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When to take last customer for the day?


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What time do you typically take in your last customer for the day? We are open from 7am-6pm Monday-Friday. We normally get customers coming in after work. We recently had a customer come in at 5:55 and asked for a basic vehicle inspection that normally takes anywhere from 10-15 mintues.

 

Would you provide the service for this customer? Or would you ask the customer to return in the morning? We are a growing business and every penny matters. Though the guys at the shop, including the inspectors, do not seem to realize this. How would you handle such a situtation?

 

Thanks for your thoughts and opinions.

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I think it would have to be dealt with on a case by case basis.

 

In this situation, I'd probably say to the customer, "I'll go ask my techs if one of them are available to stay past closing time."

I'd try to accommodate the customer because it's only 10 or 15 minutes extra past closing time.

Don't forget that if there's anything you find in the inspection, that you'd still want to recommend it to them and get them in for a follow up appointment.

Now if the customer wanted a 30+ minute job at 5 minutes to closing time, I'd probably try to get them back in the morning.

 

It also depends on how you pay your techs. If they are paid hourly and you have to pay overtime if they work past closing, therefore you make less money on the job.

Perhaps the customer is willing to pay a premium to have the service done after hours?

 

Looking at this from another viewpoint, maybe you need to take a look at your hours of operation.

Would it benefit you to be open another hour or two, if you normally have customers coming in after closing?

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We are open 8:30-6:00. If I am there at close I'll take in just about anything that takes less than an hour that I can do.(no parts avaliable after 5 anyway). Oil change, tire repair/mount and balance tires, inspection, etc, etc. Any big work I set up an appointment.

 

If my mechanic is closing I tell him to use his judgement. If its 15 mins till close and an oil change comes in, do it. I'll pay him the 15 extra mins to finish it up.(my 2 guys are paid hourly).

 

I just look at it as good customer service. As long as the same customer doesn't make a habit of it, I understand. We've all been running behind before, or had a last minute problem, etc.

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      I recently spoke with a friend of mine who owns a large general repair shop in the Midwest. His father founded the business in 1975. He was telling me that although he’s busy, he’s also very frustrated. When I probed him more about his frustrations, he said that it’s hard to find qualified technicians. My friend employs four technicians and is looking to hire two more. I then asked him, “How long does a technician last working for you.” He looked puzzled and replied, “I never really thought about that, but I can tell that except for one tech, most technicians don’t last working for me longer than a few years.”
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