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How can it be true that an independent auto repair shop almost doubles the price of their oil change service without raising their shop rates, parts pricing or adding any more costs? I know, sounds crazy, but we've done it. I am releasing the information shortly - but this short video explains it all. There isn't anything to buy - no sneaky sales pitch - nothing. It's just about how we used a new tactic to present our oil change prices. All the details are being released next week - so you'll want to subscribe (that's FREE TOO!) so you won't miss a thing!
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Article: Electronically Handicapped - - The general public (and myself) are getting way to reliant on electronicsElectronically Handicapped Are we so inundated with electrical devices we’ve forgotten how to do certain tasks without them? I believe the time has come when common sense values and electronics have crossed paths to change the way some people assume things are done. Yes, we’ve become electronically handicapped by the very means that are supposed to make things better. Expecting those electronic wonders to always be in working order is one thing, but not knowing what to do when those devices fail and having to resort to good old fashion “hands on” is where the problems and frustrations begin. Case in point: a guy calls and asks if I can fix his speedometer. He explains he wouldn’t be able to drive the car to the shop, because he has no idea how fast he’s going. I suggested he just stay up with traffic or download one of the many apps displaying mph. This led to even more hysteria because he was afraid of an electronic bug affecting his phone. Instead, all he wanted was one of those “I ain’t holding ya to it” estimates. Not knowing the reason why his speedometer wasn’t working, I gave him a rough guess on the cost of the various components related to a speedometer problem. He then tells me, “Let me know when the part shows up.” I asked, “What part?” Now I’m confused. Finally, it came down to one question. “Sir, even if I knew exactly what component or problem you’re having, how are you going to get the car here? Tow truck, or do you want me to come and get it?” I asked. Absolutely no tow trucks, and he didn’t want anyone else to drive his car. Instead, he was going to check “YouTube” for a video on how to fix it. Then, there are those individuals that common sense has entirely left them. A lady called to tell me her door locks stopped working, and how she was trapped in her car for several hours until her husband showed up. (He unlocked the door with the key from the outside.) I asked her, “Why didn’t you just unlock the door from the inside?” Her answer, “Sir, I pushed the button several times but it never would unlock the door.” I calmly asked (although I was secretly bursting with laughter), “Why didn’t you use the mechanical lock knob or push the manual lock lever in the opposite direction?” The tone of her voice was enough to tell you she was more than a little shaken up over the whole door lock ordeal. Thinking I could ease her obvious tension, I suggested that she could have rolled the window down, but that just spurred her anxiety even more. She couldn’t understand why I would suggest such a thing; she would have had to start the car in order to do that. Since the windows were up, the fear of carbon monoxide poisoning was an even bigger concern. Now with back up cameras, lane departure systems, auto parking, active cruise control, and perimeter warning systems some of these folks that barely understand how to turn on a light switch are going to be even more lost when these systems in their cars fail. I'm convinced by the actions of some people that it's already happening. Like the time my wife's rear view camera was covered in mud, she stopped the car, calls me and says, "The camera isn't working, is it safe to back the car up?" What's the world coming too? Pretty soon, there will be a generation that won’t understand or even care to know anything about some of the old technologies. That is until they’re face-to-face with a situation calling for some nostalgic common sense and a bit of mechanical know-how. We’ve modernized the family car into a nightmarish electronic wonder, which has caused a lot of people to lose touch with the basic fundamentals of its operation. Not only is it more complicated electronically, but it’s also becoming more reliant on GPS and computers. Here’s something else that I don’t understand: We still call a manual shift transmission a standard transmission. There’s nothing “standard” about it anymore. It was the standard for decades, but not anymore. Now it’s rather rare for new drivers to even know how to operate a stick shift. Even now, you see people who don’t have a clue how to use their turn signals. I doubt they know the proper hand signals or for that matter how to stick their arm out the window. Of course, that would mean rolling down the electric window, which probably doesn't work either. What about the tire monitor systems on cars these days? How many people know how to properly use a tire pressure gauge? Then again, why? We’ve got electronics to take care of that stuff. A vehicle operator seems to require less common sense these days as the electronic world has already accomplished these tasks with minimal to no effort with things like voice activated entertainment to navigation controls. Why, we even have crash avoidance systems and air bags to keep us safe. More to the point… less personal responsibility for your actions; make it the car’s responsibility. I grew up in the time when road maps were in every glove box. Folding one back up from the passenger seat while giving directions could be a contest of wit and skill to say the least. You paid attention to the road signs and observed the different land features as well as points of interest that were pointed out in the map details. These days, you listen to this voice on the navigation system that says, “Turn right in 500 feet onto exit 227.” Why, I’ll bet you didn’t even notice you passed the world’s largest ball of string a mile back. It seems the navigation voice failed to mention anything about all those roadside features the folding map could tell you about. Just goes to show how much we have become dependent on these electronic devices. We’ve all become so complacent with our modern electronic conveniences that opening a garage door by hand seems barbaric in some way. I know I’m guilty of it myself. One time after a rather long and frustrating day at the shop, I came down my driveway tapping my finger on the garage door remote button. The door refused to move. Not to be outwitted by a garage door remote, I sat out there bashing the button and cussing at the door… determined to get that blasted thing to raise one more time. Eventually, the wife comes out and opens the door from the inside button. She was standing there with that typical wife look of disbelief, staring at her goof ball husband having a four letter word conversation with a dead garage door remote. Her response was priceless, “The battery is probably dead in the remote dummy! Just get out of the truck and open the door!” So, you say, “Yea well, I might be a little electronically handicapped, but I’m not as bad as ya think. I could handle living like they did a hundred years ago. No battery needed to start a horse.” Oh, really? A century ago anyone over 10 years old could hitch up a two horse team to a buggy for an afternoon trip to town and knew how to deal with their horses’ temperament. Can you? Back then, that knowledge was passed down from father to son. These days, well, you’re more likely to Google the answer than ask Grandpa.
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After looking and reading some posts Here are some quick answers to some of them. Charging for Diagnostic time... Absolutely and is easy done. Fleet Customers.. Absolutely if you have the man power and shop to handle them. Be careful , you can loose them if your not equipped to support the amount of work. Do your homework. Damage and misfortune to a customers vehicle while in your care... If it's your fault just fix it. If not assess and address it quickly, the sooner the better. Know your Business not just part of it... Know it inside and out. Knowing your fixed cost is a must. Spend Wisely ..It takes money to make money keep it balanced , don't invest without returns. Advertise Wisely....Quick example : If you are around a large place of business where people work , Hospital, Shopping Mall, Manufacturing Plant Etc there are just a few suggestions of gaining customers for next to nothing cost, to attain those customers. A promotion on a business size card and NO, you don't have to discount a thing. Dealing with employees ..On cell phones , drugs etc whatever you don't address you condone! Hope this helps Need help with anything, I am a phone call or email away ! Dan Stevens Stevens Automotive Services
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When it comes to customer complaints, most shop owners are aware that there’s some economic price they’ll ultimately have to pay for the complaint, but will typically have no idea how much each complaint actually costs. This article will aim to bring some clarity to this long-disputed issue. When a customer complains, the first direct cost that you’re going to incur is the loss of your time. This is the time you spend listening to the customer, discussing the resolution, and following up with the customer to ensure that their complaint has been properly resolved. Let’s call this direct expense “customer communication time”. I realize that the amount of time will vary with each complaint, so let’s assign 25 minutes as a realistic number for your average complaint time. These 25 minutes are comprised of 5 minutes when the customer first calls you with a complaint, 15 minutes when they return for correction or resolution, and then an additional 5 minutes for follow up.
Now let’s look at the time spent on the internal communication that comes along with each complaint. This is the time that you spend with your technicians and service advisors discussing the cause, the resolution, and the prevention of future complaints. I feel that 15 minutes is a realistic number when it comes to this internal communication. We’ll also need to consider the same amount of time, at a minimum, of an employee’s time spent to help you resolve the issue. So, your internal communication will cost you at least 30 minutes with each complaint. Let’s shift gears and talk about the cost of customer attrition, and the marketing cost that will come along with each customer complaint. Let’s presume that you run a good business, and are able to properly address each concern to retain 80% of the customers who complain. In this scenario, you’ll still be losing 20% of those customers with complaints. In other words, out of every five complaints it’s safe to say you’ll lose one customer, so you should consider the marketing cost of each complaint to be 1/5th of the cost of generating a new customer. Lastly, you need to consider the “loss of productivity” that is associated with each customer complaint. Simply put, while your employees are discussing the complaint with you, they are unable to generate additional income for the company. Based on everything we have discussed, here is the math you can use to calculate the total cost of each complaint, which you and your employees may find to be quite surprising.
Note: The below cost of customer complaints calculation is predicated on a shop labor rate of $100 per hour, the shop producing $200 per hour per technician, and the cost of generating a new customer being set at $30.
25 minutes of customer communication (25min/60min X $100) $42
30 minutes of internal communication (30min/60min X $100) $50
Direct marketing cost to replace 1 of 5 ($30/5) $6
Loss of productivity (30 min) (30min/60min X $200) $100
If you think that $198 is a big number, please bear in mind we’re talking about the cost of customer complaints themselves, not the cost of additional repairs, services etc. that need to be performed to satisfy the customer. In addition to the $198, we haven’t taken into consideration the economic damage to your reputation, the damage to employee morale, and the loss of income that is associated with the loss of the customer and/or the direct cost of any repair. This considerable cost is one reason why the industry superstars invest in training, they go the extra mile to deliver extraordinary service, and they follow up with each and every customer to ensure that they met with the customer’s expectations. These top shop owners know that they are far better off investing a little more money in their people, than they are spending that money resolving customer complaints. So do absolutely everything that you can do to provide exemplary service, and ensure that each and every customer… is a satisfied customer. Since 1990, Bob Cooper has been the president of Elite, a company that strives to help shop owners reach their goals and live happier lives, while elevating the industry at the same time. The company offers coaching and training from the industry’s top shop owners, service advisor training, peer groups, along with sales, marketing and shop management courses. You can learn more about Elite by visiting www.EliteWorldwide.com.
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Anyone using alignment stands on a 2 post lift? How are they for daily use? I have a smaller shop with 2 techs and 3 bays, We have 2 lifts and 1 small "flat" bay. We are Japanese specialty shop that is growing and we were planning to add a new lift to the flat bay. The bay is not deep enough for a true 4 post alignment lift, so I was planning to purchase a new 2 post lift and add stands with an alignment machine in the near future. In searching for the right lift to be used with stands, I was just offered a used 2 post Hunter alignment rack that would fit in the bay for the same price as the 2 post with stands... and that really got me thinking... We do an average of 25 cars a week on 2 makes and we are adding 3 more early this year (thus the need for another lift). We just started doing tires this past year and only sublet alignments when they are absolutely necessary. Our situation is pushing us towards needing an alignment machine in house, but we could use another lift for "over flow" just a much. Knowing that we will be doing alignments out of necessity in the near future, I am leaning towards having a dedicated alignment lift. My questions are: 1. Does anyone regret purchasing their stands over an actual alignment lift? 2. Does anyone do "other" work on their alignment lift? 3. And how many alignments should I really expect? If space were a major issue, what would you do? (Drive-on alignment lift -OR- 2 post lift with alignment stands?)
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