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Joe Marconi

Who is Your Real Competition?

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We talk about competition all the time, but who do you think is your number one competitor. I may be partial to my fellow repair shop owners and actually have a great relationship with other shops in my area. We often help each other. In fact, we have a business alliance group of 20 to 30 TECH NET shops in the area that actually meet periodically and brainstorm ideas to help each other.

 

For me, my biggest competitor is the new car dealer. They are lowering prices in an attempt to get cars in their bays, offering free oil changes and other maintenace services, are dirt cheap on some tire lines and are advertising to work on all makes and models. Plus, some dealers are open extended hours, including Sat and Sun!

 

What are your thoughts, who is your competition?

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We talk about competition all the time, but who do you think is your number one competitor. I may be partial to my fellow repair shop owners and actually have a great relationship with other shops in my area. We often help each other. In fact, we have a business alliance group of 20 to 30 TECH NET shops in the area that actually meet periodically and brainstorm ideas to help each other.

 

For me, my biggest competitor is the new car dealer. They are lowering prices in an attempt to get cars in their bays, offering free oil changes and other maintenace services, are dirt cheap on some tire lines and are advertising to work on all makes and models. Plus, some dealers are open extended hours, including Sat and Sun!

 

What are your thoughts, who is your competition?

 

Because of the market we have targeted I am with you that ultimately our largest competitor is the new car dealer. However, I will say that I think the dealers are at a disadvantage when they begin to work on everything. As a rule dealer technicians are not as flexible and problem solving oriented as those independent technicians who have came up working on everything. However, the dealers have an advantage on us with their specific makes and models due to the unavailability of information and technology in the aftermarket. Joe, that is where your efforts and the efforts of others for right to repair is so important.

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My market is a bit different, seeing as I run a Performance shop. I would like to say other performance shops in the area, but because their work is so shoddy, they are actually some of our best "indirect customers". Other shops work on cars, mess them up and they are brought to us to fix, lol.

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Dealers,auto parts stores that do things for free and the other guy that will do it cheaper. That being said They Dealers cannot compete with my warm smile and love for my customers. Remember 20% of your customers provide 80% of your business. Always look for and ask for for referrals. Thank and Reward those that refer you. B)

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@FrogFinder.

 

LOL. That's the spirit! Word of mouth has always and will always be the best form of advertising. People listen to those they trust more than others. I know I do.

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For me, my biggest competitor is the new car dealer.prices in an attempt to get cars in their bays, offering free oil changes and other maintenace services, are dirt cheap on some tire lines and are advertising to work on all makes and models. Plus, some dealers are open extended hours, including Sat and Sun!

 

They're doing a lot more than that! http://www.kare11.com/video/default.aspx?bctid=1223849949001

 

I'll post part 2 when its available. A customer told me that he saw this on TV today. This is part 1 from yesterday.

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They're doing a lot more than that! http://www.kare11.com/video/default.aspx?bctid=1223849949001

 

I'll post part 2 when its available. A customer told me that he saw this on TV today. This is part 1 from yesterday.

 

I am looking forward to what they find. However, although this is centered around dealerships and also chains, it makes us all look bad.

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OK I think this is the whole story, Scary

 

http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/26184891/vp/44942689#44942689

 

I really don't know what to think, not that I am a fan of the dealerships, but this type of stuff makes us all look bad. Are we to take the first mechanic as the only expert? I don't like fruad, the compressor exploded? I must believe that there are a lot of honest shops out there that are doing the right thing, each and every day. I guess the only good part of this story is that the attack appears to be mostly directed to the dealerships and next the national chains.

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They may have misdiagnosed the problem or may be more expensive because of a higher labor rate, but all the extras they found were legit, because every car that comes in needs at least $300.00 worth of repairs don't ya know?

 

And I recall one of ASO's members quoting that. And if you listen to the so-called management guru's you will hear basically the same thing, the money is out there, you just have to find it, by doing "world class" inspections. And they will tell you that EVERY vehicle that comes in needs more work than you are selling, so you can make your average RO on every car, if you do a good enough inspection. If this is true, then why is the dealer wrong for recommending the work that was needed, the owner just didn't know? I am not super articulate so I maybe didn't express myself well regarding the BS we are all fed about how we leave so much money on the table so please forgive me.

 

My opinion is, and no one will ever change my mind,that each customer's car will need what it needs nothing more. You may find it all, you may find very little and leave other needs undiscovered, but that vehicle will only need certain repairs whether they are the totality of the customer's concerns or more than what it was brought in for. You may spend 15 minutes inspecting it or you may spend 3 hours inspecting the car. The simple truth is, if you follow established industry and ethical standards you will only find so much but they will all be legitimate. And no matter how much you want to meet your average RO on every car, nothing you can do or say will make that oil change need anything more than it does. If it only needs an oil change and a pair of wipers, nothing the management gurus quote you will make it need $300.00 worth of stuff to make your average RO (or what ever you ARO $$ is).

 

But that is what you will find as the underlying issue with the dealers and the big chains. They are managed by numbers, not by relationships and real people interacting. You have some bean counter in an office looking at reports saying they need more sales. So all of a sudden 3/32 on rear shoes is worn out and needs a brake job when the factory spec is 1/32 and new the shoes only measure 5/32. But because they need to make their numbers, all of a sudden your 50% left is now almost worn out. And I know of many independent repair shops that are run the same way. The numbers say, so it must be, now go make it so. And all of a sudden standards drop, guidelines widen and what was marginal is now impending catastrophe.

 

I am a terrible businessman because I don't believe in adjusting my standards or changing my procedures because I'm off my numbers. I do what I do, I treat my customers with the utmost integrity and honesty, some months are good, some are terrible, but I can sleep at night and I don't have to worry about what my customers might say in front of my children. I trust God will provide and so far my trust has not been broken. Could I be doing better, sure. Is it because of my poor business skills? Probably in part. Am I in peril of failure? Not based on historical trends but it's always possible. But when my days end and I stand before my maker, making my numbers won't matter much. How I treated my fellow man and how I acted in business towards those who placed their trust in me will matter far more than how much money I made. I will continue to try and adapt as times and conditions change, but it certainly won't be for such a fleeting, short-term reason as my numbers are too low and it's the third week of the month. Thank you for reading my diatribe. Time to go spend some quality time with my pillow.

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They may have misdiagnosed the problem or may be more expensive because of a higher labor rate, but all the extras they found were legit, because every car that comes in needs at least $300.00 worth of repairs don't ya know?

 

And I recall one of ASO's members quoting that. And if you listen to the so-called management guru's you will hear basically the same thing, the money is out there, you just have to find it, by doing "world class" inspections. And they will tell you that EVERY vehicle that comes in needs more work than you are selling, so you can make your average RO on every car, if you do a good enough inspection. If this is true, then why is the dealer wrong for recommending the work that was needed, the owner just didn't know? I am not super articulate so I maybe didn't express myself well regarding the BS we are all fed about how we leave so much money on the table so please forgive me.

 

My opinion is, and no one will ever change my mind,that each customer's car will need what it needs nothing more. You may find it all, you may find very little and leave other needs undiscovered, but that vehicle will only need certain repairs whether they are the totality of the customer's concerns or more than what it was brought in for. You may spend 15 minutes inspecting it or you may spend 3 hours inspecting the car. The simple truth is, if you follow established industry and ethical standards you will only find so much but they will all be legitimate. And no matter how much you want to meet your average RO on every car, nothing you can do or say will make that oil change need anything more than it does. If it only needs an oil change and a pair of wipers, nothing the management gurus quote you will make it need $300.00 worth of stuff to make your average RO (or what ever you ARO $$ is).

 

But that is what you will find as the underlying issue with the dealers and the big chains. They are managed by numbers, not by relationships and real people interacting. You have some bean counter in an office looking at reports saying they need more sales. So all of a sudden 3/32 on rear shoes is worn out and needs a brake job when the factory spec is 1/32 and new the shoes only measure 5/32. But because they need to make their numbers, all of a sudden your 50% left is now almost worn out. And I know of many independent repair shops that are run the same way. The numbers say, so it must be, now go make it so. And all of a sudden standards drop, guidelines widen and what was marginal is now impending catastrophe.

 

I am a terrible businessman because I don't believe in adjusting my standards or changing my procedures because I'm off my numbers. I do what I do, I treat my customers with the utmost integrity and honesty, some months are good, some are terrible, but I can sleep at night and I don't have to worry about what my customers might say in front of my children. I trust God will provide and so far my trust has not been broken. Could I be doing better, sure. Is it because of my poor business skills? Probably in part. Am I in peril of failure? Not based on historical trends but it's always possible. But when my days end and I stand before my maker, making my numbers won't matter much. How I treated my fellow man and how I acted in business towards those who placed their trust in me will matter far more than how much money I made. I will continue to try and adapt as times and conditions change, but it certainly won't be for such a fleeting, short-term reason as my numbers are too low and it's the third week of the month. Thank you for reading my diatribe. Time to go spend some quality time with my pillow.

 

 

In order of importance i place safety first,leaks second and maintenance third. Yes because of inflation ALMOST every car could use $300 worth of service/repairs. (in 1969 it was $30.00) but i let the customer decide. Tell people the truth and God will do the rest. B)

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