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By 5 Star Auto Spa
So we are a shop that pays our technicians hourly. We have an incentive built into the pay that rewards technicians a percentage based on performing detailed vehicle inspections that are sold but the bulk of the pay comes from a straight hourly wage. Because we pay our technicians hourly, the expectations we have of our technicians are different then say a dealership or independent repair shop that pays flat rate. When there are no vehicles to service, because our technicians are paid hourly, we expect them to stay busy. We have an extensive To Do List that we have our technicians perform during down time which consists of cleaning and maintenance tasks around the shop. The technicians are expected to come into the front office area and sign off of the To Do List as they complete each task. This helps the CSA know what the technicians are doing at what time. We have noticed that most of our new technicians that end up leaving seem to have great difficulty or dislike to adhere to this policy. I almost think they feel as though they are being micro-managed and they should be able to self direct themselves. The problem with not having a specific set of tasks for a technician during down time is that beyond just sweeping and moping, nothing of significance gets accomplished during the down time.
Are there any other shops that pay hourly/salary and if so, how do you deal with down time? I'm not sure if we just have to change our pay to flat rate with a guaranteed minimum base.......
I received my first charge back today. Does anyone have experience with this?
Lady came in with a Volvo that ran poorly. We pulled the code and followed the diagnostic tree. The result was to replace the throttle body. I ordered a new throttle body from Volvo. After we installed this part the customer came in and used her AAA to tow it to a local foreign car specialist to have it programmed. We pick it up from the repair shop and brought it back to our shop so she could pick it up. 3 days later the car came back running poorly again. I called the shop that programmed it to see if they could add any tips. The technician then informed me that they use generic programming and the vehicle should be programmed by the dealer. I paid and towed it to a Volvo dealer. Next day we pick it up. After payment we went to the car and it wouldn't start. The Volvo tech came out and shook some wire and the car started. We drove it back to our shop and it was running poorly. I soon realized that I have no right or desire to mess with the God awful Volvo wiring. I paid once again to tow it to a different foreign car specialist. As of late last week the car was still there. Today I receive a pre charge back from AMEX for $1,230. I have until July 4th to send them my answer.
Any feedback would be appreciated.
Marijuana is legal in my state of Rhode Island (I am sure it will help things). 2 to 3 times a week I have customers in my waiting room who stink to high heaven. This stale pot smoke is extremely smelly and lingers long after the customer leaves. How do I handle these idiots? My gut tells me to boot these inconsiderate morons out the door but lately I need the money.
I am also concerned about my techs getting pulled over test driving a car containing marijuana, which would be illegal with no pot license.
How would you handle this situation?
By Joe Marconi
This is a topic that is brought up each year, but I think it's worth revisiting. Around the holidays and end of year, shop owners in general want to show their appreciation to their employees and will give them a bonus. How do your structure the bonus? Money? Tool certificates? Other?
Since I have been offering alignments as a service it has been mixed results. Typical instance is a customer will want to schedule an appointment for an alignment. We will advise them over the phone that we have to inspect the suspension and steering systems to make sure we can perform a proper alignment. Vehicles in NYC are beat to hell with the roads the way they are. Many times unless it is a very new vehicle or a vehicle with low mileage there will be things that the vehicle needs. All this is disclosed to the customer BEFORE any work is done. We also explain to them at the there is no charge for this inspection if we go ahead and perform the alignment OR we perform the recommended work and the alignment however this is a $39.97 inspection charge otherwise. Of course they agree. We check out the car and at times we get the work and perform the alignment. Other times we explain to the customer we cannot perform the alignment and would not be in their best benefit. The customer leaves and that is the end of that. Most of the time these customers who decline any further work simply take it to a hack who will align the vehicle to a better spec than it was and then we look like crooks in the eyes of the customer. The reason I bring this up is rarely do we have unhappy customers. I just got a unsubscribe to our e-mail list and reason was "Unhappy with the service." I check the history and we had only seen the vehicle once before and it was for an alignment. There were problems noted down in their repair order with their suspension. The customer left and never to be seen again.
I feel like I get far more frequency of situations like this.
Are we not attracting the right customers when it comes to alignments? Should I not even offer alignments other than to our regular customers? Should I take a different approach when it comes to booking alignment jobs? No amount of educating the customer seems to work on these people. It is apparently set in their minds that they can get an alignment we are just out to get them.
It really gets on my nerves to say the least. I do everything in my power to not take on the problem customer or problem jobs and I feel like I am getting really good at it. The alignment situation seems to be my biggest challenge when it comes to these unwanted customers.
Maybe the I am just bitter about the message of "unhappy with the service" when we were up front, gracious and were 110% honest.