By Joe Marconi
Training is becoming more and more crucial, mainly because technology is changing at light speed.
Do you have a training budget? How do decide how much money should be allocated to a budget, and what areas of training?
By Joe Marconi
We are almost into the 4th quarter of 2022, which means that you need to consider your 2022 tax return. Many shops are having a very good year, which means there may be more taxable income at your bottom line.
What do you do to plan for and minimize paying taxes, while still maintaining a cash reserve?
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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Do you have a sticky organization? Or is it more like Teflon? Do your employees feel a sense of belonging and ownership? Do they take pride in their work? Dr. Dave Weiman simplifies what it means to have a sticky culture and some warning signs to avoid in your business. Stick around! Dr. David Weiman is the president of Weiman Consulting, a leadership consulting firm in Philadelphia PA. Listen to David’s previous episodes HERE Key Talking Points
What do we mean by "sticky"? A place beyond just where someone works- they feel connected to the place. It would be very difficult for another shop to pull them away. They value the place much more than just the salary. What are some of the elements of a sticky organization? Shared values. Trust. An "ownership" culture where people feel a proprietary interest in the shop. Compelling goals that are achievable but might be a stretch. A sense that "what we have here is special." Team members feel like you listen and respond to them. Selective about who you bring on, and the existing team members know that. Telling stories about prior events or successes that support the can-do culture. Personal connections (the leader takes a personal interest in the team members). A sense of having a future there. The camaraderie that's a mix of professional and personal. A true sense of belonging. (Can include a common "language" or inside jokes/terms that help create a culture. How would you know if your place is not "sticky"? Turnover. People don't go the extra mile. Customers are not treated well as a function of employees not caring much. Conflict and spats over seemingly small things. Lack of accountability. Low energy/enthusiasm. Mistakes- They follow what they've heard other companies do or something they read that involves a significant culture change without considering the thoughts and ideas of their team members first. Making the place about the owner instead of the team. Few avenues for getting ahead/getting promoted. Blame. Not getting involved when there's a problem. No pride in the facility itself (the shop is dirty and disorganized). How to approach creating a sticky culture. Be clear about the definition. Enlist help from the team members. Listen and respond. Take a genuine personal interest in team members. Create a "feedback" culture. Make pathways to higher-level roles very clear. Reward behavior that shows a genuine focus on customers -- can be even small things like a convenience store gift card. Clean and well-organized workplace. Be aware of your competitors and what they do to keep (or lose) employees.
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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 ?