Quantcast
Jump to content


Joe Marconi

IMPORTANT! It's November: Time to get your Auto Repair Shop Ready for 2018

Recommended Posts

Each year at this time I advise shop owners to set aside time to look back at the current year and start planning for the year ahead.  The more due diligence you perform, the more successful you will be.  Below is a short list of things you need to do.  Remember, the time you spend now, will pay off next year.

  1. Review all your numbers, year to date - Did you hit your goals? 
  2. Arrange a meeting with your accountant and review your projected sales and determine any tax implications
  3. Speak to your accountant about investing in any end-of-year equipment purchases or any other large purchases in order to save on taxes. Please do not listen to your tool truck guy or equipment reps. Sometimes having cash reserve is much more important that reducing taxes
  4. Have a meeting with your key employees; determine what you will need in the coming year and begin to create a budget
  5. Set your new goals for 2018 and beyond, both personal and business
  6. Create a Wish List, those things your would like to accomplish, both in business and personal - This will help keep you focused 
  7. Consider needed future training for all employees
  8. Review all insurances: Life insurance, liability, etc.
  9. Perform a facility inspection: Identify any needed work, upgrades, OSHA concerns, etc
  10. Create an emergency crisis plan in case something happens to you or a key employee; and make sure your loved ones and family have a copy of the plan 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Similar Forum Topics

    • Seeking/open to Partnership for Repair Shop Planning

      Hey All, My name is Karla, I had previously owned a 3-bay mechanical repair shop in Burlington, VT for 6 years and built it to maintain an outstanding reputation and provide a comfortable income. I had the opportunity to sell my half of the business and finalized that deal this past fall. I have worked in all areas of the auto repair industry over the past 15 years, graduated from a two-year ASE certified auto tech program and went on to earn my Bachelor’s in business and a masters degree in executive leadership.  I have some capital I will be contributing to the planning and opening of a new shop and am very open to meeting potential partners/investors in all areas of the country. I greatly look forward to building something new in a location new to me. Anyway, I’d like to welcome all /any interest and to answer any questions about joining forces in shop planning and management. Please do not hesitate to contact me, thanks for considering! —Karla

      By KDshopNEA, in Automotive Business Opportunities

      • 1 reply
      • 305 views
    • Shop Owners: You don’t have to answer every question for your employees

      As shop owners, we sometimes feel that we need to answer every question and handle every situation. While you need to be proficient as a business owner, you also need your employees to think for themselves.  Empower your people to solve problem.  Ask them for their opinions and don’t be too quick to jump in on every situation.  The more you jump in and solve their problems, the more they will rely on you. This is not to say you don’t have their back; but a team functions best when everyone takes ownership of their position and takes responsibility to take care of problems. Will employees make mistakes? Yes.  But there isn’t a shop owner on this planet that has a perfect record at making decisions.  We all make mistakes. As a shop owner; teach, mentor and coach.  Include your employees in on decisions that relate to their job position.  When employees feel you trust them, they will begin to solve their own problems. This will set you free to work on the things that will bring you greater success.

      By Joe Marconi, in Joe’s Business Tips For Shop Owners

        
      • 2 replies
      • 329 views
    • Article: Breaker-Breaker--- back in the day of the CB... things were a bit different

      Breaker, Breaker…                                 In my many years of repairing cars I’ve helped out a  countless number of other shops with their electrical  problems.  Some shops I would see a few times a month,  and others only once in awhile. This was years before the  internet was around, and cell phones were only a fad and way to expensive to have.  So, most everything was  done by a land line or over the CB radio.         Back in the mid 80’s and 90’s I had one shop that I talked with nearly every day.  Great guys, but not so great as mechanics.  The owners name was Joe.  His shop was small and seemed to be a place for wayward towed vehicles and obscure customers looking for dirt cheap repairs.  His main business was his tow service, and the repair shop seemed to be there just to fill in the gaps on those slow days.     One afternoon I got a call from Joe about a car his crew had given up on.  They threw the parts cannon at it, but couldn’t get this car to come back to life.  Joe was with tows, and needed the mechanics he had to drive the other tow trucks. This particular car had been in his shop for quite some time and I don't think the customer was too happy about it.  So, to speed things up a bit, he dropped it off at my shop.         “I’ll be on the road all day.  I've got to get back out there.  I've got tows lined up all day.  If you get it going, could ya run it back to my shop,” Joe said, as he made a dash for his tow truck.       “No problem Joe, I’ll get right on it,” I said, just as he drove off.       The car was an 80’s GM. I could see all kinds of shiny new components under the hood, and could tell they put a lot of effort into swapping parts to find out what was going on.   The symptom was; if you flipped the key to the crank position it would immediately start, but die just as quickly.           The parts they changed were the predictable parts cannon fodder that the typical parts slapper would try.  Tune-up parts, an IAC, TPS, MAP, ECM, etc… etc… all of which might, could, should’ve, probably, maybe, and of course, eventually with enough darts thrown at it, could have hit the target and fixed it.  But it didn’t.   I wasn’t about to go that route.  Time for some real diagnostics and not just shoot from the hip.  Why not start with the basics- fuel, air, and fire.          Spark was good, timing looked good, and the intake had a good air pull.  I gave it a shot of carb. cleaner, and as long as I kept spraying… it kept running.  Ok, time to check the fuel pressure.  Interesting... there was pressure.  Hmmm, now what to do? The next obvious thing (to me) was to check fuel volume.           I disconnected a fuel line and gave the key a flick into start.  The fuel shot out into the drainage bucket, but then trickled to a stop. I did it a second time.  Not as much fuel made it out this time, but the scenario was basically the same.  It was always a quick burst followed by a trickle.  Maybe I should look at that gas gauge. Well, wouldn’t ya know it, the gauge is ready E. It had just enough in the tank to pressurize the fuel lines but not enough to keep it going.       Might as well grab a gas can, and put some in the tank.  I’ll try it again… vroom, vroom, vroom, alright! It’s running great!  Looks to me as if the entire problem was that it was out of gas.  However, with all the new parts they installed, I couldn’t be sure if this was the 'only' problem or an after affect of having the car in the shop so long while trying to solve another problem.  It could have been any one of the other components (within reason) they changed that really 'did' need to be changed.           Later that day I drove the car back to Joe’s shop.  He wasn’t there, but his dispatcher was in the office sorting out tow tickets and monitoring the CB with the volume up full blast.  In the background you could hear the CB chatter from all the area’s tow companies.         About then I heard Joe’s voice over the CB, “Did Gonzo call yet? Need to check in on him, we need to get that car back to the owner.”       “He just walked in Joe, over,” the dispatcher told him.       “So what was wrong with it,” Joe asked between the squelch of the CB radio and all the other chatter from the other tow companies.       The dispatcher turned to me and pointed at the mic.  So, I told him . The dispatcher, with a stunned look on his face, said, “I can’t tell him that.  He is going to be so pissed.”       “I don’t think you should either.  At least not until he gets back,” I said, while breaking into an ear to ear smile.       The CB comes back to life with Joe’s voice again; “So what did he find out, over,” Joe's frustration was showing through as his voice barked out of the CB speaker.  The dispatcher said to me, " Old Joe sounds pretty pissed."      I don’t know whether it was the way his day was going or how much time and money he's spent on this car.  Either way, he’s not going to like this answer.        “Go ahead… tell him,” I said to the dispatcher, still sitting there hold the mic button, “He wants the answer, so let him have it.”       “Alright, Joe, are ya ready for this, over?" the dispatcher said, then waited for a response from Joe.   "Yea, go ahead, over."   "It was out of gas.”       A dead silence came over the CB. No chatter, nothing, not another sound for what seemed to be an eternity.  Then, all hell broke loose.  Tow drivers from all over the city were razing poor Joe.  The CB was full of laughter and goof ball comments, but not a word from Joe. Poor Joe, you asked for it, and now you got it.        “Tell Joe to stop by the shop, he can settle up with me then,” I said, while trying to hold back the laughter.       As I walked out the door, the CB chatter could be heard all the way to the parking lot, and the comments were still flying.  It was one of the funniest moments I’ve ever had for doing nothing more than putting gas in a car.         When Joe came up to pay the bill I told him I had a little something for him.  I handed him a little tiny gas can on a key chain.  I figured it might be a good reminder for him to always check the basics before loading up the parts cannon again.            After all these years I’m sure he hasn’t forgotten about it, and I’ll bet he doesn’t tell too many people where he got that little gas can key chain from… but now, it wouldn't be so much on the CB, but over the internet. 
      View full article

      By Gonzo, in AutoShopOwner Articles

      • 3 replies
      • 99 views
    • Shop Owners; Take time to recharge this weekend

      There's a time to work, and there's a time to relax a bit. We are in the middle of a three- day weekend; Labor Day. The very name Labor Day should make us all think about how hard we work all year long.  We need balance in our lives. We need time with friends and family.  So, take a break and recharge your batteries this holiday weekend. It will do you a world of good.  Trust me, the business will be there after the weekend is over.  Happy Labor Day Weekend!  

      By Joe Marconi, in Joe’s Business Tips For Shop Owners

      • 0 replies
      • 150 views
    • How are automotive shop owners handling vacation season?

      In my 38 year business career, it has always been an issue with summer vacations.  We want our employees to enjoy life, but the summer is our busiest time. What are shop owners doing to maintain production, while balancing vacation time?  

      By Joe Marconi, in Human Resources, Payroll and Training

      • 1 reply
      • 227 views
  • AutoShopOwner Sponsors

  • Similar Tagged Content

    • By Joe Marconi
      The day to day operations of running a business can take its toll on anyone.  To be a business owner means to address problem after problem and finding the right solutions. Sometimes the decisions we make will be the right ones, sometimes not.  If we are not careful, this emotional roller coaster we call being in business, can make us focus too much on the negative, and not the positive things that happen in our lives.
      With nearly 4 decades as a business owner, I can say with certainty that one of the basic building blocks of being successful in business is having the right team of people around you and getting yourself in the right frame of mind. 
      You need to find and hire great people. But once you have them, you need to do all you can to take care of them, train them and make them successful in order for you to be successful. Is it easy? No. But it is essential.
      Most important; you need to treat each day as if it were a gift from the heavens and base your entire perspective from a position of strength and remaining positive.  I know it’s not easy, but I can tell you, it works.
       
    • By Joe Marconi
      This is not new topic for me, but I need to revisit it again. And I will keep revisiting this topic for the sake of our industry. 
      For independent repair shops to "thrive" today, you must take a proactive approach with regard to business.  If you only want to "survive" you can stop reading now.
      Waiting for the phone to ring, or for cars to breakdown, or for a customer to drive into your shop asking for a repair or service is business suicide. The days of broken cars lining up in front of your bays are over.  Sure, cars still breakdown, but you cannot thrive with a wait-and-see strategy.
      Make sure you perform multipoint inspections on all cars in for any type of service. Yes, any type of service or repair.  Look up vehicle history on all vehicles. Let the customer know of needed services, missed services and services due. And lastly, book the next appointment.   Yes, I know....Joe's been preaching this over and over and it does not work in your shop. Fine, then let me focus on those shops that do book the next appointment.  Because those are the shops that are adopting a proactive approach...and I will see those shops in the future.
       
       
       
    • By Joe Marconi
      One thing I often repeat over and over again is this; "Back in the 1980's, there were three things that made repair shops successful; General Motors, Ford and Chrysler."  Those cars broke down a lot, and there was an endless supply of cars that required a lot of profitable work.
      Well, those days are gone.  Cars today are build better, last longer (thankfully), and have ever-increasing service intervals. Consumers are also conditioned to think that their cars don't need maintenance.  It wasn't that long ago when your customers were coming to you 4 to 5 times a year for service. Now, you are lucky to see those customer twice a year for their routine LOF service. 
      The point here?  You must take a proactive approach and promote preventive maintenance.  You must inform your customers of their next service and any other future service recommendation or repair. You must do all you can to get your customer to return to you. Which means providing the absolute best customer service with quality repairs.
      Even the term "repair shop" needs to redefined.
      Be proactive and you'll be successful!
       
    • By Joe Marconi
      As we close the first quarter of 2017, it’s time to review our strategies and goals.  Did we hit the mark? Did we achieve our goals? These are some of the questions we will ask ourselves.  Business planning and looking forward is something that all shop owners must do.  We review data, make projections and set goals.  But, there are times when adjustments must be made to any set of objectives. Why? Life has a way of getting in the way at times.
      In the world of business, there is one thing you can count on: Everything changes over time.  Think of it this way.  You plan a road trip across the country.  You plot out the number of hours per day you will be driving, where you will stop, times for rest and refueling, etc.  On day two, you hit a pothole and damage a tire; putting you behind by half a day. On the third day, unexpected construction forces you to make a detour. This also puts you behind a half a day.  The takeaway: There will always be things in life that will test your resolve and force you to readjust and realign your plans. Business is no different. 
      Create your strategy, create clearly defined written goals. But know that life does get in the way at times. So be prepared to make course corrections on your journey.
       
    • By Joe Marconi
      If there is one thing I have learned in my 36 years in business, it’s that people make the biggest difference in terms of success. No matter what equipment you have, or tools or information system. It’s the quality of your employees that will determine your success.
      Think about this. If you were the coach of a football team and your goal was to win the Super Bowl, what would be your first goal?  To assemble the best players possible, a team of superstar athletes. The fanciest stadium on the planet does not win games. It takes great players and a great coach.  And a great coach understands that he needs to surround himself with superstars.
      Your repair shop is no different. If you want to attain great success, it will be achieved not only by your work, but by the work of others around you.  Your success is truly determined by the having the right people and then by bringing out the best in them.  


×