugly. Although, this dealer covered all the extensive engine repairs under warranty(heads pulled, all new timing components, cleaning passages), i am not convinced all dealers will take that approach. In my case, it was nice(incredible?) to see GM step up and take responsibility. It helped that my customer (owner of the Colorado) retired from a GM primary supplier dealing with issues exactly like this for the later half of his career. He knew the right people to call to get the info needed to drill down to the root cause.
So I started a new venture and I need some new shop management software. I have a new venture where I have moved to a lower volume, high margin operation where we offer primarily concierge service to high end customers with high end vehicles. As such my current needs are very mobile, I've been doing some research, but I though I'd post up here for some additional input. What I need is an entirely mobile platform. This sticks me with SAAS based products which is fine. Finally mobile data is plentiful in all the areas I operate in. Many of the web based services out there are still designed for desktop use, and although they are mobile in a sense, they are not truly do business anywhere solutions. I need to be able to book appointments, see service history, attachments to ROs (like photos), check recommendations, start new ROs with customer complaints, accept signatures all from a mobile phone. I could live with an iPad if needed, but the phone is most ideal.
The software must have what are now a days standard features (or should be)
Scheduling app with integration to previous recommendations/estimates in the booking interface This should also have some CRM features such as customer reminder notifications, would be great to have multiple contacts notified as often there is a groundskeeper or administrative assistant that we are dealing with as well RO management that includes technician notes, photos attachments, service recommendations and job status (linked to procurement management when parts need ordering) Ability to link service recommendations to estimates and easily turn them into new ROs Inventory management, supply chain integration is nice, procurement management for tracking when and where all the parts are coming from VIN or Plate scanning via mobile camera to start new ROs or estimates with your now common carfax VIN lookup and service history Basically I need all the points of interaction with the customer to be completely mobile, they will not happen in the shop (usually), the RO processing itself can/will happen on a larger device such as desktop or tablet in the shop.
Is anyone working with a company that has this level of mobility yet? My research shows that many of the companies that have long been players in this industry are very slow to adopt this new way of thinking, there are a lot of new names out there though!
While I'm thinking about next level software, the software companies that know how be be ahead of the curve will soon start integrating calibration data VIA J2534 attached to the vehicle record and cross link to manufacturer databases for recommended updates. This will become increasingly important as more and more vehicles integrate complex self driving, in car entertainment and safety features that will require updating. Automatically notify technician of TSBs related to a vehicle and include other data integration features like this.
By Ron Ipach
Dear Shop Owner,
Ron Ipach (a.k.a. Captain Car Count) would like to finally share with you his proven 4-step process that he's secretly been teaching to his private auto repair shop clients for the past 21 years, that’ll practically guarantee 2018 to be a blow-out success for you.
It’s January and that means the new year has kicked off in a big way. Even though we're only a few weeks in, hopefully you’re well on your way to having another fantastic year.
Now, as an Auto Repair Shop Owner, it’s time to start thinking about how to make 2018 an EVEN BETTER year than last. (Heck, let’s go ahead and plan on making it your best year ever! Right?)
Ipach, often referred to as the industry's expert when it comes to Car Count, is now accepting registrants to...
NEW WEBINAR ANNOUNCEMENT
MAKE 2018 YOUR BEST YEAR EVER:
1. Magnetically attract more (and even better!) customers to your shop
2. Easily sell your services at higher prices than your competitors
3. Increase your take-home pay by 30%, 50%, or more
4. Find, hire, and keep that elusive tech you’ve been searching for
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By Joe Marconi
A few weeks back I had a problem with my refrigerator. I got a referral and called an appliance repair company. I called three times and each time I called this is what happened: "C and E appliance, please hold." I was put on hold three times for about 5 minutes. After being put on hold each time, a women would say, "What's the problem?" No engagement, no sign of interest for me the customer, no signs of caring. I gave the women a brief description of the problem and each time she told me someone would call me back. Well, no one did.
So, I called for the 4th time, and as the person answered the phone I said, "DO NOT PUT ME ON HOLD." There was silence, so I continued. I explained to her that she has spoken to me three times, I left messages three times and three times you told me that someone would call me back. She replied, "You are talking to the wrong person, if you have any complaints, write a letter to my boss, after all he won't listen to me anyway." I hung up the phone and called another company.
The lesson and takeaway here is simple: Who's answering your phone? The wrong people on the phone in your shop can kill your business. Have meetings with your people. Make sure you review your phone skills policy. If you don't have one, create one. Empower your people to people to handle issues. And make sure you log every phone call. If you feel you have a problem, start recording phone calls.
Your phone is your lifeline to future business. So, please ask yourself....Who's answering your phone?
By Ron Ipach
I'm going to go out here on a limb here and tell you -
YOUR ONLINE REVIEWS ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR IN ATTRACTING MORE CAR COUNT!
First of all, the reviews given by your customers reveal the health of your business. If your customers aren't saying good things about you, that's a warning sign that you better get your act together right now and start providing a better experience for your customers.
Also, if you only have a few handfuls out of all the hundreds or thousands of customers you've worked saying good things - that's not a healthy sign either. They may like, or even love, doing business with you, but if they aren't telling the world (aka writing an online review), their little secret is hurting your chances to attract more car count.
You see, studies show that 92% of folks will read reviews before making a buying decision, and if you don't have a stellar reputation (4.7 or higher), they'll move on to the next shop.
In fact, I advise that you completely stay away from any form of online advertising for new customers unless your score is at least a 4.7 out of 5.0. Why? Because your prospective new customer will easily be able to compare you with everyone else and will more than likely choose the shop with the better reputation - negating all the time, money, and effort you've put into your advertising efforts.
Look, you can argue with me all you want, but we're talking human nature here. Most will always go with the higher recommended shop. Why not? If you don't have a great reputation score, all you're really doing is advertising for your competitors that do.
But your score isn't the only factor being looked at. There are actually three factors that are important about your reviews.
1. Quality (4.7 or higher overall score is needed)
2. Quantity (These days, a minimum of 75 reviews are needed, but in highly competitive areas, 150+ is needed)
3. Recency (You must be getting 1 or 2 new reviews every single week)
=== So you say you do a great job, your customers love you, but they just aren't writing those positive reviews that you need in order to let the rest of the world know how awesome you are, right? Here are three ways to get more reviews:
1. Ask. (Duh!)
2. Bribe. This has been very effective for a lot of my clients in the past, however it's also considered a no-no by the review sites and may get your account shut down if they find out.
3. Use an automated service like Soapboxx to do it for you that will email or text your customers after their service, ask if they were happy, and then send them directly to Google, Facebook, YP, or wherever you wish so they can write a quick word about their experience.
Soapboxx is the only automated review-boosting service created specifically for the auto repair industry and the beta-testing of the software has just been completed. (See just a few of the remarks from the users below) Go to www.Soapboxx.io for more details.
Check out what some of the members of the new Soapboxx platform are saying...
Whatever you choose to do, ask, bribe, or automate the whole thing - put getting more 4-5 star reviews at the top of your to-do list. It's simply the best thing you can do to help attract more car count to your shop!
By Carl Spandau
hello! i just opened a shop and am having a hard time gaining traction. im looking for some marketing techniques that work good for new business. i have tried social media and google add words with zero results. also are any of the social media marketing company's any good? the ones that call 20 times a day claiming to manage everything and create material for your pages. seems like the only people stopping by are the previous tenants customers and he did not have the best clientele. he marketed heavily discounted repairs, free estimates, bring your own parts. everything i dont want. I would appreciate any tips to getting people into my shop
my shop is a 4 bay with just me and my wife. very clean and remodeled with all the tools a shop needs except an alignment rack.
thank you for your time!
Is it just me? or does it seem that lately there are a lot of businesses being started that insert themselves into the flow of existing transactions only to harvest your profits and lesson the margins of those doing the work and accepting responsibility (us). I am referring to technology companies: Repair Pal, Openbay, CarFix and now Blockchain to mention a few. It is frustrating to me after having built a business (brick and mortar), purchased equipment, hired employees, provide training, accepted full responsibility and risk, supported my community only to have a startup backed by money hungry venture capitalists attempt to erode our profit margin.
I find the statements from co-founder Vladimir Lupenko of Blockchain in this months Ratchet & Wrench extremely arrogant: "The repair industry is huge, and people always get cheated" "We use reputable and undisputable technical data to set the market and price rate". Vladimir goes on to say "Based on our contractual agreement , the repair shop will have to provide the service at the price we have calculated".
As good shop owners, protective of our future, we best rally against this technology, this Wolf in sheep's clothing. My research of these companies leads me to believe that no good will come from their involvement in our businesses. We, as independent shop owners, are operating in an industry some see as ripe for consolidation and this technology is just one of the signs.
I ask that anyone reading this post refuse to participate. The involvement of these companies is not a 'quick fix' for a shop needing car count. Their intention is to drive down your prices, recruit price shopping customers only and mine your data base for their benefit. If our industry sees their existence as a threat and together, refuse to become a member of their organization, they will disappear. Without shops to refer to they lose all value to the consumer and will not be able to return a profit to their investors.
To read the complete article, follow this link: https://www.ratchetandwrench.com/articles/5504-how-blockchain-technology-could-affect-your-shop
To support this research here is a seperate article from this months Ratchet & Wrench magazine discussing how to price your services for long term health and growth: https://www.ratchetandwrench.com/articles/4841-how-to-price-to-gain-customer-loyalty?utm_medium=email&utm_source=utm_code