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Hello all!! I'm a new member here and was looking for some advice. We are looking into trying to provide our customers a free rental car during major repairs. Does anyone here do this and how do you go about it. Do you own the cars or have an agreement with a rental company. Also how do you handle the liability that goes along with it. Thanks!!

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Personally we have only been in business for a little over a year. I didn't want to add the cost and liability of having loaners for customers so I tried something else to see if it would work out. I called the local Hertz and Enterprise to see what they could do for me. After talking to them a bit, I was able to negotiate a group rate for my customers that is extremely cost effective and is only a very small fraction of the price they would have received if they just walked in. If I have a major job (Engine, Transmission) I sometimes roll it into the price or just offer to give them a discount for so many days they are in the rental to help supplement it for them. I have not received one complaint and all my customers like the idea that they get to drive a newish car for a few days for a couple of bucks out of pocket.


Best part is that they will come to the shop to pick them up, and will drop them back off when the car is complete. Saves me from having to pull one of my guys to run and get the customer.

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I wen't out and bought a car. It was a car on a used car lot. I was out handing business cards and the salesman said they had a car in the back that would barely run, but the interior and body was in great shape. I took a look at it, and saw the repairs that were necessary were mostly labor intensive. I bought it for under 2 grand, spent a weekend on it, and now I have a loan car.


I get a copy of driver's license, insurance, and have them sign a little loan car form I typed up 'will not smoke, responsible for damage, etc'. I loan it out to cars that are having a lot of work done, or spending a lot of money at least. Can't tell ya how many t-belts and water pumps I've done because I have a free loan car.

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I am currently in the same boat. I actually just picked up a 1997 Toyota Camry for $150. Was a great customer who has come to me for years. The oil pump seal is leaking and its due for a timing belt. He decided he just wanted a new car and wanted to give me the car. I talked him in to letting me give him $150. Have decided I am just going to use it as a loaner car, would work perfectly. Definitely get insurance info and license copied. I would personally get with a lawyer and have them write up a form for anyone to sign stating their insurance covers the vehicle and they are liable for any damage they cause to others or the vehicle themselves. Oh and how about they MUST fill the vehicle back up or suffer the wrath of $8.29 a gallon fill up service! :angry: We can do it too Enterprise......

Edited by ATSAutomotive
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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

      Most 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.
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