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    • By Joe Marconi
      I saw a quick demo on Openbay's Otis, an interactive chat program that works with your website. 
      Does anyone use this feature, or know about it?
      Here is a link:
      https://solutions.openbay.com/
    • By mikerisich
      If you want to become a successful independent auto repair shop, it’s essential that you have your sights on not only developing a long-term strategy for expanding your customer base but also pivoting in a way that has sustaining momentum. 
      The key to accomplishing this strategy is not by focusing on gigantic steps, but by achieving a steady stream of small efforts, which means using effective and trusted tools that are specifically designed for you as an auto repair shop owner. Fully utilizing your Google My Business (GMB) page is an efficient way to grow your business and we can tell you why you need to be using it to be competitive. 
      GMB is a free and completely verified online listing service that uses best practices for getting new customers in the door. Are you the type of business owner who uses an online marketing and branding strategy? If not, you should!
      LEARN MORE about how to optimize your GMB page.
    • By tirengolf
      Hope all are doing well, I have been absent for a while , life gets in the way at times. I have ask you guys questions many times and the answers have always been superb. This is not a question more like a huge decision I have to make. 
       My store was built in 1958 , just a square building with 4 outside bays across front with large roof system  and tech shop we added 10 years ago in the back with 5 stalls and 3 lifts. I have been there since I was 15 years old and now I am 60. We have always been squeezed with our corner lot, well 2 weeks ago the business next door which has 290 feet on the highway plus a very old body shop and a very old house that is liveable came up for sale. I have a contract on the property for 250k. But dang I wish I was 50 and not 60 years old. It lays out perfect where I could add 2 more open stalls and give anoher tech 3 new stalls down the side and tons of parking, I have none. We are busting at the seams,I need the room. no parking heck I cannot get all the work out of there daily. I can get some residule income from the one house, already had 2 guys ask me about rent on it. We have just had a huge brand new county jail built 2 blocks from us, Prettiest jail I have ever seen ,LOL, anyway guys I am having a hard decision on pulling the trigger , one thing is my age second thing I assume those  5 bays will help my bottom line tremdously. As you know with that comes a few more employees, new writer and probaly 2 new techs. Maybe I am apprehensive because I have never expanded like that. Has any of you guys done this or better yet gone through it, if so tell me the good the bad and the ugle. My employees are great but I will need at least 1 writer and 2 or 3 oil/tire/ tech trainy. Techs are hard to find today , I never thought I would be stealing other techs from other stores but I guess it is the way of th world. Any advie or help would greatly be appreciated. Thanks Guys, David
    • By nptrb
      We ended Part 3 of this blog series with “Second Draw PPP Loan Application and Documentation Requirements”. As this second draw is being distributed, the rules are changing. I encourage you to check out the SBA’s website www.sba.gov or go to your local SBA office for additional information.
      You may also contact me if you would prefer to have a conversation with someone outside the government. My contact information is at the bottom of this post.
      Beginning Part 4, we start with expanding on this rule from the New PPP Regulations:
      For Second Draw PPP Loans of $150,000 or Less, Revenue Reduction Documentation is Not Required to be Submitted at the Time the Borrow Submits an Application for a Loan:
      This section is self-explanatory, but just a bit of clarification for you.
      When you apply for a loan in an amount that is less than $150,000, you may disregard the required documentation mentioned in the previous blog. There is a three-letter word that causes a pause here “BUT” “Must be submitted on or before the date the borrower applies for loan forgiveness, as required under the Economic Aid Act.”
      A second piece is that IF you as a borrower do not apply for loan forgiveness, you must provide this documentation to the SBA when they request it from you. So, be prepared.
      How to Request an Increase for a PPP First Draw Loan if the Borrower Returned All or Part of a Loan, or Did Not Accept the Full Amount Previously Approved:
      Here are the categories of borrowers that may reapply or request an increase in the amount of the PPP loan:
      If a borrower returned all of a PPP loan, the borrower may reapply for a PPP loan in an amount the borrower is eligible for under current PPP rules. If a borrower returned part of a PPP loan, the borrower may reapply for an amount equal to the difference between the amount retained and the amount previously approved. If a borrower did not accept the full amount of a PPP loan for which it was approved, the borrower may request an increase in the amount of the PPP loan up to the amount previously approved. You may use the SBA’s E-Tran Servicing website to request an increase in the PPP loan amount electronically. After the request, you are required to provide the lender with supporting documents for the increase.
      As of this writing, the SBA’s process for collecting information from borrowers was under development. This may be available when you apply for an increase in the loan amount as described above.
      Clarification on Borrowers that are Ineligible to Receive a Second Draw PPP Loan:
      Here is some language from the Economic Aid Act that describes borrowers who are NOT eligible to receive a Second Draw PPP loan. Read carefully please?
      A business concern or entity primarily engaged in political activities or lobbying activities, including any entity that is organized for research or for engaging in advocacy in areas such as public policy or political strategy, or that describes itself as a think tank in any public documents; Certain entities organized under the laws of the People’s Republic of China or the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong, or with other specified ties to the People’s Republic of China or the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong; Any person required to submit a registration statement under section 2 of the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938 (22 U.S.C. 612); A person or entity that receives a grant for shuttered venue operators under section 324 of the Economic Aid Act; A publicly traded company, defined as an issuer, the securities of which are listed on an exchange registered as a national securities exchange under section 6 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934
      (15 U.S.C. 78f). Pay attention to the punctuation here. At the end of each bullet, there is a semicolon “;”. This means that if the first bullet does not apply to your situation, the next one or the next one, or the next one, OR the NEXT one may.
      We’re getting close to the end, but this section has some additional clarification of borrowers that will not qualify for the second draw PPP loan. Check out these are examples:
      You are engaged in any activity that is illegal under Federal, state, or local law; You are a household employer (individuals who employ household employees such as nannies or housekeepers); An owner of 20 percent or more of the equity of the applicant is presently incarcerated or, for any felony, presently subject to an indictment, criminal information, arraignment, or other means by which formal criminal charges are brought in any jurisdiction; or has been convicted of, pleaded guilty or nolo contendere to, or commenced any form of parole or probation (including probation before judgment) for, a felony involving fraud, bribery, embezzlement, or a false statement in a loan application or an application for federal financial assistance within the last five years or any other felony within the last year; You, or any business owned or controlled by you or any of your owners, has ever obtained a direct or guaranteed loan from SBA or any other Federal agency that is currently delinquent or has defaulted within the last seven years and caused a loss to the government; Your business or organization was not in operation on February 15, 2020; • You or your business received or will receive a grant under the Shuttered Venue Operator Grant program under section 324 of the Economic Aid Act; The President, the Vice President, the head of an Executive Department, or a Member of Congress, or the spouse of such person as determined under applicable common law, directly or indirectly holds a controlling interest in your business; Your business is an issuer, the securities of which are listed on an exchange registered as a national securities exchange under
      section 6 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (15 U.S.C. 78f); Your business has permanently closed.”  
      Again, same observation regarding the semicolons at the end of each bullet.
      Thanks for sticking with me and welcome to the end of this blog series. Whew, that IS a TON of reading.
      Again, I am keeping current of the changes as they happen, so if you want to talk, let’s schedule a time to meet soon.
       
      Natalie Paris 
      https://threeriversbookkeeping.com/
      907-331-0208
      [email protected]

      View full article
    • By MINI4U
      We are in desperate need of techs. I tried Indeed and was very dissatisfied with the "talent" they sent us. I am considering Find A Wrench they post on Indeed as well as Zip Recruiter and some 90 other companies as well as social media. Has anyone tried them or ACT Auto Staffing? 


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    • By Joe Marconi
      Got your attention? Good! Before I start, let’s get something out of the way. Does technician aptitude or attitude affect the productivity of your shop? Absolutely. But this is the exception, not the rule. If your overall production levels are low, that is the sole responsibility of management. Let’s look at a few reasons for low production levels.
      The first area I want to address is billing. Many hours of labor go unbilled due to not understanding how to charge. This area is most prevalent with testing and inspecting. If your technicians are handed a work order, with no direction and not a clear process of what to do, or when to stop and ask for labor testing fees, there will be a ton of wasted labor hours, never to be recovered again.
      Next is training. Service advisor and technical training is a key component to high production levels. But let’s not forget in-house training. All policies and procedures must be reviewed often and refined if needed. Your team must follow a process. With no road map, labor dollars are lost. By the way, if you don’t have procedures in place, you need to make this top priority. Every successful organization has a detailed set of workflow guidelines.
      Let’s look at shop layout. How organized is your shop? Are shop tools and equipment readily accessible? Or do techs tend to wander around looking for the shop scanner or TPMS reset tool. Are stock items such as wiper blades and oil filters fully stocked and cataloged properly? Do technicians have separate access to technical information? Or are techs waiting to use the same computer station? Again, all these things kill labor production, which kills labor dollars.
      Next up is scheduling. There should be a structured approach to scheduling where the day is balanced with enough opportunity to make profitable sales. Have a process where vehicle history is reviewed before the customer arrives. Any previous service recommendations or notes is any opportunity to make a sale. But the key ingredient is in preparation. A customer that’s scheduled for an oil change may have forgotten that he or she received a recommendation for tires. Informing the customer at the time of scheduling and preparing for the work ahead of time, greatly improves productivity and overall efficiency.
      Another problem area is with service advisors and their workload. The service advisor, in many situations, handles the front counter, the phone, scheduling, helps with dispatch, part procurement and sales. All these tasks are critical to the daily operations. However, nothing happens in the shop until a sale is made. You need to look at your service staff. Are estimates getting processed quickly and upsells getting back to the technicians in a timely manner? If not, this is another area where production suffers. Carefully analyze your staff and run the numbers. More estimates processed means more sales and higher profits. Adding a service advisor or an assistant may be the missing link in a shop’s production problem.
      Knowing your numbers is another key component to attaining high production levels. I will refrain from giving you benchmark numbers, since all businesses models are different. With that said, you need to determine your breakeven and establish your labor goal for the week. Then knowing your labor goal, you need to calculate how many labor hours you need per technician. Then, you need to communicate this number to each technician. Having clear expectations and knowing the goals of one’s position is essential for hitting production goals.
      With regard to the technician’s responsibility, let’s remember one important fact; the technician has control over his or her efficiency. That’s it. If you dispatch a four-hour ticket to a tech, the ability of the tech to meet or beat that time depends on the technician’s skill, experience and training.
      There are a lot of other factors that influence production, such as the right pay plan and hiring the right people. But perhaps the most important influence is leadership. The shop owner or manager must study and look at the entire operations of the shop. Productivity goals must be established and then a system of monitoring production must be put into place. This includes sales goals, as well. Service advisors and technicians must get continuous feedback on their progress. Improvements in sales and in production, no matter how small, must be celebrated.
      The bottom line is this: If you’re not happy with your production level, you need to look at every aspect of your company that influences production. Improvements in key areas put technicians in a position to win. When they win, so do you.
      This story was originally published by Joe Marconi in Ratchet+Wrench on March 1st, 2019


      View full article
    • By Joe Marconi
      I am not one to get political, and there are people that really need help in these times.  Let me be clear about that.  
      With that said, the added $600 in most cases has caused more of an incentive NOT to work.  I don't know the answer on how to distinguish who clarifies for extra help, but what I do know is that when people can make more money for sitting at home, it takes away the human spirit to go out and make a difference every day through hard work and community involvement. 
      It also does not sit well with so many of the essential workers that have worked through the virus crisis, and put themselves in harms way to keep American moving. 
      How do feel about this?  I know it's controversial. Let's be open, honest and civil.
       
    • By DUFRESNES
      Our Service writer is paid 8% on all sales.  When he is off for 2 days, we have another hourly person that service writes.   My question is we pay the SW that was off for 2 days 8% on all sales, but take them as vacation days.  The person filling in (he does a great job) pay him the difference if he was service writing and would be commission.    Looking to see if somebody has a better solution.  If the regular SW is on vacation, I can figure the sales from his last day till he comes back.  That is not a problem
       
    • By Joe Marconi
      Got your attention? Good! Before I start, let’s get something out of the way. Does technician aptitude or attitude affect the productivity of your shop? Absolutely. But this is the exception, not the rule. If your overall production levels are low, that is the sole responsibility of management. Let’s look at a few reasons for low production levels.
      The first area I want to address is billing. Many hours of labor go unbilled due to not understanding how to charge. This area is most prevalent with testing and inspecting. If your technicians are handed a work order, with no direction and not a clear process of what to do, or when to stop and ask for labor testing fees, there will be a ton of wasted labor hours, never to be recovered again.
      Next is training. Service advisor and technical training is a key component to high production levels. But let’s not forget in-house training. All policies and procedures must be reviewed often and refined if needed. Your team must follow a process. With no road map, labor dollars are lost. By the way, if you don’t have procedures in place, you need to make this top priority. Every successful organization has a detailed set of workflow guidelines.
      Let’s look at shop layout. How organized is your shop? Are shop tools and equipment readily accessible? Or do techs tend to wander around looking for the shop scanner or TPMS reset tool. Are stock items such as wiper blades and oil filters fully stocked and cataloged properly? Do technicians have separate access to technical information? Or are techs waiting to use the same computer station? Again, all these things kill labor production, which kills labor dollars.
      Next up is scheduling. There should be a structured approach to scheduling where the day is balanced with enough opportunity to make profitable sales. Have a process where vehicle history is reviewed before the customer arrives. Any previous service recommendations or notes is any opportunity to make a sale. But the key ingredient is in preparation. A customer that’s scheduled for an oil change may have forgotten that he or she received a recommendation for tires. Informing the customer at the time of scheduling and preparing for the work ahead of time, greatly improves productivity and overall efficiency.
      Another problem area is with service advisors and their workload. The service advisor, in many situations, handles the front counter, the phone, scheduling, helps with dispatch, part procurement and sales. All these tasks are critical to the daily operations. However, nothing happens in the shop until a sale is made. You need to look at your service staff. Are estimates getting processed quickly and upsells getting back to the technicians in a timely manner? If not, this is another area where production suffers. Carefully analyze your staff and run the numbers. More estimates processed means more sales and higher profits. Adding a service advisor or an assistant may be the missing link in a shop’s production problem.
      Knowing your numbers is another key component to attaining high production levels. I will refrain from giving you benchmark numbers, since all businesses models are different. With that said, you need to determine your breakeven and establish your labor goal for the week. Then knowing your labor goal, you need to calculate how many labor hours you need per technician. Then, you need to communicate this number to each technician. Having clear expectations and knowing the goals of one’s position is essential for hitting production goals.
      With regard to the technician’s responsibility, let’s remember one important fact; the technician has control over his or her efficiency. That’s it. If you dispatch a four-hour ticket to a tech, the ability of the tech to meet or beat that time depends on the technician’s skill, experience and training.
      There are a lot of other factors that influence production, such as the right pay plan and hiring the right people. But perhaps the most important influence is leadership. The shop owner or manager must study and look at the entire operations of the shop. Productivity goals must be established and then a system of monitoring production must be put into place. This includes sales goals, as well. Service advisors and technicians must get continuous feedback on their progress. Improvements in sales and in production, no matter how small, must be celebrated.
      The bottom line is this: If you’re not happy with your production level, you need to look at every aspect of your company that influences production. Improvements in key areas put technicians in a position to win. When they win, so do you.
      This story was originally published by Joe Marconi in Ratchet+Wrench on March 1st, 2019

    • By Ron Ipach
      Do you want the The HARDCORE TRUTH to Finding, Attracting, Hiring, And Keeping Top Techs?
      Sign up (for free) here for access to my brand new mini series: http://bit.ly/find-techs.
      Video One Coming Monday, 11/5...

      MORE DETAILS AND REGISTRATION: http://bit.ly/find-techs


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