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Great Tire Deal

I agree with you Joe,

 

The statement above sounds like an oxymoron, but unfortunately does not surprise me a bit.

What i think (and hope) this will achieve, is to do exactly what it is intended - give the "price shopper" customers the lowest possible price and give the "car count only" shops what they want - the car count.

It should also give us another boost to remind us why are we in this business and why we should give our customers reasons to not even consider a service as "Repair Jungle" .

I'd really like to see the Yelp (and alike) reviews of the business after it goes through the "Jungle". They may as well call it a "Bait and switch Jungle" imo

I am also wondering how much this "service" cost to the shop. I doubt it's free even to the customer, considering his "satisfaction" :)

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So the "winning" shop not only gives up the very last bit of possible profit (please note I am not using it as a dirty word) but also has to pay for it. I mean, that's a great business model for the Mr. Fred Yu, but for the shop is literally and figuratively speaking a loosing proposition. If the "bait and switch" tactics used to be pretty much a move out of despair, now with the "improved system", it will become a rule of the road for these shops.

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The customer is armed with more "knowledge" but little wisdom. In most cases people just hear BLAH BLAH BLAH PRICE. Check out what your GOOD customers tweet about you. It might surprise you. I saved a customer $1000.00 on a repair only to have her daughter curse us on twitter. Wait until the Liars app becomes common. The customer will be able to record your voice pattern and scan your face to be able to tell if your employees are lying or not.

Edited by FROGFINDER
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Hey Joe, in that situation you described above with the broken valve spring, do you charge the customer a diagnostic fee to find the "real" issue or just the parts and labor required to fix the issue after you have found it? If you do charge a diagnostic fee to find the issue in these type of situations, do you think you lose out on some customers who feel as though they do not want to pay for the diag. fee because they THINK they already know what the issue is?

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This is the most bizarre thing I've heard of. Just keep building solid relationships and trust with "the right customers" and this will not even phase you. Drive down prices? When the parts manufacturers, insurance companies and tax collectors lower their prices I'll lower mine. Even though more people seem to be price conscious with the information on the internet we must stand our ground to remain in business. As an industry we must not give in to these types of customers for they make up a low percentage of work that we really don't need. It is always the high maintenance, price shopping, high demanding customer that give the most grief and least profit. Why do we fall for this?

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I do my best to brush off the price shoppers but here is a better question... Do you give out phone quotes? If the customer says "I've had it check and I need this" do you just give them a price?

 

I have been debating on a policy of not giving phone estimates however I don't think that would go over well without the right approach. I've seen it done in the martial arts business industry, many franchise schools don't give phone quotes to get people to come in rather than price shop.

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Yes, we do charge a diagnostic testing fee. We must. We knew from the sound of the engine and the way that is was running that it was an engine related problem. We sold a compression test, leak down test and once we determined the cylinder, we went back to the customer to ask for time to remove the valve cover.

 

The customer was actually greatfull at that point, for not just doing a decarb. Many shops fear charging for diag testing. If explained correctly you will not have the a problem. We always give the customer a visual inspection and a road test, with pulling any codes and a consultation before we start, for no charge.

 

Joe I'm confused at your posts. I seems to me that you clearly don't charge for diagnostic time... Could you further elaborate on your reasoning?

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Joe I'm confused at your posts. I seems to me that you clearly don't charge for diagnostic time... Could you further elaborate on your reasoning?

 

I asked myself the same thing. However, read further down, and Joe explains it. They don't sell generic diagnostic time; rather, they sell diagnostic tests, like a charge for a leakdown test or a compression test (see below).

 

With that said, I am very interested in hearing this elaborated upon myself.

 

But, after that we sell Diagnostic Tests...not time...we don't sell time. No likes to buy time. You go to the doctor with a pain in your shoulder and the doctor orders an X-ray. You pay for the X-ray, not time.

 

Then, as with a doctor, we disucss the results of the test and then the repair to get the car fixed.

 

Make sense?

 

Oh, the only fear I have with diag testing is doing work for the wrong customer. Again, when explained correctly and offer them a visual inspection and consultation first at no charge, they are fine.

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For example, a customer comes in the shop complaining of a noise in the wheel when they turn right. To "diagnose/troubleshoot" a noise like that you would test drive the vehicle. So would you charge for that or no?

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I got online and reviewed Repair Jungles site , not sure what the issue is we have a half a dozen sites out thier now , some of us as shop owners use software that are partners with these estimating sites.

The one thing that did shine on thier site is that the client will have reviews to look at and lets face it , most clients our already looking at reviews to help determine the shop they will use.

 

My belief window is that clients our still looking for Quality first , Convienance ,Warranty, Then Price.

With this said I think you can use any of these sites without being the lowest.

 

We as shop owners have a tough road to follow with the internet influence. We still have not even touched the surface of what one will do and what is to come out of the internet.

 

I do not belong to any of these sites nor do I intend to. I still like the most of who is on this forum believe to keep a clean , well trained staff and give more then is asked for will win the majority of the time.

 

Thanks Dan

 

 

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I guess I caused a lttle confusion with my testing diag policy? Let me explain. If a customer comes to us with a check engine light, one of the first things asked is, "How much will it cost to fix" or "How much to diagnose it". Years back I would tell the customer to read the codes and diagnose the problem is $xx.xx. That would lead us down a path of no return, "How Much, just to see what's wrong? Will you take the diag fee off the repair? Other shops don't charge diagnostic charges!" On and On and on.

 

Soooo, now when the customer comes in with a check check engine light, here is the process:

  • Educate the customer about the check engine light
  • Inform the customer that until we access the on board computer, we really do not have a direction
  • We inform the customer to access the codes, a road test (if possible) and visual inspection will be performed at no charge
  • After the intial checks, we will then discuss what testing is needed to start the diagnostic process
  • We then sell the tests after the intial no charge checks
  • Perform the tests that were authorized
  • We get back to the customer after the tests are done
  • We sell the repair
  • End of process

There are other variables, such as more testing needed, intermitent problems, etc. But this process has been a gold mine for us. We give a little in the beginning, and we end up selling the needed tests, with very little push back, if any, from customers.

Treat others as you would want to be treated.

 

 

"You have to attract the minnows or the BIG FI$H WON'T COME" B)

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Joe,

 

When you say "visual inspection" does that include time on the lift if something needs to be inspected? What if you are required to remove SOME or A LOT of covers, shields, etc to properly visually inspect. Do you charge then or do you still comp.

 

I am intrigued by your process it looks like it would work really well for those on the fence customers that can be good customers. I am just worried about all the wasted time with cheapy price shoppers. One of my pet peeves is I HATE dealing with price shoppers so my initial fee for checking, inspecting, diag usually turns them away. It has been my philosophy for the last few years that giving things away is devaluing your product/service so I always try to throw a price on anything we do as long as there is value and work that has been put forth.

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Do what works for your business obviously, but Joe, that is not charging for diag. It symantics right? At best your giving half off diag which really suprises me after reading most of your posts on here. The vast majority of the time the problem can be discovered by the handy-dandy scan tool so to me that is diag time. But hey, if it works then carry on :).

 

Jeff, we are $80/hour and when someone calls for a "scan", I tell them it will either take 1/2hr or an hour to diag 95% of vehicles we see. If we need more time we call the customer but that is extremely rare and when it does happen the customer almost always knows it's coming because its normally an ongoing problem.

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Jeff, these free scans will be gone soon. I know of at least 2 if the major parts distributors that are stopping them. And the free battery, wiper and whatever else they do. Too much liability and kickback when the scan a car, sell a part and it doesn't fix the problem. Batteries are just too hard to get to for them.

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Joe,

 

Since you do the following for free: pull codes, test drive, and visual inspection, do you ever have issues where after the test drive and putting it on the lift to do the visual inspection you are able to find the issue without charging the customer for diagnostic testing? I think people are getting confused here as sometimes a test drive and visual inspection is all you need to find the problem but time is still spent in performing the test drive and putting the car on the lift and doing the visual inspection. To me, obviously this is part of the diagnostic process, and requires time and money to be completed even through a lot of the general motoring public does not think the same way. How do you handle these types of diagnostic charges?

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That is the point I wanted to make Joe. Give them 10 minutes up front. You will spend that much or more trying to explain why you need the test time anyway. Then after pulling codes and doing a visual you are better "equipped" to sell the testing time. I will give 10 minutes to make 1-2-3 hours and the customer will be more comfortable with the process going forward.

 

I completely agree with Joe and Jeff. Just my opinion, but I think even saying that the customer is getting "10 minutes" is a stretch. A ~$50 scanner from Harbor Freight, that you keep in your desk drawer, and use to pull codes for free is GENIUS. I am assuming a lot here, but I bet this is how things probably go for a customer at Joe's business

 

Cust - "My check engine light is on. What does it cost to find out what is wrong with it?"

 

Joe - "Well, we don't charge anything to hook our scanner up to your car. Let's go out there real quick and take a look"

 

~Literally a 30 sec. walk out the front door and plug in the scanner~

 

Joe - "Hmmm, that's weird. It is showing a P0300. That is kind of a vague code, so we'll have to let one of the mechanics/technicians do some diagnostic work to figure out what is setting that code"

 

TIMER ENDS HERE. At this point, Joe probably walks the customer back inside and starts taking down customer information. Lets them know about a $49.99 fee to check spark plugs, fuel test, etc. All in all, he spent $50 on a cheap scanner and AT MOST 10 MINUTES. In reality, probably more like 4 minutes. And he will get more customers in his shop because he 'doesn't charge to check out cars'

 

Scenario #2:

 

Customer - "My car shakes when I drive down the road. How much do you charge to check it out"

 

Joe - "We don't charge just to take a look at it. Let's go for a quick ride"

 

At this point, you could walk outside and see a flat tire in the back on the passenger side. Skip the test drive and sell a flat repair. Inspect brakes while you have it in the shop. Or maybe the tire shop down road forgot to tighten a wheel and it's about to fall off. You see it and save the day! Now you are a hero, tightened the wheel for free, and probably have a customer for life. Or you go on to test drive...

 

Literally drives the car 3 miles and come back

 

Joe - "Hmmmm, I've never felt or heard something like that. Strange. I think we'll have to put it on the lift and get some diagnostic tools on the car to locate the source."

 

Again, Joe walks a new customer into his shop and starts taking down information. All while the other shops who told that customer they charge 1 hour diagnostic time to even look at it, are sitting around wondering why no one is coming in. And it's all because Joe is giving away FREE diagnostics

 

Let's admit it. Refusing to even look at a car without diagnostic time is really translated as "I want money up front because if it's something easy, I wan't to get that money for doing nothing." If it's hard or complicated, stop, ask for diagnostic time, then proceed. Something tells me Joe has given away more "free" diagnostic time that, in the end, made him 10x what a 'diagnostic fee' would have made him.

.

.

.

.

Or I could be completely wrong, and Joe will correct it... for free ;)

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  • 4 years later...

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

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      It always amazes me when I hear about a technician who quits one repair shop to go work at another shop for less money. I know you have heard of this too, and you’ve probably asked yourself, “Can this be true? And Why?” The answer rests within the culture of the company. More specifically, the boss, manager, or a toxic work environment literally pushed the technician out the door.
      While money and benefits tend to attract people to a company, it won’t keep them there. When a technician begins to look over the fence for greener grass, that is usually a sign that something is wrong within the workplace. It also means that his or her heart is probably already gone. If the issue is not resolved, no amount of money will keep that technician for the long term. The heart is always the first to leave. The last thing that leaves is the technician’s toolbox.
      Shop owners: Focus more on employee retention than acquisition. This is not to say that you should not be constantly recruiting. You should. What it does means is that once you hire someone, your job isn’t over, that’s when it begins. Get to know your technicians. Build strong relationships. Have frequent one-on-ones. Engage in meaningful conversation. Find what truly motivates your technicians. You may be surprised that while money is a motivator, it’s usually not the prime motivator.
      One last thing; the cost of technician turnover can be financially devastating. It also affects shop morale. Do all you can to create a workplace where technicians feel they are respected, recognized, and know that their work contributes to the overall success of the company. This will lead to improved morale and team spirit. Remember, when you see a technician’s toolbox rolling out of the bay on its way to another shop, the heart was most likely gone long before that.
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