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phynny

Why are there so many non shop owners on here?

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Seems like over the last few months we have been flooded with techs on this site and it's extremely frustrating. I for one am not interested in hearing opinions on customers, business and business practices from those who don't have a clue.

 

Thought I'd ask and express my thoughts.

Edited by phynny

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Hmm…where oh where to start. Shops are where techs spend a full third of their daily lives, earning the money for the shops, by and large. The environments they work in, the people they deal with , and the challenges they face are not just in the stall. They are every bit as concerned and affected by poor billing, marketing, sub-contracting, warranty plans, equipment issues, code enforcement, consumer issues and the like as the owners are. The is a major difference: the techs are the ones who are chiefly responsible for being correct in diagnostics and repair practices. If they are subject to a poor business environment and poor leadership, the practice of fixing things right the first time suffers a great deal. Sadly, even in the face of poor leadership and business practices, they are held responsible by people who quite likely could not do the job they do. Techs don't get scapegoats. They are the doers, the thinkers, the actual workers that make a shop what it is. This goes for virtually any service industry. They have a vested interest in how their shops operate, because it is the framework in which they earn their living. The same goes for writers, porters, inspectors, and support staff.

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Hmm…where oh where to start.  Shops are where techs spend a full third of their daily lives, earning the money for the shops, by and large.  The environments they work in, the people they deal with , and the challenges they face are not just in the stall.  They are every bit as concerned and affected by poor billing, marketing, sub-contracting, warranty plans, equipment issues, code enforcement, consumer issues and the like as the owners are.  The is a major difference: the techs are the ones who are chiefly responsible for being correct in diagnostics and repair practices.  If they are subject to a poor business environment and poor leadership, the practice of fixing things right the first time suffers a great deal.  Sadly, even in the face of poor leadership and business practices, they are held responsible by people who quite likely could not do the job they do. Techs don't get scapegoats. They are the doers, the thinkers, the actual workers that make a shop what it is.  This goes for virtually any service industry.  They have a vested interest in how their shops operate, because it is the framework in which they earn their living.  The same goes for writers, porters, inspectors, and support staff.

I'm so very glad you posted this as it absolutely proves my point. You techs are an important role in our shops. That being said you are more than clueless as to what business is or how it functions and certainly have no clue about the stress and stresses that owners deal with on a daily basis. I honestly want to tear this whole comment apart line by line to show how very foolish every comment is bit sadly it's 5am and I have work to do. That being said I'll be here until at least 7pm, I'll bet you don't work hours like this my friend.

 

Did I mention I have the flu so bad my hair even hurts?...

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I think as shop owners you have to wear many hats and you have to be able to see the shop in every different perspective (customer, tech, service writer, supplier and owner). I don't necessarily see anything wrong with hearing the thoughts an opinions of those who work at a shop rather than own it. It gives another point of view in which maybe we as shop owners did not realize. Being the owner or the boss affords us the opportunity to be more open minded IMHO.

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I started as a tech. Last dealership I worked for I was involved in management. Long before I opened my own shop I was doing the research. Numbers, locations, ARO, GP,NP, PL Ratios, etc. So to that end as a tech I WAS NOT CLUELESS! If as a tech you know what is involved in management it SHOULD help to be a better employee! And when a tech post a problem or question in here, it may awaken us to a un-noticed problem we have in our own facility.

Phnny I would ask where you got your management experience?

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I started as a tech. Last dealership I worked for I was involved in management. Long before I opened my own shop I was doing the research. Numbers, locations, ARO, GP,NP, PL Ratios, etc. So to that end as a tech I WAS NOT CLUELESS! If as a tech you know what is involved in management it SHOULD help to be a better employee! And when a tech post a problem or question in here, it may awaken us to a un-noticed problem we have in our own facility.

Phnny I would ask where you got your management experience?

 

There is a big difference between posting advice, and posting a problem or question. I, for one, have been a business owner for less then a year. I was a tech for about 8 years before then, and I still refrain from giving out advice at times on here, due just to my lack of experience as an actual business owner.

 

I know the mentality of MOST technicians... It usually goes something like this 'I'm the one who fixes the cars, and the boss just sits in the office, types on the computer, and makes phone calls. He doesn't even know how to work on a car!' Unfortunately, fixing cars is not even half of what goes on in a shop, and chiming in without actual EXPERIENCE of being an Auto Shop Owner can sometimes water down the quality content that gets posted on here.

 

My first post on ASO would be a great example! I posted some images of my mailers, and they SUCKED(and I think I only mailed out 20 the first week)! I had no experience with advertising at that point and it was a shot in the dark. Now that I have worked with a professional company who has experience in advertising and has shown me examples of good pieces, I have sent out a much better mailer. Back then, I would have been the worst person to give out business advice. Back then, I was just a technician. At least now I can give out personal experiences... And many times I just read postings and wait to post any advice, as I'm sure a more seasoned Auto Shop Owner will come along and offer BETTER advice with EXPERIENCE.

 

By no means am I saying a tech shouldn't be allowed to post. I think it's great if they come here for advice. That's exactly why I came here. And like you said, it will probably make them a better employee. It just makes it a little more difficult to find advice on here if we have a 19 year old, quick lube tech, giving us his opinion or advice on how to operate.

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Ok, this is Joe, Co-founder of ASO. I can see both sides of this issue. AutoShopOwner was created for Shop Owners to share and exchange ideas and opinions, to help the industry raise its image and to provide a forum where we can collectively help each other.

 

I must admit, I did not expect techs to join ASO, I felt they would feel more comfortable with IATN and other tech forums. With regard to techs joining, my thinking was that maybe there are techs that will someday be shop owners. I was once a tech that became a shop owner. And, maybe if they had ASO back then, it would have helped me thru some very difficult times. So, although techs are not our target demographic customer, I did not exclude them for the reasons I stated.

 

I do agree with one thing, being a shop owner is vastly different from working as a tech. That’s not to say techs don’t have issues or opinions. And that’s not to say that techs don’t have things they can share. All that I ask is that we need to keep ASO true to its brand and if techs are to participate, they need to defer to the experience, trials and tribulations of what shop owners live and breathe on a daily basis.

 

In the end, we are all here to help the industry, to raise the bar. I am committed to that cause and to all the members of AutoShopOwner.com.

 

Joe Marconi

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I started as a tech. Last dealership I worked for I was involved in management. Long before I opened my own shop I was doing the research. Numbers, locations, ARO, GP,NP, PL Ratios, etc. So to that end as a tech I WAS NOT CLUELESS! If as a tech you know what is involved in management it SHOULD help to be a better employee! And when a tech post a problem or question in here, it may awaken us to a un-noticed problem we have in our own facility.

Phnny I would ask where you got your management experience?

I figured you would call me out.

 

Army, Navy, College, Construction Company, Real Estate Company, Flooring Company, Consol Energy Underground Supervisor, MSHA Trainer (Train up Presidetns of some of these companies), Safety Supervisor, Auto Repair Shop of course, Monro Supervisor, and some of these require clearances as far as Top Secre with SIOP, I'm sure there are more but this should be enough for you.

 

No offense but how can you say you weren't clueless? You have no employess so how can you understand?

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Almost seems like you are frustrated with your own team. Something going on you want to talk about? I believe there are many different kinds of techs and different kinds of shop owners. There are many shop owners out there who don't do anything for the business. The employees are the ones struggling to keep the business alive. Then on the other hand, there are many shop owners with staff who just don't care to try. Everyone on this site is from different walks of life and it's important for us to remain open in order to never become "that guy"

 

Listen, Think, Speak

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I agree and disagree with them being here. It opens the door for dilution of the content and honestly most techs are brash and rough. Many folks come here for management advice and having a tech put in his .2 cents might prevent the site from hitting it's true potential maybe even run some folks off. That being said if we all had a open dialog with our employees or employees like our employees it might help us all in some way shape or fashion. There again If you asked every employee I ever had what I had done wrong, what I knew and didn't know you'd get a different answer from every single one. Maybe I'm wrong for saying this but I don't think most employees really care outside of keeping their job and getting a paycheck. I don't feel the majority of the workforce takes pride in their work anymore. It's all about the compensation. My opinion is a simple one: owners and management look for productive solutions, employees look for someone to blame! You all are far more experienced and knowledgeable than I could ever imagine being. Please correct me if I'm out of line.

 

Sent from my SCH-I605 using Tapatalk 2

 

 

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I work from 5 am to midnight frequently. I own and operate an inspection business that covers warranty, mechanical breakdown, appraisals, pre-sale, pre-warranty, and shop compliance concerns. As such, I must be familiar with as many facets of automotive business life as possible. By and large, I have a business that has one particular purpose: to provide factual information to my customers. The need for many of these inspections ranges from pervasive fraud to simple second opinions backed by video, photo, audio, and technical proof. Throughout all of that I must logically tie cause and effect together so my customers can make a determination on whether or not to spend their money. I do work long hours, I do understand our industry quite well, I understand running my own business, and most importantly, I do it all because I want to see our industry thrive. BTW, I am on here so I can gain more insight into why my inspection business has so much work to do. Now I know.

 

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Let me see...I have worked in agriculture (6000 acre farm), trucking (local and otr ), asst. service manager at a 4 line dealer, lumber distributor, etc. I have experience in a variety of trades and positions. I had a vested interest in each one...the more profitable they became the more I made. Would that not be a lower level form of management? I have had employees and been all on my own. The point I am trying to make is we all learned/started somewhere! We are blessed with 2 ears and 2 eyes, but only one mouth, so that we can better watch and listen! I personally am open to any question or criticism..it will only make me better!

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I think it is silly to just assume a tech has no business sense, or experience in another field at management. To state the techs here are 19 year old quick lube guys is reaching at best. A lot of techs are vested more in the business than just "I fix the cars." If the business suddenly closed tomorrow the tech is out of a job and an income.

 

Techs are also on the front lines, all the business decisions made affect them and they personally witness the fruition or futility of certain decisions. A lot of large corporations include methods for their employees on all levels to make recommendations or suggestions on things that should change in how the business is run. I personally received the World Class Service award for one of my suggestions at Bank of America for increasing customer satisfaction with some suggested policy changes, it also came with a very nice financial reward.

 

There is a difference between a tech telling you how to handle your insurance obligations and choices versus whether or not a brake lathe is a worthwhile investment. The techs know how much business comes in because of the turned rotors option, they know how often they are over there using the machine, how many hours they get paid off it (which directly correlates to how many hours the customer pays to the shop). Techs are held responsible for their comebacks in the flat rate world. We have to do it again for free if it came out bad, and therefore, we can accurately state how many issues arise due to comebacks for a specific type of job. My job posts our comeback rates per tech, per issue and cumulative for the shop along with many other statistics for us all to review in the break room.

 

Heck, I know my shops average gross is around 200,000.00 a month between parts and service. I know our average overhead is around 40,000.00 per month. I know that overhead includes the paychecks of all hourly and flat rate techs. I know the advisors and parts guys get paid off the net of 160,000.00 and that their paycheck is determined by the previous month. They get 0.6% of that net per week the following month. I know my manager is paid off the gross. I know the parts manager gets 0.7 on the net.

 

So to think that all techs do not have a clue about all things business is foolish. If I post something, it is because I have direct knowledge or experience about what I am posting about and can offer an alternative point of view. Not because I am a tech, but because I am a highly educated and motivated person who is here to learn from others of the same type.

Edited by ADealerTech
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Almost seems like you are frustrated with your own team.  Something going on you want to talk about? I believe there are many different kinds of techs and different kinds of shop owners.  There are many shop owners out there who don't do anything for the business.  The employees are the ones struggling to keep the business alive.  Then on the other hand, there are many shop owners with staff who just don't care to try.  Everyone on this site is from different walks of life and it's important for us to remain open in order to never become "that guy"

 

Listen, Think, Speak

I think "my team" is fine. I really don't believe there are many shop owners that don't do anything for their business as this is not a business that can survive in those conditions. If you are saying that the techs are the ones up at night making sure everything is running smoothly and figuring out how to drum up business when times are slow I'm calling BS. You are throwing things at a wall trying to make them stick.

 

Let me see...I have worked in agriculture (6000 acre farm), trucking (local and otr ), asst. service manager at a 4 line dealer, lumber distributor, etc. I have experience in a variety of trades and positions. I had a vested interest in each one...the more profitable they became the more I made. Would that not be a lower level form of management? I have had employees and been all on my own. The point I am trying to make is we all learned/started somewhere! We are blessed with 2 ears and 2 eyes, but only one mouth, so that we can better watch and listen! I personally am open to any question or criticism..it will only make me better! 

No I don't see any real management experience if you want my honest opinion. And your shop, which seems perfect and exactly what you want so don't think I'm knocking you, is not a business in the sense we're talking. You don't have to worry about no-shows or late employees, stealing employees, poorly performed work etc.

 

I'm saying running a business is not easy and this site is as I understood a place for shop owners to get together and talk, complain, give advice or whatever else is needed. If I wanted a techs advice is ask for it which I do every Friday when I take the whole shop to lunch. It's ignorant not to hear what everyone thinks for the most part, just not here at ASO. I certainly don't want my guys signing on here and complaining or even giving advice.

 

For the people who have posted in this thread, how many of you have given this site info to you employees so they can join?

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As I am just a 2 person shop, no I did not give him the website info so he could join... However, he asks me what I'm looking at on the computer (usually when I'm talking to myself), I tell him "I'm reading on this site for shop owners, where a bunch of them kinda get together and mentor each other and offer experience/advice"...

 

Not saying people other than shop owners don't have any good information, but I would think that roughly have of the shop owners here used to be technicians. And the other half used to be something else. I doubt we have anyone here that has nothing but Auto Shop Ownership experience. That being said, I could do without a technicians input on here, if all he brings to the table is just a technicians point of view... After all, I was one of those for about 8 years, and now I'm just doing it while calling myself the boss.

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Phnny I take no offence. I see and appreciate the differences. Outside of employees I have all the same issues. And as the asst manager at the dealership, I had to deal with ALL the same issues. 4 line dealer 8-10 mechanics each. And my pay was DIRECTLY tied to the shops performance. So to the point, I was, as a tech, very concerned with the shops performance. Now I admit most of the others didn't give 2 hoots, it was just a paycheck. BUT I knew then, someday, I would have a facility of my own and anything I could learn up to that point would serve me in my endeavors.

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Ok, this is Joe, Co-founder of ASO. I can see both sides of this issue. AutoShopOwner was created for Shop Owners to share and exchange ideas and opinions, to help the industry raise its image and to provide a forum where we can collectively help each other.

 

I must admit, I did not expect techs to join ASO, I felt they would feel more comfortable with IATN and other tech forums. With regard to techs joining, my thinking was that maybe there are techs that will someday be shop owners. I was once a tech that became a shop owner. And, maybe if they had ASO back then, it would have helped me thru some very difficult times. So, although techs are not our target demographic customer, I did not exclude them for the reasons I stated.

 

I do agree with one thing, being a shop owner is vastly different from working as a tech. That’s not to say techs don’t have issues or opinions. And that’s not to say that techs don’t have things they can share. All that I ask is that we need to keep ASO true to its brand and if techs are to participate, they need to defer to the experience, trials and tribulations of what shop owners live and breathe on a daily basis.

 

In the end, we are all here to help the industry, to raise the bar. I am committed to that cause and to all the members of AutoShopOwner.com.

 

Joe Marconi

 

Joe I have found two things very dissappointing with the website. The open to the public and the ads that are on this site. I see no reason for either.

 

1. I have no issue with people of this industry being part of the disscusion and it's just my take on the subject. I am fine with mechinics and equipment people being involved but when you let the public look over our thoughts without having an understanding of the business and industry other then from their point of view... Well I think it does a dis service to us and is not a help. In reading your opinion above I get the thought you feel tech's would not have the same backgound knowledge as a shop owner but ask them to "keep ASO true to its brand". I think how most of the public views it is how they could use it to their benifit not ours.

 

2. This leads me into the "ads". Why would I as a shop owner... tech... or equipment person wish to have a coupon for a cheap oil change found ran on this site? With out a doubt this is a target towards the public. And/or a profit for the owners of the site. I don't see how that lines up with the mission thoughts of the site or helpful to any of us as shop owners. Would you wish a local customer of yours seeing the coupon from your area and going to the quick lube place for substandard service instead of heading to your shop?

 

Joe I know this is a direct comment at you and the "co-founder" but where better to direct it... I enjoy the discusion and try to give good input to my posts but... I am almost to the point like the show Shark Tank where the investors comment "I'm out"

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Seems like a lot of frustration going in here and it makes whatever point people are trying to make muddled

 

In what way Sean? The issues those have posted seem clear to me and not muddled at all.

 

If someone has a thought and/or is frustrated how would one handle it?

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In what way Sean? The issues those have posted seem clear to me and not muddled at all.

 

If someone has a thought and/or is frustrated how would one handle it?

I guess I was echoing what others had said up above

 

ATSAutomotive, on 27 Jan 2014 - 5:24 PM, said:snapback.png

Almost seems like you are frustrated with your own team. Something going on you want to talk about?

 

No offense to the original poster. I just got a little lost in the whole thread. I agree it's a place for shop owners but I feel the techs have good valuable information. Has anyone considered a tech section to the website? It's probably just me and the way I receive information but I felt that it got a little ranty but it is a valuable thread and worth discussing.

 

"I'm saying running a business is not easy and this site is as I understood a place for shop owners to get together and talk, complain, give advice or whatever else is needed. If I wanted a techs advice is ask for it which I do every Friday when I take the whole shop to lunch. It's ignorant not to hear what everyone thinks for the most part, just not here at ASO. I certainly don't want my guys signing on here and complaining or even giving advice."

 

This I can agree with and see your point Phynny.

Edited by Sean

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I guess I was echoing what others had said up above

 

ATSAutomotive, on 27 Jan 2014 - 5:24 PM, said:snapback.png

Almost seems like you are frustrated with your own team. Something going on you want to talk about?

 

No offense to the original poster. I just got a little lost in the whole thread. I agree it's a place for shop owners but I feel the techs have good valuable information. Has anyone considered a tech section to the website? It's probably just me and the way I receive information but I felt that it got a little ranty but it is a valuable thread and worth discussing.

 

"I'm saying running a business is not easy and this site is as I understood a place for shop owners to get together and talk, complain, give advice or whatever else is needed. If I wanted a techs advice is ask for it which I do every Friday when I take the whole shop to lunch. It's ignorant not to hear what everyone thinks for the most part, just not here at ASO. I certainly don't want my guys signing on here and complaining or even giving advice."

 

This I can agree with and see your point Phynny.

 

Sean thanks for your comments. I am glad you made them instad of just a rant. I looked at the title of the thread and not you phynny's opening post. I gave my views on what I might be look for here and whom I would wish or not wish to view my comments. Just as you may not wish to have your tech's venting their views about you. I will limit my comments (and others may also) about what they would say being as this website is being viewed by people that do not have an proper perspective of where an "Auto Shop Owner" is coming from.

 

I would have ideas on how it could maybe be set up but does it really matter?

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I agree it's a place for shop owners but I feel the techs have good valuable information. Has anyone considered a tech section to the website?

 

 

You're right, it is a place for shop owners... Perhaps www.autoshopowner.com gave you that idea.

 

Nobody ever said techs don't have valuable information. Most people have valuable information. The guy down at best buy has valuable information (he gave me a heads up that windows 8 sucked). Phynny never said he hates techs or thinks they are idiots. However, we don't need techs giving business advice. It would be like me trying to give you advice on how to run a mobile mechanic business. I've never done that, I'm not currently doing that, so I have no business posting on 'www.mobilemechanicforum.com'... Again, half the owners on here are probably 'used to be techs' so we have that point of view covered. Or could you imagine the CFO of a chain of dealerships coming down to tell the techs who to fix a check engine light? Both the tech and CFO have valuable information, but in completely different areas.

 

As for a forum for techs... www.godaddy.com sells domains all day long. Why do you insist on TECHS having space on autoshopOWNER.com... Sorry, but I'm starting to feel phynny's frustration with all this. I am just a 2 man shop, and I have a deep deep desire to become the owner of a much larger business. I browse THIS FORUM (ASO) daily, participate in the Sunday chats, and PM some of the older, wiser guys on here for business advice that they have from EXPERIENCE. If i want tech input, I'll go to other sites.

Edited by mmotley

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Our primary target audience has always been shop owners like the domain and site title state. We have always had these registration positions available:

 

Register Types.jpg

 

We also felt that many shop owners were once technicians as well, and there would be some mentoring or business startup informaton available as a knowledge point from existing shop owners to "would be" future shop owners. By no means do we want to upset or discourage our core audience and as ASO grows, maybe we need some customizing, which we are more than willing to do.

 

Our forum categeries here are currently:

 

General Discussion

 

Automotive Repair Shop Management

 

Automotive Repair & Technical Discussions

 

Auto Body Collision Shop Business

 

Automotive Shop Classifieds & Resources

 

AutoShopOwner Photos & Videos

 

Ideally, shop owner business discussion could be happening within the specific forums under the category Automotive Repair Shop Management and Auto Body Collision Shop Business (maybe we should re-title to Management). Maybe these forums should be moderated better by us, maybe not.

 

We could also add a category for technicians and "would be" shop owners if that would help. I think we would rather people join and be truthful about their positions than restrict them and have new members lie and sign up as shop owners. It's difficult to control registration and we are not big enough or profitable enough to validate everyone's positons, we try hard to keep spammers away as it is...lol.

 

Just some thoughts on this topic, we appreciate everyone's input. :D

 

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I think the simple solution is that if some input is wrong, not just an opinion that you disagree with, it can be politely corrected.

 

I have been here a year now and read most topics. I very rarely see a tech post on things that a tech could not have sufficient experience or knowledge of. I am not trying to downplay the management role at all, I have been in that role and know it's stresses and situations that call for decisions that seem odd to employees because they don't have all the facts laid out. I also know some things are pretty darn transparent and most people can understand them and give useful advice.

 

I think the OP should quote these specific threads and explain logically how a tech in that thread would not have valuable insight. Otherwise don't rock the boat.

 

Sometimes people outside the box can point out observations that find real solutions that were previously unseen.

 

I run a Facebook group for techs and we allow shop owners, advisors, DIYers and Joe Public. It has allowed many of us to clear up misconceptions and adapt outside the box ideas to positively affect our day to day. We are also in the process of completing a forum. So if any tech wants something more focused to them inbox me.

 

Otherwise, I am educated, I have management experience and plan to open a shop. If I see something that I know I can provide an alternative view on or provide a factual analysis from my experience than I will add it thoughtfully.

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Having never turned a wrench the point of view of a technician is always of interest and educational since it is information that can help me potentially in dealing with and managing my technicians.

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Having never turned a wrench the point of view of a technician is always of interest and educational since it is information that can help me potentially in dealing with and managing my technicians.

 

I agree. Having industry related people involved with discussions is worthwhile outside of that I don't think it's constructive.

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I can say that many of the dealerships I worked at would have focus groups to hash out problems. Management as well as techs, salesmen and office personnel would be represented. Many times the view from the top wasn't as clear as from the floor. Just my $4.95 (2 cents adjusted for inflation and health care cost!)

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Joe I have found two things very dissappointing with the website. The open to the public and the ads that are on this site. I see no reason for either.

 

Joe I know this is a direct comment at you and the "co-founder" but where better to direct it... I enjoy the discusion and try to give good input to my posts but... I am almost to the point like the show Shark Tank where the investors comment "I'm out"

 

Spence, thanks for your comments. As the co-founder, let me explain a bit on these 2 points you made.

 

Most of the ads likely show relevency to the post/page being read or a user's past browsing experience. The ads and limited membership fees help keep this site up. There is a $99 annual membership available that will give you an "ad free" experience if you like, otherwise ads will show for free and other membership levels. Contrary to popular belief, running a dynamic website is more involved than simply purchasing a domain from GoDaddy and throwing a page up. We need to have some sort of revenue stream to support it.

 

As far as keeping the site open to the public, the main reason for this is search engine indexing. Google, Bing, Yahoo and others will not index a closed site. If a shop owner or someone else searches for a term on Google, we want to be found and increase our relevency, registration, and participation. We do not advertise, so we depend on organic search results. Ideally, we should be found by terms searched in a search engine online (this is why topic titles play a big role as search term keywords).

 

Hopefully this sheds some light on these two issues you brought up. :D

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Spence, thanks for your comments. As the co-founder, let me explain a bit on these 2 points you made.

 

Most of the ads likely show relevency to the post/page being read or a user's past browsing experience. The ads and limited membership fees help keep this site up. There is a $99 annual membership available that will give you an "ad free" experience if you like, otherwise ads will show for free and other membership levels. Contrary to popular belief, running a dynamic website is more involved than simply purchasing a domain from GoDaddy and throwing a page up. We need to have some sort of revenue stream to support it.

 

As far as keeping the site open to the public, the main reason for this is search engine indexing. Google, Bing, Yahoo and others will not index a closed site. If a shop owner or someone else searches for a term on Google, we want to be found and increase our relevency, registration, and participation. We do not advertise, so we depend on organic search results. Ideally, we should be found by terms searched in a search engine online (this is why topic titles play a big role as search term keywords).

 

Hopefully this sheds some light on these two issues you brought up. :D

 

Thanks Alex for your response. Lets take a look eh...

 

You seem to narrow in on two so you say. Lets start with what you mention above. In the sceam of things you and the "co-founders" seem to feel a need to help "Auto Shop Owners". Hell it's the title of the website. I get a flood of thoughts on just this thought.

 

1. Does it help them when the public can peer in on thoughts that an "Auto Shop Owner" feels and wishes to discuss without having the public view it until he or she has a handle on the thought. I don't see where it does.

 

2. Is it constructive when again "Auto Shop Owners" are discussing how bad it is for these $X.xx oil changes are for the customers of the motoring public and the "ads" hone in on the title of that topic and flood the page with discount and low ball oil changes. Again I don't see where it does.

 

3. I can get rid of the "ads" on my viewing page if I am willing to pay $99.00 a year.

 

a. Does it get rid of the adds for what I write so it remains private or just so I don't have to see them? My thought is it's the latter. If so then the problem is still there.

 

b. I need to feel a value for my money. So far I don't.

 

c. I am on this site/forum and 4 others for a total of 5 regularly. 2 of those are set up as public/private with a way of keeping the 2 seperate. The other 2 are full private. The ones with the most particapation and best value of conversation are the total private. followed closely by the public/private one.

 

d. Of the 4 mentioned sites in "c"... All are free. Go Figure

 

e. If you wanted income from the site you could consider sponsors to run ads. Ones that would consider having the people that own shops nice to be in front of.

 

So there you have some food for thought Alex. Thanks again for your post.

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Thanks for the response Spence. Although you have some well thought out points, I suppose we can't please everyone.

 

You are currently registered as a free member here on ASO, so I'm not sure how much more value for your money you are looking for. If you want an ad free experience, again, you are welcome to upgrade your membership. If you don't see value in $99 for a year...for an "ad-less" experience for the amount of time you are online, I'm not sure I have a solution for you, sorry. If you'd like to try it out for a month, I'd be happy to extend that courtesy to you. You are welcome to PM me to discuss further.

 

As far as private forums, our forums used to be closed off to the public a few years back, but that proved to be unsuccessful as we did not generate any traffic until we opened them up and made them unrestricted to search engines.

 

Now, I have to tell you from an online searching point of view, I can't imagine a non-automotive person waking up in the morning and searching for an "Autel" or "how to pay technicians"...More than likely this site is not coming up in their searches.There are over 800 million sites on the net, someone has to be searching for the specific topics for us to land on the first page of the search engine and generate a click to this site. In addition, if they do land on our site, they most likely leave once the the content was not what they searched for entirely.

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Thanks for the response Spence.

 

And yours as well Alex.

 

Although you have some well thought out points, I suppose we can't please everyone.

 

I understand but if you look back through this thread find me one that does. That should be an eye opener for ya.

 

You are currently registered as a free member here on ASO, so I'm not sure how much more value for your money you are looking for. If you want an ad free experience, again, you are welcome to upgrade your membership. If you don't see value in $99 for a year...for an "ad-less" experience for the amount of time you are online, I'm not sure I have a solution for you, sorry. If you'd like to try it out for a month, I'd be happy to extend that courtesy to you. You are welcome to PM me to discuss further.

 

I think you are to focused on the word free. I thought I gave you and others reading this some good reason for the "kind of ads" being ran.

 

Thank you for your offer but correct me if I am wrong. With a paid membership the ads are still there, it's just me that doesn't see them and the public still can read the responses. Is that correct?

 

At least for me this way takes away from the value. I know it has held me bacj fro at least a half dozen posts I would of made abot how brakes are seviced, handling customers looking for finacing and others.

 

What else is extended with this paid membership other then me not seeing the ads?

 

As far as private forums, our forums used to be closed off to the public a few years back, but that proved to be unsuccessful as we did not generate any traffic until we opened them up and made them unrestricted to search engines.

 

My first question is it the kind of traffic you wish? It doesn't seem by the number of those showing an objection to be... Next I did not find this place by search engine. It was an invite from another member to check it out.

 

There are other ways to if you wished to have SEO hits but that is not the meat of my points I and others are trying to make.

 

Now, I have to tell you from an online searching point of view, I can't imagine a non-automotive person waking up in the morning and searching for an "Autel" or "how to pay technicians"...More than likely this site is not coming up in their searches.There are over 800 million sites on the net, someone has to be searching for the specific topics for us to land on the first page of the search engine and generate a click to this site. In addition, if they do land on our site, they most likely leave once the the content was not what they searched for entirely.

 

Then just what is bring the traffic? Are you looking for traffic or members? Is the traffic to help the members in the way of bring good people to share their thoughts or just ad money? Is the traffic hitting the target you wanted? Just what is the target? I don't see this as a good reason to have it. Again looking back at the other posters comments it's the privacy that seems to be king.

 

Thanks again for the effort Alex. I hope this clears up more how I feel and maybe others as well. Have a good day.

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This is a great discussion. Lets see if I can answer some of your responses. Thanks for laying it out in an easy to understand format.

 

The target is and always was to increase membership and grow ASO. Just to put it into perspective, we have been online since 2006. Lets just say we made some changes and only got it going by 2009...in that time, we have 1360 registered members, of which many do not participate.

 

The ads that run on this site are mostly default ads from Google Adsense that generate very little and are based on clicks (if anyone is familiar). You want to help ASO? Click on an ad...lol. They are somewhat uncontrollable and based on page content and past browsing on your pc/device as I mentioned earlier, but we can block certain ones if we know what they are. Collectively they amount to help pay for a server to host this site, thats it (more traffic would obviously raise the ad clicks). But then there are software and licensing fees along with any upgrades we need/would like to do that all require funds (just like the overhead fixed costs in any business), which come from the limited premium membership fees we collect. Maybe its a misconception because of how ASO looks and feels (shameless plug)....we are not quitting our "day jobs"...lol.

 

We also hope that if members want an "ad-free" experience, they support ASO my purchasing an annual membership at $99. I'll even go as far as say we'll extend an offer to anyone who would like to try it! Just PM me. Our membership packages are located here.

 

By bringing in "organic" search engine traffic, we hope to bring registrations and participation. If we close off the forums, we will not get listed in ANY search engines (except for maybe the main page/domain) for the topics at hand and will not get any new registrations and/or participation. If that was our goal with ASO, we could just start a facebook or yahoo group and go off of invites and tap into an existing user base.

 

I'll wrap this up with this thought....If there is desire, we can set up a private forum category for those who are concerned about posting and revisit in a year to see how it goes and expand on that if needed. We can call it "Shop Owner Private Forums" or "Premium Member Forums" or something like that and restrict it to premium members only.

 

I hope you and everyone else sees that we are willing to be flexible and cater to our member base, but if we close it all off, we would need to charge everyone a membership fee which other sites like this one, do not do as they remain open to the public as well.

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Now we are getting somewhere!

 

This is a great discussion.

 

I agree, just dragging out a bit.

 

Lets see if I can answer some of your responses.

 

Ugh... Some? Alright we'll go from here then.

 

Thanks for laying it out in an easy to understand format.

 

You're welcome. I try and make it easy to understand what I am typing being as we are not sitting across the table from each other.

 

The target is and always was to increase membership and grow ASO. Just to put it into perspective, we have been online since 2006. Lets just say we made some changes and only got it going by 2009...in that time, we have 1360 registered members, of which many do not participate.

 

Got it! I may expand on this thought later. Ahhh hell here's a bit on my thought. You are driving members up yet not keeping them involved. We can dwell on that later.

 

The ads that run on this site are mostly default ads from Google Adsense that generate very little and are based on clicks (if anyone is familiar). You want to help ASO? Click on an ad...lol. They are somewhat uncontrollable and based on page content and past browsing on your pc/device as I mentioned earlier, but we can block certain ones if we know what they are. Collectively they amount to help pay for a server to host this site, thats it (more traffic would obviously raise the ad clicks). But then there are software and licensing fees along with any upgrades we need/would like to do that all require funds (just like the overhead fixed costs in any business), which come from the limited premium membership fees we collect. Maybe its a misconception because of how ASO looks and feels (shameless plug)....we are not quitting our "day jobs"...lol.

 

So it's generating some income. I do NOT have a problem with that! PLEASE keep it in mind as you seem to have tunnel vision that all I (and maybe others) is the FREE. Let it go!

 

We also hope that if members want an "ad-free" experience, they support ASO my purchasing an annual membership at $99. I'll even go as far as say we'll extend an offer to anyone who would like to try it! Just PM me. Our membership packages are located here.

 

You have not answered a question I have asked more then once. Look at my reply numbered 32. Right where I started to say "I think you are to focused on the word free" and keep going down the part of the reply. That whole section is the meat of my reply and you have over looked it. Which brings me back to trying to get an answer again.

 

By bringing in "organic" search engine traffic, we hope to bring registrations and participation. If we close off the forums, we will not get listed in ANY search engines (except for maybe the main page/domain) for the topics at hand and will not get any new registrations and/or participation. If that was our goal with ASO, we could just start a facebook or yahoo group and go off of invites and tap into an existing user base.

 

Going back to the top of this one. The ones you are getting are NOT staying. It's like having a customer base at your shop that you retain few customers. The dwelling on it part might help the issue. Listening to the people you wish to keep you may see a lot of them do NOT like the open to the public part of the website. As I have mentioned I am about to pull the plug on posting my thoughts here. Who knows that might be a good thing. Keep in mind typing a response you can not always tell how the person posting attitude is. Some you can... I am not torqued in the least. I calmly am posting this is something I see as a possible issue. Having the site split with a public vs people of our industry could be a nice angle.

 

I'll wrap this up with this thought....If there is desire, we can set up a private forum category for those who are concerned about posting and revisit in a year to see how it goes and expand on that if needed. We can call it "Shop Owner Private Forums" or "Premium Member Forums" or something like that and restrict it to premium members only.

 

That is what I am speaking of above. You may have gone to far to the other extreme but there could be common ground to help the cause.

 

I hope you and everyone else sees that we are willing to be flexible and cater to our member base, but if we close it all off, we would need to charge everyone a membership fee which other sites like this one, do not do as they remain open to the public as well.

 

As mentioned further back in this thread, I belong to others that do it and have on the same site free but only to people of the industry and a paid side. Just as the customers that come into your shop they need to see value.

 

Going back to reply #32 I thought I would make it easier to get a response to these to help move this along.

 

1.Thank you for your offer but correct me if I am wrong. With a paid membership the ads are still there, it's just me that doesn't see them and the public still can read the responses. Is that correct?

 

At least for me this way takes away from the value. I know it has held me back from at least a half dozen posts I would of made about how brakes are seviced, handling customers looking for finacing and others.

 

2.What else is extended with this paid membership other then me not seeing the ads?

 

Thanks again Alex!

Edited by Spence

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Now we are getting somewhere!

 

 

Going back to reply #32 I thought I would make it easier to get a response to these to help move this along.

 

1.Thank you for your offer but correct me if I am wrong. With a paid membership the ads are still there, it's just me that doesn't see them and the public still can read the responses. Is that correct?

 

At least for me this way takes away from the value. I know it has held me back from at least a half dozen posts I would of made about how brakes are seviced, handling customers looking for finacing and others.

 

2.What else is extended with this paid membership other then me not seeing the ads?

 

Thanks again Alex!

 

 

 

#1 Correct, they will not be on for you in that membership level. Others will see ads that don't subscribe to a Gold membership. Forums are open to the public, that is unrelated to our membership packages.

 

#2 Take a look at this page: http://www.autoshopowner.com/membership_packages.html It explains the different membership packages we offer. :D

 

If there is interest in adding private forums, I'd like to start a new topic on it. ;)

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No different than Linked In. ANYONE can go into the site and view the content. I could care less. My opinion is if the general public were to happen across ASO and spend time looking around they may get a better perspective on their automotive needs and the reasons we do what we do. Just my 2 cents!

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I really don't get it, if you're looking for income from a site why start a site hat is never going to generate enough members to make you money. And if you're truly making a site for Shop Owners then why let anyone who wants in in?

 

I have had a lot lately I'd like to discuss and get advise on but I want advice from peers, which is the reason I joined the site. Basically, make up your mind as to the goal of the site. If anyone can join you'll lose a lot of great information from real owners.

 

I myself am almost finished with a multi million dollar shop and there are a lot of advise and questions I'd like to speak with my peers about but not on here while anyone can join. You think letting techs join won't hurt?, what would your etching think when they find out you make 35k/month when that is half a years pay for them? People are judge mental, jealous, bitter and malicious.

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Having read through the comments here I understand shop owners feelings on both sides. That said some operations issues need to be behind closed doors. As independent shop owners we are up against it every day. It is extremely difficult to get the unique perspective only other shop owners have any where else than from said owners. Be it advise, a solution to a problem, needing to vent or just something you would rather not overly share may limit the depth of the discussions when on an open forum for all to see. Just because we are independent doesn't mean we don't need some assistance sometimes. We just don't need it posted for all to read.

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I really don't get it, if you're looking for income from a site why start a site hat is never going to generate enough members to make you money. And if you're truly making a site for Shop Owners then why let anyone who wants in in?

 

Sorry it took me so long to reply, I must have missed this. By anyone I believe you mean technicians. We don't allow advertisers or solicitors in without prior approval and usually kick them off right away. Our feeling has always been that most shop owners started as techs so why alienate them. I was a tech, Joe was a tech, and many of you were and are still techs. A tech that has no interest in starting a business will most likely not waste their time on this site.

 

ASO is a business and for a business to sustain itself, there needs to be income. We are not looking to be the next Facebook for shop owners but instead a valuable automotive tool for automotive businesses. Contrary to popular belief, it takes more than a domain name and a $20 hosting plan to run a successful dynamic website. There are costs and allot of time behind it. I don't feel that I need to go into details, but if everyone purchased a paid membership, it would be a different story. The reality is that 95% of the members here are here free with no obligations. Anyone here is welcome to start their own website and give it a go with the format that is most appealing to them. If we close the site off to the public and remove the free membership, most will complain. There is no way this site will be up without income to sustain itself and afford itself continued growth, the same as any business.

 

 

Alex I think creating an "off limits" sub forum would clear up a lot in this discussion. Maybe one where we need to PM you or Joe in order to receive permission to access it.

 

I mentioned before that we were willing to create a forum area for premium members, but it sounds like nobody wants to pay $29.99 a year....That would solve the issue. It needs to be differentiated and we cannot discriminate by invite only. Those forums would be closed off to the public and if anyone wants to participate, they can become a premium member rather than a free one. But again, people want free it seems to me.

 

There are 2 issues in this topic that I see: Open to the public and Technicians joining. We can solve some of this, but policing everyone is impossible without a fulltime staff.... B)

 

We are brainstorming other solutions, one of which would be to limit viewing a topic by guests to the first post and require registration or logging in. That's just an idea but it may hurt our search engine standings.

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