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Ron Ipach

Help needed. If I'm wrong, I need to be corrected ASAP

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I released a video on my blog yesterday that seems to be causing a bit of a stir. Some shop owners are saying my idea is brilliant - others say I'm totally wrong.

In a nutshell, I'm advocating giving away $100 in services for a new client referral.

The last thing I want to do is give away bad information, so I'm asking for some help to set me straight if I'm way off base.

You can watch the video here for my full explaination: http://www.captaincarcount.com/auto-repair-marketing/is-this-a-crazy-idea-or-what/

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  • Similar Forum Topics

    • By Joe Marconi
      We know the value of technical and sales training, but what about in-house training.  What I am referring to is review policies and procedures.  By reviewing in house written procedures gets everyone on the same page, improves production and also improves quality in the repair process. A simple process such as everyone following the same procedure for a cooling system problem will add to the overall shop's production and in the long run procedure a better quality job.     
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      I need to find some employees fast and I am having no luck, anyone willing to help me write an advertisement or help me with postings, over the phone or through e-mail, please let me know.
      Just found this, not feeling good about this.
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    • By Gonzo
      Ouija Board Diagnostics
      I’ve often wondered why a lot of the driving public believes auto repair is something for non-thinking Neanderthals that have no ambition to do anything else in life.  For all I know they think we (us mechanics that is) diagnose every problem by breaking out a Ouija board, while humming some ancient automotive chant. It could also be that a good mechanic just makes things look easy to the unaware and uniformed layman. With the right mechanic the whole thing can seem effortless, easy, and somewhat second nature when it comes to diagnosing a problem. To the armchair mechanic sitting at home watching the next new automotive reality show, it’s either – “Repairs are a no-brainer, I can do that”, or it must be some sort of Ouija board magic.
       Mind you, the number of individuals who still believe anyone can be a mechanic is dwindling ever so slowly.  Mainly because the car itself has gone past the point of parts swapping and a shade tree mechanic’s ability to repair the modern car.  It’s no secret good old dad with the typical box of tools from a discount chain store can hardly change a spark plug anymore, let alone find them. Oh sure, you can still do a pad slap at home, and you can probably toss on a set of shocks, replace a bulb or two, but diagnosing a problem, especially one that involves some form of electronics… well… that’s a whole new issue to deal with.
      It could be they need to master the Ouija board diagnostic scenario, or they need another round of You Tube videos.  Every mechanic has undoubtedly heard the same thing from a well-seasoned You Tuber, “Oh I could have done that.” This usually leads to an even longer explanation of how you’ve done the entire repair wrong, but put the tools in their hands, and the results are pretty consistent.  The car is either incorrectly put together, or they’ve lost some parts between point A and point B. Videos are great, but you still need to have some mechanical dexterity.
      A good example of this scenario is when I was teaching a brake shoe replacement class the other day.  After explaining the type of brake system we were working on, I removed the brake shoes from the car.  Next, I reinstalled the same shoes, slowing down just enough so they could see how to use the brake tools. It probably took all of 20 minutes to explain it in detail and install the shoes. All the heads were bobbing and the usual consensus was they all had this repair procedure down pat, because, as we all know, anybody can do brakes.  Well, as if it was no surprise, when the students got their hands into the job all I heard was one cuss word after another and the occasional student chasing a bouncing spring or clip across the shop floor. So much for easy, aye?
      So, where do most of these unprofessional type mechanics and couch connoisseurs of the automotive world go for any information?  Where else, the internet. The one place that doesn’t check the credentials of the person making the video, and the one place where anyone with a box of tools can be a superstar with a wrench. In their video they’re the automotive expert, camera man, sound man, director of content, and editor all at the same time.  No need in researching the facts, looking up the proper methods, or any other various procedures, service bulletins, or the latest tools related to that particular job. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a video out there with a couple of guys surrounding one of those Ouija boards asking why the short fuel trim is higher on one of side than the other.
      Ouija board or not, there are a few draw backs to internet information, but there really are a lot of super fantastic guys and gals putting out some very helpful videos on car repair.  It’s just the few home brewed videos that make me cringe. Some of these back yard magicians seem to consult their Ouija board way too often. As if they conjured up some miracle answer right on the spot. Honestly, some of these videos are about as reliable as fake news. But, then again… that’s what some people think the professional mechanic does every day.
      As there has always been, and there will always be, a shortage of trained technicians out there able to handle the job of repairing the modern car.  I’m very sure we will never see the day when there is an overabundance of good mechanics who have to change careers because there is no room for them under the hood.  It’s never going to happen. What does need to happen is the one thing consumers don’t want, and that’s cost of repairs most certainly need to rise, as well as the mechanics’ wages to keep up with all of these technical advancements. It’s not a maybe, it’s a must or the technology will run right past you.  Ask any mechanic what they learned on a vehicle from 10 years ago vs. today’s cars, and you’ll find that nearly half of what they did back then isn’t applicable in today’s diagnostic procedures.
      To be a good technician these days takes a lot of training, a lot of time spent reading, and understanding the latest technologies. New information comes from the manufacturers’ engineering departments just as fast as the cars come off the assembly lines, and to stay on top of things you need to study. I’ve heard people tell me, “Yea, I went to an automotive tech school to be a mechanic, but I didn’t learn anything.”  Seriously?  I’m sure you learned a whole lot.  The problem isn’t the school training, the problem is you.  Training doesn’t stop with your diploma, it stops when you stop wanting to advance your knowledge in the repair industry. School is a starting point, but to be a modern mechanic means you need to stay focused on the technology, take advanced training classes in your field of choice, and not expect answers from a You Tube video or your Ouija board.
      There’s a lot to learn and retain.  It’s not a trade where you learn one method and expect that skill to last you throughout your career.  It’s an ever changing industry with ever changing technology. Learn the basics, then learn to diagnose the modern car.  You can’t guess at a solution or consult that old Ouija board for the answers.  It takes practice and a lot of hands on from a dedicated individual willing to get their hands dirty and diagnose an automotive problem.  Then solve it correctly. Sorry, no Ouija board diagnostics allowed.   

      View full article
    • By Gonzo
      Where’s That Machine?
               Even in this age of electronic gadgets, voice recognition systems, and cell phones, there are still a few things that require the dexterity of a human being. For some skilled and unskilled jobs the physical work or mental intuitiveness hasn’t been entirely replaced by machines, microprocessors and LED’s, just yet. Automotive diagnostics and repair is one of those fields. The modern mechanic is still very much a part of the repair equation. But, go to any repair shop in this country, and you’ll probably hear somebody at the service counter ask the service writer, “You guys do have one of those machines that tells you what’s wrong, don’t ya?”
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               Look how the tools of the modern mechanic have changed over the years, such as scanners and meters. They are an aide, a machine, a tool if you will, but they don’t give out answers. Although, these tools can do so much in the way of diagnosing a problem in the hands of an expert mechanic. They show the technician a code or information in regards to the internal aspects of the vehicle. Code numbers and definitions are a strategic direction for the repair. This allows a trained technician to know which pathway to take in making the repair. To put it in other words: the real machine that finds out what’s wrong with your car is those two hands and brain of the very guy with his name imprinted on his shirt. Not some box of transistors and relays, but people still ask about and believe there is this magical mystery machine that does all the work.
               The automotive field isn’t what those reality TV shows portray it to be, either.  Most of these shows highlight the automotive industry as a place for stupid, filthy, disorganized-knuckle dragging fools who can’t read or write, and wouldn't know a dentist office if they stumbled in one. It’s just one more reason why it’s so hard to find sharp, young talent to take up the trade.
      Car technology changes so fast these knuckle draggers can’t keep up with the true professional mechanic field and what goes on in a real repair facility, but for some reason somebody at these networks think reality shows of guys taking old non-computerized cars apart is what we want to watch on television. I for one would rather watch something useful like reflashing a GM than what it takes to weld in a new quarter panel. You want to get the next generation interested in the field…show em’ something of interest in the way of a modern computer driven vehicle.
      The vast number of computer systems, hydraulics, electrical, radar/navigation systems and mechanical aspects of the modern car are constantly changing. This means continual education is a must for the professional mechanic. A modern mechanic is more like a surgeon than a brick layer is to one.  Even though both are considered laborer trades, one is more artistic in nature while the other is more technology driven.
      For some people, the mere thought that somebody out there knows more about their car than they do is quite disturbing to them.  They seem to think they are far more intelligent than the engineers, designers, and the mechanics combined. In their interpretation of the automotive repair world, the mechanic has to be an idiot to even think they can make a living fixing this stuff when it’s just as easy to fix it yourself at home in the garage. I’ve been told more than once by an irate customer that it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to fix a car, so it shouldn’t cost that much.
      So, why would these types of people even want to talk with this guy who has his name tattooed on his shirt? Why not bypass him altogether and go right to the mechanized technical wonder they can’t seem to find at the local part store.  You know, that machine.  That thing-a-mabob that tells those dimwitted Neanderthal mechanics what part to change and how to make their car all better.
      As far as they are concerned, diagnostics are not needed, because following a path laid out in a diagnostic chart isn’t a skill that’s required when making a repair.  Just read the results on the scanner, order the part, stick it on, and then get back to their own lives with as little interruption as possible. All they want to pay for is what they consider the main reason for going to the mechanic in the first place.  You know, let them get greasy, change some widget and make their car run like new without costing them a fortune, and if it doesn’t… blame the mechanic, and not that dime store diagnostic machine they relied on.
      Where the idea of a machine that can answer every type of automotive problem by simply plugging it into the car is beyond me. I suppose, some of it comes from growing up with the TV and watching sci-fi shows, but reality doesn’t come across as real with a portion of the driving public. They’re still stuck with the notion that Mr. Spock will break out his Tri-corder and inform them about the composition of material making up their engine block, and the exact cause of their engine misfire. Seriously people, get a grip on reality. The idea that this perfect machine actually exists is simply absurd, but the mystery of it all still lingers in the minds of those tried and true believers of all this technical wizardry of which they don’t understand. In their minds that “machine” is real, and any mechanic that doesn’t know about one is a fool.
      In the near future, even this mythical, magical machine may actually be more fiction than myth.  Telematics and remote diagnostics may make the vision of a “one machine can fix-all” far more real than we can imagine.  Not that I believe there really will be a “fix-all” machine capable of re-gapping a worn out spark plug, but I do believe a lot of systems will be diagnosed, and possibly electronically repaired by remote intervention.  Although, those tough diagnostics that can’t be sorted out will still require the skill of a good diagnostic mechanic to accomplish them.
      Maintenance and wearable item repairs will most likely be the commonplace activities at a repair shop in the future.  Needless to say, the days of a home mechanic with a set of tools picked up at a garage sale may soon be a thing of the past or left up to the hobbyist working on antique vehicles.  The modern technically advanced vehicle of the future may become too far advanced for anyone except for the skilled mechanic. 
      We may be in a technically advanced computer age, and there’s no doubt there are further advancements to be made, but the trained mechanic is still a big part of the future. So, the next time someone asks, “Where’s that machine?” tell them it’s where it’s always been, in the service bay, and you’ve been talking to it all this time… your mechanic.  
              

      View full article
    • By spencersauto
      We recently started doing courtesy inspections through bolt on technology.   I have one technician that is  being very resistant to writing any vehicles up for any maintenance or problems as he feels we shouldn't be pressuring the customer. Today we had one come in from Goodyear that they recommended upper and lower ball joint's.  I asked him to check it out and to complete the multi point inspection. On the multi point he indicated that there were no problems with the ball joints. I had the owner recheck and he found the ball joints had significant play present. The owner was quite frustrated as this was  $1500 that we could have potential he lost had he not rechecked him. The technician that originally came and checked it out came to me and asked why the owner was being such a dick. based on his resistance to completing the courtesy inspections, not knowing what he's checking out (has recommended fuel filters and timing belts when the car doesn't have one) and hey I'm calling the owner a dick I feel it made to be time to let this employee go. Should I write him up for insubordination or just cut ties with him?
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