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By Stevens Automotive Service
I hope that everyone is having a good 2017 and as we all know time goes very quickly!
The new year is fast approaching and changes are coming this year in many ways to the business.
I have talked to many of you and I just want to say there are some great people on this site.
For those of you who are running your business to its full potential keep it up , build towards that retirement, spend time with family ENJOY !
If you need help it is only a PM, email, text or a phone call away so you can do the same.
Keep building your business in the up coming year, think outside the box.
1) Manage what you have. Make sure your getting all you can get out of what you have.
2) Be a smart business owner look at overhead, parts cost, etc and streamline it.
3) Relieve that unwanted stress. Been there done that its no fun but it can be drastically reduced.
What was your best business move in 2017 where you seen a upward move in profit?
By Joe Marconi
Each year at this time I advise shop owners to set aside time to look back at the current year and start planning for the year ahead. The more due diligence you perform, the more successful you will be. Below is a short list of things you need to do. Remember, the time you spend now, will pay off next year.
Review all your numbers, year to date - Did you hit your goals? Arrange a meeting with your accountant and review your projected sales and determine any tax implications Speak to your accountant about investing in any end-of-year equipment purchases or any other large purchases in order to save on taxes. Please do not listen to your tool truck guy or equipment reps. Sometimes having cash reserve is much more important that reducing taxes Have a meeting with your key employees; determine what you will need in the coming year and begin to create a budget Set your new goals for 2018 and beyond, both personal and business Create a Wish List, those things your would like to accomplish, both in business and personal - This will help keep you focused Consider needed future training for all employees Review all insurances: Life insurance, liability, etc. Perform a facility inspection: Identify any needed work, upgrades, OSHA concerns, etc Create an emergency crisis plan in case something happens to you or a key employee; and make sure your loved ones and family have a copy of the plan
Read something that got me revved up!
A discussion regarding the laborforce shortage. Here are some of my thoughts to create a win/win for a better experience in our trade for employees, employers and the general public.
I'd love to hear your ideas as well.
1. Employers and employees can both conduct themselves in a more professional manner to increase the perceived value of the public.
2. Less technical, more "people oriented" sales and leadership staff.
3. Simple and fair performance based pay structures. Ex. Fair hourly + good production incentive.
4. Work/Life balance. Labor force goes home at 5. Saturday's optional. No Sundays, ever.
5. Cut the heads off the premadonna's in the shop! Teamwork makes the dream work and if you have a problematic high performer killing the shop culture.. Give everyone else the gift of a better place to work and let that turkey go!
6. "Make them hate you on the front end". Be up front about everything! Then there's nothing to hide and no counter negotiations to deal with. This is what we do and how we'll do it and What it means for you mr. Customer.
7. Train in your clients: "This is how we do it here" and help them understand what to expect and sign for it. Ex. Mr. Customer, we'll need to run tests to determine the probable causes, the cost of these tests will be x. If you accept, please sign here. Now nobody has to ask the tech to take one for the team to get the sale.
7. Everybody needs to adopt the philosophy: "No gimmicks, games or drama! Don't deal it, don't accept it."
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Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!
Ever since the first automobiles came into existence, racing has been a part of the evolution of the ever improving car, and that’s no different even today. Whether it’s on an oval track, a street course, or down the quarter mile, men and their machines have rocketed down the track at high speeds to prove who was fastest or had the better car.
Long before there were really any roads to speak of, manufacturers were out to prove their car could out last their competitors’ products by taking on the arduous task of a cross country trip. Some made it, and some didn’t. Car manufacturers even went as far as taking their production models and racing them on the oval tracks, which led to the old saying, “Race on Sunday, sell on Monday”. This is still somewhat true even today, the part about racing that is. Racing their creations did a lot more than just show who was faster or better, it also showed engineers ways to improve on their designs. So, we owe a lot of what we see in today’s cars to the racing world.
Not long ago, NASCAR finally removed the carburetors and restrictor plates and adopted the fuel injection systems. (They held onto carburetors a lot longer than I thought they would.) Now most all racing forms have gone with injection systems, although be it slightly different in configuration than the modern production car injection systems. Even with the injection systems NASCAR, as well as many other forms of racing, each car has to conform to some very strict rules. Every car in the race is basically the same in every aspect, and are constantly checked and rechecked to make sure everyone is following the same rules, which puts almost all the burden of winning or losing to the skill of the driver and their pit crew. The better the driver and crew, the better their chances are of finding that winner’s circle. Believe me, it ain’t easy controlling all that power. It takes the skill of a highly trained driver with the nerves of steel, and a dedicated team of mechanics to accomplish it. I’ve been around a track at 150mph+ myself (that was plenty fast enough for me), and even though I didn’t scream in fear, I was definitely scared half to death as the driver came within inches of the wall going into turn three. WOW, what a ride!
There’s no doubt driving in a dense pack of cars traveling at those speeds requires the utmost in precision driving. Probably a good reason we have speed limits. Not everybody has those types of skills out on the public roads, although... some “think” they do. I suppose it might be one of the reasons we are seeing an influx of the latest technology, the self-driving car. It really is incredible; a car that can not only steer itself, but can maintain a safe distance from other traffic, as well as the capability of avoiding obstacles. This new technology has come a long way in a very short time, and I believe it will be part of our driving future. Fewer accidents and traffic snarls, better fuel economy, and ... I hate say, even fewer operator skills needed. A good thing? Maybe, maybe not...time will tell.
That gets me back to thinking about the racing circuit again. How exciting would it be to watch a couple of dozen self-driving cars making left turns on an oval banked track? Why even put a driver in the seat? The car doesn’t need you in there; it can do the whole thing by itself, you know, round and round… and round and round. I wouldn’t put it past some promoter to put on some sort of race like that. So where’s the skill in driving at high speeds now? Can you imagine a race with no more accidents, no more yellow caution flags, and no more drivers? Who’s going to get into the fist fight on the apron?
It doesn’t sound very entertaining to me. And, can you imagine a demolition derby with GPS controlled cars that have the latest crash avoidance systems installed? Why, the cars would literally creep around the track, backing up carefully giving out their warning beeps, gingerly cruising around obstacles or just come to a complete stop while another car causally drives by in front of them. It would be like watching a parking lot attendant trying to shuffle cars. Nobody crashing into each other, no crumpled fenders, and hardly a chance of any fires or billowing smoke from under the hood. I don’t know about you, but for me, it just seems like a waste of time to even watch something like that.
I suppose in the future all this technology will separate the racers from the general driver. The skill of driving will come down to just a handful of old school car collectors and those willing to strap themselves in a 1000 horsepowered four wheel rocket and head down the quarter mile. Even though in today’s time we can’t imagine every car on the road to be some sort of autonomous vehicle, I’d be foolish to say it would never happen. Probably not in my lifetime...but some day. I still don’t think the self-driving-crash-avoiding-self stopping car has any place at 200 mph on the race track… at least any time soon.
It wouldn’t surprise me to see a 500 mile race with nothing but electric vehicles zipping around the oval. The sad part would be the smell and noise of those past powerful engines roaring by the grandstands will be replaced with the whiz and whine of the electric power plant under the hood. And, can you imagine what a pit stop would be like? The driver silently glides down pit lane as the crew jumps over the retaining wall with an extension cord in hand. One guy plugs the car into the wall socket, while everybody else stands around for several hours waiting for the battery to recharge. Kinda takes the fun out of being there doesn’t it?
Ah, times... they are a changing; however there are just a few things about the car and racing I’d rather not see changed. Leave the driving to the skill of the driver, and the performance with the mechanics. As a car guy, I’m still hooked on the rumble of a big block engine, loud obnoxious exhaust, and the smell of nitro in the air. You can have all the self-driving autonomous cars you want, just leave the race track to us humans so we can smash, bash, and run door handle to door handle.
At least for now, the race track is the one place that a lot of this technology will probably have a hard time to be incorporated. Whether it’s an electronically controlled autonomous race car or a full on electric car, racing them doesn’t have the same appeal. Even though Formula One has gone hybrid on a lot of their cars, there’s still a turbo engine that’s making a whole lot of horsepower and plenty of noise. Maybe I’m just old fashioned, but seriously, I’d hate to go to the track some day and hear the announcer say, “Gentlemen, start your engines!” …. and, the only sound you hear … is nothing at all.
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By Joe Marconi
I have been following the Hybrid Shop for some time now, and it really does intrigue me. You buy into a franchise agreement and become part of a growing network of dealers dedicated to work on Hybrids, particularly in the area of restoring and reconditioning the main batteries.
These battery packs can cost anywhere from 3 to $9,000 at the dealer. With their proven process, they bring the cost down to around $1500. Plus, you get the potential to get all the other work from these Hybrid customers.
They are selective in who their grant their dealer agreements with and the cost for program is around $69,000.
I would like to ask everyone their opinions on this concept. It appears it is taking off.
Heres a link for more information