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Hi All,

 

My husband and I own a small auto repair shop. We have been in business for approx. 3 years and things are going well..ups and downs as everyone else...

I have a question that I do not know how to handle..

What do you do with those people that think we are still just working out of our home and not for a living?

There are people that just come in the back door and just keep chewing off my husbands ear until I show up out there..tell them I need him for something then they leave...

He's nice and puts up with it..then I hear about it later how he can't get anything done..

We've tried putting employee entrance only signs up..but I guess no one feels like that pertains to them..

We are big on customer service so I don't want to completely shut these people out..but have some common courtesy...

Any help would be appreciated..Thank you

Denise

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Yeah its a story we all hear when we start at a grass roots level. It can be tough, I still battle with the this problem. My shop is long with only 1 roll down gate. Currently i have a metal roll down gate. When it is closed it looks like we are not open for business so I like to keep it up as much as possible. I have tried yellow safety chains which don't seem to help. People tend to literally wait by the chain until a tech asks them if they need help before they will walk into the office. I am looking into getting a inside roll down gate with windows so I can keep my metal gate up and the nicer looking window gate down.

 

I would probably say your biggest problem is having a Service Advisor that can handle customers. Sounds like you may be the only or main front end person? In my experience people want to talk to a knowledgeable person as well as someone with some sort of authority. Once you can take control of speaking to every customer before your husband or techs do I think you will start to win the battle of the back door customer war :)

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Like Joe said, be nice but firm. Explain insurance no longer allows people to come into the shop area. I have a few close friends that stop by from time to time, and I'll just be polite and say 'Well it was nice talking to ya, but I really have to get back to finishing this job. The customer needs their car back ASAP'. They usually get the point.

 

All great advice here.

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

         3 comments
      Got your attention? Good. The truth is, there is no such thing as the perfect technician pay plan. There are countless ways to create any pay plan. I’ve heard all the claims and opinions, and to be honest, it’s getting a little frustrating. Claims that an hourly paid pay plan cannot motivate. That flat rate is the only way to truly get the most production from your technicians. And then there’s the hybrid performance-based pay plan that many claim is the best.
      At a recent industry event, a shop owner from the Midwest boasted about his flat-rate techs and insisted that this pay plan should be adopted by all shops across the country. When I informed him that in states like New York, you cannot pay flat-rate, he was shocked. “Then how do you motivate your techs” he asked me.
      I remember the day in 1986 when I hired the best technician who ever worked for me in my 41 years as an automotive shop owner. We’ll call him Hal. When Hal reviewed my pay plan for him, and the incentive bonus document, he stared at it for a minute, looked up, and said, “Joe, this looks good, but here’s what I want.” He then wrote on top of the document the weekly salary he wanted. It was a BIG number. He went on to say, “Joe, I need to take home a certain amount of money. I have a home, a wife, two kids, and my Harly Davidson. I will work hard and produce for you. I don’t need an incentive bonus to do my work.” And he did, for the next 30 years, until the day he retired.
      Everyone is entitled to their opinion. So, here’s mine. Money is a motivator, but not the only motivator, and not the best motivator either. We have all heard this scenario, “She quit ABC Auto Center, to get a job at XYZ Auto Repair, and she’s making less money now at XYZ!” We all know that people don’t leave companies, they leave the people they work for or work with.
      With all this said, I do believe that an incentive-based pay plan can work. However, I also believe that a technician must be paid a very good base wage that is commensurate with their ability, experience, and certifications. I also believe that in addition to money, there needs to be a great benefits package. But the icing on the cake in any pay plan is the culture, mission, and vision of the company, which takes strong leadership. And let’s not forget that motivation also comes from praise, recognition, respect, and when technicians know that their work matters.
      Rather than looking for that elusive perfect pay plan, sit down with your technician. Find out what motivates them. What their goals are. Why do they get out of bed in the morning? When you tie their goals with your goals, you will have one powerful pay plan.
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