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Will Banner Programs Compete with the Big Boys?


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My Shop is a TECH-NET Facility (Organized By CARQUEST Auto Parts). To compete today, independents need a competitive advantage. Many of us are not franchises, nor do we have the luxury of having a nationally recognized brand. With conglomerates like Pep Boys gobbling up market share, it becomes vital to the success of the independent repair shops to create brand awareness. I joined TECH-NET to have access to the marketing plans and be also to take advantage of partnering with CARQUEST Auto Parts.

 

Obviously, the success of my company rests mostly on what I do, but help is always welcome and in numbers there is strength.

 

Agree? Disagree? Thoughts and comments…

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Would you say that being a franchise gives you an advantage over many independents facilities? The way I see it is that one of the major differences between franchise models and independents is that the franchise has a plan. Independent shop owners are mostly former technicians with very little formal business training.

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Are you required to follow a particular plan? Also, are you required to participate in any formal business training?

 

The reason I ask is this, I am thinking about adding new content to AutoShopOwner that will give its members a better understanding about business. I am not sure what direction to go. You appear to have a distinct advantage over shop owners I talk to. I am involved with a few business groups and councils and the problems basically is the same...they don't have formal a plan.

 

Do you think it would be helpful to add to the download section modules pertaining to business? For Example: Understanding Your Key Numbers, How to Track Tech Productivity, Shop Efficiency for Profit, How to Price Parts for Profit…etc.

 

Members could download the information; it would be our way to start online training.

 

Thoughts? Comments?

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I think I may create a forum or business section in AutoShopOwner that talks about tracking key numbers, with explanations and how-to information. What do you think? I have been thinking about this a lot lately. the problem is the time. But, I think shop owners will get a lot a value from this.

 

Non auto business training is good. It makes you more well-rounded.

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It has it's advantages. I can pick up a phone and call corporate or I can call another owner and seek advice or help. It can be about management, sales, marketing, advertising, yellow pages, computer software, shop equipment, parts purchasing, etc. There are new programs and services offered. The business model is discussed and expanded, etc. Sometimes it is real helpful other times maybe not so much. The question now is is it worth 5% of gross sales. Our franchise agreement expires in 4 1/2 years.

Joe this is Randy this sounds like management success agian!!

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In what way?

[/quote

They are strictly manage by statics. This is the key to the whole program.They also were talking about the percentages on parts, labor, office, overhead, and what percentage your are really need to make (20%profit) This is a lot things you have be talking about all over this site.

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While I do agree that all businesses must track key numbers and recognize certain trends, I do not take that as the only criteria. I have been to many management training seminars and clinics and have taken countless home study courses.

 

Numbers are great, but real world is better. My philosophy is to look at each shop and find out what works for them. I really don’t think you can use a benchmark number in California and say it holds true in Rocky Mountain N.C .

 

Every business is different with different fixed expenses, goals, employee wages, labor rates, rents, etc. A shop owner needs to sit down with his/her accountant and find out that they need to turn a profit.

 

So, while we need to understand the numbers of the business, it’s our numbers that really count.

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While I do agree that all businesses must track key numbers and recognize certain trends, I do not take that as the only criteria. I have been to many management training seminars and clinics and have taken countless home study courses.

 

Numbers are great, but real world is better. My philosophy is to look at each shop and find out what works for them. I really don’t think you can use a benchmark number in California and say it holds true in Rocky Mountain N.C .

 

Every business is different with different fixed expenses, goals, employee wages, labor rates, rents, etc. A shop owner needs to sit down with his/her accountant and find out that they need to turn a profit.

 

So, while we need to understand the numbers of the business, it’s our numbers that really count.

That is right every shop is different but they all have a break even and some shop owners do not have the business training.Nor do they have the advertising experience it takes to book a shop like it should. To run a business or does the shop run you????

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You words are sad, but quite true. I know too many shop owners that fit your description. I need to be honest; I too was headed in that same direction. I had to reach near failure total burn-out before I woke up. It took me years to turn my life around. I wasted a lot of years.

 

I was a great tech but a very poor businessman. For the past 15 years I have been working on my business and made great strides. I am not special. I just could not go on killing myself and sacrificing my life and family.

 

Today, I manage the business and look for ways to keep growing. One of my goals through AutoShopOwner.com is to share this knowledge that I gave gained. I firmly believe that in order to become a complete human being and continue to grow, you need to help others.

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  • 6 months later...

Too many shop owners have nothing more than a job and not a very good job because they don't charge enough. They work a lot of hours and sacrifice themselves and their families but wind up with little to show for it. They have no retirement plan, they have no buisness asset they can sell or pass on, their bodies are broken down, their equipment is worn out, their location is terrible, someone else owns the property, etc. They have never understood return on investment, opportunity cost, gross profit margins verus net profit, etc. The shops my dad use to take his cars to all closed when the owner died or retired. Not a one survived. They worked all of their lives and then got to the end of their life and find that they had nothing.

WOW!!!!!! It seems you have described me and my business to a T. I have owned my business for 5 1/2 years. I have worked for both Ford and Chrysler dealerships both as a tech and as a Service Manager. I have myself and one son working full time and two part time who are mostly lube and tire techs. I feel my biggest issue I can not seem to overcome is trying to work the front desk and the back both. I see daily that I run wide open all day, still do not accomplish much. Our shop stays super busy but we still dont seem to get ahead. I have been on both sides of the fence (shop and management) Any ideas, suggestions would be appreciated more than you know. Im gonna have to go spend a day in xrac's store>

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Rick, I thought you were going to stop by and visit us. My service manager and I will be happy to help you every way we can. However, one of the problems you have is location. People in rural areas want everything cheap.

I am coming up to see you xrac, just havent been able to get away. When I first opened, the Chrysler dealership I was at closed so I opened with a good cusstomer base. I opened running it a lot like I ran the Service Dept at the dealership. I opened as a Tech-Net shop. I used the Customer Survey Cards, Tech-Net Vehicle Inspection forms. I was even a National nominee for the Tech-Net dealer awards. However it seems as I get busier I let these things slide. I have been considering taking a few days to clean, rearrange and more or less reopen almost like a new shop. Maybe this would instill a more professional image. I have a good customer base of customers who are more interested in quality and customer care (just as Joe described) but seem I am being overwelmed by the bottom feeders. I could ramble on and on. Joe, xrac any thoughts, ideas, suggestions? I know I have the opportunity to corner the market in my community by being a more professional shop. Just seems I have trouble running the business instead of letting it run me. Our area has plenty of shade tree shops, but I think the quality customers are looking for quality repairs and honest caring service.

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  • 1 month later...

Even in these tough economic times, when consumers are looking for the best deals, one thing remains true: you need to offer the very best in customer service and quality repairs. If you feel overwhelmed it may be because you are doing too much and carrying too much of the load. This will lead to frustration and burn-out.

 

You mentioned getting organized; I think that is a good idea. Put a plan together to insure you are on the right track. Make sure you are staffed well and have the right people in the right places.

 

Most of all, the key to your business is you, the leader. But, leaders must lead. Maintain a positive attitude and lead from a position of strength. Your people will feed off that and will increase your chances for success.

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