Hey guys looking for a little advise for people that have been in my situation. We are a smaller shop but really starting to transition to doing more volume in the past 2 years. Been in business for 10 years now and currently have 2 full time tech's and myself. I manage most of the office and service writing stuff and even occasionally help wrench in the back when required. Looking to hire a service advisor soon to help with the work load on the counter.
Currently we just use a a mix of excel spreadsheets for invoicing and customer history, as well as Google calendar. My questions is will I see a big benefit from moving to a all in one management program? Is it worth the monthly fee's for a smaller outfit like mine?
Should mention we are in the powersports arena (mostly boat repair with some other rec equipment) so some of the platforms out there are not 100% tailored to our industry with the ones that are not offering up everything you would get out of a automotive program. Thanks in advance for the help!
Massachusetts voters are deciding in this year’s election on whether they---and not the vehicle manufacturers---have control over the repair data generated by the vehicle they purchased.
The Auto Care Association and the Coalition for Auto Repair Equality (CARE) have supported efforts by the Massachusetts Right to Repair Committee to obtain public support for ballot Question 1, which would give the consumer choice in vehicle repair.
“While the battle has been hard fought and expensive, the Auto Care Association is pleased that the most influential publications in the state have seen through the negative advertising campaign being funded by the vehicle manufacturers and have unanimously urged their readers to vote ‘yes’ on Question 1,” said Bill Hanvey, president and CEO, Auto Care Association. “We trust that voters in the state will agree with these publication that the right to repair is important and that advances in vehicle technology should not be used to limit the ability for owners to have their vehicle repaired by the shop of their choice."
These “‘Yes’ on Question 1” endorsements include:
The Boston Globe on Oct. 13 declared, “The reason the new Right to Repair measure should pass is simple: It is inherently unfair for car manufacturers to have sole access to a vehicle’s mechanical data, because it gives their dealerships an advantage over independent auto-repair shops. That ultimately hurts consumers, because with limited options come higher prices.”
The Boston Business Journal on Oct. 15 maintained, “Without the ability to repair cars equipped with wireless electronics, repair shops will see declines in business in coming years as car owners are forced to get repairs done at more expensive dealerships. In the end, more of the millions of dollars that Bay State residents spend every year to fix their cars would go to out-of-state manufacturers. More neighborhood car-repair shops will go out of business."
The Sun Chronicle on Oct. 21 stated, “…we think the opponents of the law have done themselves no favors by overhyping the risks it poses. For example, the ‘No’ campaigners lean heavily on a statement from ‘Jane Doe Inc.,’ a Massachusetts advocacy group against domestic violence and abuse. But, on its website, that group now says its position on the referendum has ‘evolved’ and, while saying it’s staying neutral, complains that it’s wrong to use the fears of abuse survivors to promote a political position. For that alone, we think the opponents of Question 1 deserve to get their comeuppance at the ballot box.”
The Berkshire Eagle on Oct. 21 stated, “Question 1’s opponents had ample opportunity to explain why this lobby should keep a monopolistic grip on your car’s telematics. They instead spent their campaign dishonestly fear-mongering in an attempt to distract consumers from asking why carmakers should be able to flout the spirit of the extant Right to Repair law to drive more repair jobs to their dealership garages. Hopefully voters will see through this charade.”
For more information about the Right to Repair ballot initiative in Massachusetts, visit massrighttorepair.org.
By Joe Marconi
With so many uncertainties these days, there is one strategy that we can all do that will help to smooth out our overall sales and customer visits throughout the year. Make sure the experience is always amazing during the entire customer visit. And perform the car delivery that gives the customer a reason to return.
Here's the key part before any customer leaves your shop: Make sure you discuss their next service appointment and any other future recommendation. Let them know that they will get a reminder by either post card, email or text. BUT, there is one more thing you can do to boost your customer retention, get permission from your customer to call them a week prior to their next appointment. Yes, give them a phone call. Try it, and give it time to work.
Oh....won't work, you're thinking??? Well, here's list of businesses that do it: Dentists, doctors, nail salons, hair dressers, chimney cleaners, boiler service companies and Successful Auto Repair shops.
By Elite Worldwide Inc.
Keep Your Shop's Summer Momentum Going!
Elite's Supercharge Your Shop, a series of 4 live online courses for shop owners, starts Sept 14th!
Learn to master your shop's numbers, recruit the top techs & advisors, maximize employee productivity, fill up your bays with your ideal customers and more!
These live online courses will be taught by industry superstars Joe Marconi and Kevin Vaught, who have both experienced extraordinary success as shop owners, so everything you'll learn has been proven to generate extraordinary real world results!
You have the option to either enroll in the whole Supercharge Your Shop course series, or pick and choose the individual courses that will help your shop the most. Here's the course schedule:
Sept 14-15 - Mastering Your Shop's Numbers and Cost Control
Sept 16-17 - Hiring America's Top Techs & Advisors
Sept 21-22 - Maximizing Employee Morale, Productivity and Profits
Sept 23-24 - Filling Up Your Service Bays with the Ideal Customers
To enroll in the complete series of these 4 live online courses, just visit our Supercharge Your Shop Page to reserve one of our last openings!
By Joe Marconi
We, automotive shop owners of America, must take the opportunity of a lifetime and turn it into a bunch of success stories. What opportunity? Look around you. The world is in turmoil. COVID-19, social unrest, uncertainty about the presidential election, the economy, how are we going to get out kids back to school, on and on and on.
While the world is spiraling out of control, we have the power to make big changes to our auto repair shops. And it can all be positive!
First, the average age of a car in the U.S. is about 12 years old, attaining well over 200k on the clock.
Second, Uber, taxis and limo companies are suffering. Guess why?
Third, the motoring public in the foreseeable future will be traveling by car, taking road trips like they have never did before.
Fourth, the roads are packed with motor vehicles, as more and more people prefer their own car as their primary means of transportation.
Fifth, as the cars get older and older, more of them will be out of factory warranty.
Sixth, independent auto repair shops have a vast amount of training, resources and replacement parts.
Seventh, the overwhelming majority of cars being build and sold today are still internal combustion engine powered cars. If you factor in the expected average age of car these days, we can safely bet that those gas engine cars being sold today will still be on the road in 2033 and beyond!
Eight, You need more? That's not enough!
Get your plan in place. Get your prices in line with making a profit. Don't give anything away anymore (I am mostly referring to checking, testing, diags of any sort!) Offer world class customer service. Be a leader of your employees. Show the world what you are made of!
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By Joe Marconi
Got your attention? Good!
This past Sunday I took a booth at the local Business EXPO in my town. I like doing these things for the obvious reason - It helps to promote my company's brand in my community. But the other reason I do it is to speak with the average consumer to gain information. One of questions I ask is this: "What model car do you drive and where do you go for service?"
It is amazing to me how many people go back to the dealer for service work. And here are some of the reasons:
It's a lease car, I didn't know you could take my car to you for service It's a new car, don't you HAVE to go back to the dealer? I don't know where to take my car, so I stayed with the dealer I have free maintenance (we all what "free" means) I don't want problems if I need warranty work My salesman told me when I bought the car that I had to used dealer parts and service Aren't the dealer mechanics better trained?
By the way, when I asked about the level of service and convenience, all of them rolled their eyes and said something like this, "Well, it's the dealer, you know what you get." MAN! I can't help thinking that if they came to YOUR shop you would win them over just on your level of customer service!
So, as you can see, we are in a fight with the dealers. The great news is that we are still the number one choice of the motoring public. Let's fight to stay that way.
We, as independent aftermarket shops, do not aggressively market ourselves against the dealer. Maybe we should start?
By Joe Marconi
If your shop is in the northern part of the country, there is no denying that this winter has been one of the toughest on record. Storms have forced many shops to lose work days, resulting in loss of income, which may be hard to recover from.
But, there is another thing that can affect business, and that’s the mood and morale of customers and your employees. People tend to shut down as they endure day after day of bad weather and cold. This may have hurt your business more than the weather.
For you, the shop owner and leader, you must maintain the right frame of mind. Remain upbeat and positive. Do not get sucked into doom and gloom attitude and find things to celebrate and feel good about.
Your positive attitude will go along way with both customers and employees. Let’s face it; it will not be long before spring is here, and the winter…a distant memory.
By Joe Marconi
Customer satisfaction is a key component to insuring our success as shop owners. Too often we are not in touch with the customer and how their view our shop. In addition, what we do after the sale is crucial to our future business.
Here's a link to an article in Motor Age written by Brian Canning worth reading on how to improve customer surveys and at the same time improve your customer's retention and confidence in you.
By Joe Marconi
My wife was having lunch at her job the other day and a conversation started regarding a check engine light. One of the ladies at the lunch table had a check engine light on and was fearful of the cost before bringing it to a repair shop. Another lady responded by saying, “Take it to either Advance or AutoZone, across from the Putnam Plaza on route 6, they’re right next to each other and they will diagnose your car for free.”
My wife cringed when she heard this but did not say a word. We all know how some people think that pulling codes is an analysis, and how tough it is to charge what we need for Diag time. This perception about Advanced and AutoZone does not help.
I am going to make it a point ASAP to meet with Advance, since they will be the primary part supplier in my area, and have a discussion on this topic. Some may call me naive, but I have to try.
Pulling a code and making a judgment without performing tests is like a druggist at Rite Aid coming around the service counter, taking someone’s blood pressure and then selling them pills based on the readings. To me I see no difference.
By Joe Marconi
I recently read about this organization, Brake For Breasts. Shop across the country have joined in the fight to find cure for breast cancer by donating a percentage of the proceeds from a brake job. The link to the site for more information is below. Has anyone heard of this or participated? And what are your thoughts on this?