By Elite Worldwide Inc.
Keep Your Shop's Summer Momentum Going!
Elite's Supercharge Your Shop, a series of 4 live online courses for shop owners, starts Sept 14th!
Learn to master your shop's numbers, recruit the top techs & advisors, maximize employee productivity, fill up your bays with your ideal customers and more!
These live online courses will be taught by industry superstars Joe Marconi and Kevin Vaught, who have both experienced extraordinary success as shop owners, so everything you'll learn has been proven to generate extraordinary real world results!
You have the option to either enroll in the whole Supercharge Your Shop course series, or pick and choose the individual courses that will help your shop the most. Here's the course schedule:
Sept 14-15 - Mastering Your Shop's Numbers and Cost Control
Sept 16-17 - Hiring America's Top Techs & Advisors
Sept 21-22 - Maximizing Employee Morale, Productivity and Profits
Sept 23-24 - Filling Up Your Service Bays with the Ideal Customers
To enroll in the complete series of these 4 live online courses, just visit our Supercharge Your Shop Page to reserve one of our last openings!
Is your business down 40 or 50% like many on this forum? If so, I have an idea to help a bit now, but especially in the future. And even help the impression of our industry.
You probably have more time available to spend with your customers. It’s the perfect time to build or cement a great relationship, to create that illusive trust with your customer, that’s mentioned in just about every trade magazine, but they never tell you how. May I suggest “The How” that I’ve been using for years? This will be handy now and in the future when this is over.
Learn more about your customers. Become “friends.” Talk about everything: the lousy situation we’re in, ask about their job, their kids, their past vacation, their future vacations, their weekend jaunts. Exchange good news. Exchange not-so-good news. Listen. Talk about what comes up.
I treat our customers like friends, like former high school friends. And these friends know we have to make a profit (EVERYBODY knows that!)
For me, it’s a given that we’re going to take care of their car. If they tell me their dad just went into the hospital or nursing home, we’re done talking about their car. I ask, “How’s dad?”
But still do your (digital) inspections. And write down everything, even the stuff that can wait six to nine months. This may affect the service writer or shop’s approval percentage, but so what! Your percentage will be lower, but you will do more work on the car this way. (Notice that I didn’t say you would sell more work. I don’t “sell.”) No decision now on the future stuff, it can wait.
If their car came in with a problem, this is what will fix it (there’s no selling: this is the solution). I point out the other thing that needs attention now. There will be some explanation, but no selling: it needs it. No decision for the customer, actually. Their car needs it.
Next I say, “Here are the things that can wait six to nine months, but I want you to be aware so there are fewer surprises.” No selling, no decisions on their part. Plus, I’m the trustworthy guy who’s telling them they don’t need everything now.
“Now let’s come up with a plan for these other things I found about your car.” I’m explaining, not selling. “You can do these now or in two or three months.” NOBODY wants to come back in two or three months so they are leaning in that direction, but no pressure from you. They will probably ask; “What would you do?” I say, “If you hate bringing your car in, do it now.” (this is where you would bring in a little value, benefits and safety) Again, not selling, suggesting; letting them make the decision. Notice that the first two issues didn’t involve them making a dreaded decision: It needs this, doesn’t need that.
If your inspection has 5 things, they will do 2 to 4. If the inspection has 8 things, they will do 3 to 5 – with no selling. You are their friend, you are advising. List everything!
Now think about that phone call. There is only a little selling value or benefits: maybe some safety. So there’s no pressure on you, no bad news. You are the car detective, reading the cars clues and helping your friend thru this.
When you take care of the customer in this fashion, you come from a place of trust, like taking care of a high school friend.
You will be happier because that call back won’t be stressful, you will have more work, and they are more likely to refer your trustworthy, easy-to-work-with shop, which means even more work.
Icahn Automotive Group LLC today announced the launch of Pep Boys Fleet, a program that puts a renewed focus on automotive service designed to better meet the needs of today’s growing fleets. With a new tagline, “Driving your business forward,” Pep Boys Fleet will continue to serve as a preferred partner to large, national fleet management companies and with this move is now better-positioned to meet the needs of the many small fleets emerging from the explosive growth of transportation network companies and last mile delivery services.
Pep Boys Fleet has the experience to handle any size fleet, providing inspections and warranty-backed repairs, both routine and complex, according to Icahn Automotive. Pep Boys Fleet service, including preventative maintenance such as tires, brakes, batteries and suspension, is done through the Pep Boys national network, which consists of more than 9,000 service bays in more than 1,000 company-owned locations. Pep Boys Mobile Crew, which launched in 2018 with state-of-art trailers, will now expand to include smaller-format fleet vans that are fully equipped with all the necessary supplies and staffed by trained technicians to complete common fleet maintenance and repair needs on-location.
“No matter the size of the fleet, our goal is always to decrease the vehicle’s downtime, ultimately providing a more convenient, flexible and personalized way of addressing repairs and vehicle maintenance,” said Brian Kaner, president of service, Icahn Automotive. “Pep Boys Fleet is the only service provider to be backed by a national network and offer mobile
maintenance and repairs, as well as provide dedicated fleet team support and solutions designed to both streamline the fleet manager’s role and help an owner focus on the running the business and not the fleet.”
Today 20% percent* of vehicles are sold to fleets, a number that’s expected to shift as high as 40% over the next 20 years as ride-sharing, ride-hailing and online retail continues to grow. As one of the largest, most trusted and widely known aftermarket automotive service providers, Pep Boys Fleet and the company’s trained and certified technicians can work on all makes and models. Changes have been made to the service format in Pep Boys locations to establish dedicated Pep Boys Fleet bays reserved exclusively to expedite fleet jobs, and locations are also being updated to include meeting rooms with amenities where fleet customers can conduct business while their vehicle is undergoing maintenance.
Pep Boys Fleet provides customers with national, regional, local and store-level support where customers receive a single point-of-contact that gets to know them and their business. The Pep Boys Fleet Team representative develops a customized service program and pricing plan and remains engaged to help manage a customer’s fleet business. Pep Boys Fleet also provides customers with a universal fleet services credit card that allows fleet managers to track and pay for vehicle repairs and preventive service and earn rewards. All fleet customers can also take advantage of a specialized online invoicing and payment system and a 24/7 towing program to any Pep Boys location.
Pep Boys Fleet is an official tire, brake and preventative maintenance supplier of Amazon’s Delivery Service Partners (DSP), which provides negotiated pricing for Amazon DSP maintenance, along with a pro rewards program, and fleet credit which owners can use to cover unforeseen expenses. Later this year, Pep Boys plans to launch a management technology solution to help small and mid-size businesses better manage their fleet maintenance.
The launch of Pep Boys Fleet is a continuation of Icahn Automotive’s investments in its service business and follows the announcement of a comprehensive program to recruit and train automotive service technicians to meet the demands of the industry, which are being driven largely by the fleet customer. In addition to launching new service formats such as Mobile Crew, the company continues expanding its footprint in key markets by acquiring both franchised and owned service centers and remodeling existing Pep Boys locations.
Hello all, I stumbled across this forum while doing some research on starting a shop. I had some questions to assist in guiding me in the right direction. For starts, what is the general thought on being some what specialized? I’m master certified with Kia and Hyundai as well as hybrid certified. So I was wanting to try and stay toward those three as my main focus. Or has this been proven to not be a solid business model? Also for my shop, we are going to be building it from scratch, so was curious about some input. We are wanting to start with three bays. What would be the minimum building size? We were thinking a 30x60. Which would give us an office/waiting rooms and a little storage. Or would this be to small?
On another note, if anyone on here is in the Charlotte-greensboro area that would like to grab some coffee, I would love to pick you brain for a bit.
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Article: Mechanic For Life -- Ya start on the lube rack, then top mechanic, then your own shop... yep... You're a Mechanic For LifeBy Gonzo
Mechanic for Life
A lot of us mechanics may not have started out with the ambitions of being one. It’s just how things worked out. You might have started out with a college education or military background, and it turned out to be something that didn’t suit you at all. Others might have grown up in the business and were handling wrenches long before they were out of diapers. Still others started by fixing their own car, because they couldn’t afford to pay someone else to do it, and found it was something that suited them more than an office cubicle. Whatever the method that got you into the business, you’re probably hooked. Most likely, just like me, you’re a mechanic for life now.
I’ve been turning wrenches for as long as I can remember. Maybe not always for a paycheck, but no matter what I was doing there always seemed to be a wrench close by. Eventually, all that tinkering led to a chance to be a mechanic at a real shop. Actual diagnostics took a lot longer to learn, but it’s fair to say most all of us started off doing minor repairs or on the lube rack. Back when I started, my diagnostic skills and tools weren’t all that special. Usually nothing more more than a rubber hose held up to my ear to listen for knocks or taps, or whatever pieces of equipment the repair shop had on hand. It took time to learn how to diagnose a problem correctly, but even then, I was hooked. I couldn’t get enough of those mechanical marvels that travel up and down the highway.
Tools and techniques have changed over the years, and every mechanic has had to change with each new technical innovation. These days, the new technology seems to change even faster than a person can imagine. It used to be the hand tools that changed as rapidly as the new models were introduced, now it’s the laptop requirements and the software that are constantly changing more than the hand tools.
I’m seeing components such as the power steering pump, water pump and even the air conditioning compressors slowly being replaced by electronics. I’ve got a lifetime of tools and techniques I’ve learned to take care of all those fluids, belts, and hoses, as well as how to replace all those components. But, being a mechanic for life you have to expect changes like that. I’ve got drawers full of specialty sockets for timing gears, distributors and that odd looking soup bowl for removing those Northstar water pumps. Now, they’re just another one of those tools that will end up in a lower corner of the tool box along with an ever increasing pile of outdated scanners that are gathering dust.
For me, I’m still amazed at how many tools and techniques for repairing cars I’ve used for so many years are now just a lifetime of memories. The computers and data lines have taken over the automotive world, and the state-of-the-art electronics can be overwhelming to anyone unfamiliar with the modern car. Making a lifelong career as a mechanic means you’ll experience a lot of these changes in your tools, as well as the cars.
It is a new and different automotive world than ever before, but even with all these changes, and the years that I’ve been at this, I’m still amazed and in awe of the mechanical wonders we drive down the road. It’s that fascination of searching for a problem, the latest technology, and the mechanical nature of the modern automobile that gets to a person whose life revolves around maintaining them.
With all these changes it takes years to get familiar with the systems and to actually get good at this job. You’ll make a few mistakes, a few discoveries, but all in all, you’ll learn from them both. This learning process goes along with my favorite saying, “Experience comes from yesterday’s mistakes. Knowledge comes from not making the same mistake tomorrow.” That says it all. Then, you might branch out of the service bay into other forms of mechanic work. Maybe as a service writer, working in the parts department, maybe owning and running your own shop, or perhaps as an instructor bringing up the next generation of mechanics. Deep down we’re all still a mechanic just in a different way.
No matter what direction your future holds, you’re still a mechanic for life, and that’s just the way we like it.
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