Hi all - first time poster here. I’m opening a quick repair / tune up shop in California soon so Im trying to get an idea of what the financials will look like. If I offer the below services when I open, what Product Sales percentages would be reasonable to expect? For example, is assuming ~30% of sales coming from Oil Changes too high? Too low?
Service Sales % Oil & Filter Change Transmission Fluid Flush Cooling System Flush Brake Fluid Flush Engine Air Filter Replacement Cabin Air Filter Replacement Wiper Blade Replacement Spark Plug Replacement Pre-purchase Car Inspection Car is not starting (inspection) Check Engine Light is on (inspection) Thank you for any feedback!
Scott Pelava is a Certified Master Auto Technician, L-1 Advanced Engine Performance Specialist and ASE-Certified Service Consultant. In 2015 Scott created the Auto Shop Owners Group (ASOG) on Facebook which today has nearly 5,000 members. ASOG has developed into a 501c3 Educational Foundation whose mission is to enable & empower shop owners to learn and grow to provide the best business environment for their customers, employees and themselves. Scott is also very active in his community. He is currently a third term Lonsdale City Council Member, has held numerous leadership positions with Scouts BSA, and is a director of the Lonsdale Chamber of Commerce. Hear Scott’s Previous Episode HERE
Keith Katz is owner of Quality Service Center in York, PA for the last twenty years and an industry veteran of thirty-seven years. His 7 bay shop has 6 lifts and supports 3 technicians with one service advisor. He is involved with the NAPA Advisory Board and supports the Bridge of Hope organization that helps local homeless mothers find employment and housing for their families.
He is a member of AASP in Pennsylvania and engages ATI as a support partner. Listen to Keith Katz’s previous episodes HERE.
Paul Danner, aka ScannerDanner on YouTube clears up the misconception that his name is not “Dan,” which he gets all the time. People think his name is Dan and he added “ner” to rhyme with “Scanner”? He says it is not true and that that it would be really stupid!!!!
His career in the automotive field started as a junior in high school in 1990. He took two years of auto mechanics in high school, then another two-year program (post-secondary) at Rosedale Technical College in Pittsburgh (where he now teaches). After Rosedale, Paul entered the field and worked full time for about 8 years before coming back to teach at the school. This September 2018, Paul will be starting his 18th year as an automotive instructor. Listen to Paul’s previous episodes HERE.
Ryan Kooiman joined Standard Motor Products full time as a Technician Training Developer in 2010. Previously he was the lead tech/driveability specialist at a 20 bay independent shop in Michigan. He is the founder of West Michigan Auto Repair Society, chairman of the MI chapter of SAE, has attended numerous ASE test writing workshops. He has appeared on TV shows such as the CBS Early Show and co-hosted Car and Driver Radio along with Road and Track Radio. Ryan brings his years of hands-on experience in the shop to the audience in a manner they can relate to and put to use immediately.
In early 2013, Ryan was promoted to manager of the Professional Training Seminars training group, overseeing the scheduling and the work of the SMP training staff. In December 2013, Ryan was promoted to Director of Training. In this role, Ryan oversees the operations of the SMP Corporate Training Center in Irving, TX; oversees the operations and development of the Pro Training group, as well as works closely with the Marketing and Product teams at SMP to ensure that their products and promotions are what they need to be for the automotive technician. Check out Ryan’s other episodes HERE.
Auto Repair in the Decade of the Nineties [THA 217]
Key Talking Points
OBD2An evolution of the first on-board diagnostics systems of the 1980s Allowed technicians to find out exactly what was wrong with their car through specific codes accessed by a 16 pin connector Technology/electronic shifting Everyone is afraid of change “Books don’t crash”- adjusting to electronic Handwritten invoices to electronic- learning customer history and shop management systems Learning foundational principles and true theory Can still be applied today- everyone adapts differently Has the customer changed? Yes and no Internet- blessing and curse Chat rooms/forums/YouTube- customer’s think they’re educated “I can get that part online,” and saturated market for different quality parts “Spend thousand to save hundred” Looking back New appreciation for today’s technology and progressing forward- working smarter, not harder Many transitions- Example rear-wheel drive to front-wheel drive 2nd generation of vehicles- machinery turned to computer-controlled devices A special thanks to Scott Pelava, Keith Katz, Paul Danner and Ryan Kooiman for their contribution to the aftermarket. Books Page HERE Listen to all Remarkable Results Radio, For The Record and Town Hall Academy episodes. Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Instagram Youtube Email
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This episode is brought to you by Shop-Ware Shop Management. It’s time to run your business at its fullest potential with the industry’s leading technology. Shop-Ware Shop Management will increase your efficiency with lightning-fast workflows, help your staff capture more sales every day, and create very happy customers who promote your business. Shops running Shop-Ware have More Time and generate More Profit—join them! Schedule a free live demonstration and find out how 30 minutes can transform your shop at getshopware.com
This episode is brought to you by Shop Marketing Pros. Your guides are Kim and Brian Walker with a rich history as shop owners and industry veterans. When someone searches for a shop, who are they finding? Your competitors? It should be you! The good people over at Shop Marketing Pros know how to drive website traffic and make Google work for you! www.shopmarketingpros.com
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By Joe Marconi
Last October the doctors found a large infection and abscess in my large intestine that perforated into my abdomen. I required emergency surgery to remove the abscess; removing about six inches of my large intestine. That was step one: This past January, I needed an additional surgery to remove another 4 inches, and repair other areas of my intestines. Thankfully, I am fine, with no lasting issues. It will take about a year to fully recover, but all is well.
I am telling you this for one reason: What if something were to happen to you? Will your shop survive? What about your family? These were the things I thought about when I was laid up in the hospital.
Create a continuity plan to prepare for a crisis. Make sure you have a will and enough life insurance. Build a business where it can be run by the systems and procedures you out into place.
Lastly, ENJOY the fruits of your labor! When I woke up after the surgery with tubes inside me and in my arms, It became clear that the things we worry about in business are really not that important.
Take care of yourself !
Matt Fanslow is the diagnostic tech/shop manager at Riverside Automotive in Red Wing, MN. His primary responsibilities are to diagnose driveability and electrical/electronic issues, and perform most all programming, coding, initializing, adoptions, etc. Basically, if it needs to be figured out or has wires, it goes to Matt. He’s been a tech since 1996.
Matt is also a subject matter expert for ASE and has instructed at Vision Hi-Tech Training and Expo.
Matt has participated on 18 ASE technical committees for the ASE Practice Test, A6, A7, A8, and L1 tests. He’s also done case studies for Standard Motor Products.
Fanslow’s goal is to do everything in his power to improve the overall level of professionalism within the automotive and light truck repair trade and also raise the level of its public image. Matt Fanslow’s Previous Episodes HERE.
Key Talking Points:
Fire in business- January 15thThe vehicle came into the shop in the evening to be serviced the following day Everyone left before 6 pm, by 6:25 pm the fire department was called by passerby pedestrian The shop had security cameras but no smoke detectors. Engine compartment towards 12volt battery of vehicle was where fire had started The building doesn’t have to be rebuilt but the rafters and trusses are damaged- heat tempers wood and it loses its “binding’ properties Was newer vehicle- depending on cause this is how recalls are createdAn insurance investigator and manufacturer investigator- the vehicle will often be taken off-site to have a thorough forensic investigation to find out the cause Luckily there weren’t significant damages to the tools/equipment/diagnostic machine, inventory and employee tools/equipment - you’re facing fire/smoke and water damage from fire department Expected to be fully operational again by mid-late Fall 2021 Business interruption insurance Looks at what your business was producing prior to the interruption A fixed amount of money to be pulled for paychecks etc 2 bays- tech works 40 hours a week, bill out 20 hours working in the bay (shop pays from own checkbook from funding) the other 20 hours they are cleaning/inventorying the shop and ‘working for insurance’ What you can do ahead of time- be proactive Invite fire marshall to come to shop- document shop layout/entrances Fire trucks have tablets in them- when they get called to a location any information about the building can be used Purchase from fire department safe for outside of building with keycodes to avoid damage from entering during emergency Map out your disconnects- gas/water/electricity 30-45 seconds can make the difference between going from bad to really bad in a fire Research and become familiar with your insurance coverage plan and educate your employees on it- can they get homeowners insurance on their equipment? Inventory what you have in the shop- what is the cost of replacement? Consider ‘cleanup’ investments after a disaster Also, consider fire doors Link fire detectors to EMS Shop tour before the fire- Aftermarket Weekly Episode 30. Click Here. THA 161- Insurance coverage review Part 1. Click Here. THA 172- Insurance reviews “what if scenarios” part 2. Click Here.
Thanks to Matt Fanslow for his contribution to the aftermarket’s premier podcast. Link to the ‘BOOKS‘ page, highlighting all books discussed in the podcast library HERE. Leaders are readers. Listen for free on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spreaker, iHeart Radio, Spotify, Podchaser, and many more. Mobile Listening APP's HERE Find every podcast episode HERE. Every episode is segmented by Series HERE. Key Word Search HERE. Be socially involved and in touch with the show:
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As a member of the NAPA family, AutoCare Center owners can take advantage of the NAPA National Health Program from the NAPA Insurance Center. This “NAPA only” program gives you and your employees access to national “large group” rates on medical insurance with premiums discounted up to 30 percent. These rates are based on the collective purchasing potential of 22,500 NAPA locations including both NAPA AUTO PARTS stores and NAPA AutoCare Centers.
The NAPA Insurance Center can help you with a variety of other insurance benefits too. For more information about The NAPA National Health Benefits program as well as all of the insurance benefits available to your AutoCare Center and your employees, visit the NAPA Benefits Center, at www.napabenefitscenter.com or call the NAPA Benefits Center at 844-627-2123.
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By ASOG Podcast
Lucas always says, "the problems never vanish... we just find better problems."
But what do better problems look like, exactly?
For that discussion, we’re joined by Sam Johnson, the owner of Beachside Tire and Auto Repair in Bluffton, SC.
We cover a whole host of topics with Sam, but what’s most important is listening to his mindset and the way he approaches the challenges he’s facing at his own shop.
Sam deals with better problems and our conversation with him will show you exactly what that entails.
Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/AutoShopOwnersGroup)
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By Joe Marconi
Do customers really have clear expectations when they arrive at your shop? Think about it. Who is responsible for setting clear expectations? Consumers may have a preconceived idea about what to expect, but when it comes down to what or who sets the expectation, it's the shop's responsibility.
Great customer service is created by the shop and its people. The consumer will judge that experience, but they don't create it, you do.
We may think that the consumer will tell us what they expect from us. I think it's the opposite.
Henry Ford once said: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”
By Joe Marconi
Here's a tip I preach at the Elite Fly with the Eagles Marketing course:
Study your competition in your local area, know everything about, learn what they do in your community, learn about their advertising strategy and marketing strategy, find what their strengths are, and find out what they do special for their customers.
Ok...once that is done, here is what you do: Ready? Don't do anything that your competition does!
That's right, in order to stand out, be different. Don't mimic what your completion does. Tell YOUR story and build a marketing and advertising strategy based on what YOU do that the competition does NOT do.
For example, If you are active in youth sports, then make that your community story. Promote that everywhere.
Remember, to stand out you need tell the world what makes you different.
By Joe Marconi
The common buzz in business is to market to new, potential customers. This is a smart strategy given that every business losses customers each year, and we need to replace those lost customers.
However, we also need a marketing plan that takes care of our existing customers. It is cheaper and easier to retain your customers, than to market for new ones.
What strategies do you employ to retain your existing customers?
By Joe Marconi
I think it’s safe to say that few people go to McDonald’s for the fine dining. In fact, McDonald’s struggled a few years back when it introduced healthy choices on its menu. Even with its challenges, McDonald’s is considered one of the most successful business models on the planet. It’s a brand that is so well known for its consistency that it actually promotes comfort in the mind of the consumer—a lesson in marketing that could prove powerful for your business.
Imagine yourself traveling with your family on a highway far from home one night. It’s late, everyone’s hungry, and you’ve been on the road for hours. You’re not familiar with the area but you tell yourself to turn off the next exit and find food. As you drive off the exit, you notice a cluster of stores and bright lights; a good sign for weary travelers. As you approach the stores and bright lights you notice two food establishments: Billy’s Burgers and McDonald’s. The only two restaurants in town. Now you tell me: Which one would you choose? Most would choose McDonald’s.
While there are many reasons why most people would choose McDonald’s over Billy’s Burgers, perhaps the most compelling reason is that McDonald’s has done an amazing job building its brand on the consistency of its service and its products. McDonald’s’ customers know exactly what they are getting, and that communicates comfort. People tend to feel more secure with what they know and what they anticipate.
So, what does McDonald’s have to do with running a repair shop? It’s the marketing lesson of consistency of service. Promoting consistent world-class service with each customer will create an experience that will give customers a compelling reason to return in the future.
Now, most of us are not franchised across the country, and many of us are single location business owners. Our business model is different in that we tend to build relationships over time. While we may not be a national brand, we can still have brand recognition in our community. We can still have a brand that communicates consistency and comfort; a winning marketing strategy.
When a customer walks into your business, it’s not because he or she is hungry and looking to eat a meal. There’s a problem with his or her car, or a service they need to have done. People rely on their cars and leaving their car at your shop can be disrupting to their lives. This causes a level of anxiety within every customer. We need to recognize this and find ways to reduce or eliminate this anxiety. If not, the experience won’t burn a positive impression in their mind, which means they may not be back.
The customer experience is a crucial element to the success of any company. But, do we fully understand the impact of consistency in service at every step of the customer experience? How being consistent can promote a feeling of comfort and security? Your customers must be greeted the same, the phones must be answered the same, car delivery must be the same, and the quality of service and repairs must be consistent. Something as simple as forgetting the lube sticker or not resetting the maintenance light can raise anxiety and make the customer question the quality of your service, which will have a negative effect on the entire experience.
However, the marketing lesson is not only how you define great customer service, but in defining how to deliver consistent, great customer service at every step of the customer experience, time and time again.
This strategy will ease the anxiety within your customer, which will benefit you the next time your customer’s check engine light comes on or when her car needs servicing again. By delivering a consistent, amazing customer experience again and again, you will instill comfort and security in your customer’s mind. This simple strategy increases the odds that the customer will think of you the next time for their automotive needs. And that’s the secret of McDonald’s.
Think about this. A consumer is traveling to work on a Monday morning. She notices that oil change maintenance is on. This consumer has been to your shop, the dealership and the local quick lube in the past. She knows the cars needs servicing. Where will she choose to get her oil change done? Will it be your shop? Will it be the dealership or quick lube? That all depends on what business made the best impression in her mind.
This story was originally published by Joe Marconi in Ratchet+Wrench on January 25th, 2019
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The best advertising comes in the form of referrals, which are usually free but don’t happen overnight.
Advertising is perhaps the most confusing part of owning any business, not just an auto repair business. Advertising is, to take your marketing materials and broadcast them in mediums where you anticipate your target audience. The internet has drastically changed advertising as most understand it. We used to think of advertising as the “yellow pages” and newspapers. However today, the yellow pages comes in many different forms these days. All of which promise you the world and few of which will deliver.
We recommend taking a broad approach to advertising to test what will draw in the most amount of new business to you. When thinking about how to advertise for your business, below are some suggestions to consider. First, establish a yearly/monthly budget, then to execute a plan. The most important part of your plan is to follow through on asking your new customers how they found you, that way you know what advertising is working.
Our advertising model assumes you have a few things in place, as we also discussed in Part 2: website with contact module, Google Business Page, and a Facebook Business Page.
We are firm believers that Google’s vast grasp on search is what makes it the king of advertising for now. Most people start their searches on Google, and if you’re not on Google maps and your website hasn’t been crawled by Google… you may not exist. We can argue this until the cows come home, but the truth is they hold a grasp on nearly 80% of all search in the US. Picture 10 people searching for “auto repair in my town”, nearly 8 of them are using Google. It’s much easier and fruitful to advertise to 8 out of 10 than 2 out of 10.
We are going to assume you have a $250 budget, the starter plan would be something like this:
Google Business Page – Free Facebook Business Page - Free Adwords Campaign through your Google Business Administration Page – Budget Dependent - $100 per month recommended Local Paper Advertising – Prices Vary – Assuming $100 per month This leaves you with $50 left over. Personally, we recommend a service called Yext, however we are unsure of their price these days as they have gone into a "Demo mode". This means they likely introduce you to the price after you’ve demo’d their product. For a one location auto repair business, we believe their estimated price may be over $600 a year, which kind of busts the budget a bit. But once you see how much time their platform can save you… you may reconsider.
Yext does a few great things that stand out:
They broadcast your correct business information to well over 100 directory systems, including Google and Facebook. They also allow you to make business updates from their platform and broadcast it to all the directories in the network. They manage your inbound reviews from your customers on all those platforms and immediately inform you when you receive them. They allow you to broadcast messages of specials you may want to promote. They link your business website from 100 different directories, instantly giving your business credibility online. The most underrated thing they do… is save you time from trying to log into 100 different directories and fix errors, omissions, and broadcast them all at the push of a button. Can you imagine the time it takes to create 100 different accounts and to regularly check and manage them? We did, so we tested Yext at our founder’s facility and have been a subscriber for well over 5 years now. This article originally published in CAR's News Section
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