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By Joe Marconi in Joe's BlogMost shop owners would agree that the independent auto repair industry has been too cheap for too long regarding its pricing and labor rates. However, can we keep raising our labor rates and prices until we achieve the profit we desire and need? Is it that simple?
The first step in achieving your required gross and net profit is understanding your numbers and establishing the correct labor and part margins. The next step is to find your business's inefficiencies that impact high production levels.
Here are a few things to consider. First, do you have the workflow processes in place that is conducive to high production? What about your shop layout? Do you have all the right tools and equipment? Do you have a continuous training program in place? Are technicians waiting to use a particular scanner or waiting to access information from the shop's workstation computer?
And lastly, are all the estimates written correctly? Is the labor correct for each job? Are you allowing extra time for rust, older vehicles, labor jobs with no parts included, and the fact that many published labor times are wrong? Let's not forget that perhaps the most significant labor loss is not charging enough labor time for testing, electrical work, and other complicated repairs.
Once you have determined the correct labor rate and pricing, review your entire operation. Then, tighten up on all those labor leaks and inefficiencies. Improving production and paying close attention to the labor on each job will add much-needed dollars to your bottom line.
By Joe Marconi
As an "old timer" who got his start during the muscle car era, this is hard to accept. Am I too sensitive?
The Associated Press covered some of the driveway mechanics and enthusiasts who are converting classic cars into electric restomods.
This includes some business owners like Sean Moudry, co-owner of InspireEV near Denver. He recently restored a 1965 Ford Mustang with an electric powertrain. The project cost upwards of $100,000.
Read the article in Ratchet and Wrench:
Dashboards are a valuable tool for businesses as they provide a quick and easy way to visualize and analyze key data and metrics in real time. Hear from two shop owners as they discuss how dashboards improve decision making, increase productivity, and enhance collaboration and accountability with your team. Jimmy Alauria, 3A Automotive and Diesel Repair, Phoenix, AZ. Jimmy’s previous episodes HERE
Brent Fleischman, Yocum Automotive, Republic, MO
Numbers without dimensions are hard to analyze. Line graphs show trends as a picture. Where does there need to be more improvement? What caused a ‘dip?’ Using statistics helps find the right "WHY" when looking to solve a problem. Competitive nature for employees Creating a graph for daily production on completed hours for technicians Examples of what to watch: Gross income, the value of services delivered (closed repairs), ARO, gross profit dollars, new customers, number of inspections, quality inspection, ARO, average repair estimates, and close percentage (60-75%). Be careful having the close rate too high/too low. New customers- you need front office staff to have a proper orientation for a new customer. Growth mode- as growth increases, also increase your marketing.
Thanks to our Partners Shop-Ware and Delphi Technologies Shop-Ware: More Time. More Profit. Shop-Ware Shop Management getshopware.com Delphi Technologies: Keeping current on the latest vehicle systems and how to repair them is a must for today’s technicians. DelphiAftermarket.com
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By Joe Marconi
There are many benefits to growing a company so that it runs smoothly and efficiently without the shop owner. Building systems and procedures to get the entire team on the same page is essential to any successful business. In addition, an auto repair shop will grow more successful, and worth more if the shop owner, is not needed in the day-to day operations.
However, the question is: Should you become an absentee owner? This is not an easy question to answer, since it really depends on the size of your shop, your role in the business and how you feel about your business. For example, if you run a 4-bay shop, with four employees, that is vastly different from a company that has three locations with 25 employees. And also, you may really enjoy going to work and being involved.
The bottom line is this: Build your company so that it can run without you, but know when to step back in when needed. Great leaders know when to get out of the way, and when to step back in and make course corrections. Ultimately, your business is your business, and the responsibility for its success rests largely on your shoulders.
By Joe Marconi
For all the veteran shop owners who have been around the block a few times, and have experienced the roller-coasted rides of being an auto repair shop owner, what advice could you give those shop owners just starting out or planning to go into their own business?
By Joe Marconi
When I was in business, each year for 41 years, we experienced a slow down in February. The reasons are many, but by the second week of March, things went back to normal.
However, from what I am hearing from some shop owners, they are concerned. They point to riding this wave of business since coming out of COVID, and fear that the wave may become a trickle.
What is your opinion? Good times are still here? Should we be concerned?
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