By Joe Marconi
For many shops, business during the winter can slow up due to a number of reasons. What I have found that works is to schedule a flood of service reminders and past recommendations to go out during the months of Jan and Feb. Maintaining touch with your existing customers is a great way to keep your shop top of mind, and it may just bring in a little extra work too.
Any winter marketing tips to share?
Shop Owner of the Year: Jamie and Eric Carlson, Ervine’s Auto Repair and Grand Rapids Hybrid, Grand Rapids, MI. Years in Business: 28. Number of Full-Time Technicians: 3. Number of technicians with ASE Certifications: 3
Eric Carlson, co-owner of Ervine's Auto Repair & Grand Rapids Hybrid, has been a technician for over 45 years. His formal automotive education came from Ferris State University where he took all 8 ASE tests prior to graduation in 1977. Eric has been recertified every 5 years since. He took the L1 when it was introduced and is now L3 hybrid certified. Eric is a subject matter expert for ASE and has participated in writing test questions for the L3 test. Eric has been named NAPA and ASE's technician of the year 5 times. Jamie Carlson, co-owner of Ervine's Auto Repair & Grand Rapids Hybrid. She loves her job and is very proud of how her shop has kept ahead of technological changes to stay relevant and customer-focused. Her shop was awarded the 2018 ACE (Auto Care Career and Education) Award in recognition of her dedication to investing in the growth of their employees' knowledge and skills through access to professional development and career opportunities. Jamie is also nurturing the next generation by working closely with her daughter, Megan Dineff. Megan was named one of Ratchet + Wrench magazine's All-Star winners for 2019 and Auto Care Association's 4 for the Future Impact award in 2020.
Technician of the Year: Matt Fanslow, Lead Diagnostician/Shop Manager, Riverside Automotive, Red Wing, Minnesota. ASE Master Certified Technician - A1-A8 and L1 #ASE-1597-7187
Matt's 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.
Service Advisor of the Year: Brittany Schindler, Service Manager Rod’s Japanese Auto Care Bellingham, WA. Years in the industry: 11 years. Brittany loves working at the shop and being able to help people every day. Brittany has learned so much over the years by going to classes with great trainers and having a great business coach. One of her main focuses is to raise the standard of the automotive service and repair industry. Listen to Brittany’s previous episodes HERE
Key Talking Points
Rebranding Grand Rapids Hybrids- ½ the cars that come in are hybrids, over 6 cars a day. Networking groups- wisdom and knowledge shared by other professionals. It’s essential for growth. Reinforcing the hard work, time and investments Training- online and in person Family in the business- shared values, ethics AAPEX- training classes, networking and learning. Go to booths, ask questions, get contact information Connect with the show:
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Gold Certification recognizes top tier NAPA AutoCares with a high level of participation in the AutoCare program. The program was built by AutoCare Centers for AutoCare Centers to provide a consistent consumer experience, maximize technology leverage, and reward NAPA’s most committed partners. In other words, Gold Certified AutoCare Centers are the standard bearers for the AutoCare brand nationwide. Simply put, the Gold Certified NAPA AutoCare program, powered by your local shop brand, will separate you from the rest helping you boost your bay counts and your average repair orders. Learn more about NAPA AutoCare, Gold Certification, and the hundreds of other benefits the NAPA family has to offer by talking with your servicing NAPA store or visiting www.NAPAAutoCare.com.
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By Joe Marconi
One of the lessons from COVID is for repair shops to have a strong cash reserve. Shop owners need to budget their money each week, and allocate money to different bank accounts, such as payroll, operating expenses, taxes, etc.
Another account I would recommend is to have a Cash Reserve account, where money is allocating each week, and not touched unless their is a emergency, such as an economic downturn and or if an economic emergency occurs in your area or with your company.
While no one could have predicted the affects from COVID 19, I think we can all agree that being cash strong is a viable strategy.
You should have anywhere from 3 to 6 months of covered expenses in a separate bank account. I know, I know....it's a lot of money. Start slow and build each week. Anything set aside is better than nothing.
Of course, to have a reserve means that you need to have the profit to put away. Right? Well, another reason to know your numbers, revisit your pricing and make sure your labor rate is enough to support your payroll, operating expenses and have enough left over to set aside money for the unexpected.
Trust me, you'll be glad you did.
By ASOG Podcast
ASOG Podcast Ep 51 - A Conversation with Bill Hill of Mighty Auto Pro