Quantcast
Jump to content

Start LLC for $0 at IncFile


Start LLC for $0 at IncFile


Start LLC for $0 at IncFile

Going Out For Business - - It takes more than a tool box anymore.


Gonzo

Recommended Posts

Going Out Of For Business

 

The vocation of an automotive repair person is one of those trades where you might find you have the knack for it at a young age, or you might be one of those people who have the ambition and drive to learn this trade by attending a trade school or on the job. Even though you might know a lot about what you’re doing today, there’s a good chance you haven’t seen it all, and more than likely you will encounter something new and different tomorrow. This is definitely not one of those trades where you learn a couple of procedures and they remain the same for a lifetime. It’s an always changing and always improving career. To stay current with the latest innovations and techniques, today’s mechanic spends a lot of time reading, studying, and learning those latest improvements. Without it, there’s not much chance of making it as a professional mechanic.

 

From time to time, I hear about shops closing up, or mechanics selling their tools and thinking about going into a different line of work. With a national shortage of qualified technicians out there, how is this possible that shops and mechanics are calling it quits? Are they getting tired of the constant negativity from misinformed customers? Could it be that today’s cars don’t break down as often? Perhaps they broke their only ½ inch socket and can’t find a replacement. Maybe it’s just time for certain individuals to move on, or it might be retirement that’s on the agenda. Maybe it’s health or family issues, divorces, or partnership breakups. All of which are a possibility, but I think there is one more thing that is an even bigger part of the problem…. Training.

 

Recently a shop not too far away shut their doors for good. This particular shop had been around for a long, long time. But, their quality of service had dwindled to a very noticeable and unsatisfactory level over the past few years. They were still doing A/C work without a recovery machine (no section 609 either), and no scanners or code readers. How they got by with that for as long as they did is beyond me. Neither the owner, nor the guys he hired wanted to learn anything new. They wanted to keep on doing what they’ve been doing for the last couple of decades, and only work on cars from those eras… and nothing more.

 

Obviously, those types of cars are few and far between these days, but there still out there, and yes, a few shops and technicians have managed to make it a viable market for them, but seriously... there’s not enough of that type of work out there to sustain more than a few shops in a given area. So, what should a mechanic or shop do? I’d say it’s time to step up to the world of electronics, internet, and the sophisticated automobile. Today’s cars are not what they used to be, and the technical knowhow of the modern mechanic has far exceeded anything that I could have even dreamt of even 10 years ago. Yes, that right, the stereotypical mechanic of the past has left the building a long, long time ago. Today it’s a whole lot different. Now it’s college educated, or trade school graduate, or a lot of off hours training, and it requires a highly skilled craftsman to make the repairs. But, along with good training, good equipment, and a good attitude today’s shops and mechanics alike spend plenty time getting the word out to those potential customers. Uses what else? The internet, from social media pages to videos, to instructional lessons and chat groups they’re getting the word out… they’re going out for business.

 

Mind you, there are still a lot of throwback customers and mechanics out there who believe the world of automotive repair should consist of a dingy, dimly lit small shop with grease covered floors, and a mechanic who still carries his grease rag in his back pocket. (No offense to those who still do.) Some of these customers and mechanics haven’t figured out that computers have taken over everything yet. They’re about 40 years off of today’s pace. Today’s modern shop is clean, well kept, and anything but those early dirt floor shops. That’s not to say you won’t find a small older shop with a few rough edges here and there that has all the same modern technical information, and a mechanic that knows how to use it all just like the large volume repair shop does. There are still plenty of those types of shops out there as well.

 

For the most part, gone are the “swap-til’-ya-got-it” repair days. For example, back in the 70‘s and early 80‘s electronic ignition systems only consisted of a few components, and it was common practice for a mechanic to have a few known good ignition modules lying around that were used as test pieces. (I’ll bet, if I dug around a bit I might even still have some of those old modules still hiding in a drawer somewhere.) These days a good scanner not only reads codes, but allows for bi-directional control of a lot of systems, as well as letting the mechanic see just about every facet of the car by simply plugging it into a laptop. From power windows to the transmission, with the right tools and training you don’t even have to turn a wrench (most of the time) to do any analysis on a given system.

 

Instead of going out of business maybe what some of them need to think about is “Going Out for Business”. Simply put, it’s using today’s internet, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc... to their advantage. There are so many sources for information and videos there is no excuse for not being able to repair today’s vehicles. Along with that, websites for the shop and even an individual mechanic are useful to gain knowledge and a reputation for quality work by showcasing what he/she does. It’s all about communication and getting the word out to the masses that you’ve got what it takes to repair today’s cars. Sure, word of mouth is still a tried and true method of exposure, but the tech savvy mechanic and/or shop will find an even better response from using the today’s technology to draw in new customers. As a shop owner myself, keeping the bays full is a premium, and taking advantage of the internet is a must.

 

You’ve probably heard the old saying, “Doing the same thing, but expecting different results is the definition of crazy”. As mechanics, shop owners, and even as a customer we all can fall into that trap of doing the same thing. So instead of making yourself crazy by doing the same old thing...or giving up and going out of business… try going out for business instead.

 


View full article

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites


Grammarly Writing Support


The #1 Writing Tool


Grammarly Writing Support

Not one of my usual stories but after the recent closing of several shops in the area I did some checking as to why they closed. All for the same reasons... no work. Then a little more checking it was clear as to why they didn't have any work, they all didn't want to deal with the newer models.

 

go figure.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Gonzo: Were most of the employee's of these shops older workers(with a few young one's mixed in) that just learned what they know without any formal education, or training and never thought that going back and getting some training might change things. They never gave it a chance!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Gonzo: Were most of the employee's of these shops older workers(with a few young one's mixed in) that just learned what they know without any formal education, or training and never thought that going back and getting some training might change things. They never gave it a chance!

The shop in question had been around since the 60's but under several different owners after about the 80's. From what I could find out the last couple of owners were young and no experience in shop management but what they did have was family money. Which of course is all gone now. They guys they were hiring in were rejects from other shops. So the whole thing was a fiasco from the start. This time instead of finding a buyer the last owner just sold all the equipment they did have, which amounted to nothing more than over used, well worn out original type equipment from the 70's. Not even worth my time to buy anything.

 

It was a great location and that was the best part. Some convenience store will probably snap up the property now. Besides, the location is worth more than what those guys were turning out in the shop. LOL

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A little different for you, but as usual, right on point. There are so many businesses, not just repair shops, that run their business like it's 1980. Everything living thing has to evolve. And a business is a living entity. If we don't embrace change and refine our strategy, we fall victim to complacency.

 

As you pointed out, we need to stay at the forefront of mechanical technology, but also with regard to business and marketing. Be more proactive is both challenging and intimidating, but it will put you headed in the right direction.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I really am an advocate of sharing found knowledge or procedures/short cuts. If it wasn't for the internet and it's many sources of information there are many, many cars I probably wouldn't have been able to repair. But, the sophistication of the modern car and the internet seem to go hand in hand. The more complicated they engineer things the more research and information is needed, and the internet (with all it's failures and good points) is the place to go and find that info.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

I really am an advocate of sharing found knowledge or procedures/short cuts. If it wasn't for the internet and it's many sources of information there are many, many cars I probably wouldn't have been able to repair. But, the sophistication of the modern car and the internet seem to go hand in hand. The more complicated they engineer things the more research and information is needed, and the internet (with all it's failures and good points) is the place to go and find that info.

 

amen brother!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

    • By Joe Marconi in Joe's Blog
         7
      There are many things to consider when creating a marketing plan. Among them are establishing a budget, what forms of media should be used, and whether traditional advertising, such as TV, radio, and print, is still relevant.  And of course, how much should be allocated to social media and digital advertising?
      All the above are essentials to any marketing plan. However, the first step is ensuring that you have a healthy workplace and that your employees understand your company’s culture and the overall mission and vision. 
      We all know that happy employees create happy customers. No form of advertising can overcome a toxic workplace with unhappy employees. If your employees are not creating an amazing customer experience, your marketing plan will not work.
      Advertising and marketing may bring in customers, but the people in your company creating an amazing customer experience will be the most important component of your marketing plan.  It’s the customer experience that sells work and gives the customer a reason to return. 
      Creating an amazing employee experience, which creates an amazing customer experience, is also the most cost-effective part of your marketing plan. In fact, it cost next to nothing.
  • Upcoming Events

    No upcoming events found
  • Similar Topics

    • By Joe Marconi
      As we head toward the end of the year and look to 2023, I thought it would be beneficial for all if we share the biggest challenges that are facing auto repair shops. 
      Is it hiring new employees? Employee retention? The economy?  Technology? Or perhaps, finding the right training for your employees? 
      Let's start the conversation and post your biggest challenge! 
    • By Joe Marconi
      What are your Thanksgiving business hours this week? The balance between time off and responsibilities to our business and customers is a challenge.
      What strategies do you implement and how do you balance the Thanksgiving holiday for your auto repair shop?
    • By Joe Marconi
      Digital Vehicle Inspections (DVI) are becoming more and more common these days. I think this is a good thing. 
      What I am concerned about is how the the DVI report is being used.  I am not a fan of sending the digital report to the customer to be used in place of the service advisor speaking and explaining the results of the report first.  Would a doctor send the MRI, lab tests, and x-rays directly to the patient without the doctor first discussing the results?  In fact, there are times when the doctor never shows the report results. 
      In my opinion, the DVI is a tool, and it's not meant to take the place of good old fashion person to person discussion, which is called customer service.
      Agree? Disagree?  
       
    • By Joe Marconi
      With the difficulty auto repair shops have these days finding quality techs, I thought it would be a good idea to share our ideas on what ways have worked for you. 
      Please post what has worked for you in the past when looking to hire a technician. 
       
    • Advertise your services or products to passers-by attracting them towards your business
    • By Joe Marconi
      Shrinking Repair Outlet Population
      "Vehicle maintenance is becoming less convenient for Americans. There are fewer outlets repairing cars and light trucks, despite the increasing population and complexity of cars and light trucks on U.S. roads. The number of repair (DIFM) outlets fell by nearly 14,000 over the past five years (2016 to 2021), and future annual reductions are likely."
      "Nevertheless, not all types of repair outlets suffered losses. Repair Specialists, Foreign Specialists, and Dealers have grown in number, while the four other major types of DIFM outlets have endured thinning ranks. See the all-new 2023 Lang Aftermarket Annual for a ten-year history of the changing number of all major types of auto repair outlets across the U.S."

       
      14,000 Fewer Light Vehicle Repair Outlets
      At mid-year 2021, there were over 211,700 car and light truck repair outlets in the U.S., down approximately 14,000 from 2016.
      At the same time, vehicles in operation (VIO) climbed by more than 18 million and grew more complex, increasing the diagnostic and repair challenges faced by repair outlets.
       
      Outlet Groups Growing in Number
      Although the light vehicle repair outlet population fell by approximately 14,000 from 2016 to 2021, not all outlet types have declined.
      Among the seven major types of car and light truck repair outlets, three increased in number between 2016 and 2021: Repair Specialists, Foreign Specialists, and Vehicle Dealers. These outlets groups grew even during the onslaught of COVID-19.
       
      Repair Specialists
      Focusing on a limited menu of vehicle repair and maintenance, Repair Specialist locations totaled just over 29,600 at mid-year 2021, up several hundred from five years earlier. Repair Specialists are the second largest DIFM outlet group.
       
       
      Foreign Specialists
      Foreign Specialists concentrate on the repair of foreign nameplate cars and light trucks. They achieved the largest outlet gain over the past five years and the greatest percentage growth in locations.
      There were just over 19,600 Foreign Specialists nationwide at mid-year 2012, up approximately 700 from five years earlier.
       
      Vehicle Dealers
      Vehicle Dealers recorded a small (less than 0.2%) increase in outlets from 2016 to 2021. This reversed a trend of declining Dealer locations in the years after the Great Recession of 2008.
      Asian nameplates have been the most successful in expanding their Dealer counts.
       
      Outlet Groups Declining in Number
      Service Stations & Garages, Tire Dealers, Discount Stores/Mass Merchandisers with bays, and Retail Auto Parts Stores with bays all fell in outlet count over the past five years.
       
      Service Stations & Garages
      Service Stations & Garages were battered by a significant population loss from 2016 to 2021, down by approximately 13,000 locations.
      This represented most of the repair outlets lost over these five years. Nevertheless, Service Stations & Garages remain the most prevalent type of DIM outlet.
       
      Tire Stores
      There were approximately 800 fewer Tire Stores in the U.S. at mid-year 2021 than five years earlier.
      Small Tire Stores suffered the brunt of this decline as growing competition from large, multi-outlet operations pushed many of them out of the market.
       
      Discount Stores/Mass Merchandisers & Auto Parts Stores with Bays
      The closing of hundreds of Sears Auto Centers nationwide contributed to the decline of Discount Stores/Mass Merchandisers with bays, which has been ongoing since 2011.
      The falling number of Auto Parts Stores with bays between 2016 and 2021 continued a trend that has been underway for several decades.
       
      COVID-19 Impact
      Most of the DIFM outlet loss between 2016 and 2021 occurred over the past two years (2020 and 2021), reflecting the impact of COVID-19 and the resulting changes in consumers’ vehicle repair behavior.
      Changes in the populations of the major types of DIFM outlets will continue, creating challenges and opportunities for a variety of aftermarket players.
       
      Six Major Takeaways
      The number and complexity of cars and light trucks in operation have continued to increase. Nevertheless, the population of repair outlets handling cars and light trucks fell by approximately 14,000 over the past five years (2016 to 2021).   Despite the loss of car and light truck repair outlets between 2016 and 2021, three of the seven major groups of DIFM outlets expanded their populations: Repair Specialists, Foreign Specialists, and Vehicle Dealers.   The number of Repair Specialists climbed by approximately 350 between 2016 and 2021, and approximately 700 Foreign Specialists locations were added. Vehicle Dealers posted a modest increase in number, reversing a trend of vanishing locations that began during the Great Recession of 2008.   Service Stations & Garages suffered the most significant outlet loss from 2016 to 2021. The populations of Tire Stores, Discount Stores/Mass Merchandisers with bays, and Auto Parts Stores with bays also were battered during these years.   The growing number and complexity of cars and light trucks in operation provide challenges and opportunities for the shrinking population of light vehicle repair outlets across the country. They must become more technically capable and productive to keep pace with the growing volume and complexity of vehicle repairs.   See the all-new 2023 Lang Aftermarket Annual for the only ten-year analysis of the population changes sweeping across the seven major types of auto repair outlets in the U.S.
      View full article


  • Our Sponsors


Grammarly Writing Support


The #1 Writing Tool


Grammarly Writing Support

×
×
  • Create New...