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bantar

Finally opening the shop

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After years of work to get to this point, we are finally opening the doors to my new shop on Monday.   I did a small friends and family test on Friday.  We stubbed our toes on all procedures but the actual shop work.   It was horrible, but a great learning experience.  Most issues were procedural in nature, so this weekend was procedure repair.   We really weren't ready to open, but it needed to happen.   Still not ready on all fronts.  My website is built, but awaiting my detailed review to go online.  It'll happen in the next day or so.    We're still buying shop tools.   Many are in, but I wanted to let my staff be part of the tool choices.  (Yes, we're going to have to pare back some of their big wish list).

Hiring is still ongoing.  I had my 3 critical positions covered for a while now, but I still have more left to hire.

I chose Protractor as my SMS.  I'm mostly happy with this decision.  My biggest gripe is that the software is unforgiving of mistakes and new users make many mistakes.   I now need to learn how to undo my mistakes so that the accounting part remains accurate. 

Today, my entire computer network went down and it took us over 2 hours to get it back online.  Next on the list is to practice recovery procedures.

One of my major marketing spend items was to be on a busy corner.  It appears that this may indeed work out for us.   We serviced about 9 cars on Friday and turned away about 15 drive-up customers.   Have 1 appointment booked for tomorrow.   Wish me luck!  

 

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Awesome! I'm looking at switching over to Protractor from Mitchell, but my biggest hold up is having to learn a new system. The built in accounting feature is nice, but just like you said, any mistakes can really mess up your financials. All software is going to have a learning curve. I wish I would have started out with protractor though. 

Sounds like you're off to a good start though. Good luck!

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Awesome! I'm looking at switching over to Protractor from Mitchell, but my biggest hold up is having to learn a new system. The built in accounting feature is nice, but just like you said, any mistakes can really mess up your financials. All software is going to have a learning curve. I wish I would have started out with protractor though. 
Sounds like you're off to a good start though. Good luck!
They have a demo version that you can play with. Before I do anything complex, I test it in their demo database, then do it live. And, you can always call me. I'd be happy to help if I can. The little things tripping me up have solutions as they explained today. Now, I need to go test, then fix my inventory snafu's.

Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk

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Everything sounds great. I have been through the experience of opening a brand new shop and it was nerve wracking. However, one question I would have is why did you have to turn 15 cars away?  

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We turned away cars for "their own good".  Believe me, my heart sank with each one.  Surprisingly, a fair number returned vs going somewhere else. The first day and a half was a planned soft opening to work out the bugs in the process.   The bugs in the process caused large time delays.   This would have made for unhappy customers.    I'm running a combo quick lube and repair operation.   We need the lube lanes moving quickly.  

With the holiday week, we were open about 5 days and serviced 63 cars with most being LOF and/or state inspection.  We repaired 3 cars, wrote up repair estimates on about 10 cars and have a few repairs booked for this coming week.   We could have easily handled much more repair, but the lube lanes were running almost at OUR capacity.   This is due to new guys, new procedures and new software and new customers (all require data entry vs repeats).   As well, we're not fully staffed yet.   At the moment, the goal is slow and correct, with rechecks.   We want fast and correct, but it needs to come naturally.

Here's one thing that surprised me.  I've already been mentioned on one of the neighborhood facebook pages.   One lady came in with two young children in tow and she had already heard that I have a playroom for the kids.  It has gotten more use than I really expected.  (She suggested adding coloring books, but I like my walls uncolored).

I've been personally greeting each person that arrives at some point in the process.  I remember one guy looking real nervous as I approached.   After greeting him and thanking him for coming, his eyes lit up and he seemed shocked to receive such a greeting.  I think he'll be coming back.   It's hard for me to get "office" work done and talk with everyone, but I can always borrow sleeping hours to catch up.  

Edited by bantar
Added one more paragraph.
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