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By Joe Marconi
In my opinion, competition is actually good for the industry, and good for your repair shop too. It keeps us focused and forces us to maintain pace with other repair shops. It drives us to take a look at our own business to see where and how we can make improvements.
Don't worry about the competition. And never compete on your competition's features. Find what sets you apart; your differentiation factor. Deliver world class service and promote your culture to your employees.
So, how do we handle the competition? Learn from them, but don't copy them. Become the best you can be. Promote a culture of customer caring with your employees. The rest will take care of itself.
By [email protected]
I'm hoping some experts can help me out. I'm buying an existing full-service shop and need to polish a transition business plan not only for my lender and partners, but also to help give us some focus and direction. I'm certainly not coming into this empty handed, but would love to see what others might have used so I can be as successful as possible. HELP!
I was talking a few months ago to an old-timer who has been building race engines for 50 plus years and he mentioned something about never turning his radio off in the shop. I am wondering if anyone has ever heard the significance or reason behind this? You could bearly hear the radio was on but thought it was interesting.
I'm Ricardo from Complete Auto Reports. You may have heard about the shop management software that we made at a shop in Linden NJ.
We've been really busy over the last year trying to refine the process at a shop through the software. We have come up with something we think that people can and will benefit from. We want to start with smaller auto repair facilities who are looking for something to transition out of paper and pen, as well as word documents and/or excel spreadsheets.
We've taken our software and made a free package that allows the following from any device with a updated and functional browser:
Take appointments from your customers Digital Vehicle Inspections - Included in every service request and sent to each customer if performed Workflow - Pending, Under Process, Awaiting Approval, Approval Completed, Work In Progress, Completed Ratings - Customers can communicate ratings directly to you Messages - You can communicate with customers through the platform Customer App - All service history available, can schedule appointments with the app, transfer vehicle records to new owners Sales Reports 100% mobile - Works on everything from your 5inch iPhone to your desktop.
You can presently upload all of your customer information: name, address, phone numbers, email.
Paid for versions offer parts ordering through PartsTech.com and Employeement modules that track employee time on jobs.
Are there members here who are interested in trying the free platform to see if it's a fit for their business? Anyone interested in the paid for versions, can also get 60 days of free use and discounted rates available from our SEMA promotions.
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By Joe Marconi
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
I’ll never forget the day when Mrs. Obrien brought her car back for me to look at. She was furious. I stayed late the night before, well into the night, to finish her car so she could have it for work the next day. I even did a few little things on the house because I felt she may be a little inconvenienced picking the car up so late.
Why did she bring the car back? A comeback? Well, not in the conventional way. It was the greasy smudge on her seat that she was angry about.
But what about me staying late? Or giving away a few minor services? Doesn’t that count? She is upset about a grease smudge? Oh yes, and she has every right to be.
The fact is, you can do the best repair, using the best parts, performed by the best technician on the planet. But what the customer sees is not necessarily your hard work, it’s that little greasy smudge that you are judged by. Unfortunate and unfair? Yes. But it’s a reality.
Perform the best repairs and provide world-class customer service; and never forget; it’s the little things the customer sees. And that’s what important to them.
By Stevens Automotive Service
You are a entrepreneur and your business is Automotive Repair. Run your business like a business and become more profitable.
You have a tool box just like your techs in the shop do and the ones with the correct tools , good work ethics and knowledge are the best at what they do. So can you in the shop management area just use your TOOL BOX!
A few things to get cleared up. I have read a lot of post , forums etc, dealing with car count, advertising, us against the dealerships etc. WELL ! First you have to concentrate on your business not what someone else is doing, what works for you and makes you money should be what matters to you and your business.
1) Concentrate on what your doing right if it needs refined ..REFINE IT.. DIAL IT IN... GET THE PERCENTAGES CORRECT.
2) Do you have enough work flow and are you getting the max out of what you already have ?
3) IF you don't have a good even flow of car count, advertise, but do it in a way that it comes back to you to show what your business has to offer that the others don't.
4) REPUTATION, CUSTOMER SERVICE, FIXING THE CONCERN and BEING A SMART BUSINESS OWNER are the only steps to winning.
5) Last but not least .. PEOPLE BUY GOODS AND SERVICES FROM PEOPLE PERIOD !!
Look at it in this perspective for a moment. Your advisors are problem solvers, customer comes in with a problem or just for a service and they let them know what it will take to repair it or what the car may be in need of if not now then soon. They are solving problems if not right now then later, building trust and reputation for your business. I always say if you solve there problem the rest SELLS itself. And for those of you that think and have been programmed to think that getting new customers, keeping the good ones you have to spend crazy money to get them and keep them is just that "crazy".
I will be glad to speak with anyone that wants to have less stress and make there shop profitable. Send me a message, email, phone call and we will go over what you have and what you are wanting to achieve and the consultation is always free. IT COST NOTHING TO ASK BUT IT COULD COST A LOT IF YOU DON'T !!
"LOAD YOUR TOOL BOX WITH THE RIGHT TOOLS"
By Ron Ipach
Let me start off by asking you a very important but very quick question: what BS story are you telling yourself? Let me repeat that: What BS story are you telling yourself? We all have these stories and shop owner excuses that we keep telling ourselves that we think are true, that when you really look at it, they're really utter bullshit, but we've been telling ourselves the same story over and over that we actually believe it's true.
Case in point, now if you've ever been on one of my live webinars, you know that because I'm live, I can have a conversation with some of the people that are on the webinar. The other night, a gentleman was complaining about car count. He said because cars are made better (another thing I hear A LOT), there are no cars out there and there's a lack of car count, and that's a big problem.
I took that as an opportunity to tell him what I've probably told you before, if you've been watching these videos, that I don't believe that there's a car count problem out there at all because in every city all over the United States, all over Canada, there are cars sitting on lifts right now in your own town, dozens, maybe even hundreds of them, every single day that are being repaired and maintained by other shops, other shops collectively, but on any given day, there are tons of opportunities to repair cars. The problem is they're just in somebody else's shop, they're not in yours.
It's not a lack of cars out there to be repaired, there's just a lack of cars in your auto repair shop. It's a marketing problem, it's not a problem caused by cars being made better. Now I've told that story before. In case this is the very first time you've heard that, please believe me it is a marketing problem, not cars are made better. That's the reason why you don't have enough cars. Now we're past that.
Because I can go back and forth with them, I told that same story. He'd so believed that it was a problem that he wasn't able to fix, that he told me about the shop owner that was less than a mile away from his shop that said the very same thing, that his shop was down with cars as well. I guess the two of them got together and commiserated about the car count being down, and now both of them believe that there's a car count problem out there. That's an example of the BS story we keep telling ourselves that simply isn't true.
I want you to go back and think of all the things you say on a daily basis, maybe, "I can't find good techs," or, "There are no good techs out there anymore." There are good techs out there, they're just not working for you. What you look for, you're going to find. It's just the truth. Let me give you an example, and this is a story I've told my clients over and over. It's a great example of what you look for, you will see in abundance right there in front of you.
A few years back, we bought a beach condo down in Florida. We thought it'd be fun to have a Jeep, to be on the beach, and just the perfect car to have down there. I never owned a Jeep before, but guess what? As soon as I decided I was going to buy a Jeep, I saw Jeeps everywhere, all shapes and sizes and colors driving everywhere. I've been seeing them every single day go by, but I didn't see them until I decided I want to buy a Jeep.
Did everybody all of a sudden go out and buy a Jeep when I decided? No. It's because I was looking for Jeeps, all of a sudden I saw them. There was an abundance of Jeeps driving by me every single day. I just didn't notice them because I wasn't looking for it.
Then I decided I was going to buy a blue Jeep. You guessed it; pretty soon everybody was driving a blue Jeep. There were blue Jeeps everywhere. Everybody didn't go out and decide that they're going to buy a Jeep, and then they didn't decide if they're going to buy a blue Jeep. It's just I started focusing on it and I started finding exactly what I'm focusing on.
If you're saying that there are no good techs out there, you're going to focus on all the bad hires that you've had, you're going to focus on all the bad interviews you've been on, and you're going to say, "See? I told you so. There are no good techs out there." The same thing with your car count.
If you're going to constantly complain and look at the lack of cars that are out there in your own shop, you're going to keep seeing the same problem over and over and over. It's going to become etched in your mind. It's going to be a BS story, but if you start looking around, start driving around and realize there are dozens, if not hundreds, of cars sitting on lifts every single day in other people's shops and not in your shop, you'll realize you have a marketing problem and you'll start to tackle the big problem that you have right there.
I hope this helps. Go and think of all those things that you tell yourself so often that it's now etched in stone and it's true, and see if you could find the opposite. I guarantee you'll find it everywhere. Thanks for watching. Oh, by the way, I really appreciate all the comments.
By Joe Marconi
As shop owners, our focus is on business, for the most part. There is nothing wrong with this mindset, but it may push employees away from you. Whether you like it or not, people are more concerned about their own lives and what’s important to them.
When speaking to your employees, find ways to engage in conversation that has nothing to do with business. Find out about their interests, and what’s going on in their lives. Simply asking, “How was your weekend? Do anything special?” can work wonders to motivate people.
When speaking with employees, be more concerned about them, not you. This will send a message that you care about them as a person. In turn, they will care more about your business.