Quantcast
Jump to content


Gonzo

Article: 2011 the year in review

Recommended Posts

The good and bad of 2011 --- the year in review

 

 

 

With the end of the year upon us, I thought it would be a perfect time to list some of the things I've run across that have just tripped my trigger… more than usually do. With cars lasting longer, internet sources, and good old fashion stupidity things are even crazier than in years past. Ok, there are more, but these are the ones that I thought most of us in the business have run into. But I don't want to end the year on such a sour note, how about we compare the good with the bad at the same time. I'm sure you have your own, and probably a few better ones.

 

#12 the bad --- A customer just made the deal of the century off of E-Bay, which actually turns out to be the worst car still on four wheels, and now it's in the shop.

 

#12 the good --- My customers still think I'm worth the effort to fix their newest find.

 

#11 the bad --- That new pocket screwdriver has a really powerful magnetic tip on it… and it seems to find everything it can to stick to every time you lean over a hood, rather than staying clipped to your pocket.

 

#11 the good --- I still haven't poked myself with the screwdriver when it's standing straight out from the core support.

 

#10 the bad --- Wanna-be mechanics who come into the shop and tell me, "I've already changed the coolant fan, the fuse, the relay, and the sensors that the last guy told me to change. So it's got to be the wires that are bad. Which ones do I have to change? (Their thinking, "Let's not even consider testing anything, let's just change parts until it works.")

 

#10 the good --- I know which wires they're referring too.

 

#9 the bad --- Dropping sockets, wrenches and any other tools into the drain pan when it's full of oil or coolant. (Timeless, not just 2011)

 

#9 the good --- I can still find them.

 

#8 the bad --- A customer tells me, "My car shouldn't be broken, I just paid it off."

 

#8 the good --- Customers value my advice as to how to maintain their cars.

 

#7 the bad --- An extremely insistent customer tells you, "I need it done today! So drop everything you've got going on, and get this done for me. Call me right away!" I call them as soon as I get it done and they tell me … (see #6)

 

#7 the good --- I'm glad I've got customers, any customers.

 

#6 the bad --- "I'll pick it up in the morning." (Which actually turns out to be later that afternoon.)

 

#6 the good --- The job's done, and there's more work in the shop.

 

#5 the bad --- Changing oil on a customer's car, and you reach up for the oil filter… and it's on so tight you can't even budge it.

 

#5 the good --- I've got the tool to get the thing off.

 

#4 the bad --- A customer's car with the seat all the way up under the steering wheel with huge amounts of crap jammed behind the driver's seat and now the seat won't budge. (I can't squeeze behind the wheel with only 5 inches of clearance.) (Toss the basketball, extra purse, laundry…etc… on the other side of the car… now, move the seat back and get in.)

 

#4 the good --- I realize I need to go on a diet.

 

#3 the bad --- That special ordered part you've been waiting on… it's the wrong one.

 

#3 the good --- I can return the part.

 

#2 the bad --- the correct one… it's twice as much as the one you quoted the customer, and it's been in stock the whole time.

 

#2 the good --- With great customers it's not hard to explain things and get the problem solved.

 

#1 the bad --- Since cars are lasting longer and longer, parts are an issue. This is the no#1 problem I've had this year.

 

You call the parts department at the dealership, and ask about a part. They have the corrected part number; they also have the current price. You ask them when they can get it, and they answer, "It's been discontinued."

 

#1 the good --- After being in the business for so long, I can just about tell a customer what the outcome is going to be before I even order a part. That's where years of experience pay off, and makes me even more thankful to be in business for another year.

 

The challenges of running a small business can be one of the hardest things that you'll ever face in your life time. But at the same time it can be as rewarding as anything else you'll deal with. I'm ready for those obstacles and ready to take on the challenge.

 

Bring it on! I'm here for another year!

 

Happy New Year to all! I hope 2012 brings a profitable and enjoyable year to you and your family.

 

Click here to view the article

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites



  • Similar Forum Topics

    • Article: Breaker-Breaker--- back in the day of the CB... things were a bit different

      Breaker, Breaker…                                 In my many years of repairing cars I’ve helped out a  countless number of other shops with their electrical  problems.  Some shops I would see a few times a month,  and others only once in awhile. This was years before the  internet was around, and cell phones were only a fad and way to expensive to have.  So, most everything was  done by a land line or over the CB radio.         Back in the mid 80’s and 90’s I had one shop that I talked with nearly every day.  Great guys, but not so great as mechanics.  The owners name was Joe.  His shop was small and seemed to be a place for wayward towed vehicles and obscure customers looking for dirt cheap repairs.  His main business was his tow service, and the repair shop seemed to be there just to fill in the gaps on those slow days.     One afternoon I got a call from Joe about a car his crew had given up on.  They threw the parts cannon at it, but couldn’t get this car to come back to life.  Joe was with tows, and needed the mechanics he had to drive the other tow trucks. This particular car had been in his shop for quite some time and I don't think the customer was too happy about it.  So, to speed things up a bit, he dropped it off at my shop.         “I’ll be on the road all day.  I've got to get back out there.  I've got tows lined up all day.  If you get it going, could ya run it back to my shop,” Joe said, as he made a dash for his tow truck.       “No problem Joe, I’ll get right on it,” I said, just as he drove off.       The car was an 80’s GM. I could see all kinds of shiny new components under the hood, and could tell they put a lot of effort into swapping parts to find out what was going on.   The symptom was; if you flipped the key to the crank position it would immediately start, but die just as quickly.           The parts they changed were the predictable parts cannon fodder that the typical parts slapper would try.  Tune-up parts, an IAC, TPS, MAP, ECM, etc… etc… all of which might, could, should’ve, probably, maybe, and of course, eventually with enough darts thrown at it, could have hit the target and fixed it.  But it didn’t.   I wasn’t about to go that route.  Time for some real diagnostics and not just shoot from the hip.  Why not start with the basics- fuel, air, and fire.          Spark was good, timing looked good, and the intake had a good air pull.  I gave it a shot of carb. cleaner, and as long as I kept spraying… it kept running.  Ok, time to check the fuel pressure.  Interesting... there was pressure.  Hmmm, now what to do? The next obvious thing (to me) was to check fuel volume.           I disconnected a fuel line and gave the key a flick into start.  The fuel shot out into the drainage bucket, but then trickled to a stop. I did it a second time.  Not as much fuel made it out this time, but the scenario was basically the same.  It was always a quick burst followed by a trickle.  Maybe I should look at that gas gauge. Well, wouldn’t ya know it, the gauge is ready E. It had just enough in the tank to pressurize the fuel lines but not enough to keep it going.       Might as well grab a gas can, and put some in the tank.  I’ll try it again… vroom, vroom, vroom, alright! It’s running great!  Looks to me as if the entire problem was that it was out of gas.  However, with all the new parts they installed, I couldn’t be sure if this was the 'only' problem or an after affect of having the car in the shop so long while trying to solve another problem.  It could have been any one of the other components (within reason) they changed that really 'did' need to be changed.           Later that day I drove the car back to Joe’s shop.  He wasn’t there, but his dispatcher was in the office sorting out tow tickets and monitoring the CB with the volume up full blast.  In the background you could hear the CB chatter from all the area’s tow companies.         About then I heard Joe’s voice over the CB, “Did Gonzo call yet? Need to check in on him, we need to get that car back to the owner.”       “He just walked in Joe, over,” the dispatcher told him.       “So what was wrong with it,” Joe asked between the squelch of the CB radio and all the other chatter from the other tow companies.       The dispatcher turned to me and pointed at the mic.  So, I told him . The dispatcher, with a stunned look on his face, said, “I can’t tell him that.  He is going to be so pissed.”       “I don’t think you should either.  At least not until he gets back,” I said, while breaking into an ear to ear smile.       The CB comes back to life with Joe’s voice again; “So what did he find out, over,” Joe's frustration was showing through as his voice barked out of the CB speaker.  The dispatcher said to me, " Old Joe sounds pretty pissed."      I don’t know whether it was the way his day was going or how much time and money he's spent on this car.  Either way, he’s not going to like this answer.        “Go ahead… tell him,” I said to the dispatcher, still sitting there hold the mic button, “He wants the answer, so let him have it.”       “Alright, Joe, are ya ready for this, over?" the dispatcher said, then waited for a response from Joe.   "Yea, go ahead, over."   "It was out of gas.”       A dead silence came over the CB. No chatter, nothing, not another sound for what seemed to be an eternity.  Then, all hell broke loose.  Tow drivers from all over the city were razing poor Joe.  The CB was full of laughter and goof ball comments, but not a word from Joe. Poor Joe, you asked for it, and now you got it.        “Tell Joe to stop by the shop, he can settle up with me then,” I said, while trying to hold back the laughter.       As I walked out the door, the CB chatter could be heard all the way to the parking lot, and the comments were still flying.  It was one of the funniest moments I’ve ever had for doing nothing more than putting gas in a car.         When Joe came up to pay the bill I told him I had a little something for him.  I handed him a little tiny gas can on a key chain.  I figured it might be a good reminder for him to always check the basics before loading up the parts cannon again.            After all these years I’m sure he hasn’t forgotten about it, and I’ll bet he doesn’t tell too many people where he got that little gas can key chain from… but now, it wouldn't be so much on the CB, but over the internet. 
      View full article

      By Gonzo, in AutoShopOwner Articles

      • 3 replies
      • 90 views
    • Shop Owner’s need downtime to put things in proper perspective

      I am writing this on my last day of vacation in California, spending time with family. It took me a few days to totally relax, but made it a point to not look at emails or call the office. We all need downtime. I know there will be a ton of work to be done when I return, but I also know that the time away has recharged my batteries and I will be more productive. Being away from business and spending time with family puts things into proper perspective. You realize that a lot of the things you stress over, are really not as important as you think. Take time to enjoy life.  We all know how quickly time passes us by.   And remember, no one on their death bed ever said they wished they spent more time at work.

      By Joe Marconi, in Joe’s Business Tips For Shop Owners

        
      • 6 replies
      • 938 views
    • Negative review while serving vehicle

      Hello all, Has this ever happened to any of you? We recently went out of our way to accommodate a customers' vehicle repair request. Though the customer was argumentative about pricing, hours charged, parts used etc, they ultimately agreed to the repairs. About an hour or so later, we receive notifications of several 0 or 1 star reviews on many social websites including Yelp, Google, Yahoo, Facebook....... you name it they had an account or made a new account to put their side of the story out there.  How would you handle this? Do you feel obligated to complete the said repair?  Thanks in advance for your thoughts and opinions.   Nick 

      By CAautogroup, in General Automotive Discussion

      • 15 replies
      • 1,157 views
    • Got a negative review trying to help out

      Well the other day I had a guy come in with a printout from autozone in hand, wants me to put in his alternator. "We don't install customer's parts, please let us diagnose..." blah blah you know the normal routine. So anyway the guy was in a bind, not going to make it another 100yards, pleads with me so we (against our good judgement) put in the $99 AZ alternator which was the correct frame type but the wrong amperage for the vehicle. No money to do it right, no dollars for diag, help a guy out, just try it, come on man I'm dying here story. "Understand, there is absolutely no warranty" Yes, sir, I'm grateful your helping me. All done and it's still not charging (their homemade wiring issues if I was to guess.), the belt and tensioner were cooked, battery is no good, the guy has zero money for any additional parts or labor. "Leave the vehicle until we can fix it please" NOPE! His wife got involved and now I'm a scam artist now on every review site there is. She was screaming at me on the phone until I had to hang up.  The moral of this story is if a customer won't let you do your job properly, let them be mad and go somewhere else. Rip the band-aid off fast. I hate to be that guy that says no I can't help you but sometimes it's mandatory. 

      By alfredauto, in The Customer Experience

        
      • 7 replies
      • 855 views
    • Online Review Karma Is Helping Auto Repair Shops Get Found On Google

      We all know as local business owners how important it is to get those online reviews because most potential customers read those things before they make a decision whether they want to do business with you. As a matter of fact, 90% of consumers read less than 10 reviews before forming an opinion about a business. Because of this, auto repair shops should want to collect as many positive reviews as possible to stay ahead. In the automotive industry, for getting new customers in the door, there might not be a more essential tool than positive online reviews. It can make or break a business plan. From a consumer's point of view, Google will almost always be the resource used to find an auto repair shop in each area. Not only this, some potential customers will view online reviews for the sole purpose of ranking shops, or choosing one over the other. The auto repair shop with the most positive reviews and best Google ranking is most often going to be the one the consumer decides to go to for their car repair needs. The same goes for reviews on both Facebook and Yelp. Some shop owners may be asking clients: "Hey, if you liked our service, please give us a review." And this is a proven strategy as 7 out of 10 consumers will leave a review for a business if they're asked to. However, if they're not giving reviews, how can they expect to get reviews back? There's something maybe a little karmic about that, right? If you're not doing it, how can you expect other people to do it for you. Aside from that, if you're not writing reviews, how can you tell them how to do the review? In other words, if you've never given a Google review, or a Yelp review or a Facebook review, and you've never physically done it yourself it's going to be hard when you ask somebody to give your a shop a review. A shop owner may say - "Sure, I'll give you a review, just show me how to do it," now you're scratching your head and saying, "I have no idea how to do it. I've never given one myself." What are the chances that they're actually going to give you a review? Get in the habit of writing as many reviews as possible using all of the local review sites, so you know how to navigate the waters, and you know how to actually write the review. Secondarily, sitting down to write a review is not easy. If you get in a habit of sitting down trying to figure out what you're going to say in your review, chances are when you do it more often, you'll get better and better at it. It will start to flow a little better. When you're asking a client to write you a good review, not only are you going to be able to show them how to do this, but you're going to give them some suggestions on how to write a good review for you because, after all, that's what we want to do. We want to get as many good, positive reviews from our happy customers as we possibly can. Getting in the habit of writing two reviews per week, will ultimately attract more online reviews for your shop. -- Ron Ipach (a.k.a Captain Car Count) President/Founder of Repair Shop Coach More articles and content like this and originated through Ron Ipach's Car Count Daily campaign Auto Repair Shop Owners, Managers, and Automotive Industry Professionals are invited to join 'Car Count Daily Boosters' LinkedIn group to provide resources and gain insight on boosting car count DAILY and filling up the bays in their shops.

      By Ron Ipach, in Marketing, Advertising, & Promoting

        
      • 0 replies
      • 275 views
  • AutoShopOwner Sponsors



×