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Joe Marconi

Mild Weather in North East

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In all the years I have been in business, by the third week in January and much thru February, business slows down to a crawl. Here we are heading toward the end of January and business is quite steady. I wonder if it is due to the lack of any major storms. In past years we had to close the shop at least once a week thru January and February. Whatever the reason, I hope it lasts.

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  • Similar Forum Topics

    • By Joe Marconi
      While many shop owners may not enjoy a harsh winter, there's always that feeling that a tough winter is good for business. But is it?
       
      Last year was one of the worst winters on record in the northeast. There was a ton of winter-related work. But, when you factor the days closed due to snow and ice storms, sales did not reflect any real increase.
       
      I know I may be simplifying this, since there are a number of reasons why business may slow down in the winter months. However, to rely on a tough winter to bring in service and repair work may not be your best sales strategy.
       
      The winter will be what it is; tough or mild. We cannot help that. But, what we can do is prepare for either scenario, which is building your customer retention rate by proactively identifying needed future work on each vehicle, discussing all future work with each customer, creating service reminders and creating a follow up call list to contact your customers when those service reminders go out.
       
      We cannot predict the future, but we can help create it. Start today with each and every customer to ensure that they come back to you for all their service needs.
       
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    • By Gonzo
      North vs. South
       

      There’s a battle that’s been raging in the auto repair business for as long as I can remember. There’s a definite line that separates the north and south, and it’s not the Mason/Dixon line. It’s known as the “Rust Belt”.
       
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      Even though trained mechanics are the same no matter where you go, there are still differences between what a mechanic north of the rust belt has to deal with vs. someone on the south side of it. The biggest difference is definitely having to deal with the rust. Rust and more rust.

      Once in a while I’ll get one of those northern cars that has crossed the line and is now transplanted into my neck of the woods. They are easy to spot; just put it up on the lift and you’ll know. Even though the engine compartment isn’t immune from the effects of salt degradation, it’s a lot more noticeable under the car. The amount of rusted, flaking metal, and deteriorating nuts and bolts under some of these cars is unbelievable, and some of these rusty rides aren’t that old. (At least I haven’t run across a pickup truck where the frame has rotted off between the bed and the cab to the point it separates in half when you put them on the lift! I’ve seen a few photos of these rusted through trucks. Yikes!)

      Since I grew up north, but moved below the rust belt line years ago, I’ve seen a lot of inventive ways people have come up with to subdue the ever encroaching rust Mother Nature has so graciously handed us. Undercoating, zinc plates, and some crazy electrical unit that is supposed to prevent rust from degrading the metal (Good luck with that one.), just to name a few. As a matter of fact some manufacturers actually offer lifetime warranties against rust on their vehicles that are equipped with their own patented rust prevention systems. Undercoating is probably the most popular. Works great, to a point. That is, until you need to replace a brake line or pull a fuel tank and that stuff is coating all the straps and bolts. (Been there-done that.)
       
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      The further south of the rust belt you go the less snow, but more freezing rain and ice. It can coat everything with a thin layer of unyielding and impregnable ice. You can’t open a door or the hood, and whatever you do, don’t turn on the wipers. It seems like every year somebody will drop their car off with one wiper arm flopping around, while the other one scrapes across the windshield.

      I can’t say for sure, but I’d bet there are certain diagnostic differences when it comes to certain situations between the north and south. These changes to certain diagnostic procedures may have something to do with all the rust or the extreme cold temps. But, in the south there are just as many different diagnostic adventures as well. The biggest issue is the heat. The never ending, over 100 degree days that just destroy rubber, glass, interiors, electrical systems, radiators, etc…. Some days even in the shade it stays well over a 100. No need in worrying about freeze plugs popping out, but you might need to worry about the dash pad warping so bad it looks like ocean waves. Just try keeping an aging car’s A/C system working in 105 degree weather while in traffic, without the engine overheating. And, did I mention… it’s hot! It’s really hot! It’s not uncommon to get into a car that’s been waiting in front of the shop to reach 145 degrees or more inside it.
       
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      Click here to view the article
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      If your shop is in the northern part of the country, there is no denying that this winter has been one of the toughest on record. Storms have forced many shops to lose work days, resulting in loss of income, which may be hard to recover from.
       
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