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Someone Challenge Me…Please!


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During a coffee break at a recent seminar, a heated discussion started on whether a shop should be open for business on Saturdays. Many shop owners were adamant about not working Saturdays, claiming that they work hard enough Monday through Friday and having to work a sixth day would put them over the edge. I asked those shop owners that are closed on Saturdays: “Are you sure you’re not giving up much-needed sales by not being open Saturdays?” One shop owner fired back; “It’s my business, and I will run it the way I see fit”.

 

Let me start by saying that we are all independent business owners and the decisions we make are the ones we alone must live with. That is our right in a free market. And, no one person has all the answers. There are different business models and different ways of doing business.

 

Now having said that let me give you my spin on this debate. Most shop owners don’t want to work Saturdays because they know that their business is solely dependent on them being there. After years of working 6 to 7 days a week, they are tired and can’t see themselves pushing that 6th day anymore. And I don’t blame them. Another reason is that many shops are small, having one to three bays, where the owner is also the main technician. For these shops, adding another day to an already grueling week would be tough.

 

But be honest, tell me you wouldn’t enjoy the extra income from Saturday sales while you’re on the lake fishing? Is your business that financially secure that you couldn’t use extra income? And don’t tell me, it’s not all about money either. I know the reasons why we as shop owners went into business: and those reasons include building our legacy, making a difference in the automotive service world, quality of life and taking care of our families. All those reasons require money.

 

My shop made the decision to open on Saturdays for a variety of reasons. Our shop is located in a suburban area where most people commute to work Monday through Friday and are off on the weekends. There is no mass transit in my area, so just about everyone depends on their car. People in my area are overwhelmed with work and family obligations. Their time is limited and weekends seem to be when they play catch-up on the things they can’t get done during the week. I also found that the facilities that are open, the large tire stores and national chains, are very busy with work on Saturdays. For us, not to be open on Saturdays would not be a good business move. I cannot accept that fact that my customers may need to go somewhere else on a Saturday for a state inspection, oil change, a set of wipers or headlight because I decided to close.

 

We created a rotation work schedule, which allows our technicians and service advisors to rotate Saturdays, so as not to burn anyone out. Technicians will also rotate a day off during the week every other week. We feel this rotation system is fair to all employees and allows us to be there when our customers need us.

 

I suggest taking a look at your business model. Do your customers perceive your business as being convenient? Do you stick to a rigid schedule or are you flexible and take the customer’s needs into consideration?

 

I understand that smaller shops with limited manpower will find it hard to add more hours. But, if you want to grow your business you must be ready to compete and that means you need to carefully consider a much more flexible scheduling system, extended hours and being open on Saturdays.

 

The world has changed and we must accept what is happening around us. Many new car dealers are open Saturdays and some are even open on Sundays. All national chains have weekend hours and many have late night shifts. I don’t think we can ignore the fact that there is a lot of competition out there and that we need to be there for the customer. If we give our customers a reason to go to another facility because they are more convenient, we may lose those customers altogether.

 

There’s been a lot of talk lately about how the new car dealers are hurting and that many more will close in the next few years. This SHOULD bring opportunity our way, but only if we prepare for it. If we think these customers will flood our doors just because we happen to be open for business… think again. Also, be prepared for a new breed of new car dealers and national chain accounts. The “automotive herd” is being thinned out and those that survive will fight to the death for a piece of YOUR pie.

 

The fact remains that we as independents are sitting on the biggest opportunity in the history of automotive service. How will you react to this opportunity? What is your plan to capture the expected explosion of service work? Think about this; is your business ready and able?

 

For me, I will listen to my customer. And if that means being there on Saturdays, evening hours or even on Sunday, so be it. I made the choice to be in business, no one else. I also accept the change in our industry and will do my best to adapt. I have an obligation to be successful and to take care of not only my family but also the families of those employed by my company.

 

So tell me…do you agree or disagree? Challenge me…Please!

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I absolutely agree with you. People want convenience regardless of how good your shop is.

 

The problem I see is that if you do have a smaller shop like you said, is manpower. But I think in order to get over that hump you need to be inconvenienced for some time before you see the rewards of being open on Saturday and then after at some point you can increase your workload to hire another tech or writer in order to rotate so they don't get burned out.

 

Right now we are open every other Saturday, because or rotation issues. We are starting to see an increase of business on Saturdays so we are hoping that soon we can do some new additional hiring and at that point we can offer every Saturday.

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I absolutely agree with you. People want convenience regardless of how good your shop is.

 

The problem I see is that if you do have a smaller shop like you said, is manpower. But I think in order to get over that hump you need to be inconvenienced for some time before you see the rewards of being open on Saturday and then after at some point you can increase your workload to hire another tech or writer in order to rotate so they don't get burned out.

 

Right now we are open every other Saturday, because or rotation issues. We are starting to see an increase of business on Saturdays so we are hoping that soon we can do some new additional hiring and at that point we can offer every Saturday.

 

That's a great point. Start small, build the business and then adjust.

Thanks for the response!

Joe

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Nancy,

 

Great to her from you. You story sounds a lot like mine. Our customers look for us on Saturdays. Some people tell me it's the way you "Train" your customers. I think they are wrong. We are in a service business. For me I need to open on Saturdays. And, your right...it helps sets up Monday.

 

Thanks!

Joe

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During a coffee break at a recent seminar, a heated discussion started on whether a shop should be open for business on Saturdays. Many shop owners were adamant about not working Saturdays, claiming that they work hard enough Monday through Friday and having to work a sixth day would put them over the edge. I asked those shop owners that are closed on Saturdays: “Are you sure you’re not giving up much-needed sales by not being open Saturdays?” One shop owner fired back; “It’s my business, and I will run it the way I see fit”.

 

Let me start by saying that we are all independent business owners and the decisions we make are the ones we alone must live with. That is our right in a free market. And, no one person has all the answers. There are different business models and different ways of doing business.

 

Now having said that let me give you my spin on this debate. Most shop owners don’t want to work Saturdays because they know that their business is solely dependent on them being there. After years of working 6 to 7 days a week, they are tired and can’t see themselves pushing that 6th day anymore. And I don’t blame them. Another reason is that many shops are small, having one to three bays, where the owner is also the main technician. For these shops, adding another day to an already grueling week would be tough.

 

But be honest, tell me you wouldn’t enjoy the extra income from Saturday sales while you’re on the lake fishing? Is your business that financially secure that you couldn’t use extra income? And don’t tell me, it’s not all about money either. I know the reasons why we as shop owners went into business: and those reasons include building our legacy, making a difference in the automotive service world, quality of life and taking care of our families. All those reasons require money.

 

My shop made the decision to open on Saturdays for a variety of reasons. Our shop is located in a suburban area where most people commute to work Monday through Friday and are off on the weekends. There is no mass transit in my area, so just about everyone depends on their car. People in my area are overwhelmed with work and family obligations. Their time is limited and weekends seem to be when they play catch-up on the things they can’t get done during the week. I also found that the facilities that are open, the large tire stores and national chains, are very busy with work on Saturdays. For us, not to be open on Saturdays would not be a good business move. I cannot accept that fact that my customers may need to go somewhere else on a Saturday for a state inspection, oil change, a set of wipers or headlight because I decided to close.

 

We created a rotation work schedule, which allows our technicians and service advisors to rotate Saturdays, so as not to burn anyone out. Technicians will also rotate a day off during the week every other week. We feel this rotation system is fair to all employees and allows us to be there when our customers need us.

 

I suggest taking a look at your business model. Do your customers perceive your business as being convenient? Do you stick to a rigid schedule or are you flexible and take the customer’s needs into consideration?

 

I understand that smaller shops with limited manpower will find it hard to add more hours. But, if you want to grow your business you must be ready to compete and that means you need to carefully consider a much more flexible scheduling system, extended hours and being open on Saturdays.

 

The world has changed and we must accept what is happening around us. Many new car dealers are open Saturdays and some are even open on Sundays. All national chains have weekend hours and many have late night shifts. I don’t think we can ignore the fact that there is a lot of competition out there and that we need to be there for the customer. If we give our customers a reason to go to another facility because they are more convenient, we may lose those customers altogether.

 

There’s been a lot of talk lately about how the new car dealers are hurting and that many more will close in the next few years. This SHOULD bring opportunity our way, but only if we prepare for it. If we think these customers will flood our doors just because we happen to be open for business… think again. Also, be prepared for a new breed of new car dealers and national chain accounts. The “automotive herd” is being thinned out and those that survive will fight to the death for a piece of YOUR pie.

 

The fact remains that we as independents are sitting on the biggest opportunity in the history of automotive service. How will you react to this opportunity? What is your plan to capture the expected explosion of service work? Think about this; is your business ready and able?

 

For me, I will listen to my customer. And if that means being there on Saturdays, evening hours or even on Sunday, so be it. I made the choice to be in business, no one else. I also accept the change in our industry and will do my best to adapt. I have an obligation to be successful and to take care of not only my family but also the families of those employed by my company.

 

So tell me…do you agree or disagree? Challenge me…Please!

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We started opening Saturdays , one of the issues was hours and person power . I will say it is draining.

BUT WITH THAT SAID -- It has been the best thing we have done. We have not lost mon- friday sales all techs busy, and saturdays have become very busy . We started in December .

We are up 8% over last year

 

Kudo's on the saturday discussion - it will be tough especially we are open 7:00 - 7:00 Mon - Fri and 7:00- 3:30 Saturday.

 

My goal is to do what ever it takes to be up 12% this year and raise avg r/o back to where we were two years ago.

 

Thanks Dan Reichow

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Dan,

 

8%! That's great news. Six days a week can be draining. That’s why we have added more techs and started a rotation schedule. Also, this keeps overtime down and gives techs much needed time off.

 

We have built such a saturday trade that it would economic suicide to close at this point.

 

Great hearing from you,

 

Joe Marconi

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Your schedule is very similar to mine. Everyone should adopt this type of rotation schedule, so as not have employee burn-out. We all need to work, but we all need time off too. Plus, your way maximizes productivity while still maintaining enough hours open to satisfy your customer's needs. Great job!

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Give you service manager a hand shake from me; actually 2 handshakes; one for being a Ranger and one for thinking outside the box and creating the schedule.

 

As far as small shops are concerned, the only reason they think they can close on Saturdays is that they only have a limited cliental. But, this thinking will keep them small and will probably make them struggle in the future.

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  • 2 months later...

I'm not sure if I replied to this post. But, the answer is YES! We are open 7:30am to 2:00pm or later if we have a lot of work.

 

We have built Saturday's sales to a point that I will never close again. Plus it sets up the entire week.

 

The only issue, like I said before, is manpwower. That's why we rotate and give techs and writers a day off during the week. We also rotate Saturdays so that everyone will have off a Saturday every few weeks.

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I have the same situation, I have to write on Mondays. However, the gain is worth it. We have 2 service advisors now, our goal is to add one more by summer of 2010.

 

I'm glad to see that sales are great. Go for you!

 

How much of an impact is Saturday making for you?

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