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The Power of Being Part of a Banner Program


Carguy

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I've decided I want to join a banner program, but I'm having a difficult time deciding which one. 

My shop is in Tucson Arizona. We (Tucson) are kind of unique in that the parts supplier in town who is usually going to have the part available and reasonably priced is a locally owned franchise called Merles. (not a national chain)

They've been around a long time and have market saturation locally that the big boys have always envied. 

They were recently (within last 2-3 years) purchased by the same conglomerate that owns NAPA, which extends their buying power even further. 

They give excellent service and pricing, and when our shop was brand new and had no established credit they gave us NET 10th credit terms immediately when everyone else (First Call, Factory Motor Parts, Autozone, Worldpac etc...) wanted us to either pay cash to get established, or guarantee it against mine and my business partner's personal credit. 

They have a program called Auto Service Experts (I'm not sure if this was a banner program they've always been affiliated with or if it came in with their affiliation with NAPA)

However, Advanced Auto Parts recently moved into Tucson and they are wanting our business. They are very competitively priced.  They (along with Carquest and Worldpac) are part of the Tech-Net program.

The one advantage Tech-Net appears to have over Auto Service Experts is their labor claims. (Auto Service Experts limits you to 3 hours at $75/hour and a limited number of claims each calendar year)

Tech-Net current labor reimbursement on labor claims is also $75/hour but they don't have limitations on how many hours per claim (based solely on labor manual flat rate time) or how many claims per year....which could be huge if you get a bad part on a high labor job like an oil pump. 

However, in order for my customers to be covered on the 36/36 warranty and for me to get the labor claims all parts would have to come from them (Advanced, CarQuest or Worldpac).

Merles has been good to me and I value that business relationship. I'm not ready to stop buying from them. However, the tech-net program offered by Advanced Auto Parts appears to be a better overall program than what they offer.

My local Advanced Auto Parts branch has given me excellent customer service so far, and is willing to price match. However, they don't always have the part available same day and rather than wait a day for them to bring it down from Phoenix I'd rather just purchase the part from Merles.

I saw in a different thread someone talking about Certified Auto Repair banner program offered through First Call. It claimed that the nationwide warranty is good no matter where you buy your parts because it's offered through Certified Auto Repair, not by Firstcall. However, that is a very old post and I'm not sure that information is still valid. Everything I've read on the program that is current seems to suggest you are expected to buy your parts from FirstCall. 

One option is to join both banner programs and then continue buying my parts on a case by case basis from either Merles or Advanced whichever has the part available immediately at the best price (which is what I'm currently doing)

However, I'm not sure I can justify the cost of both programs annually for the overall benefits. 

Another option is to go ahead and join Tech-Net because it's the better program, and roll the dice on Advance Auto Parts eventually being able to offer me the same level of service that Merles has offered me in the past.

The final option is to join the Auto Service Experts program that Merles offers.  I'm not really happy with the severe limitations on their labor claims, but in every other way the program is competitive with Tech-Net.

Obviously, this is a decision my business partner and I will have to make, and I'm not asking anyone to tell me what I should do.

However, if there are other options I'm not aware of (like a true banner program that covers you no matter where you buy your parts) or if anyone has any other input or information on the two programs I'm discussing that I may not be aware of, I'd deeply appreciate it.

Thanks in advance. 
 





 

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

         0 comments
      It always amazes me when I hear about a technician who quits one repair shop to go work at another shop for less money. I know you have heard of this too, and you’ve probably asked yourself, “Can this be true? And Why?” The answer rests within the culture of the company. More specifically, the boss, manager, or a toxic work environment literally pushed the technician out the door.
      While money and benefits tend to attract people to a company, it won’t keep them there. When a technician begins to look over the fence for greener grass, that is usually a sign that something is wrong within the workplace. It also means that his or her heart is probably already gone. If the issue is not resolved, no amount of money will keep that technician for the long term. The heart is always the first to leave. The last thing that leaves is the technician’s toolbox.
      Shop owners: Focus more on employee retention than acquisition. This is not to say that you should not be constantly recruiting. You should. What it does means is that once you hire someone, your job isn’t over, that’s when it begins. Get to know your technicians. Build strong relationships. Have frequent one-on-ones. Engage in meaningful conversation. Find what truly motivates your technicians. You may be surprised that while money is a motivator, it’s usually not the prime motivator.
      One last thing; the cost of technician turnover can be financially devastating. It also affects shop morale. Do all you can to create a workplace where technicians feel they are respected, recognized, and know that their work contributes to the overall success of the company. This will lead to improved morale and team spirit. Remember, when you see a technician’s toolbox rolling out of the bay on its way to another shop, the heart was most likely gone long before that.
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