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Auto shop owners are always looking for ways to improve production levels. They focus their attention on their technicians and require certain expectations of performance in billable labor hours. While technicians must know what is expected of them, they have a limited amount of control over production levels. When all factors are considered, the only thing a well-trained technician has control over is his or her actual efficiency.
As a review, technician efficiency is the amount of labor time it takes a technician to complete a job compared to the labor time being billed to the customer. Productivity is the time the technician is billing labor hours compared to the time the technician is physically at the shop. The reality is that a technician can be very efficient, but not productive if the technician has a lot of downtime waiting for parts, waiting too long between jobs, or poor workflow systems.
But let’s go deeper into what affects production in the typical auto repair shop. As a business coach, one of the biggest reasons for low shop production is not charging the correct labor time. Labor for extensive jobs is often not being billed accurately. Rust, seized bolts, and wrong published labor times are just a few reasons for lost labor dollars.
Another common problem is not understanding how to bill for jobs that require extensive diagnostic testing, and complicated procedures to arrive at the root cause for an onboard computer problem, electrical issue, or drivability issue. These jobs usually take time to analyze, using sophisticated tools, and by the shop’s top technician. Typically, these jobs are billed at a standard menu labor charge, instead of at a higher labor rate. This results in less billed labor hours than the actual labor time spent. The amount of lost labor hours here can cripple a shop’s overall profit.
Many shop owners do a great job at calculating their labor rate but may not understand what their true effective labor is, which is their labor sales divided by the total labor hours sold. In many cases, I have seen a shop that has a shop labor rate of over $150.00 per hour, but the actual effective labor rate is around $100. Not good.
Lastly, technician production can suffer when the service advisors are too busy or not motivated to build relationships with customers, which results in a low sales closing ratio. And let’s not forget that to be productive, a shop needs to have the right systems, the right tools and equipment, an extensive information system, and of course, great leadership.
The bottom line is this; many factors need to be considered when looking to increase production levels. While it does start with the technician, it doesn’t end there. Consider all the factors above when looking for ways to improve your shop’s labor production.
By Gerald Martin
No one loves comebacks. But they are a part of life. They come in all shapes and sizes:
1. Faulty parts. We have more part quality issues than ever before, including (less frequently) OEM parts.
2. Tech error. A tech fails to properly tighten brake caliper frame bolts. A belt is installed with one groove off the edge of a pulley. Some techs rarely make these errors. But mistakes will happen.
3. Warning lights on or new symptoms noted "ever since you worked on it". Always needs to be taken seriously - sometimes issues identified are fall into category 1 or 2. Or further OBD monitors ran since repairs were made and other issues are coming out of the woodwork. And sometimes people will try to pin every new issue on the shop that last worked on the car.
How do we deal with warranty cases?
When tech error is involved, is the employer responsible to pay the tech's time to correct his own mistake? Does it make a difference if there is a pattern of carelessness? If the employer picks up the tab for everything, doesn't this reward the making of mistakes?
It seems reasonable that the tech should not take responsibility for part failures not caused by tech error, doesn't it?
And what about that follow up scan to see why the warning lights are on? Should the tech handle this as a courtesy until determined what area the fault is in? It may be, after all, that he left a vacuum line off the air cleaner box. But it shouldn't take too long to know if the advisor needs to request more testing approval from the client...
And should any of these questions be influenced by whether the shop pays flat rate or hourly?
I know that's a lot of questions. But I hope it starts a conversation, because it's an area we really need to develop an SOP and stick with it.
Retention Marketing And Strategies For Bringing Back Clients More Often with Caroline Legrand [E076] - The Auto Repair Marketing PodcastBy carmcapriotto
Thank you to RepairPal for sponsoring The Auto Repair Marketing Podcast. Learn more about RepairPal at https://repairpal.com/shops
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Recorded Live at AAPEX 2023, Andy Bizub and part owner Brandon Ludwikowski discuss the transition from technician to business owner, the importance of a positive attitude, and the tools and knowledge required for technicians. The conversation also covers the division of responsibilities within the company, decision-making processes, and the importance of understanding business fundamentals and financials. Brandon Ludwikowski, Midwest Performance Cars, Chicago and Northbrook, IL. Andy Bizub, Midwest Performance Cars, Chicago and Northbrook, IL. Andy’s previous episodes HERE. Show Notes
Attitude is Key (00:02:12) Brandon emphasizes the importance of having a positive attitude in the face of challenges and setbacks. Providing the Right Tools and Knowledge (00:03:19) Brandon discusses the need for owners to provide technicians with the necessary tools and knowledge to perform their job effectively. Finding the Best Training Sources (00:04:51) Andy explains how he identifies knowledge gaps in his team and seeks out the best training sources to enhance their skills and capabilities. Using a dashboard for learning and improvement (00:09:10) Discussion about the usefulness of a dashboard in identifying areas for improvement. Dealing with overconfidence and ego in technicians (00:09:42) The challenges of working with technicians who believe they know everything and the importance of leaving ego at the door. Considering succession planning and bringing on an ownership team. (00:11:01) The reasons behind bringing on an ownership team, including geographical considerations and planning for the future. The journey to becoming part owners (00:17:56) Brandon discusses the process of becoming a part owner of Midwest Performance Cars and the decision-making involved. Andy describes the complementary skills and characteristics of the three owners: Chris, Ryan, and Brandon. Future plans and ownership transition (00:24:34) Andy explains the terms of the deal, including the timeline for the owners to fully pay for their shares and the possibility of Andy staying on as an advisor. The importance of balance sheets (00:31:46) Andy explains the importance of understanding balance sheets and how they show the true worth of a business. Teaching finance to the team (00:34:02) Andy discusses how he teaches finance to his team, emphasizing the importance of understanding numbers and making informed decisions. Transitioning from a single owner to a business owner (00:34:24) The conversation shifts to the challenges faced by single owners and how they can start transitioning to becoming successful business owners. The balance sheet and cash flow statements (00:34:40) Explanation of the importance of understanding balance sheets and cash flow statements for business owners. The benefits of having a coach (00:36:17) Discussion on the positive impact of having a coach for business owners. Transitioning to a business mindset (00:37:08) The importance of shop owners understanding the business side of their industry and becoming businessmen, rather than just shop owners. Thanks to our Partners, AAPEX and NAPA TRACS Set your sights on Las Vegas in 2024. Mark your calendar now … November 5th-7th, 2024. AAPEX - Now more than ever. And don’t miss the next free AAPEX webinar. Register now at http://AAPEXSHOW.COM/WEBINAR NAPA TRACS will move your shop into the SMS fast lane with onsite training and six days a week of support and local representation. Find NAPA TRACS on the Web at http://napatracs.com/ Connect with the Podcast: -Follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RemarkableResultsRadioPodcast/ -Follow on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/carmcapriotto/ -Follow on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/remarkableresultsradiopodcast/ -Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/RResultsBiz -Visit the Website: https://remarkableresults.biz/ -Join our Insider List: https://remarkableresults.biz/insider -All books mentioned on our podcasts: https://remarkableresults.biz/books -Our Classroom page for personal or team learning: https://remarkableresults.biz/classroom -Buy Me a Coffee: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/carm -The Aftermarket Radio Network: https://aftermarketradionetwork.com -Special episode collections: https://remarkableresults.biz/collections
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"AutoTechIQ helps car and truck owners identify problems their vehicles are having. We provide proven auto repair work that has solved similar issues thousands of vehicle owners have faced. We also recommend auto repair shops in your area based on trust, customer education, and quality of work. These shops inspect your car using a courtesy Digital Vehicle Health Inspection and create a state of health report with symptom information and necessary fixes." Frank Scandura and Krista Erickson discuss how AutoTechIQ aims to bridge the gap between shops and customers by creating better relationships through technology and transparency. The goal is to empower customers with knowledge and build trust. Frank Scandura, Frank’s European Service, Las Vegas, NV. VP of Certified Shop Relations and Member of the Board of Directors, AutoTechIQ. Frank’s previous episodes HERE. Kirsta Erickson, VP of Client Services and Marketing, AutoTechIQ Show Notes
AutoTechIQ: https://www.autotechiq.com/ Transparency is the New Trust (00:01:02) Discussion on the importance of transparency in building trust with customers and how it relates to online reviews and consumer behavior. Using Data to Inform Customers (00:03:52) Explanation of how AutoTechIQ utilizes data from repair shops to provide customers with relevant information and help them make informed decisions about their automotive repairs. The Power and Carefulness of AI (00:08:55) Exploration of AI as a smart algorithm and a powerful search engine that requires careful questioning to avoid getting incorrect answers. Transparency and Expertise in Automotive Services (00:10:33) Explanation of how AutoTechIQ aims to connect customers with expert shops that provide transparency, digital inspections, and communicate in a language that customers understand. The disruptors (00:15:16) Discussion on the impact of disruptors in various industries and the need for new solutions. Vetting process for certified shops (00:16:30) Explaining the requirements and process for certifying shops, including reputation, online reviews, and digital inspections. Driving consumers to shops (00:17:54) The importance of bringing consumers to shops through technology and creating a bridge between customers and shops. The digital vehicle inspection revolution (00:23:06) Discussion on the importance of digital vehicle inspections and the need to educate shops and customers about its benefits. The percentage of shops doing digital vehicle inspections (00:23:33) Exploration of the industry-wide adoption of digital vehicle inspections and the varying definitions of what constitutes a digital inspection. Disrupting business directories with transparency (00:25:22) The potential impact of AutoTechIQ on business directories, focusing on transparency and high-quality service. Thanks to our Partner, NAPA Auto Care Learn more about NAPA Auto Care and the benefits of being part of the NAPA family by visiting https://www.napaonline.com/en/auto-care Connect with the Podcast: -Follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RemarkableResultsRadioPodcast/ -Follow on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/carmcapriotto/ -Follow on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/remarkableresultsradiopodcast/ -Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/RResultsBiz -Join our Insider List: https://remarkableresults.biz/insider -All books mentioned on our podcasts: https://remarkableresults.biz/books -Our Classroom page for personal or team learning: https://remarkableresults.biz/classroom -Buy Me a Coffee: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/carm -The Aftermarket Radio Network: https://aftermarketradionetwork.com -Special episode collections: https://remarkableresults.biz/collections
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