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Picture This ---- I learned a little something when I was teaching a little something Picture This (A lesson learned while teaching) Years ago my younger brother came to work for me. He didn't know a thing about cars, but was willing to learn all he could. Teaching new techs is an art that most shop owners have to learn to do, but teaching your little brother can be a chore and can test your patience. I muddled thru it all and taught him what I could. I was sure at some point in time the two of us would butt heads like brothers will do, and he would take his new found skills and move up in the rank and files of the automotive technical world, but in the meantime it was his turn to learn from his older brother. When he first started I would walk him thru each step of how to diagnose a certain system in a car. A lot of times he would have questions, and I'd do my best to answer them. He learned quickly and was really sharp at picking up some of those little details that are harder to teach, because you tend to forget to mention them while you're teaching. Mainly because you are trying to get to the solution as efficiently as possible, and you neglect to bring it up. Such as: "always test your test light connection before testing what you're testing, or don't forget to check for all your tools before you pull the car out of the shop…." Things like that. One day we had a truck come in with dual fuel tanks on it. The gas gauge wasn't working and needed some attention. This was a perfect opportunity for Junior to learn a few of my short cuts on these old models. It was an older Ford, in which the tank gauge ran thru the tank switchover button. It was rather easy to pull it out of the dash and connect to the gauge from the back of the switch. Luckily it was the typical problem I've seen a hundred times in the past. The switch connections would melt and the tank wouldn't switch from the front tank to the rear, and of course the gauge wouldn't move either. After locating the correct leads to the gauge and to the tanks I decided to show him how the gauge worked. I hooked up the one of the tanks to the crossover lead that would supply the signal from the tank to the gauge. "Ya see this, that's the lead to the fuel gauge in the dash, and this is one of the tank wires. I'll connect these together and we should get a reading on the dash," I told him. He was watching intently, taking in all the wiring diagram information, the location of the wires, and how I was bypassing the switch. He was fascinated with the flow of the current and the way the gauge would respond. I even went as far as moving the gauge from full to empty by opening and closing it to a ground signal. While I had his attention I filled him in on the two types of gauges that were used back then (bimetallic and magnetic) and how low resistance on a bimetal type gauge would read near a full tank, while a magnetic gauge would read close to empty. Change the resistance and the gauge would/should read accordingly. "So, if we put gas in the tank the gauge should move right? That way we could check the sending units in the tanks too," he asked me. "Great idea, grab a gas can and let's add a few gallons," I said, excited that he was so interested in the project. He grabbed a can of gas and poured a few gallons in the tank. I was watching the gas guage carefully, but there was no movement. I knew I was on the right wires, but nothing was happening. Now what? Are there more problems? "Crawl under there, and check to be sure the wire color is correct," I yelled from the cab to him. "Yep, it's the right wire on the tank." "Well, we might have to pull the tank; it's not changing the gauge readings up here." "Before we do that let's add some more gas, maybe we didn't add enough," Junior tells me. I thought I better go back and help hold the funnel, while he poured the gas in the tank. Unknowing to me, all this time my wife (who was the office manager) was listening in on the whole thing. She likes to keep tabs on me, and make sure I'm not going into one of my usual rants or having a fit because I had to explain something over and over again to little brother. This time she was standing at the corner of the shop just behind the truck with a camera. "CLICK", I heard the camera shutter go off and she was back there laughing like there was no tomorrow. "What's so funny?" I asked her. "You two idiots have been putting gas in the wrong tank. You're on the front tank, and you're putting gas in the rear tank," my wife answers, laughing hysterically. About then the camera "clicked" again… this time it was an action shot taken at precisely the exact moment when these two idiots had that dumb struck look on their faces and realized what they just did. The shot had both of us on our knees, one holding a funnel and the other with the half empty gas can, and both of us staring right into the camera lens. Couldn't have set it up any better if you tried. The picture clearly showed the side of the truck with both fuel tank doors visible and there was no doubt which tank we were putting in the extra gas. I guess it was one of those things I should have mentioned when we were checking the tank senders… make sure we are both on the same tank. For years that picture hung over her desk, and anytime I thought I was so smart she would point at the photo. Usually with that typical smirk, usually shaking her finger at me and of course the laugh… she had to laugh, but it wasn't all that funny until she had me laughing about it too. Ok, Ok, I'm not perfect... and now my little brother knows it too. These days he's a top notch tech at a dealership, and I have to call him on occasions for some help on how to solve things once in a while. Oh the photo… uhmmm… what photo?? Somehow it's missing… haven't seen the darn thing in years. But I guess I really don't need to see the photo … the wife has a pretty good memory... she reminds me just how smart I think I am every chance she gets.
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Hi Everyone. I have been lurking on this board for a while. I have read a lot of posts and have been shopping for a shop to buy. I have heard and seen so many misrepresentations from existing shops that it's difficult for me to trust any seller's claims. I would like to have about a six bay shop. So, my question is buy a shop or build a shop? I am very interested to hear any comments from the experienced. Thanks in advance
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(Warning and apologies for the long post) As you can see by my profile, I’m pretty new to AutoShopOwner.com but after browsing around quite a bit and communicating with @Alex and a couple of other leaders around here, I figured it would be worth the investment to become and Advertiser Member for the purpose of introducing our service and getting some feedback. It is not my intent to bombard with promotion but rather provide information about a capability that few realize is even possible. I’d like to start this introduction with a couple of statements. It is becoming increasingly difficult and frustrating to reach customers by phone since they often don’t answer the phone and often don’t check their voicemail. Most people text more than they talk these days. If you agree, I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce you to TextBox! TextBox was conceptualized back in 2012 from this video (See YourCarIsReady Video) Following are some of the capabilities we offer along with comparisons to other text messaging options we have encountered. Text Enable Your Existing Shop Telephone Number TextBox- Text-enables your existing shop telephone number. Your telephone number is part of your brand and part of your value. TextBox leverages the value of that number by opening up the text communications channel. People are probably already texting your number… they’re just not getting anywhere. Adding ‘Call or Text’ to your shop signage, website, Facebook page and any other marketing materials that include your telephone number will enhance those marketing efforts and provide more leads. Frequently, when you call somebody they text you back. Likewise, when you text somebody, they may call you back. Since TextBox uses your existing phone number. Both of those work! Others- Some use a shared 5 or 6 digit short codes. Some require you to introduce a completely new number that might not even be a local number. Some use email-to-text which requires you to find out what carrier the customer uses. If somebody calls the number you text them from, usually, the call goes nowhere. Not a very good customer experience. If you call a customer from your shop telephone number and they respond via text, the text goes nowhere. True Two-Way Texting TextBox- TextBox offers true two-way texting from the comfort of a full size keyboard and computer screen and keyboard anywhere you happen to be. You can name and tag contacts and review unlimited conversation history. Others- Many are one-way only. If a customer replies or initiates a text, the text fails and you never see it. Many don’t have an interface where you can review previous text messages in a conversational thread. With email-to-text, each message is a separate email message. It’s almost impossible to keep up with. Most Shop Management systems that have a text module are one-way only. Multiple Interfaces TextBox- The most used TextBox interface is through a small app that is installed on Windows computers and/or laptops. It automatically starts when the computer starts and pops up to alert you when new texts arrive. We also provide tablet and mobile apps that allow you to see and respond to TextBox messages wherever you happen to be. Others- Most require you to remember to open and log in to a web browser and remember to check the page to see if any texts have come in. Very few also have tablet or mobile interfaces. Cost TextBox- Most shops don’t need anything more than our $49/month small business plan. Larger shops with multiple service advisors with direct numbers can text-enable each additional number for only $29/month. There are no contracts or term commitments. We even offer a free trial and don’t even ask for billing information. Others- We have been surprised at some of the services that appear to do less but cost much more. Frequently Answered Questions: Will it mess up my phone service? NO. The voice and text networks are completely separate. Can multiple people use it? YES. And everything is automatically synchronized. How long does it take to get set up? Usually fully operational within a few hours. Are there any contracts or term commitments? NO. Service is month-to-month. For those who have taken the time to read all the way down this far, we’re making a special introductory offer hoping you will provide feedback here on the forum about your experience with the ease of getting started, the power and efficiency of TextBox and our outstanding customer service. The first 10 members here who PM me here or contact us directly and mention AutoShopOwner.com will receive: A completely no obligation trial from now to the end of March 2017. An automatic free month every year if they sign up for service after the trial. Of course, I’d be happy to answer any questions in this thread, via private message in this form, buy phone or… by text. John Fabrega
Line1 Communications & TextBox
850.205.1111 (Call or Text)
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My wife and I went to Mall yesterday to buy a gift for my grandson. We passed the men's belts and noticed a sales offer; 30% off all Belts. I stopped to look, and my wife said, "Don't you need a new belt?" So, I picked a $40 belt that was marked down 30%, which brought the belt down to $28. My wife pulls out a $20 coupon, which brought the price down to 8 bucks! What is the real price on the belt?....what is the cost price to the store on the belt? Makes you think, right? I struggle with 10% discounts on AAA customers. Is price all smoke and mirrors, when it comes to retail?
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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!
By Ron Ipach
Hey Shop Owners,
It’s December and that means the year is almost over. Even though we only have about four weeks left, I hope you’re well on your way to having another fantastic year.
Now… it’s time to start thinking about how to make 2018 an EVEN BETTER year. (Heck, let’s go ahead and plan on making it your best year ever! Right?)
I’d like to invite you to a very special LIVE webinar where I’m going to reveal to you for the very first time, my proven 4-step process that I’ve secretly been teaching to my private auto repair shop clients for the past 21 years, that’ll practically guarantee 2018 to be a blow-out success for you.
With these four steps, you’ll be able to…
Magnetically attract more (and even better!) customers to your shop Easily sell your services at higher prices than your competitors Increase your take-home pay by 30%, 50%, or more Find, hire, and keep that elusive tech you’ve been searching for Put the fun back into running your shop! Interested? Great.
There is zero cost to attend this live training and you won’t even have to leave the shop. All you need to do is set aside about 45 minutes of your day to join me right here online.
Next week, I’ll be hosting this webinar twice. Once during the day. Once in the evening. That way, you’re sure to be able to find the time to join me.
For the dates, times, and registration details, CLICK HERE.
I hope you’ll join me,
Ron Ipach, President Of Repair Shop Coach