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By Joe Marconi
Each year at this time I advise shop owners to set aside time to look back at the current year and start planning for the year ahead. The more due diligence you perform, the more successful you will be. Below is a short list of things you need to do. Remember, the time you spend now, will pay off next year.
Review all your numbers, year to date - Did you hit your goals? Arrange a meeting with your accountant and review your projected sales and determine any tax implications Speak to your accountant about investing in any end-of-year equipment purchases or any other large purchases in order to save on taxes. Please do not listen to your tool truck guy or equipment reps. Sometimes having cash reserve is much more important that reducing taxes Have a meeting with your key employees; determine what you will need in the coming year and begin to create a budget Set your new goals for 2018 and beyond, both personal and business Create a Wish List, those things your would like to accomplish, both in business and personal - This will help keep you focused Consider needed future training for all employees Review all insurances: Life insurance, liability, etc. Perform a facility inspection: Identify any needed work, upgrades, OSHA concerns, etc Create an emergency crisis plan in case something happens to you or a key employee; and make sure your loved ones and family have a copy of the plan
Repairing by the Numbers
Now and then, I’ll get a car in the shop that you can clearly tell some amateur has been fiddling around under the hood. Things are out of place, harnesses and lines are not strapped down, or they’ve come up with some concoction to seal an oil leak. Nothing surprises me these days, especially after all the years I’ve been at this. Whether it’s a homemade battery clamp or gobs of pepper poured into the radiator to seal a leak, I’ve probably seen it before… and then some.
Once in a while, some of these in-the-ditch repairs truly are a road side emergency, but I tend to believe with proper maintenance even those repairs could be avoided. I’m not saying you won’t break down on the side of the road, I know I have, but we aren’t driving around with points and condensers or 2 ply tires anymore. Cars have far more reliability built into them than the cars back then. Even though the number of repairs has dropped considerably, the number on the bottom of the repair invoice rises with every new technology added.
Like everything else in the modern world, it still comes down to the numbers. The dollar number that is. Car repair can be expensive, especially considering the amount of training, tools and equipment needed to perform the various diagnostics and repairs. However, there are still a number of people who take car repair and maintenance as something that can be taken care of with cheap off shore parts and a shade tree, no matter what the problem is. That number is soon to change.
The number of sensors, cameras, and multiple layers of high speed computer data in the modern car changes the way a lot of repairs that once were simple, like a cracked windshield, or a piece of trim falling off into a calibrated control system service. A consumer, or for that matter a repair shop, who is unaware of the complexities of these new systems and tries to penny pinch a seemingly minor problem, may inadvertently be putting themselves, their passengers and the other motorist at risk.
The days of bailing wire and homemade repairs has reached the end of the road. Cars are far too sophisticated and complex for shoddy repair work from either the unaware motorist or those repair shops with antiquated repair methods. This is where training the consumer about their car is just as important as training the technicians.
Things like replacing an outside mirror after Junior clobbers it backing out of the garage, aren’t as simple as before. Now, they’ll need to be calibrated and realigned because of the cameras and sensors in them. Even minor fender benders can’t be taken as lightly as before. A few stray piece of duct tape might hold the bumper on, but cover up a radar sensor. However, with these systems in working order, the likelihood of getting in a fender bender or getting too close to the garage door has been diminished by those very same cameras.
Cars aren’t built like the solid tanks of yesteryear either, and why should they be? The technology and the way the vehicles are built goes hand in hand, and it’s not just about fuel economy or creature comforts, it’s about the safety of the occupants as well.
In short, the modern mechanic is going to have their hands full programming, calibrating, and setting up the modern car for those minor mishaps that the average motorist gets involved in. Even now, insurance companies offer better rates if your car is equipped with some of the latest radar and protective systems, such as crash avoidance and lane departure awareness systems.
Keeping these rolling computers in working order isn’t going to get any cheaper, either. Someday you might even count the number of times the technology in your car made a difference to you and your family’s safety, and for those reasons the numbers don’t matter. Saving a dollar is a smart thing to do, cutting corners on repairs isn’t. Repairing the car by the numbers just doesn’t add up when it comes safety and reliability.
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By Joe Marconi
With the holidays upon us, here is my important tip...
Take time off for yourself, family and friends. Enjoy the holidays and focus on the things in life that matter most. You owe it to yourself and family. The time you take off will pay off in the long run. The business will be there. And a little time off will prove to be one of the best decision you can make!
I need advice! We only have 3 employees and they treat the ground like a huge dumpster can. I have reminded them to clean up so many times and they will clean up once I tell them to, but they wont do it unless its gotten to the point that I HAVE to tell them to. Should there be some sort of discipline? What do you guys do?
We all know that Google rules the internet in terms of searches that drive traffic to websites. ASO alone receives 75-80% of its traffic from Google, then Bing. So ranking in search results is very important for website traffic. That being said, Google is now going to put weight on the "mobile friendliness" of websites and rank those that have a mobile layout, better. Starting April 21st, Google will use its new algorithm to re-rank results based on how well a website renders on mobile screens.
So if your website does not have a mobile layout, get with the webmaster or company that designs your site and make sure you have a mobile version working properly.
Below is a recent post from Google this past Feb. Source: Link
Webmaster level: all
When it comes to search on mobile devices, users should get the most relevant and timely results, no matter if the information lives on mobile-friendly web pages or apps. As more people use mobile devices to access the internet, our algorithms have to adapt to these usage patterns. In the past, we’ve made updates to ensure a site is configured properly and viewable on modern devices. We’ve made it easier for users to find mobile-friendly web pages and we’ve introduced App Indexing to surface useful content from apps. Today, we’re announcing two important changes to help users discover more mobile-friendly content:
1. More mobile-friendly websites in search resultsStarting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.
To get help with making a mobile-friendly site, check out our guide to mobile-friendly sites. If you’re a webmaster, you can get ready for this change by using the following tools to see how Googlebot views your pages:
If you want to test a few pages, you can use the Mobile-Friendly Test. If you have a site, you can use your Webmaster Tools account to get a full list of mobile usability issues across your site using the Mobile Usability Report. 2. More relevant app content in search resultsStarting today, we will begin to use information from indexed apps as a factor in ranking for signed-in users who have the app installed. As a result, we may now surface content from indexed apps more prominently in search. To find out how to implement App Indexing, which allows us to surface this information in search results, have a look at our step-by-step guide on the developer site.
If you have questions about either mobile-friendly websites or app indexing, we’re always happy to chat in our Webmaster Help Forum.