By Joe Marconi
Shop owners, you have a little less than two months before the end of the year. And that means it's time to start thinkning about your Tax Planning for 2019. Don't procrastinate on this. Meet with accountant. Review the year, review profit. Consider things such as major equipmenet purchases and other major investments you made in 2019. Look at bottom line profit and determine if you set aside enough cash to pay your taxes come April 15, 2020.
One thing, Cash is King, So, before you purhase any major equipment before the end of the year, listen to your accoutant, not the Tool Sales-person. In many cases, it's better to pay some tax and hold on to cash for a rainy day.
A little planning now will save you big time in 2020, and also help you sleep better!
RALEIGH, N.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 1, 2019-- Advance Auto Parts, Inc. (NYSE: AAP), a leading automotive aftermarket parts provider, has launched a new learning management system designed to provide training programs that grow an automotive professional’s knowledge and skills throughout their entire career. Advance regularly serves more than 26,000 individuals in North America each year with training courses offered through the company’s Carquest Technical Institute (CTI) and Worldpac Training Institute (WTI) programs.
Training from Advance now combines courses available online and in the classroom from CTI+WTI into an integrated training solution, giving aftermarket professionals access to a robust library of technical training and business management education. Career Pathways, which feature a structured set of online and classroom events to establish mastery of technical and business competencies, are currently targeted to the General Service Technician and Professional Technician, with Senior Technician, Master Technician, and a number of specialist programs coming by the end of the year.
“Delivering quality training is critical to addressing the technician shortage facing the automotive industry,” said Chris Chesney, Senior Director of Customer Training at Advance. “Integrating the expertise and curriculum of CTI+WTI into a centralized, easy-to-use platform enables Advance to go to market with an unrivaled training program. No matter what stage a person is in the life of their career, training is crucial to their long-term success.”
Shop owners can track the progress of their technicians and staff through Career Pathways specific to the type of work they perform at their shop. Training participants receive certifications within the CTI+WTI platform as they complete training programs and advance in their career.
“The advancement of automotive technology requires that our industry has access to leading edge training to keep pace with modern vehicle systems,” said Rob Morrell, Senior Director of Customer Training at Worldpac. “CTI+WTI’s new learning management system enables national accounts and independent shops alike to help attract, retain and grow talent.”
CTI+WTI have hosted more than 45,000 training events in the organizations’ 20-plus year histories. For more information, visit CTIonline.com or WTIonline.com.
About Advance Auto Parts
Advance Auto Parts, Inc. is a leading automotive aftermarket parts provider that serves both professional installer and do-it-yourself customers. As of July 13, 2019, Advance operated 4,912 stores and 150 Worldpac branches in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Company also serves 1,250 independently owned Carquest branded stores across these locations in addition to Mexico, the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos and British Virgin Islands. Additional information about Advance, including employment opportunities, customer services, and online shopping for parts, accessories and other offerings can be found at www.AdvanceAutoParts.com.
View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20191101005436/en/
Source: Advance Auto Parts, Inc.
T: (540) 589-8102
E: [email protected]
T: (919) 227-5466
E: [email protected]
By Mail Shark
In today’s hustle and bustle world, consumers want to work with companies that make doing business easy & convenient.
If your auto repair shop offers online appointment scheduling, you most certainly want to include content that conveys that message on your direct mail and other marketing. It can help position you as the local repair shop that makes doing business easy by giving customers another convenient way to schedule their repair or maintenance services.
As a standard, I suggest my clients add the following verbiage or a variation of, positioned above their phone number and website
“Call Today or Conveniently Schedule Online”
In addition, I recommend utilizing a QR code, that when scanned takes your customers directly to your online appointment scheduling web page. Customers that are apt to schedule their appointments online will no doubt appreciate the convenience, making it even easier for them to book their appointment from their smart phones or tablet by simply scanning your QR code as opposed to having to type out a long URL such as:
Attached is an example showing one side of a 5.5x10.5 Direct Mail Postcard:
Now, I know what many of you may be thinking, “Do people still use QR Codes?” I’m not using my psychic abilities; I’ve simply been asked countless times by auto repair shop owners. Many shop owners seem to think QR codes are a thing of the past, however, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
The QR code market is on a steep rise. According to Juniper Research, by 2022, 5.3 billion QR code coupons will be redeemed by smartphones and 1 billion smartphones will access QR codes.
In my opinion there is no reason you should not be using this technology. Utilizing a QR code can’t have any negative affect on your business and there is only upside potential to add more convenience and make your shop easier to schedule an appointment with.
A few final thoughts:
It’s important to note, after creating countless QR codes for auto repair shops, I have noticed that when clicking on the online appointment scheduling link on many shop websites, it does not take you to a different URL when accessing the online appointment page. Instead, it keeps you on the same page you are on with an online appointment scheduling pop up. If this is the case on your shop’s website, you will not be able to link a QR code direct to your specific online appointment scheduling page. You can still utilize it to drive your prospects to your website and then from there they will have to navigate to this page as compared to them scanning the QR code and landing directly on your online scheduling page.
If your shop doesn’t offer online appointment scheduling, you can still utilize QR Codes for many different things. Below is a short list to give you some ideas of what QR codes can easily link your customers to.
· Any Website URL
· Google Maps Location
· YouTube Video
· Contact Details
· Image File
· Etc. etc.
Finally, we have some PRO Tips to help you get the most out of the use of your QR code.
PRO Tip #1: Basic QR codes should be FREE from your direct mail partner and many QR code services give you the ability to create a special QR codes that allow you to track the number of times your QR code is scanned. You can then test the use of your QR code and have transparency as to whether your QR code is being scanned by consumers.
PRO Tip #2: Never Use a QR Code without labeling it with what its purpose is. You will most likely get zero scans or far less using a QR code without a label.
PRO Tip #3: I don’t recommend using more than one QR code on your direct mail marketing piece. Use the link you feel customers will find the most convenience in and stick with a that one.
PRO Tip #4: You can also create custom QR code images to further enhance the appeal of your QR code. This is typically with paid QR code services. Attached is an example of how Mail Shark created a custom QR code to make it seamless for our prospective auto repair shop clients to get a quote and samples.
Executive Vice President of Sales
Email: [email protected]
Does anyone have the MaxiSys ADAS Calibration Tool? What did you pay?
I see it on Amazon being sold by autel
From he autel site: https://www.auteltech.com/autelcms/Automotive Diagnostic& Analysi/590.jhtml
MaxiSys ADAS Calibration Tool
Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) is becoming standard equipment on today’s new vehicles. These systems are designed to assist drivers to prevent collisions by displaying alerts, providing camera images or by taking instantaneous control of the vehicle. The Autel MaxiSys ADAS provides the original complete diagnostic functionality, comprehensive and precise ADAS calibration. With MaxiSys calibration tools and accurate software, Autel MaxiSys ADAS is an ideal calibration tool for collision repair, glass replacement and repair shops.
Precise: crossbar's minor adjustment knob and laser positioning provide millimeter-level accuracy.
Flexible: lift can be adjusted by power; pattern cloth and pattern board are portable and easy for storage.
Integrated: modular frame assembled with accessory tools for calibration; pattern board holder, pattern cloth and pattern board are easy to move.
Smart: calibration procedure; compatible use with leveling lift adjustment
Accurate: regular updates of latest OE-level diagnostic and calibration software; correct calibration
Intuitive: tutorial graphics and step-by-step instructions; Pre-Scan & Post-Scan Reports (ADAD module identification, Calibration)
Complete: Wide vehicle coverage; Seven Calibration Functions; Fixed & Mobile Calibrations
Glass Replacement, Specialty Repair, Collision Repair, Wheel Alignment
Adjustable Calibration Frame and Tools
The large automatic screw mechanism provides compatible use with vehicle leveling lifts by offering a taller than average extended adjustable height.
Easily Interchangeable and flexible calibration components
Precise fine-tuning hand knob and laser positioning for millimeter ruler accuracy
Calibration Tooling Kit
Easily Interchangeable Calibration Components
Exceptional Vehicle Coverage
Made of durable stain resistant material and easily cleaned.
Easy to store and transport
Step-by-step instructions display exact OE-calibration specifications and videos
Pre-SCAN and Post-SCAN diagnostic report directly presents the existing problems, diagnostic results and repair suggestions
J2534 Maxiflash Elite for OE Level programming
Faster 1.3GHz + 1.7GHz hexa-core processor, double the speed with our revolutionary multitask-capable Android Operating System
AutoVIN / AutoSCAN all modules in all systems
The best possible OE-level diagnostic coverage to offer complete ADAS and diagnostic solutions for smarter repair and calibration.
Similar Tagged Content
This week, I had a chance to review recent results with a private client (aka Car Count Hacker . You may find this surprising, specially when you find out the size of the shop.
I detail it all in this video.
You can see the entire video here. I welcome your comments or questions.
I welcome your comments or questions.
Hope this helps!
"The Car Count FIxer"
P.S.: Join me on YouTube at Car Count Hackers! FREE Help to grow your Car Count, Income and Profit!
P.P.S.: Like and Follow Car Count Hackers on Facebook
P.P.P.S.: Have you registered in my FREE Training? "How to Double Your Car Count in 89 Days"
By Mail Shark
Before approving your next database mailing, run down this checklist to ensure all of these steps have been taken to validate the quality and accuracy of your mailing.
Utilize the National Change of Address Service (NCOA)
Every year, millions of Americans move, and this undoubtedly includes some of the customers in your database. This can be a problem when you pull your database to use for sending out a direct mail campaign, as you may have customers that have moved and no longer live at the recorded address.
If these customers have moved outside of your trade area, and you were to send a direct mail piece to them, you would essentially be wasting your marketing dollars by sending direct mail to customers that are simply no longer there.
The good news is, there is a simple solution. You can have your direct mail partner run your database against the USPS National Change of Address (NCOA) service. The cost of doing so is very minimal and worth the small additional cost to ensure the quality and accuracy of your database.
NCOA is a database maintained by the U.S. Postal Service, and includes all of the individuals and companies who have completed a form to change their address in the previous four years.
Here are a few things you will find out by running your list through the NCOA process is:
Addressee has moved, and a new address could not be provided. New address information is provided. The recipient moved without providing a forwarding address to the USPS. From here, these previous customers that have moved can easily be removed from future mailings.
Remove Your Customers From New Acquisition Mailings
Most shop owners who are using direct mail to target their database of current customers are also sending out new customer acquisition mailers to target new prospects, either by carrier route or by specific make, model, fuel type, etc.
In doing so, it’s important that you request your direct mail partner to remove these current customers from your new customer acquisition mailers. It’s a waste of money to send your customers a new customer acquisition mailer when you are already targeting them by sending them a retention or lapsed customer mailer. It will also send your current/lapsed customers the wrong message. Your marketing and message to new customers should not be the same that it is to current or lapsed customers.
This is also an easy fix, simply request that your direct mail partner suppress your customer database from your new customer acquisition mailers. The only caveat in doing so, is for general auto shops that are removing their database of customers from their carrier route mailing—there are guidelines that must be met for carrier route mailings in order to receive the maximum discounted postage rate. These guidelines are as follows:
Your mail must be sorted in walk sequence. This is the exact order that the postal carrier walks/drives on their carrier routes. In addition, your mailing must follow the 90/75 rule. The 90/75 rule stipulates that you must mail to at least 90 percent of the total residential addresses, or at least 75 percent of the total combined number of residential and business addresses in each carrier route. Since you, as an auto shop owner will never want to mail to businesses, this means that you must mail to 90 percent of the total addresses in a carrier route to maintain the lowest postage rate.
If your mailer falls below the 90 percent guideline, there are three different levels of postage that your mailer can potentially fall into. Each level represents an additional cost of per piece postage above and beyond the standard rates.
Additional Saturation Mail Postage Rates (*As of 1/1/2019)
High density plus: Mail at least 300 pieces in walk sequence order (additional postage would be .01 per piece).
High density: Mail at least 125 pieces in walk sequence order (additional postage would be.019 per piece).
Basic: Mail at least 10 pieces in walk sequence order (additional postage would be .104 per piece).
Make Use of the Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS)
In addition to running your database through the NCOA process, it’s important to ensure your direct mail partner is also certifying your database mailing list through the Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS). This process will standardize your mailing file, verify that each and every address in your mailing file is valid and complete, as well as update any addresses that have been changed and/or has become outdated.
Executive Vice President of Sales
Email: [email protected]
By Mail Shark
I hear a lot of auto repair shop owners say they don't want to offer a cheap oil change coupon on their direct mail marketing. They feel the cheap oil change coupon brings in the wrong clientele, and they don't want to devalue their brand and position themselves as the cheap oil change shop.
As a quick note, the concept behind the cheap oil change offer is that it is a loss leader and utilized to entice new customers. The key is getting new customers through the door, which the cheap oil change can be extremely effective at doing. Once you get them in your shop and you do a great job for them, you can build a great rapport with them and win them over as a loyal customer.
All that said, you will always know your business better than any marketing company. Therefore, we certainly can't argue with the fact that you would not like to use this strategy if in fact you have already executed a cheap oil change coupon campaign and it did bring in the wrong clientele.
However, having an oil change coupon as part of your shop's direct mail marketing strategy is critical. Here are a few reasons why.
An oil change is something that every non-electric vehicle owner will need at some point in time. Consequently, I would venture to say that most vehicle owners are familiar with what an oil change is more so than any other maintenance service. Compare that to a timing belt replacement coupon or a serpentine belt replacement, each of which the average consumer may not be familiar. When you have a coupon that is familiar and relevant to everyone that you are targeting, you have a much higher chance of increasing redemption rates.
Therefore, for those shop owners that are afraid of attracting the wrong clientele or devaluing their brand with a low-price point oil change, the simple fix is to increase your oil change price point to a number that you are comfortable with and that is still a value from a consumer perspective. An alternate option would be to offer a specific $ off discount that you are comfortable with — for example, $10 off any conventional oil change & 15 off any full synthetic.
My next recommendation, if you are a general auto repair shop, which is a non-negotiable one, in my opinion, is to structure your oil change coupon to offer both a conventional and full synthetic oil change offer. All too often, shop owners only offer a conventional oil change coupon. A conventional oil change coupon is fine. However, it will never appeal or be applicable to owners of vehicles that require full synthetic oil. There is no reason to limit your offer to only appeal to a specific set of vehicles. It's crucial you cast a wider net and appeal to as many vehicle owners as possible. The simple and quick solution is to offer both options.
PRO TIP: if you are concerned about coupons bringing in the wrong clientele, think again. Even the wealthiest consumers use coupons.
Here is a snippet from our blog post entitled "WHY YOU SHOULD BE SENDING DIRECT MAIL COUPONS:
It might seem surprising, but wealthy people love saving money with coupons. In fact, households with annual incomes of $100,000 or more are twice as likely to use coupons than households earning less than $35,000 a year.
Wealthy customers may be able to afford your most expensive products and services, but that doesn't mean they don't want a good deal. The majority of them are cautious about spending money and rarely make frivolous, unnecessary purchases. Rather than viewing your business as cheap, they'll appreciate your coupons and the opportunity to save money,
You can check out the entire blog post here.
Executive Vice President of Sales
Email: [email protected]
Oil Change Coupon Example.pdf
I was looking for some input into advertising. I have really not done any the last 25 years. We are rebranding or should I say changing directions a little. Going back to tires, brakes ,alignment and maintence. When I did it last other than the phone book we did a little newspaper. I think those have basically gone. So many options out there, I just do not want to throw a bunch of money away on the wrong advertising. Any help would surely be appreciated. Sincerely David