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Auto shop owners are always looking for ways to improve production levels. They focus their attention on their technicians and require certain expectations of performance in billable labor hours. While technicians must know what is expected of them, they have a limited amount of control over production levels. When all factors are considered, the only thing a well-trained technician has control over is his or her actual efficiency.
As a review, technician efficiency is the amount of labor time it takes a technician to complete a job compared to the labor time being billed to the customer. Productivity is the time the technician is billing labor hours compared to the time the technician is physically at the shop. The reality is that a technician can be very efficient, but not productive if the technician has a lot of downtime waiting for parts, waiting too long between jobs, or poor workflow systems.
But let’s go deeper into what affects production in the typical auto repair shop. As a business coach, one of the biggest reasons for low shop production is not charging the correct labor time. Labor for extensive jobs is often not being billed accurately. Rust, seized bolts, and wrong published labor times are just a few reasons for lost labor dollars.
Another common problem is not understanding how to bill for jobs that require extensive diagnostic testing, and complicated procedures to arrive at the root cause for an onboard computer problem, electrical issue, or drivability issue. These jobs usually take time to analyze, using sophisticated tools, and by the shop’s top technician. Typically, these jobs are billed at a standard menu labor charge, instead of at a higher labor rate. This results in less billed labor hours than the actual labor time spent. The amount of lost labor hours here can cripple a shop’s overall profit.
Many shop owners do a great job at calculating their labor rate but may not understand what their true effective labor is, which is their labor sales divided by the total labor hours sold. In many cases, I have seen a shop that has a shop labor rate of over $150.00 per hour, but the actual effective labor rate is around $100. Not good.
Lastly, technician production can suffer when the service advisors are too busy or not motivated to build relationships with customers, which results in a low sales closing ratio. And let’s not forget that to be productive, a shop needs to have the right systems, the right tools and equipment, an extensive information system, and of course, great leadership.
The bottom line is this; many factors need to be considered when looking to increase production levels. While it does start with the technician, it doesn’t end there. Consider all the factors above when looking for ways to improve your shop’s labor production.
Raising labor rates is not just about increasing prices. It's about finding more value in the industry and positioning ourselves as professionals. Join our panel as they highlight the need for understanding the concept of effective labor rate, ensuring services are charged appropriately, viewing the business as a professional entity, providing a positive customer experience and addressing core business problems before raising labor rates. Our panelists encourage shop owners to take a comprehensive approach to their business strategy, considering all factors and not just focusing on raising labor rates. Aaron Woods, X-tra Mile Auto Care, Stillwater, OK. Institute for Automotive Business Excellence. Listen to Aaron’s previous episodes HERE Brent Fleischman, Yocum Automotive, Republic, MO. AutoFix Auto Shop Coaching. Listen to Brent's previous episodes HERE Jennifer Hulbert, Service Plus Automotive, Calcium, NY. Institute for Automotive Business Excellence. Listen to Jennifer's previous episodes HERE Show Notes:
Raising Labor Rates: Importance and Impact (00:00:01) Discussion on the reasons to raise labor rates, the impact it can have on a business, and the need for a long-term strategy. Factors to Consider Besides Labor Rate (00:04:14) Exploration of other factors that contribute to a business's success, such as overall business strategy and addressing pain points. Calculating Effective Labor Rate (00:07:34) Importance of understanding and calculating effective labor rate, including the need to charge appropriately for all services provided. The mindset shift and the need to raise labor rates (00:08:33) Discussion on the importance of raising labor rates and positioning the industry as valuable and professional. The impact of undervaluing the industry (00:09:52) The negative effects of undervaluing the automotive industry, including difficulty in attracting technicians and obtaining loans. The bottom line and approaching the business as a business (00:12:10) The importance of considering the bottom line and treating the automotive business as a professional enterprise rather than a hobby. The importance of customer experience (00:17:59) Discussion on how people buy feelings and the need to focus on providing a positive experience in the automotive industry. Sharing new labor rates with the team (00:18:39) Importance of communicating labor rate changes to the team and how it helps maintain profit structure and make investments. Effective labor rate and its impact (00:19:03) Exploration of effective labor rate, its calculation, and the need to consider menu jobs and their effect on gross profit dollars per hour. The importance of personnel and procedural issues (00:27:40) Discussion on identifying whether the problem lies with personnel or procedural issues in a shop and the need to align the shop's mission and vision statements with its culture. Addressing cultural issues and offering training (00:28:50) Exploration of the top-down approach in addressing cultural issues, identifying personalities, offering training, and monitoring staff to create long-term relationships with customers. Considerations before raising labor rates (00:30:07) Importance of analyzing gross profit percentages, solving core problems, and focusing on profitability and core processes before considering raising labor rates.
Thanks to our Partners Shop-Ware and Delphi Technologies Shop-Ware: More Time. More Profit. Shop-Ware Shop Management https://getshopware.com/ Delphi Technologies: Keeping current on the latest vehicle systems and how to repair them is a must for today’s technicians. http://DelphiAftermarket.com Connect with the Podcast -Follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RemarkableResultsRadioPodcast/ -Follow on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/carmcapriotto/ -Follow on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/remarkableresultsradiopodcast/ -Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/RResultsBiz -Join our Insider List: https://remarkableresults.biz/insider -All books mentioned on our podcasts: https://remarkableresults.biz/books -Our Classroom page for personal or team learning: https://remarkableresults.biz/classroom -Buy Me a Coffee: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/carm -The Aftermarket Radio Network: https://aftermarketradionetwork.com -Special episode collections: https://remarkableresults.biz/collections
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Spotting the Early Signs of a Downturn: Adapting, and Driving Toward a Stronger Future - Chris Cotton Weekly BlitzBy carmcapriotto
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In this episode of Auto Fix Auto Shop Coaching, Coach Chris Cotton discusses the potential signs of a recession and its impact on the auto repair industry. He highlights indicators such as rising unemployment rates, declining consumer spending, and stock market volatility. Cotton also discusses the mixed effects of a recession on the industry, including potential parts obsolescence and reduced cash flow. He advises listeners to prepare by diversifying services and increasing their online presence. The episode emphasizes the importance of preparedness and not panicking during economic downturns.
Recognizing the signs of a recession (00:01:06) The speaker discusses the topic of recognizing the signs of a recession and mentions a post in a shop owner group that sparked interest in the subject.
Rising unemployment rates (00:02:24) The speaker explains that rising unemployment rates can be a sign of financial trouble and shares their thoughts on the current unemployment situation.
Declining consumer spending (00:03:20) The speaker talks about how a dip in retail sales figures can indicate consumers tightening their belts and expresses concerns about maxed-out credit cards and defaults on payments.
The impact on the auto repair industry (00:09:40) Discussion on how recessions can have a mixed impact on the auto repair industry, with people potentially delaying buying new cars and needing to repair their existing vehicles.
Potential challenges during a recession (00:10:53) Exploration of potential challenges during a recession, such as parts obsolescence, reduced cash flow, and supply chain issues.
Actions to take to prepare for a recession (00:12:00) Advice on actions to take for auto repair businesses to prepare for a recession, including diversifying services, increasing online presence, stockpiling cash, improving efficiency, engaging with the community, and being adaptable and innovative.
Recognizing the signs of a recession Indicators of a recession: rising unemployment rates, declining consumer spending, stock market volatility, flattening or inverted yield curve Impact of government policies, global events, and consumer sentiment on the economy Importance of staying informed and not panicking Need for preparedness and taking action before a potential downturn Impact of a recession on the auto repair industry Delayed car purchases leading to increased need for repairs Concerns about parts obsolescence and availability Effects of a recession on the auto repair industry: reduced cash flow, less disposable income, supply chain issues, potential affordability of skilled labor compromising quality of work Actions to prepare for a recession in the auto repair industry: diversifying services, increasing online presence
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By Changing The Industry
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