By Joe Marconi
For many of us, it's been a wild ride the past few months. We had to take care of everything, making tough decisions, dealing with banks and the SBA and running the shop from the trenches. But, with things looking better each day, it’s time that we get back into the role of building and operating the company.
For many, the COVID-19 crisis is far from over. However, the sooner we begin to adjust and build for the future, the better off we will be.
Shop Owners are among the hardest working people on the planet. We find ways to get through the most difficult situations. I have no doubt that the lesson’s learned from this crisis will make us stronger and more successful.
By Jeremy Glassco
I get asked this many times. How would I use a custom mobile app if I had one for my shop?
Take a moment to think about that.
Imagine what you could do IF you had a custom mobile app for your vehicle owner customers to download, interact with, and engage with your brand?
I'm noticing this trend in the food industry, retail industry, and now even in the medical industry.
What about our auto repair industry niche?
We're working on version 7.3, and part of what I love to do is get great feedback and build it into our upcoming versions.
What about you.
What type of features would an auto repair professional like yourself want in your dream app?
Please share your ideas here and my hard working team of app gurus will get on it!
I currently employ a mechanic and friend who has been with me for about 20 years. He was formerly a transmission rebuilder, but we have switched to mostly reman units and have no need for a rebuilder. His pay has remained the same despite his value declining. I am currently paying him roughly $100,000 a year. The problem i'm having is that his skill set is not near that pay level anymore. He does light diagnostic and basic managerial work, but I am not confident enough for him to run the shop for more than an hour. With the current state of the industry our numbers have gone down a bit over the last two years. While still being profitable, I can't help but think about the extra income that would be available by terminating this employee, I just dont know how to do it. Any advice on how to do this? I like him as a person and have known him a very long time, but I feel his is paid about twice as much as he is worth. Any help wouldbe greatly appreciated.
Last week a sales rep from a local Mercedes parts department stopped in to see me. He has been to my location several times in the past, always polite and professional. He handed me a paper with several topics highlighted such as extended parts dept. business hours during the week, Saturday hours, on-line ordering and mobile diagnostics. He provided additional information about each topic but the item that concerned me was mobile diagnostics. He explained that today’s vehicles are so complex that in many cases they require proprietary OEM equipment, information and training to efficiently repair them which they can provide, for a fee, at my location. He went on to tell me that they are equipping two vehicles, one vehicle for diagnostics and the other vehicle equipped with a compressor, tire machine and balancer. Whoa.... now he lost me, we need assistance replacing tires? Seems to me this mobile task force is NOT our friend but instead our foe, a wolf in sheep’s clothing. They are gearing up to provide mobile repairs in my area at my customers homes and work places, not good. I expressed my concern and he quickly informed me that everyone else that he had presented this concept to were very pleased to be able to receive assistance (for a fee) when needed and did not look at this as competition. This dealership is owned by Lithia, one of the top ten largest dealers in America. I doubt if we, the local independent repair community, could keep two mobile repair vehicles busy enough to warrant their existence. Fine, they are willing to “help” me (for a fee) with problem jobs at my location but I feel they are clearly after my customers. What are your thoughts? Are there any dealers in your area also offering this same service?
By Joe Marconi
It takes a while for any new employee to get up to speed in thier new position, no matter how seasoned they are. We have found that using checklists for basic procedures are a great way to acclimate new employees.
What strategies to you use to get new employees up to seed?
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There is a software package called Complete Auto Reports (CAR), based in NJ. Wondering if anyone is using this software or demoed it? I reached out to them a few months ago to see the software, had a very poor interaction with the representative I dealt with. I still haven't found the software that works best for me so I'm still evaluating packages. I'm thinking about reaching out again and hope my experience was just a bad apple and not representative to the company as a whole. Wondering if anyone else here has any experience with them
website : https://www.completeautoreports.com/
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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.
So I am moving away from the automotive industry and will be staring a mobile heavy diesel repair and service business.
Does anyone have any good contacts or know of any forums that would be of benefit to me to get some mentoring and some advice from the pros?
Thanks in advance!
We all know that Google rules the internet in terms of searches that drive traffic to websites. ASO alone receives 75-80% of its traffic from Google, then Bing. So ranking in search results is very important for website traffic. That being said, Google is now going to put weight on the "mobile friendliness" of websites and rank those that have a mobile layout, better. Starting April 21st, Google will use its new algorithm to re-rank results based on how well a website renders on mobile screens.
So if your website does not have a mobile layout, get with the webmaster or company that designs your site and make sure you have a mobile version working properly.
Below is a recent post from Google this past Feb. Source: Link
Webmaster level: all
When it comes to search on mobile devices, users should get the most relevant and timely results, no matter if the information lives on mobile-friendly web pages or apps. As more people use mobile devices to access the internet, our algorithms have to adapt to these usage patterns. In the past, we’ve made updates to ensure a site is configured properly and viewable on modern devices. We’ve made it easier for users to find mobile-friendly web pages and we’ve introduced App Indexing to surface useful content from apps. Today, we’re announcing two important changes to help users discover more mobile-friendly content:
1. More mobile-friendly websites in search resultsStarting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.
To get help with making a mobile-friendly site, check out our guide to mobile-friendly sites. If you’re a webmaster, you can get ready for this change by using the following tools to see how Googlebot views your pages:
If you want to test a few pages, you can use the Mobile-Friendly Test. If you have a site, you can use your Webmaster Tools account to get a full list of mobile usability issues across your site using the Mobile Usability Report. 2. More relevant app content in search resultsStarting today, we will begin to use information from indexed apps as a factor in ranking for signed-in users who have the app installed. As a result, we may now surface content from indexed apps more prominently in search. To find out how to implement App Indexing, which allows us to surface this information in search results, have a look at our step-by-step guide on the developer site.
If you have questions about either mobile-friendly websites or app indexing, we’re always happy to chat in our Webmaster Help Forum.