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Well, I think it is time for us to re-open our doors on Saturdays due to much regress. It has been a topic for some time now but recently I was at a confernece that was talking about 2011 projections and it does not seem like the economy is going to get better this year. And after a couple flatline years, it is time to restructure a little. We have been able to acclompish this in the past with our loaner car fleet but that does not seem to be enough this day and age.

 

I did a poll of local shops and dealer in our area and we are one of the only ones closed on Saturdays. A couple dealers are open M-F from 7am to 9pm and on Sat from 8am to 5pm. So I looking for a couple ideas on how other shops are using their crew to be open. I have heard rotating days with the techs where each tech works a Saturday and then has a rotating day off during the week. Another option was to have techs work 4 days, 10 hours a day and also rotate with no vacations because something every every 6 weeks they wouldl get 5 days off in a row.

 

I would to work this out with the same guys we have, make it worthwhile since we all have been spoiled by having off on Saturdays, including me which I am one of the advisors and I coach my kids soccer teams on Saturdays but sacrifices have to be made to strive further. We have 5 techs, 1- lube tech, 1- car wash/porter, 2 advisors, 1 office manager/book keeper and 2 part-time office/shop clean up helpers. I would think to start off we would need to have 1-advisor, 1 master tech, 1 lube tech, 1 car washer and 1- office/suport to get things rolling.

 

I know I am going to have a hard time selling this to the guys in the shop and going to create an up roar but I think we need to try something to get out of this funk. I am looking for ideas on how other shops run their techs hours, systems and also ideas if someone also just opened on Saturdays when they were closed.

 

Any ideas or information would be great.

 

Thank you,

Tim

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Well, I think it is time for us to re-open our doors on Saturdays due to much regress. It has been a topic for some time now but recently I was at a confernece that was talking about 2011 projections and it does not seem like the economy is going to get better this year. And after a couple flatline years, it is time to restructure a little. We have been able to acclompish this in the past with our loaner car fleet but that does not seem to be enough this day and age.

 

I did a poll of local shops and dealer in our area and we are one of the only ones closed on Saturdays. A couple dealers are open M-F from 7am to 9pm and on Sat from 8am to 5pm. So I looking for a couple ideas on how other shops are using their crew to be open. I have heard rotating days with the techs where each tech works a Saturday and then has a rotating day off during the week. Another option was to have techs work 4 days, 10 hours a day and also rotate with no vacations because something every every 6 weeks they wouldl get 5 days off in a row.

 

I would to work this out with the same guys we have, make it worthwhile since we all have been spoiled by having off on Saturdays, including me which I am one of the advisors and I coach my kids soccer teams on Saturdays but sacrifices have to be made to strive further. We have 5 techs, 1- lube tech, 1- car wash/porter, 2 advisors, 1 office manager/book keeper and 2 part-time office/shop clean up helpers. I would think to start off we would need to have 1-advisor, 1 master tech, 1 lube tech, 1 car washer and 1- office/suport to get things rolling.

 

I know I am going to have a hard time selling this to the guys in the shop and going to create an up roar but I think we need to try something to get out of this funk. I am looking for ideas on how other shops run their techs hours, systems and also ideas if someone also just opened on Saturdays when they were closed.

 

Any ideas or information would be great.

 

Thank you,

Tim

 

befor you do - go visit other shops in your area on saturdays and nose around at how busy they are - i know in columbus - on saturdays the only thing people are worried about is watching the buckeyes play football - you might see 2 or 3 cars if your lucky- and your guys wont hang you for wasting their saturday by making them stand around .

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Thank you guys for the response, we are ones of those shop that made a commitment to close on Saturdays about 11 years ago and worked out fine since most of us had families and we all loved it. Also Saturdays was not managed correctly and made it very difficult on Mondays. But now I am seeing we need to change to get things started in a different direction. I am not sure that only opening by appt. only would work for us, I think we have to be open or just stay closed. My idea on re-opening on Saturdays is not so much to make money that day but to bring in more work for the normal work week along with making it easier for customers to have their car serviced here instead of trying to manipulate their schedule or going somewhere else for oil changes or other services. Next step is going over it with the staff and see what happens.

 

Thanks again, Tim

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We are open Saturdays 7:30 to 5:30 same as M-F. Always have been. Saturday is by far our busiest day of the week, always has been. Sure some times it is only average when the UA football or basketball team plays during the day on Saturday. We have a spreadsheet that shows how much we do each day of the week at each of our 12 locations and our GM uses it to schedule sales personnel at stores accordingly. Some store have more variation on which of the week days they do the best, but the company average is 20.1% of our business is on Saturday, 17.3% on Friday , and the rest of the days are all between 16 & 16.5%. Maybe it is Tucson, maybe it is that your customers come to expect you to be open on Saturdays and that is the easiest day for a lot of them to arrange to get the car to you and not have to work around there work schedule?

 

As far as employee scheduling goes, Saturday is a special day to get off. Everyone get's one from time to time, but we always make sure we have excellent coverage on Saturdays. Some people don't like it, but I think we have a great group of employees that know that a lot of their money is earned on Saturdays.

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  • 5 months later...

saturdays for me always have been hit or miss-mostly miss. Customers mostly come in for oil changes and tire repairs and any real gravy work is always "taken to their mechanic". I dont advertise oil change specials and dont even want to do them but a chance to make money is better than no chance. Lately i've been doing saturdays by appointment only but aways being at the shop on sat to finish up something, paperwork, cleaning up, or repairing broken equipment.I've tried everything from discounts on their estimate if they fix it today, loaner car if they have things to do, staying open late if they want to bring it back. Nothing seems to work.it really just doesnt seem worth it

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We have built a very substantial Sat trade. Maybe because my shop is located in a residential area where people use thier cars to commute.

 

I need to ask, why are you opposed to oil change services? When you look at the opportunity with oil changes, for me there is a lot of gravy work. Plus, when you get customers coming to you on a consistent basis, they will think about you before another facility. That's a win-win in my book.

 

Your thoughts?

 

I think he explained it pretty well. All of the gravy work is taken to "their mechanic." And if you are making money on oil changes, how? We discount here, discount there and always placate ourselves with "its building business," or "I'm building work for the rest of the week," or "any money is better than no money." Well think about it, if you are only using Saturday to schedule work for the next week, why didn't the customer just call on Friday or Monday? Was Saturday the only day their phone worked? Do you really bill full retail for the labor and make your GP on parts for a simple oil change? Unless Saturday is holding it's own as a contributor to the bottom line, it is a losing proposition. And it serves very well to irritate the employees.

 

I do not promote oil changes because I will not compete on price, not when we have a couple national chain stores preying on the ignorant with an oil change price of $18.95 or $24.95 hoping to get the tires off and bilk the customer for unwarranted brake repairs. I've done second opinion brake inspections several times where the pads were at 30% or more and the national chain told the customer, "Oh you really need to get your brakes done, they're totally worn out." Or a local car dealer that aggressively promotes a $16.95 oil change but then their employees are forced to sell every legitimate and every illegitimate wallet flush the quicki-lube can do. If they don't sell they are fired. So how so you market your full rate oil change and compete? Your GP on the oil change can not possibly meet that of regular repairs. So unless you are big enough to warrant a dedicated lube tech how do you justify a $35 half-hour oil change when other work should be generating at least double the profit?

 

I find with my regular customers oil changes are valuable for you point of keeping them coming in periodically. But the vast majority of my oil changes are not that valuable. I do the oil change and find a legitimate up-sell. They have become conditioned by all the stories of rip-offs, and those shops whose only interest is their bottom line, not the customer's legitimate needs. You all know what I'm referring to, your average R.O. You have to make in on EVERY car, regardless of what the car came in for or what it legitimately needs. They decline the repairs at that time, take my estimate and shop it around, pick the cheapest shop without regard to quality. So in reality I've lost the revenue possibility of the time dedicated to the oil change in hopes of getting work that rarely materializes. It harkens back to the saying, "If you're losing money, you can't make it up with volume."

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I follow the work six days and Give thanks on the seventh day. We remind all our customers that we have a key drop, tow service,courtesy drop off/pick up and we are open Saturday's. So many times it creates an opening for a repair. Every car or truck you see needs $200.00 worth of something. Thank people for referrals.

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There are a lot of issues to discuss here, and I want to be as brief as possible. First of all, no one is suggesting that we use a cheap oil change in order to attract and pull a bait and switch or use the oil change to deceive customers. I have always held my moral standards to the highest degree.

 

To all who I may have offended, you have my sincerest apologies, I did not intend to insinuate that anyone on this board was dishonest, or deceitful. I was trying to make a point of either you compete on price with the slimeballs out there or you invest significant money in marketing a service with very little profitablility. Now marketing those services to your current customers is a whole different issue.

 

You speak of gross profit, ARO and percentages. Let’s face it, unless you are charging $50.00 or better for a conventional oil change, you are not making any money anyway. In comparison, the $39.95 full service oil in the 1980’s was far more profitable than the typically priced oil change of today.

 

I like oil changes; it keeps my customers coming back to ME. BUT, I don’t just sell an oil change; I sell an “Oil Change Service”. I inspect my customers cars bumper to bumper during each vehicle visit and my customers appreciate the fact that we are taking care of them. We have grown our business and car count by saying yes to customers, rather than no. The majority of the jobs we do are those GRAVY jobs. In my area, we are the go-to guys because we do it all; from tires, to transmissions, brakes, steering, diagnostic work and even while-you-wait oil changes.

 

I too inspect my customer's cars from bumper to bumper. My major problem with oil changes for my regular customers is fitting them in. As a one man shop, even with two hoists I find it hard to do walk-in oil changes. And that is not likely to change soon. And in my area the only way you can sell an oil change for more than about $35.00 is if it is with full synthetic oil. Otherwise there are too many of those "get 'em in and get the wheels off" shops marketing the at cost or below oil changes.

 

And as for building your business by saying yes instead of no how far do you go? I am not meaning to be argumentative or a jerk, I am just playing devil's advocate here. A customer rolls in at 4:30 on a Friday afternoon and wants a brake job done before the holiday weekend because "it just started grinding" Do you say yes knowing that your people are going to stay late to handle the customer's disrespect of you, of their car and of other's safety? What about when you are locking up on Saturday and someone rolls in and wants an intake job done on their GM 3.4L minivan? Do you say, YES we can fit you in on Monday? Because that is saying NO we can't do it for your today because we are closing so we can (selfishly) go home and spend time with our families. My point is, unless you are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year, at some point you are going to say "No" because unless you give the customer exactly what they want, right when they want it, you are saying no in some form. It is nice little management consultant speak to make your statement but it doesn't hold up to scrutiny. But how you have implemented the intention has worked very well for you and that is good.

 

I don’t want my customers going somewhere else for their oil changes. That just leaves too much to chance. If I did that, some other shop will be getting all the add-on sales such as wipers, headlights, air filters, cabin filters, tire roations, batteries and God knows what else. That scenario is not acceptable to me.

 

And as for tire rotations many of the tire shops around offer free rotation for life so why would they pay me to do it and why would I do tire rotations for free on an oil change that I'm already losing money (as opposed to full rate) on? Batteries are easier to sell in the fall and early winter, and unless I sell wipers at cost they will just go to WalMart and buy them themselves. I do full inspections with every oil change and try to upsell everything I find, but I find it hard to convert those estimates into sales. Maybe it's just the clientele I attract. But I am speaking more of the first time customers and then it probably because they are so gun-shy because of all the other scam shops out there. But ultimately I thin we are talking about two different types of customer here. You are talking about marketing your oil changes to your regular customers but when I think about marketing or pushing oil changes I think about new customers as the audience. And the new customers coming in for oil changes rarely are quality prospects.

 

Saturdays and oil changes work for me.... my business. It may not work for everyone. Our sales on a typical Saturday, from the hours from 8-2pm, are nearly as much as during the week. We rotate staff so that everyone does not have to work 6 days per week.

 

This business model has been so successful that we had to open up another facility in 2009 in order to maintain our customer base. Essentially we gave to our customers what they wanted; a full service, one stop auto service shop.

 

For you Joe, Saturdays work very well. I may try them this fall, but for now I am still a one man shop, I have a 9 yo and a 14 yo so I like to spend time with them. And most of my regular customers treat with that respect. In fact one customer chewed me out Friday because I said I was going to come in on Saturday and finish his van. He told me to leave it and spend the weekend with my family. Some day I want to grow, but I won't kill myself doing it. And when my kids look at me Saturday morning with that "You look kinda familiar" look because I get home as they are going to bed at night, I need time with my family, because after all, they are only little a little while. So if my business fails because I am not open on Saturday so be it, my family is more important than that. But the bottom line appears to be, we are speaking of two different customer bases when pushing, advocating, marketing, advertising our oil change services. And when it comes to Saturdays, each business has its own experience and unique situation.

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Joe, your model and experince for Saturdays is virtually the same as ours. We have always been open on Saturdays and always will be. The biggest obstacle we have for our Saturday business is parts availability.

 

Now if that is why Saturday is a feeder for your next week you have a definite reason to be open on Saturday. But just to be there to take in quick, low $$ jobs and hope for stuff to roll in for Monday then that's another story. I am glad to here that Saturdays work for you. You have reason to be open.

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Every car or truck you see needs $200.00 worth of something. Thank people for referrals.

 

Now that is a statement I take exception to. That is the management consultant's line to get you to lower your standards and hopefull make thier benchmarks so you think they are actually helping your business. When the reality is, in order to make those numbers you have to cheat the customers and eventually it will come back around. Because to take that attitude and apply it to every car that rolls through your door, to meet that statistic you must lower your standards. Okay, so maybe the only thing you can find on this otherwise pristine car is the brakes are at 3mm, manufacturer's specs are at 1.6 mm, so you recommend brakes even though the customer still has life left but you need to make that magic number. That attitude is exactly what turns a good shop into a 60 Minutes expose. Sure the brakes were close, but not at the end of their life according to the vehicle manufacturer.

 

The numbers change but the notion exists that there is XX BILLION dollars worth of unperformed services every year. That's a great notion but that does not equate to reality. How many of those services would be sold if they were presented? Maybe half at best. And what about the new cars coming to you for their oil changes and are still under warranty? To make a blanket statement and then live it as gospel is disingenuous and deceitful. The simple fact is it is impossible for your statement to be a reality. And to make it true you must be dishonest and unethical. The average may meet your threshold, but not every car that comes in. And not every customer that comes in will buy what you try to sell them, because of the reputation auto mechanics have because of philosophies like yours. So that statement, that attitude, that practice ultimately hurts the whole profession, and makes it harder for us to care for our customer's and their vehicles because there is perpetually a tinge of distrust.

 

Now if I misinterpreted your statement, I'm sorry. But your statement was matter-of-fact with no ambiguity, and wrong.

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Now that is a statement I take exception to. That is the management consultant's line to get you to lower your standards and hopefull make thier benchmarks so you think they are actually helping your business. When the reality is, in order to make those numbers you have to cheat the customers and eventually it will come back around. Because to take that attitude and apply it to every car that rolls through your door, to meet that statistic you must lower your standards. Okay, so maybe the only thing you can find on this otherwise pristine car is the brakes are at 3mm, manufacturer's specs are at 1.6 mm, so you recommend brakes even though the customer still has life left but you need to make that magic number. That attitude is exactly what turns a good shop into a 60 Minutes expose. Sure the brakes were close, but not at the end of their life according to the vehicle manufacturer.

 

The numbers change but the notion exists that there is XX BILLION dollars worth of unperformed services every year. That's a great notion but that does not equate to reality. How many of those services would be sold if they were presented? Maybe half at best. And what about the new cars coming to you for their oil changes and are still under warranty? To make a blanket statement and then live it as gospel is disingenuous and deceitful. The simple fact is it is impossible for your statement to be a reality. And to make it true you must be dishonest and unethical. The average may meet your threshold, but not every car that comes in. And not every customer that comes in will buy what you try to sell them, because of the reputation auto mechanics have because of philosophies like yours. So that statement, that attitude, that practice ultimately hurts the whole profession, and makes it harder for us to care for our customer's and their vehicles because there is perpetually a tinge of distrust.

 

Now if I misinterpreted your statement, I'm sorry. But your statement was matter-of-fact with no ambiguity, and wrong.

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Ask every owner of a car or truck what they need/want to have done to their vehicle and get it done for them asap. A full tank of gas,oil change service and a detail service =$200. B)

 

Unless you sell gas, that's irrelevant. Oil change, even with synthetic oil about $75.00. And no car needs a detail, could use one sure but needs on no. Besides we are talking auto repair shops, not detail shops. If you want to cast the net wide enough you could say every car "needs" $1000.00 worth of stuff.

 

But once again I evidently misunderstood what you were writing about. I foolishly thought you were referring to AUTO REPAIR, not anything and everything under the sun related to cars regardless of whether you sell that service or not. So since I clearly don't know what you're talking about, please ignore my posts.

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

         5 comments
      I recently spoke with a friend of mine who owns a large general repair shop in the Midwest. His father founded the business in 1975. He was telling me that although he’s busy, he’s also very frustrated. When I probed him more about his frustrations, he said that it’s hard to find qualified technicians. My friend employs four technicians and is looking to hire two more. I then asked him, “How long does a technician last working for you.” He looked puzzled and replied, “I never really thought about that, but I can tell that except for one tech, most technicians don’t last working for me longer than a few years.”
      Judging from personal experience as a shop owner and from what I know about the auto repair industry, I can tell you that other than a few exceptions, the turnover rate for technicians in our industry is too high. This makes me think, do we have a technician shortage or a retention problem? Have we done the best we can over the decades to provide great pay plans, benefits packages, great work environments, and the right culture to ensure that the techs we have stay with us?
      Finding and hiring qualified automotive technicians is not a new phenomenon. This problem has been around for as long as I can remember. While we do need to attract people to our industry and provide the necessary training and mentorship, we also need to focus on retention. Having a revolving door and needing to hire techs every few years or so costs your company money. Big money! And that revolving door may be a sign of an even bigger issue: poor leadership, and poor employee management skills.
      Here’s one more thing to consider, for the most part, technicians don’t leave one job to start a new career, they leave one shop as a technician to become a technician at another shop. The reasons why they leave can be debated, but there is one fact that we cannot deny, people don’t quit the company they work for, they usually leave because of the boss or manager they work for.
      Put yourselves in the shoes of your employees. Do you have a workplace that communicates, “We appreciate you and want you to stay!”
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    • By carmcapriotto
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      Joe Long's background (00:00:42) Joe Long's extensive experience in the trucking industry and his transition to working with Old World Industries. Old World Industries and Peak brand (00:02:06) Discussion on Old World Industries and the Peak brand as a leading supplier of various coolants for heavy-duty and automotive applications. Importance of coolants in automotive and heavy-duty applications (00:02:51) The critical role of coolants in engine maintenance and the impact of coolant-related engine downtime. Battery electric vehicle coolants (00:05:19) The development and testing of coolants for battery electric vehicles, including the challenges and specific requirements for these systems. Longevity and types of coolants (00:08:09) Insights into the history and types of coolants, including the case of Dex-Cool and its compatibility issues. Coolants for hydrogen-powered battery electric vehicles (00:10:16) Research and development of coolants for future hydrogen-powered battery electric vehicles and the challenges associated with this technology. Coolant color and types (00:11:18) The significance of coolant color and the distinction between conventional and heavy-duty coolants in different vehicle systems. Testing and maintenance of coolants (00:14:57) The importance of testing coolant for compatibility and the recommended test procedures for automotive technicians. Color, Clarity, and pH (00:18:59) Discussion on testing for color, clarity, and pH levels in coolants, and the significance of organic acid technologies. Water and Glycol Content (00:19:48) Explanation of the purpose of water and glycol in cooling systems, and the impact of temperature and driving conditions on the glycol-water ratio. Refractometer Testing (00:22:02) Importance of using a refractometer to accurately measure water glycol content and freeze point in coolants. Coolant Blend and Inhibitors (00:23:17) Discussion on maintaining the proper blend of glycol and water, and the consequences of diluting inhibitors in the coolant system. Testing for Inhibitors (00:24:00) Explanation of the importance of testing for inhibitors in coolant systems and the differences between old and new technology. Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) and SCR Systems (00:26:37) Overview of the evolution of diesel exhaust systems, including EGR, DPF, and SCR systems, and the role of DEF in reducing emissions. DEF Composition and Shelf Life (00:29:11) Insight into the composition of DEF, its production process, and factors affecting its shelf life such as temperature and sunlight exposure. Testing and Storage of DEF (00:33:20) Guidance on testing DEF quality, considerations for storage, and the impact of temperature on its shelf life. DEF Maintenance and Testing (00:34:57) Discussion on the importance of maintaining DEF quality, testing procedures, and the significance of color, clarity, and odor in DEF. Cleaning Coolant Systems (00:38:38) Discussion on washing coolant balls with soap and water and proper cleaning methods for refractometers. Fleet Maintenance (00:39:21) Importance of proper cooling system testing and maintenance in fleets, and the need for education and awareness. Coolant Evolution (00:40:34) Transition from nitrite-based to nitrite-free coolants in automotive and heavy-duty applications, and the impact on cooling system performance. Coolant Failure Analysis (00:43:39) Joe Long's expertise in analyzing coolant failures, identifying causes, and providing solutions. Cooling System Cleaners (00:44:24) The need for cleaning coolant systems to address rust, corrosion, and other contaminants, with specific products for different types of failures. Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) Inspection (00:47:00) Discussion on DEF freezing, white crud formation, and the need for regular inspection and maintenance. Platinum DEF Product (00:51:10) Introduction of Blue DEF Platinum with added inhibitor to prevent white crud formation, and the importance of using the right DEF for vehicle maintenance.
      Thanks to our Partner, NAPA Auto Care Learn more about NAPA Auto Care and the benefits of being part of the NAPA family by visiting https://www.napaonline.com/en/auto-care Connect with the Podcast: -Follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RemarkableResultsRadioPodcast/ -Join Our Private Facebook Community: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1734687266778976 -Subscribe on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/carmcapriotto -Follow on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/carmcapriotto/ -Follow on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/remarkableresultsradiopodcast/ -Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/RResultsBiz -Visit the Website: https://remarkableresults.biz/ -Join our Insider List: https://remarkableresults.biz/insider -All books mentioned on our podcasts: https://remarkableresults.biz/books -Our Classroom page for personal or team learning: https://remarkableresults.biz/classroom -Buy Me a Coffee: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/carm -The Aftermarket Radio Network: https://aftermarketradionetwork.com -Special episode collections: https://remarkableresults.biz/collections    
      Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio
    • By Joe Marconi

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