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By Andrew Cutler
This is a rant, pure and simple, but I hope that it can serve as a cautionary tale for others. Unifirst came in with a proposal as the "AAA preferred uniform vendor". As we are a AAA approved shop we qualified for special pricing, almost 30% less than what we were paying at that time. We gave them our business and it has been a cluster since. It took almost 6 months for them to deliver, and when they did the sizes were all over the map. About half of my employees (and myself) had to have size changes. They embroidered all our dark shirts with dark logos and had to re-do them which took months. They actually embroidered them wrong TWICE before they got it right. My tech's shirts came back with with huge oil and rust stains after their first washing and have never been clean since. The towels are usually oily and sometimes have metal shavings in them. They routinely mis-deliver and fail to deliver uniforms, leaving techs short for the week. I've had the service manager, plant manager, and regional manager all in my office to tell me that this would all be corrected, to no avail. We have a new service starting in December and I anticipate threats to sue on the three year agreement they require. I've been cataloging, photographing and corresponding with them over the past 8 months and I am confident that we can prove that they are unable to provide anything close to the level of service they promised. I have learned, yet again, that you get what you pay for. Don't let Unifirst in the door.
Just wanted to share another great experience I had over the weekend in San Diego with Elite.
I have absolutely nothing but GREAT things to say about Elite and the people involved with their wonderful company. All the coaches are top notch human beings and really live what they preach which is never to put money ahead of people. Most of their coaches are retired or run extremely successful shops and certainly don't need the money. One particular coach was introducing his clients to the group and he had tears in his eyes talking about how proud he was of his clients and all that they have achieved. Truly remarkable to be around such a great group.
To be completely transparent and to qualify my statement, I am an Elite Client so I drink the kool aid They have also helped me see a 200% increase in my business from 2014 - 2016.
If anyone is on the fence between what coaching company they should work with, really take a good look at Elite. You won't be disappointed.
A customer that is a Realtor mentioned to me that he is having success using a program called https://calltools.com/ for outbound call marketing.
I was thinking about doing something like this for this Spring season, has anyone here used an outbound call system of marketing? I have a list of over 80,000 customers and I was thinking it would be a good time to see what results it may bring.
The "in town" U Haul dealership went out of business - their other business, not the U Haul part - and we have been approached to take it over.
Is anyone else an independent U Haul dealership?
Pros and cons? We are in doing due diligence and researching everything about it.
By Joe Marconi
Got your attention? Good!
This past Sunday I took a booth at the local Business EXPO in my town. I like doing these things for the obvious reason - It helps to promote my company's brand in my community. But the other reason I do it is to speak with the average consumer to gain information. One of questions I ask is this: "What model car do you drive and where do you go for service?"
It is amazing to me how many people go back to the dealer for service work. And here are some of the reasons:
It's a lease car, I didn't know you could take my car to you for service It's a new car, don't you HAVE to go back to the dealer? I don't know where to take my car, so I stayed with the dealer I have free maintenance (we all what "free" means) I don't want problems if I need warranty work My salesman told me when I bought the car that I had to used dealer parts and service Aren't the dealer mechanics better trained?
By the way, when I asked about the level of service and convenience, all of them rolled their eyes and said something like this, "Well, it's the dealer, you know what you get." MAN! I can't help thinking that if they came to YOUR shop you would win them over just on your level of customer service!
So, as you can see, we are in a fight with the dealers. The great news is that we are still the number one choice of the motoring public. Let's fight to stay that way.
We, as independent aftermarket shops, do not aggressively market ourselves against the dealer. Maybe we should start?