By Joe Marconi
We, automotive shop owners of America, must take the opportunity of a lifetime and turn it into a bunch of success stories. What opportunity? Look around you. The world is in turmoil. COVID-19, social unrest, uncertainty about the presidential election, the economy, how are we going to get out kids back to school, on and on and on.
While the world is spiraling out of control, we have the power to make big changes to our auto repair shops. And it can all be positive!
First, the average age of a car in the U.S. is about 12 years old, attaining well over 200k on the clock.
Second, Uber, taxis and limo companies are suffering. Guess why?
Third, the motoring public in the foreseeable future will be traveling by car, taking road trips like they have never did before.
Fourth, the roads are packed with motor vehicles, as more and more people prefer their own car as their primary means of transportation.
Fifth, as the cars get older and older, more of them will be out of factory warranty.
Sixth, independent auto repair shops have a vast amount of training, resources and replacement parts.
Seventh, the overwhelming majority of cars being build and sold today are still internal combustion engine powered cars. If you factor in the expected average age of car these days, we can safely bet that those gas engine cars being sold today will still be on the road in 2033 and beyond!
Eight, You need more? That's not enough!
Get your plan in place. Get your prices in line with making a profit. Don't give anything away anymore (I am mostly referring to checking, testing, diags of any sort!) Offer world class customer service. Be a leader of your employees. Show the world what you are made of!
Thought it would be a good conversation to understand how your shop is doing through the COVID-19 pandemic. Thought the best way to get a grip on it all would be to get your response to these 3 questions.
1- How was your shop doing in early March - pre-pandemic? Were your numbers better, worse or about the same as last year.
2- What’s the biggest challenge you faced when the pandemic spread?
3- What’s your forecast for your shop moving forward?
Is business getting better? About the same - like nothing has happened? Or are you struggling to get customers through the door?
Look forward to hearing your BEFORE-DURING-AND AFTER to understand where the industry is at. Hope this generates a better “picture” of what’s going on.
“The Car Count Fixer”
P.S.: Join my on YouTube at Car Count Hackers
Grabbed this shot of a crazy 68 Camaro (with wild Mickey Thompsons!) at a car show last week! Thought I would share it to help you remember "where we came from!" - Enjoy!
I absolutely can't stand that company. They are the leader in the market (auto repair shop management software) and arguably the biggest company however move at a snail's pace when it comes to making any sort of productivity or efficiency changes. They know they have a lock on their subscribers so they are just milking the cows for all they are worth. Even through that annoyance the most annoying thing is their billing department. I have heard horror stories from others but from my experience they are absolutely garbage. I had a QB integrator on the account that I had tried to cancel multiple times. I kept on getting billed for it even though it showed in their records that I had cancelled months prior.
I can't wait to move on from these turds.
By Joe Marconi
Due to COVID-19, many repair shops experienced a severe economic downturn, some with a drop in sales over 50%. Without a strong cash reserve and/or SBA funding help, many shops would have gone under.
My 40 years as a shop owner has taught me to always have a cash reserve. However, never would I have ever imagined a downturn like the one with COVID-19.
So, how do we plan for the next financial crisis. And, it will happen. Perhaps not as bad as the the virus crisis, but it will happen.
Here are a few things to consider: Have a separate, and hard to access, cash reserve bank account that has least two months of expenses. Also, secure a line of credit for at least one to two months of expenses. Also, know your numbers, keep payroll in line, and make sure your prices are fair to you too, not just your customers. Keep in good standing with all your vendors and keep your credit score high!
The bottom line here, is truly the bottom line. To weather the next financial downturn, you need a strong balance sheet and net profit to the bottom line.
What other strategies are you considering or implementing?
By Joe Marconi
As a result of COVID-19, we are seeing more and more businesses install plastic shields at their service and receptionist counters and desks. What are your thoughts. Will you install the shield, have done it or is it a no?
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So how many folks have RO Writer and what are your opinions. I've used it and am pretty familiar with it. I am curious if they every released their update they've been talking about and also how you use recommended services. When I was using ROW I did not like how recommended services worked. It was very limiting. Are any of you using ROW and Bolt on Technology together. I'd like to know how well they integrate with eachother.
Thank you in advance,
I am trying to get some real-world perspective on using the Mitchell 1 system. Specifically, I am trying to account for bad debt, but setting it up as a payment type doesn't seem to be a good idea because it shows in my Revenue reporting as a taxable sale. Is there any way to adjust this or is their a best practice for tracking bad debt?
On another note, I would love to be able to chat with someone who has used this system for years and is willing to share some of their best practices in general. Let me know if you might be open to starting a dialogue.
By Oova At Autovitals
The Digital Shop® takes shape in Schools
Lindsay, our trainer extraordinaire went back to school. Not as a student but being a professor for two days at the Career and Technology Center Fort Osage. Based on the initiative of SmartFlow users in and around Kansas City, MO, Bill Lieb, and Bryan Compton – teachers of the Automotive Classes at CTC – AutoVitals provided equipment and training for the next generation automotive technicians.
It has been an honor to support this initiative. The technician shortage and hesitance for new technology by older generation techs make it a necessity to have young technicians equipped with the knowledge about the tools available and how to use them. SmartFlow can not only guide these students to the digital frontier, but also learn about productivity and efficiency that is typically missing in everyday curriculum.
As you can see in the pictures below, the students and Lindsay had a lot of fun with the lab portion of the training. Each group performed digital inspections on their vehicles, and expanded on the importance of documentation and pictures. Four classes in two days showed high school students the opportunity in this industry, both present and future. Professor Lindsay had a blast!
Are you a School interested in taking your Automotive Program to the next level, or know of one? Please use our contact-us form to reach out!