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While looking for absentee investments, I found a self-storage and Auto repair shop on sale. The purchase price is small and also cash flow is very high to ignore.
But, I am a Software Engineer and I am New to running a Business leave alone an Auto repair. The shop is 2 hrs drive from my home. The owner is ready to provide 2d/week consulting service, and lone other mechanic is ready to work with new owner. Plenty of cash transactions. No computers to log work orders. Specialist in exhaust systems. The mechanic is not insured. Shop and storage has some level of insurance. Small town and original owner ran business from the shop for 33 years. Now wants to retire.
I have plans to modernize the work orders and add cameras for remote tracking. I will have to add one more mechanic, and then trust mechanics and also introduce softwares to increase transparency.
For someone who is interested in Auto repair in general, do you think its good business to run as absentee? I plan to spend few hours at the shop once a week and less frequently later. I am 40 year old, I think right time for me to start a business and get off the corporate world.
Please advice. Appreciate.
By Joe Marconi
Here's a tip I have posted before, but it's worth repeating.
One job that goes unnoticed most of the year is the job of the part's driver. You get part deliveries all day long, every day, all year long. Many times, these part's drivers take all the abuse due to wrong parts, the parts took too long to be delivered, on and on and on. Those drivers may not say anything, but they take it to heart.
So, here's what you are going to do. Buy small gifts, such as small boxes of candy or chocolate. Nothing expensive. During the holidays, give all the drivers one of these small gifts and say "Thank you, I appreciated what you do."
Two things will happen. First, the driver will be stunned and will not know what to say, and they will be very thankful that you thought of them.
The second thing that will happen is this: The very next time those part drivers have three delivers to make at three different shops, what shop do you think they will want to go to first? Yes...Yours!
It seems that Goodyear corporate stores are changing their business model from Tire and Repair Service centers to strictly tires. The franchise stores are free to continue their old business model. Around here, the corporate stores are going to close down on January 27 for 2-3 weeks for a major remodel and possibly? rebranding. They will sell tires and do alignments, but will not be able to align if they need repair parts. I've not seen any official statements on this, so I don't really know more than the scuttlebutt.
It looks like Hunter will have a great year this year as a result. I saw a brand new Hunter Revolution tire machine in one of the local stores already.
I stand to benefit from this change as we may see some of their repair business. Since I don't sell tires, I'm not a Goodyear competitor, which allows them to safely refer repair business to us. Almost everyone else around here sells tires. We refer quite a few folks to tire-only stores, so Goodyear will now be on my referral list.
My name is Karla, I had previously owned a 3-bay mechanical repair shop in Burlington, VT for 6 years and built it to maintain an outstanding reputation and provide a comfortable income. I had the opportunity to sell my half of the business and finalized that deal this past fall. I have worked in all areas of the auto repair industry over the past 15 years, graduated from a two-year ASE certified auto tech program and went on to earn my Bachelor’s in business and a masters degree in executive leadership.
I have some capital I will be contributing to the planning and opening of a new shop and am very open to meeting potential partners/investors in all areas of the country. I greatly look forward to building something new in a location new to me.
Anyway, I’d like to welcome all /any interest and to answer any questions about joining forces in shop planning and management. Please do not hesitate to contact me, thanks for considering!
I know it's hard to believe, but this one single simple tactic helps more shop owners gain trust and build solid relationships with customers. Instead of writing it all out and asking you to read it - I made this short video to explain it all!
Enjoy! It's simple. You DON'T have to be "techy" and you can start right now!
"The Car Count Fixer"
P.S. Join the conversation and grow your car count, income and profits!
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By Elite Worldwide Inc.
Most service advisors fall into one of three traps with first-time customers: they’ll either avoid recommending a complete inspection, they’ll try to bundle the inspection into a service, or they’ll just inspect the vehicle without the owner’s permission. Unfortunately, all of these approaches can jeopardize the customer experience, and reflect poorly on your shop. Let’s take a look at each one…
The service advisors who shy away from recommending a complete inspection to first-time customers are typically doing so for one of two reasons: either they’re afraid that they might find something and will have to sell the customer on that service, or they’re afraid that the customer will think that they are on the hunt for additional dollars. These are the advisors who will typically tell their technicians, “He’s a first-time customer and I don't want to scare him away, so let’s just do the oil service he brought the vehicle in for. We can catch the other things the next time he comes back.” In either case this is a disservice to the customer, and a disservice to your business. Regardless of why the service advisor is afraid to sell, your customers may very well leave and be completely unaware of the risk they are taking with their vehicles, and in some cases, with their lives. Everyone loses in this scenario.
The second trap service advisors fall into is trying to “bundle” the inspection. This is when the advisor tells your customers that the oil service, or whatever they brought their vehicle in for, “includes” a complimentary safety or vehicle inspection. What these advisors don’t understand is that telling your customers that an inspection is “included”, is no different than telling them you are on the hunt for dollars. There’s no doubt about it: you lose with this approach as well.
The third trap advisors fall into is saying nothing at all about an inspection, then telling your customers that while doing the oil service they also inspected other things, and discovered that those other things need attention as well. Unfortunately, your customers are now under the impression that you have been doing things to their vehicle that they haven’t authorized.
What’s the secret to selling complete vehicle inspections to first-time customers? It’s really pretty simple. Since fear is the primary emotion that drives most first-time customers, the first thing you need to do is put the customer at ease. You can do this by smiling, and engaging them in a friendly dialogue about their family, work, etc., when you first meet them. It’s called building rapport. Then, just like a doctor learning about the medical history of a first-time patient, you need to learn as much as you can about the service and repair history of their vehicle. This will typically raise questions about the vehicle’s service history, which will provide you with a great opportunity to build value in your inspection.
You can further build value in your inspection by painting mental pictures, and putting their fears that you’re going to “try to sell them something” to rest. One way of accomplishing this goal is to close out your presentation by saying that when they pick up their vehicle, you’ll provide them with detailed notes on anything that was discovered during the inspection.
When we are discussing this subject with shop owners, or advisors, we tell them that they need to approach their customers in the same way that a good doctor would recommend a complete physical to a first-time patient. Rather than raising the anxiety of the patient, the good doctors will actually put the patient at ease by taking the time to properly build rapport. They’ll tell the patient that odds are there’s nothing they're going to discover that will be of concern, that it’s a great way to take care of our bodies, and that the physical will help the patient remain healthy for a long time. Ironically, it’s no different with your patients. Just think of the vehicle as your “patient”, and the owner as a concerned parent. If you take this approach, you have my promise: you’ll be thrilled with the results, because your sales, your customer satisfaction, and your profits will all go straight up.
Since 1990, Bob Cooper has been the president of Elite, a company that strives to help shop owners reach their goals and live happier lives, while having a positive impact on their employees, customers and communities. The company offers one-on-one coaching from the industry’s top shop owners, service advisor training, peer groups, along with sales, marketing and shop management courses. You can learn more about Elite by visiting www.EliteWorldwide.com.
By Elite Worldwide Inc.
By Bob Cooper
In today’s market, service advisors are facing a number of challenges. One of the more complex challenges is when a skeptical first-time customer comes in for an oil service, and the advisor discovers that this customer needs a long list of repairs. This is what most advisors refer to as the proverbial “laundry list.” Unfortunately, what most service advisors will do is either hold back some of the recommendations because they are afraid they’ll scare the customer away, or they’ll struggle through their presentations. So here is what I am going to recommend that you do...
#1. With every first-time customer you need to do a lot of fact finding. Beyond the standard questions you ask, you need to ask them how long they have owned the vehicle, and whether they bought it new. You also need to ask when was the last time the vehicle was in a shop, what it was in for, if anyone else drives the vehicle, and what their plans are for it. In essence, you need to discover if they plan on keeping it, and if so, for how long.
#2. Have a conversation with every first-time customer about your vehicle inspection process, and how they’ll win. Take a moment to tell them about the qualifications of the technician who will be inspecting their vehicle, and let them know the inspection service is being performed for two reasons: to ensure there are no safety concerns, and to establish a baseline for what services may need to be done, and when.
#3. When you build your estimate, always bundle all repairs and services that are relative to each system on the vehicle; the brake system, suspension system, cooling system, etc. This way you are prepared with a price for taking care of everything that needs to be done in each of the systems.
#4. We all know that when we start a sales presentation, and the customer senses they will need a number of repairs, they’ll get anxious. They’ll then immediately ask for a price, or they’ll tell you they just want the oil service done. The secret? Always ask for permission to talk about the price after you’ve reviewed your discoveries with them. For example…
“First of all, Mr. Smith, when you brought your car in this morning, you said you were concerned about a couple of different things, so tell me if I am missing something here! You said the brake pedal was going down quite a bit, and you also said you needed to have your Mustang back by 4 o’clock. If I remember correctly, something about an anniversary dinner; is that right? Well look, I have some really great news for you. When it comes to your brakes, and being able to have you out of here by 4 o’clock, we’re going to be able to solve both of those problems for you. As I mentioned this morning, the gentleman who inspected your Mustang is Jim Piraino. He’s an ASE Master Certified technician, he’s been with us for 12 years now, and I have to tell you; he’s really gifted at what he does. Now we’ve taken a look at all of your service records, and I’m actually looking at a copy of Jim’s inspection report, so let me tell you what we discovered. First of all, I’d like to say congratulations on taking good care of your automobile because your battery, your tires, your suspension, and your drive train all appear to be in good, operable condition. Now, in addition to the brakes, there are a couple of other things that I’d like to chat with you about, so if it’s ok with you, let me tell you what Jim’s discovered, we’ll have a conversation, then I’ll be more than happy to answer any questions you might have, and we can go over the prices at that time as well. Are you on board with this approach, Mr. Smith? Terrific!”
#5. If they can’t authorize everything, and you need to prioritize, always start with what they brought their vehicle in for, followed by anything that has to do with their personal safety, then the safety of others, followed by vehicle maintenance and comfort items.
#6. Never compromise your ethics. If you do the right things for the right reasons, and if you never put money ahead of people, it will show through to your customers. Combine your shop’s ethics with the above guidelines and you have my promise: you and your customers will be thrilled with the results.
For additional help building a more successful shop that will have a positive impact on your employees, customers and community, please feel free to take advantage of Elite's Complimentary Shop Performance Review.
By Joe Marconi
A long time customer came in the other day for a LOF service and an annual state inspection. He also needed a battery, but said that he would come back for it. When I tried to explain to him that we had to jump start the car, he said he knows about it and he will come back.
This did not seem right. Being me, I pushed a little; “Tom, why won’t you let me install the new battery today?” He was silent. I then said, “Tom, you are going to buy the battery from someone, why not buy it from me.” He replied, “Joe, I can’t afford your price.” I replied, “Tell me what you want me to do.” He said, “Nothing, I will put the battery in myself and save the labor.” I told him, “No Tom, I will put the battery in, you pay for the battery and I’ll pay for the labor, deal?” He was silent again, and then said, “Yes, you got a deal and thank you.”
Sometimes, you need to close the book on sales strategy, profit margins, and quotas and just do what you feel you need to do.
Sometimes, a compromise is a win.