By Joe Marconi
Back in the 1990s, some shop owner's feared that fuel injection, 100 mile spark plugs, the elimination of the Distributor cap, rotor and extended fluid services would be our demise. But, that didn't happen.
Now I hear many in our industry state that "There is no needed work on an electric vehicle, they are problem free."
My opinion, let's not fall into thinking that the EV car will run forever of even for years without needed service. The EV still has tires, suspension, brakes, and a whole new area of opportunities. It will be different, but there will be a need for the Automotive Technicians and for repair shops.
Honesty is always the best policy, but sometimes is it better to omit certain information to a customer? What if you make a mistake but make it right and eat the cost? Are there situations where you don’t divulge all that information to a customer? Let’s have an open discussion on ethics and your shop’s reputation.
Matt Fanslow, lead diagnostician and shop manager, Riverside Automotive, Red Wing, MN. Matt’s previous episodes HERE Matt Fanslow Podcast: Diagnosing the Aftermarket A to Z Al Wright, John's Automotive, Cedar Rapids, IA Key Talking Points
There are times when being completely open is endearing, but other times where it simply hurts the shop's reputation, and the client learning about it changes nothing. They aren't paying more for the service, they aren't leaving with an improperly repaired vehicle. The issue/mistake/mishap can be kept in-house and learned from. It's not uncommon for us to "lie" by omission, namely when mistakes are made. We don't call out the specific tech that erred. That is to be frowned upon. Unfortunately, we also seem to lie by omission by not calling out the specific tech when there's a victory or a job well done. Another situation MAY be just thinking out loud, which may not always be a good thing, or misdiagnosing a vehicle. What is the best way to fire a customer without damaging the shop's reputation? In a small community, you have to be careful in your explanation to the customer to prevent the ripple effect. Comebacks - every shop has them, and it's the first interaction when they return that makes all the difference in defusing a bad situation. Let the customers speak first. Reputation isn't just a business transaction, reputation is just as important as community involvement. Shop culture can also affect your reputation. It's your employee for 40 hours of the week; what do they say about you and their peers the 80 hours a week?
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Check out today's partners: Shop-Ware: More Time. More Profit. Shop-Ware Shop Management getshopware.com Delphi Technologies: Keeping current on the latest vehicle systems and how to repair them is a must for today’s technicians. DelphiAftermarket.com
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By Eric Roberts
Firstly let me say that I an just a regular guy from the UK who is the owner of a seven bay service centre/garage. I am not a financial expert. The dreaded inflation is upon us again. For the guys as old as me then this is nothing new. Back in the 70,s we had 15% inflation, but we all got by and lived for better trading days. Here in the UK we have always looked up to the USA because of your business prowess. So what do you guys look out as your worst enemy!
When prices are going up then I find that the gap opens between rich and the poor's disposable income. So this question will effect garage owners in different areas. My garage is in a poor area with many immigrant families who drive cars. So this means we have to be more flexible with pricing. Finding out if your customer can afford that service ! For this reason we devised a three tier service pricing structure. This has also the effect of not loosing your profit margins.
The lowest price should include an oil and filter change and a general vehicle check over. This way we find the customer will perhaps be able to afford a service and your profit margins wont drop. This is just one small idea that we carry out! What do you guys do in these times of high inflation ?
By Joe Marconi
Most communities have a variety of repair shops, dealerships, and franchise models. Do you consider them the competition, or colleagues?
Do you think it's worth it to get to know other auto businesses in your community? To share and exchange business ideas and strategies?