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Will This Recession Turn Into a Depression?


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I always fear consumer confidence. To me, it's the one indicator that can have the biggest negative impact. Bad news spreads fast and people react more to the perception than actual events.

 

 

Bad news travels fast... that's so true... I sometimes wonder if a lot of people always live in fear and doubt rather than in confidence and working towards the future.

 

One comedian I heard years ago made the joke that all his relatives hid in the cave while the big old dinasour walked by looking for any easy meal... If they didn't hide they were dinner...

 

That could be true... but I think aggresive thinking, working out problems and dealing with the pitfalls is part of business.

"If ya can't stand the heat... get out of the kitchen."

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Sorry to hear that! I know a insurance agent in South Florida who has been cold calling small businesses. He says what he is doing is really tough because almost none of the businesses he is calling on are making any money at this time. Fortunately unemployment where I am at is not that high (about 8%).

 

What type of problems are you having? Car count? Back outs? Competition? etc?

 

 

Jeff, hang in there... I've been 2 minutes away from bankruptcy for 25 years.... LOL But aren't we all....LOL so don't feel bad... it's all in a day.

 

"Like a duck on pond.... graceful on the top side where all can see... and paddlin' like hell underneath it all...." Gonzo

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Jeff, I am not going to be one of those guys who will attempt to try to analyze your problem and give you a magic bullet. I have too much respect for you and that would not help matters. After reading your situation I truly believe that you are in a tight spot and it must be eating you up inside. I remember in the early 90's when the whole world came crashing down on me and I could not make payroll. I good week was when I could pay my 2 mechanics, but still did not have enough money in the bank account to bring a check home to my wife and three little kids. We all know how humiliating that is for a man, don't we. So please, with all due respect, I do know how you must feel and I wish I could help.

 

Are there any other businesses or shopping mall in the area you can go to and try to work out a deal with them? Do you specialize in any area that you can market to other businesses or other shops? I am just trying to see if there is any way you can find new work.

 

 

Jeff, I would have to agree with Joe on this one. I've been there... making the last job of the week just to make payroll and not enough left over for the guy who started the whole thing... ME. I feel your pain buddy... I wish I could help... but that's not possible... but I can give you moral support to let you know that things DO turn around... If you can hang in there... I'm sure things will work out for the best.

 

Keep your chin up.. just remember .. it's not your fault... it's more likely the economy that brings you to this decision.

Check and see if there are other shops in the area that you could "farm" jobs for. Go to the used car dealers, stop by the vo-tech schools... car rentals, check with plumbing,electrcial and or any other business that would have a fleet of trucks.

 

There might still be a way to get thru this. Even if you have to move back home... I think you'll keep all that you've done as part of a learning experience and will be able to see any pitfalls in the future... life is a learning experience... and this is one of them.

 

Good luck my friend... I'm pullin' for ya. Gonzo

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey Folks. Just dropped in to give ya'all an update. Landlord came in Tues and asked me to move out. Figuered something was up when they wanted me to pay month to month when the last lease ran out. At least it gave me the direction and answer I was searching for. Gonna spend next week in Ohio looking around. Hope to at least find a job at a dealership. If it all works out run back to Fl grab a 28foot Budget truck load up and run back to Oh. Unload. grab a bus ticket, run back to Fl and get my p/u and go back. Kinda reminds me of my days of over the road truckin. The landlord askin me to move out actually brought some relief. We were able to work out aa deal on a lift for the past due rent. Really werent lookin forward to tearin down a 4 post! Anyhow all is good and I am planning to reopen in a year or so in the Buckeye. As I stated before I have learned a great deal from this experience and will be better equipped for the next go. And you can bet I will be checkin in here for advice and direction. I was once told that to be sucessful you must learn to use OPM (ther peoples money) and OPB ( other peoples brains). I am sure there aint no one in here ready to finance an auto repair shop that is not theirs! But the brain power in this forum is far above par! THANK YOU one and all! Have a great Day! Jeff

 

Sorry to hear this news... but, it sounds like you have your future game plan mapped out. Good luck, and stay in touch.

If ya ever make it to Tulsa, come by and say HI.

"Keep it between the ditches and off the tow trucks." Gonzo

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Jeff, if it is any consolation we went through a three year period where we were losing money and were actively trying to sell our business.

 

 

Xrac, I'm sure Jeff is as interested as I am in what you did to turn things around. I'm not to the point of wanting to sell but you sure didnt hear me say I'd turn down an offer.

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Unashamedly I will say I hired a world class service manager and 90% of the credit goes to him. Over time we got rid of all the help we had before he came. We hired better qualified people with better skills and attitudes and paid them better. We expanded our service offerings and developed a very positive and up beat attitude. We cultivated positive relationships with key vendors. We worked hard on customer service. We did women's seminars. We learned how to sell and how to properly present the need. We concentrated advertising where it seemed most effective and jazzed up our ads and offers. We have tried to offer something catchy and different from what competitors are offering. How about a camel and a gas pump and something about beating the pump. We did that in one ad. How about my picture on the face of a ten dollar bill that was actually a coupon. We have used that as well. We started opening at 7:00 a.m. in the morning. We started rotating our work schedules so a tech gets at least one 3 day weekend per month. We became better organized.

 

Thanks for the insight, I believe that is the key to a lot of my problems. Better organized and more positive attitude. I feel like I will see a big difference if I can get my shop back to looking like and acting like a Professional Repair Facilty instead of the good ole boy garage. Even more reason to come and see how you guys operate right?

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  • 3 weeks later...

Jeff, I see that you are in Florida. That is one of the hotbeds of mobile repair. I tried that up here in NY and just couldn't get it to work, but from what I understand it works very well down there. The people in FL already know about how it works and are willing to use it (mobile repair). I think that will help you out a lot. Compared to the other shops on AutoShopOwner I am very small and because of that I have a relationship with my customers beyond just as a customer. Because of this I have installed customer supplied parts. I make sure that they know they are paying for the labor if the part doesn't fit, doesn't work, is of poor quality and doesn't last, etc.. I also make sure, on those jobs, to follow the flatrate to a "T" and if the job goes longer they get charged actual hours. You have to do what you have to in order to stay afloat. If that means scaling back, longer hours for you, etc then that's what you have to do. This isn't a time for you to dig in your heals and say "I won't change". Do what you have to to get through this and when you come out on the other side you'll be a better man for it and your business will be stronger.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Cuba is realizing that the answer is not in government spending and is laying off 500,000 workers. Their roles are to be filled by PRIVATE INDUSTRY. Our government is headed the opposite direction.

 

 

Before this country was a country... Pioneers crossed this rugged land in search of a better life for themselves and their families... I don't recall anyone ever giving them a handout. I'm pretty sure each and ever step they took was of their own free will and thru their sacrifices they accomplished one great thing... This country ... as far as I see it... hand outs and "gimmies" are for the weak... This country wasn't started by the weak...

 

We need to get back to that thought process and not look for hand outs as a way of making our lives better.

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

         3 comments
      Got your attention? Good. The truth is, there is no such thing as the perfect technician pay plan. There are countless ways to create any pay plan. I’ve heard all the claims and opinions, and to be honest, it’s getting a little frustrating. Claims that an hourly paid pay plan cannot motivate. That flat rate is the only way to truly get the most production from your technicians. And then there’s the hybrid performance-based pay plan that many claim is the best.
      At a recent industry event, a shop owner from the Midwest boasted about his flat-rate techs and insisted that this pay plan should be adopted by all shops across the country. When I informed him that in states like New York, you cannot pay flat-rate, he was shocked. “Then how do you motivate your techs” he asked me.
      I remember the day in 1986 when I hired the best technician who ever worked for me in my 41 years as an automotive shop owner. We’ll call him Hal. When Hal reviewed my pay plan for him, and the incentive bonus document, he stared at it for a minute, looked up, and said, “Joe, this looks good, but here’s what I want.” He then wrote on top of the document the weekly salary he wanted. It was a BIG number. He went on to say, “Joe, I need to take home a certain amount of money. I have a home, a wife, two kids, and my Harly Davidson. I will work hard and produce for you. I don’t need an incentive bonus to do my work.” And he did, for the next 30 years, until the day he retired.
      Everyone is entitled to their opinion. So, here’s mine. Money is a motivator, but not the only motivator, and not the best motivator either. We have all heard this scenario, “She quit ABC Auto Center, to get a job at XYZ Auto Repair, and she’s making less money now at XYZ!” We all know that people don’t leave companies, they leave the people they work for or work with.
      With all this said, I do believe that an incentive-based pay plan can work. However, I also believe that a technician must be paid a very good base wage that is commensurate with their ability, experience, and certifications. I also believe that in addition to money, there needs to be a great benefits package. But the icing on the cake in any pay plan is the culture, mission, and vision of the company, which takes strong leadership. And let’s not forget that motivation also comes from praise, recognition, respect, and when technicians know that their work matters.
      Rather than looking for that elusive perfect pay plan, sit down with your technician. Find out what motivates them. What their goals are. Why do they get out of bed in the morning? When you tie their goals with your goals, you will have one powerful pay plan.
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