By Joe Marconi
First, I would be the last person to tell anyone that car counts is not a measurable and important KPI. Every shop needs to know their needed car count and what their sweet spot is. And then use that KPI to understand other important KPI's - ARO, Labor margin, part margins, etc.
Now, with that said, the industry in general, has and will see, a decline in the amount of times your customers will visit your shop. It was not that long ago when we had customers bring their cars in 4 to 5 times per year. That has changed. Plus with COVID and many people not using their cars as they used to, we cannot rely on trying increasing car counts. We should, rather, making sure that we make every vehicle visit...COUNT.
Here is my strategy to drive up sales per visit, while promoting the right culture with your customers:
Ensure that the customer experience is the best on the planet! - Give every customer a reason to return back to you. Perform a complete MPI on each vehicle, but find out the particular needs of customers. What is their car used for? Get your entire staff to understand that the customer is everything and their safety and their car care needs are most important. Promote your Culture of taking care of people, not sales - Believe me, sales will come and so will the profits. Promote vehicle maintenance, safety, and reducing the overall cost of owning their car. NOW HERE'S THE TOUGH ONE: PLEASE BOOK THE NEXT APPOINTMENT AT CAR DELIVERY! Doctors do it, dentists do it, boiler service companies do it, hair dressers do it, nail salons do it, ..even chimney cleaning companies do it! It's not hard, just do it. Hope this helps. Thoughts???
By Joe Marconi
Let's face it, all of us were affected by COVID-19. Some more than others. One of the biggest issue is the feeling of uncertainty....what we call the unknown. But, humans are no strangers to tough times. Tough times brings clarity and opportunity. It forces us to create new strategies in an effort to improve both our business and personal life.
We cannot turn back the hands of time. 2020 will be behind us in a few days. Work hard now to make 2021 a banner year. There has never been a time so important as now. Learn from the events of 2020. Create your new goals. Work on your people skills. Work on the numbers of the business.
I am sure all of us learned many lessons this past year, and one of them was to be financially prepared for a crisis. While COVID was different, the financially-stronger shops did do better.
Lastly, have a positive mindset at all times. And set the right tone as the leader of your shop. Your positive attitude will create the right culture and a pathway to better times.
What lessons have you learned and would like to share?
By Joe Marconi
It's hard to believe that it's almost a year since COVID-19 hit. And for many businesses, and repair shops, it's been a challenge. While many areas around the country have not seen a downturn, there are other areas that have been harshly impacted.
Areas such as mine have seen a decline in miles driven per customer of up to 50% or more. Just consider working from home, the drastic decline of going out to dine and other activities, a decrease in after-school activities, a decease in youth sports, buying online and every other action that has become the norm, and it adds up to a negative impact for so many shops.
NOW, you know ME. I always put a positive spin on everything. At this too shall pass. COVID-19 will be behind us and we need to prepare for great times ahead.
I urge everyone to focus on people: Your family, your employees, your customers, and the community.
With regard to your customers, they will remember you and their experience long after the water pump or mass air filter you replaced in their car.
If you are having a decline in sales, here a few tips: Establish your new goals, look at your expenses, reevaluate your breakeven, make sure your labor and part margins are in line. BUT, never forget that your most important strategy is the culture of your business.
Lastly, cherish every minute with family. This Crisis has brought Clarity. And let's never forget the things that money cannot buy.
I hope in these uncertain times that you all stay healthy and continue to thrive with your shops.
Questions/needed guidance from the forum would greatly be appreciated. I currently have 1 mechanic that is salary. This mechanic takes on heavy line work for us. Removing and installing transmissions. Engine replacements. Things of that natue.
I am adding another mechanic to my crew and wanted him to be on a more flag/possible performance pay plan to suit his style of work for daily jobs that would include maintenance work, brakes, tune ups, ETC. I was curious what pay plans you all had out there for a mechanic of this style and possibly pros/cons to it as well
Any and all help would be greatly appreciated.
There are a lot of variables when we talk about shop efficiency. There is culture, environment, leadership and more. There is no single formula that can solve shop efficiency. But if there are the right guidelines, our panel today, certainly has the answers. A big thank you to Chris Monroe, Joe Marconi, and Kevin Vaught for sharing their expertise for you. So many small things done right makes for improved efficiency.
Chris Monroe is a coach who owns Monroe Tire & Service at Shelby, NC., Joe Marconi is a coach who also owns Osceola Garage at Baldwin Place, NY., and Kevin Vaught is a former multi shop owner and is an Elite Worldwide Business Development Coach
The key talking points from this episode are already done for you on the show notes page at https://remarkableresults.biz/a201
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First time poster and glad to be here.
I'm a 40 something entrepreneur not currently in the auto repair business but I've been exploring shop ownership for several years.
Unfortunately, I've come up short using traditional business brokers to find a shop worth purchasing. To date, all that I've looked at have been overpriced and/or have some serious issues.
As shop owners and managers, do you have any tips for finding a solid, well-run general auto repair shop (EBITDA/SDE of $250k-$2MM) to acquire?
I would be grateful for any insights.
Hi! I'm looking to open a new automotive repair shop and I could use some help assessing a specific opportunity from the experts here. To put this in perspective, I would be a new owner without prior repair shop experience, however, I understand repair work and have done almost all of my own work on my personal vehicles for nearly 30 years. The scope of work I have personally performed included transmissions swaps, suspension, brakes, ignition systems, fuel systems, computer diagnostics and so on. My formal training is in science and management and I've been in corporate positions for 20+ years. I also have experience running my own real estate rental business. I've always been interested in auto repair and I believe this business would be a very good fit for my aptitude, skills and experience. I would plan to operate as the business owner and bring in skilled staff to handle repairs and customer engagement under my leadership.
Here is the scenario I could use help with. I found a 10,000 sq. ft. building which is split up between 6 existing bays (3 front and 3 rear), office space and retail area. The section with the bays has about 5000 sq. ft. , about 1000 sq. ft. of office space and another 4,000 sq. ft. of retail area. The property has not been used for auto repair in a long time but could be converted back very quickly along with opportunity to do something interesting in the retail area. I have many potential ideas for the property. I am running into two primary challenges in evaluating the opportunity. The first is the competitive landscape and the second is how quickly I could ramp up the business along with how much business I would likely do from the location after ramp up.
The property is located on a main road with 20-40k total vehicles/day depending on the day of week. About a mile up the road, in a cluster, there are 6 name brand auto dealerships. On the same road, within just a few miles from the site, there are three tire shops, one local and two name brand, along with a Midas and another local 6 bay garage. Think of this as 5 competitors, each with 6 bays plus the new car dealers. There are a handful of smaller local shops with 1-2 bays locally as well. Also, there is a State DMV location, with inspection services in the same zone. The overall geographic area is in a town that contains a Wal-Mart, Lowes, BJ's and a Costco plus restaurants, etc.. These stores are all within 10 minutes from the potential new location. The next closest big retail areas are 30 minutes north or 40 minutes south of the target area described. The demographics of the area skew affluent and population density is moderate - this is not a big city - however people are drawn in from at least a 30 minute drive time radius due to the shopping and other resources.
I have a few ideas to differentiate my business from the rest in the area although on Google, it appears that most of the competing businesses have decent reviews overall. My shop would do all types of repairs including the heavier stuff and the bays are very tall so we could potentially accommodate trucks too.
So, my questions are:
Is this an opportunity worth considering given the competitive landscape? If I were to open a shop, how quickly should I expect business to ramp up? I am really looking for solid feedback from folks with deep experience in this industry to help me evaluate if this is a business proposition worthy of consideration at this location.
I feel like my area is extremely competitive. My area is a small town with about 8000 households (includes town and rural areas). We have 6 legitimate 4-8 bay shops, 1 Chevy dealer, and at least 3 hole-in-wall/backyard guys (800 households/shop). The next town over has 8000 households, 1 legit 8 bay shop, 0 dealers, and 2-3 hole-in-the-wall/backyard guys (2-3000 households/shop). Just wondering what some of you are dealing with out there so I have some reference point. Also, for those of you with multiple locations, does this sort of thing impact the success of individual locations?
I'm looking at opening an auto repair shop with a partner who is the mechanic and possibly another mechanic. I will be the sole investor in the venture never before been in the auto rapair shop business. I will most likely manage the whole thing. I need lots of help.
How are mechanics paid?
How do I pay myself and recoup my investment?
Shop management software? Looked at MaxxTraxx, Alldatapro.
What types of insurance must I carry?
I've found a nice place with three bays to rent but will need to install lifts. Should I shop used or new?
Etc etc etc.
Thanks for any help you can offer.