By Joe Marconi
The other day, one of my service advisors, Kristina, was speaking to a customer about worn control arm bushings on her Honda. The customer was in the waiting room, sitting and reading a magazine, while her car was being serviced along with a New York State annual safety inspection.
Kristina got half way through her explanation of the control arm bushings when the customer said, "Stop right there." She then opened up the magazine she was reading (a copy of March 2016 Issue Consumer Report), which was in our pile of magazines and said, "Look here, Honda control arm bushings are among the 5 Sneaky Mechanic Scams!" Kristina did not make the sale and Thank You Consumer Reports, a motorist is now driving a car with worn lower control arm bushings; a potentially unsafe condition.
The Consumer reports article was written by a so-called expert, and is slanted against the repair shop. No surprise there, we are easy targets. I don't know how that magazine got into my waiting area, but I will pay more attention to the magazines I offer to my customers.
I will also voice my opinion to Consumer Report Magazine and urge everyone to voice their opinions too.
PLEASE NOTE: I checked online and the March 2016 Issue is not on the web yet.
So its finally happening, I've found a business partner and we are hitting th e ground a week from today.
Idk how many of you have been on reddit before but they have a section of the forum for business startups to essentially blog each day throughout the process. I am curious is there a place for that on this forum? Would anyone be interested in following me as I go through the process??
By Joe Marconi
Many of you know that I write a monthly column in Ratchet + Wrench Magazine. The magazine feature articles on shop management and business related articles. In my opinion, as shop owners we need to read publications such as Ratchet + Wrench. I think too many of us tend to maintain our technical knowledge, but may fall short with regard to the business side of the of running a shop. Ratchet + Wrench has great articles and also feature actual shops across the country.
If you do not subscribe to the magazine, the link is below. And to be fair and balanced, there is another magazine, Shop Owner Magazine that is also dedicated to business, and is worth reading and subscribing to.
Here are the links:
Here is the background to my question:
I just graduated college with a 4-year business degree and am looking to start an automotive repair shop in central Kansas in the near future. I have always enjoyed mechanic work on my own vehicles and my friends and family's as well but I have no formal training, education or experience in the field. I chose to start a mechanic shop because I want to get into a service industry and I like the business model for an auto repair shop. I have done a little bit of my own education in automotive technology but not near enough to feel completely comfortable doing full-on mechanic work.
My business plan is set up in a way where I will be hiring a master mechanic to do the complex automotive work and I will run the business/customer side of things as well as doing some minor repairs/services such as oil changes, tire rotations, etc.
Here is my question:
Do I absolutely need to go back to school for a whole 2 years for an auto tech degree to be successful in running the business? Has anyone else started from my same position? did it work or not?
Please just give me some general opinions and advice in this area.
By Joe Marconi
In case you haven’t heard about it, the term Wallet Flushing started a few years back when a movement started in California to investigate the “questionable practices” of some repair shops selling allegedly unneeded and unnecessary fluid services.
That initiative is dead, after an investigation by California’s Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR). BAR made a statement that it will not pursue any public awareness campaign with regard to fluid services. This is a big win for the our industry.
I am a big proponent of selling fluid services; but honestly and ethically. We disclose to the customer, that our recommendations may not be found in your owner’s manual; however we recommend fluid services as preventive maintenance.
I am also under the belief that the best time to service fluid is BEFORE it goes bad. You don’t change engine oil when it’s sludged up, do you? I also promote the BG Lifetime Protection Plan. We know that the majority of our customers keep their cars well beyond its factory warranty and to offer a lifetime peace of mind protection plan is of great value to the consumer.
The movement was also largely defeated by the persistence of various industry organizations.