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Time Clocks?

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We used to have a time clock for the beginning of the day,lunch and the end of the day but got away from that. We keep track of when the vehicle was issued,job sold,job done,etc. At the end of the day you must make a profit on every job while solving the customers complaints in a way that they will recommend others to your shop.


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As a one man shop I do not use a time clock. I've thought of getting one to check my proficiency and productivity on jobs vs total time spent when there are phone calls, visitors and customers dropping off/picking up. Example, I can not seem to complete a disc brake job (tear down, clean brackets/hubs, machine or replace rotors, test lateral runout, lubricate where appropriate, torque all fasteners to the factory specifications and test drive) in less than 2.5 hours during the day. But one night I knocked out all but putting the tires back on and test driving in 1.25 hours. So why the difference? Being a one man shop I have distractions and interruptions.


But back when I was an employee I had both ways. I was told the time clock was simply for insurance reasons, to be able to prove I was there if an accident happened as opposed to simply writing myself in at a later time. Personally I think that was hokey. But at one job I was writing myself in and out. I never got to leave for lunch right on the hour but I would make sure to return 1 hour later. Rarely was there someone else there to verify when I left but it wasn't a problem until we got a new service writer who thought she was the "manager." All of a sudden there were little comments made by the management (working at the new shop the boss had bought) about how I would return late from lunch. All it took was two days of calling the bookkeeper (who thought she was general manager and the owner's right hand) before I left to tell her, "Cindy, it's 12:XX and I leaving for lunch now, I'll be back at 1:XX." And then calling her when I got back at 1:XX to get the remarks to quit. And the owner had a company meeting shortly after that to set the record straight as to who was in charge and what the order of seniority and authority was. So a time clock would have been very nice, but ultimately was not needed. And then he closed that shop a month later. Because, "It was too stressful running two shops." During the fall and winter he had the two shops he spent two weeks in Florida playing with the hotties on the beach and one full week and two separate long weekends in the U.P. snowmobiling. Yep it was pretty stressful for him I gotta tell you. I wish I had that much stress.

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  • 2 weeks later...

As a one-man shop, you are splitting yourself up all day long and going in different directions.


Yeah, it's pretty bad when the lube tech is paid the same as the top tech or the janitor or the service writer.


Do you have plans to grow and hire?


That is my desire. My problem is work load. This last three months I have been slammed and should have hired someone but with winter coming on I did not want to without knowing how it would go. I generally stay fairly busy int eh winter but it doesn't take much to keep a one man shop busy, between writing estimates (lots of price shoppers after Christmas), talking to consumers who stop by to "see what you think" and then go home and throw more parts at it. I know it is irrational but I can't expect anything different than what I have now, but with what I make in the year, hiring a decent tech I'd basically be working for free. Yep, another person should increase productivity and therefore revenue, but you never know. I tried hiring a tech on the recommendation of the Management consulting company I was counting on for Success and the last week he was here we billed 12 hours. Hardly enough to pay one guy, let alone two. However I had been open only a little over a year at that time. Then the next year I hired a gal for the office, BIG mistake. She had supposedly taken the "Automotive Technical Academy course at the local vo-tech center so I expected her to know something about cars. On her first day she asked about as many questions as she did her last day, and the questions weren't much different either. It was so bad I actually asked her if she took the class to learn about working on her car or if she took it to meet boys. So I tried twice and got burned both times and I guess I'm a little gun shy because of it. But where I am at now I basically am working my butt off and getting little more than older. So short answer is YES, I want to hire and grow. I just don't feel I've established a steady enough work load to support someone else, yet.

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