Quantcast
Jump to content

As a New BannerBuzz.com Customer You Get 20% Off Your First Order! Use Code: FIRSTORDER for 20% Off Custom Banners, Decals, Marketing Materials, and Any Custom Print Needs! Offer Does Not End


As a New BannerBuzz.com Customer You Get 20% Off Your First Order! Use Code: FIRSTORDER for 20% Off Custom Banners, Decals, Marketing Materials, and Any Custom Print Needs! Offer Does Not End


As a New BannerBuzz.com Customer You Get 20% Off Your First Order! Use Code: FIRSTORDER for 20% Off Custom Banners, Decals, Marketing Materials, and Any Custom Print Needs! Offer Does Not End

How do you handle alignments?


Recommended Posts

Since I have been offering alignments as a service it has been mixed results. Typical instance is a customer will want to schedule an appointment for an alignment. We will advise them over the phone that we have to inspect the suspension and steering systems to make sure we can perform a proper alignment. Vehicles in NYC are beat to hell with the roads the way they are. Many times unless it is a very new vehicle or a vehicle with low mileage there will be things that the vehicle needs. All this is disclosed to the customer BEFORE any work is done. We also explain to them at the there is no charge for this inspection if we go ahead and perform the alignment OR we perform the recommended work and the alignment however this is a $39.97 inspection charge otherwise. Of course they agree. We check out the car and at times we get the work and perform the alignment. Other times we explain to the customer we cannot perform the alignment and would not be in their best benefit. The customer leaves and that is the end of that. Most of the time these customers who decline any further work simply take it to a hack who will align the vehicle to a better spec than it was and then we look like crooks in the eyes of the customer. The reason I bring this up is rarely do we have unhappy customers. I just got a unsubscribe to our e-mail list and reason was "Unhappy with the service." I check the history and we had only seen the vehicle once before and it was for an alignment. There were problems noted down in their repair order with their suspension. The customer left and never to be seen again.

 

I feel like I get far more frequency of situations like this.

 

Are we not attracting the right customers when it comes to alignments? Should I not even offer alignments other than to our regular customers? Should I take a different approach when it comes to booking alignment jobs? No amount of educating the customer seems to work on these people. It is apparently set in their minds that they can get an alignment we are just out to get them.

 

It really gets on my nerves to say the least. I do everything in my power to not take on the problem customer or problem jobs and I feel like I am getting really good at it. The alignment situation seems to be my biggest challenge when it comes to these unwanted customers.

 

Maybe the I am just bitter about the message of "unhappy with the service" when we were up front, gracious and were 110% honest.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites



Since half the battle is getting people in the door, Why not just put it on the rack. Then discuss any problems you find. Show the customer, and let them decide. Good as you can get it or proper repair and align. Then note refused repairs on invoice.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Since half the battle is getting people in the door, Why not just put it on the rack. Then discuss any problems you find. Show the customer, and let them decide. Good as you can get it or proper repair and align. Then note refused repairs on invoice.

 

That is exactly what we do. When we refuse to align due to bad suspension or steering components apparently that is something that is unacceptable to some people.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What we explain to people is that if we try to align it under those conditions they are throwing their money away. AS soon as the suspect part moves the alignment is no good. We do not want to waste their money.

yup, I say the same thing. I act as the SA here and while I'll never say I am great, I am very very good at connecting with my customers. It just seems that alignment customers are not the type that follow what I say. They will nod as if they agree, say they need to schedule another day to come in to get the work done then go off somewhere else to get the alignment sorted and we end up being the crooks because a hack aligned their vehicle without dealing with the suspension/steering issues. Of course this doesn't happen all the time but definitely a lot more frequently than I am comfortable with.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This raises a lot of questions for me. I have tried to implement a process in which our general service tech takes any car that has been left with us and does a quick alignment check. The nice pictorial report is then included in our courtesy check results. The policy never seems to take hold. We are always too busy or whatever, so I watch my alignment rack sit idle. I'm lucky if I do five alignments a week and all of those are associated with a repair like a steering rack, tie rod end, etc. We very seldom sell alignment as a service.

 

What are other shops doing as far as alignments as a percentage of car count?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

flacvabeach, our alignment car count is low as well. This is probably in part due to facility utilization (I've had a lot of dead cars around) and the alignment rack being blocked in at times, alignment rack in the back of the shop, not being confident with my equipment. I am currently looking into upgrading my aligner to the newest Hunter unit and also moving my rack closer to the front of the shop. One thing I have done that has help stave off the unwanted customers is I have increased our charge on alignments significantly ($120 to $176). I may still run alignment specials just to see if I can attract and convert some customers however if I still experience the same problem where our efforts are netting negative results.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What I have noticed is being "competitive" with alignment pricing got me the exact customers I didn't want. Sure they drove German cars but they were bottom dollar seekers. My philosophy is I cannot afford dissatisfied customers and I avoid negative reviews like the plague. Very deflating to think about because when I made the investment in the aligner we have I thought it would be a really great move for us. When and if I do move the rack and get a new aligner I really hope that I can profit from it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I sub out our alignments. Going price is $49.95 at 4 shops within two miles of me. I have a speciality shop around the corner that aligns out cars for $30. I can't justify the cost of the machine for what he charges.

 

I have a shop that I sub out to from time to time that does alignments for $50 with brand new hunter equipment. Problem is its a 2 man process to drop off and pick up. When you work out the numbers its not as lucrative as you think. Besides that anything I let leave out of my shop opens myself up to an opportunity to lose a customer or their confidence.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

That is exactly what we do. When we refuse to align due to bad suspension or steering components apparently that is something that is unacceptable to some people.

I think this is where the problem lies. ( When we refuse to.) Look at it from the customers side. I have X amount of dollars to spend. They want X amount above that to even do What was asked.

 

So for X amount (1/2 price) I can set the toe and center the steering wheel as close as we can get it. It will not be right but it will be better.

 

That gives them choices. Now they feel you want to help, even if its not 100%. They are aware of the additional problems and should leave with an estimate and an appointment.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think this is where the problem lies. ( When we refuse to.) Look at it from the customers side. I have X amount of dollars to spend. They want X amount above that to even do What was asked.

 

So for X amount (1/2 price) I can set the toe and center the steering wheel as close as we can get it. It will not be right but it will be better.

 

That gives them choices. Now they feel you want to help, even if its not 100%. They are aware of the additional problems and should leave with an estimate and an appointment.

 

That is a great point. I am of the philosophy if we cant do it right dont do it at all. I guess we can offer to try to set it as straight as possible. I will try this.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think "show and tell" is the way to go. Get that fresh steel on the rack and inspect it, like any other situation or repair. Show the owner the offending parts and explain if it's not tight, the alignment will NOT hold and it is a waste of time and money. Educate and inform your clients, they will appreciate your candor and you will sell plenty of repair and alignments. Lose the bottom feeder Euro Car crowd. You said "My philosophy is I cannot afford dissatisfied customers and I avoid negative reviews like the plague." Be selective who you take as a client, and bid the bottom feeders good riddance. Let these folks go to your competition, and I say that is a win-win. YOU decide who your clients are!

Edited by Shopcat
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think "show and tell" is the way to go. Get that fresh steel on the rack and inspect it, like any other situation or repair. Show the owner the offending parts and explain if it's not tight, the alignment will NOT hold and it is a waste of time and money. Educate and inform your clients, they will appreciate your candor and you will sell plenty of repair and alignments. Lose the bottom feeder Euro Car crowd. You said "My philosophy is I cannot afford dissatisfied customers and I avoid negative reviews like the plague." Be selective who you take as a client, and bid the bottom feeders good riddance. Let these folks go to your competition, and I say that is a win-win. YOU decide who your clients are!

Edited by Shopcat
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think "show and tell" is the way to go. Get that fresh steel on the rack and inspect it, like any other situation or repair. Show the owner the offending parts and explain if it's not tight, the alignment will NOT hold and it is a waste of time and money. Educate and inform your clients, they will appreciate your candor and you will sell plenty of repair and alignments. Lose the bottom feeder Euro Car crowd. You said "My philosophy is I cannot afford dissatisfied customers and I avoid negative reviews like the plague." Be selective who you take as a client, and bid the bottom feeders good riddance. Let these folks go to your competition, and I say that is a win-win. YOU decide who your clients are!

Edited by Shopcat
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think "show and tell" is the way to go. Get that fresh steel on the rack and inspect it, like any other situation or repair. Show the owner the offending parts and explain if it's not tight, the alignment will NOT hold and it is a waste of time and money. Educate and inform your clients, they will appreciate your candor and you will sell plenty of repair and alignments. Lose the bottom feeder Euro Car crowd. You said "My philosophy is I cannot afford dissatisfied customers and I avoid negative reviews like the plague." Be selective who you take as a client, and bid the bottom feeders good riddance. Let these go folks go to your competition, and I say that is a win-win. YOU decide who your clients are!

 

 

Sometimes you just can't tell. Before I implemented digital inspections I've had customers in the shop under the car an shown why we didn't want to perform an alignment. No matter what you say or do SOME people want it their way and their way only. I have just seen a very unusual concentration of that crowd when it comes to alignments.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We charge $65 for alignments, if they ask we do it. Once on the rack if we find bald tires or loose suspension parts I do up an estimate and call the customer. If they insist that they just want it good enough I try my hardest to explain the reality. I was tired one day and lined up a guys Benz, cords coming through the tires. He didn't want to listen so I lined it up anyway (I must have been really tired in hindsight) and he comes back 20 minutes later "still shakes". Ugh, after he berated me for 20 minutes I refunded his alignment and fired him. You can't fix stupid.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My routine is this, and so far it works for us and the customer... When a customer comes in or calls to schedule an alignment, I ask all the usual questions as to why they are requesting this service. This let's them know that 1) Their car and information matters 2) I am understanding the problem, which sometimes isn't even an alignment issue, they just didn't know that, and 3) My tech. knows WHY he's doing it and what to look/watch for.

 

I explain to all customers, if a car comes in and we take the time, tools and technology to check their vehicles and if there are repairs necessary prior to an alignment, and they decline the nec. repairs, there is a $49.00 INSPECTION charge. I am very upfront about this and there is never a dispute. As my husband reminds me, years ago at a seminar he was taught that as a professional you charge for your knowledge, your labor/time and your tool investment. I feel that too many of the post's above don't see the value in their knowledge. I too will never do an alignment if the vehicle needs work and the customer isn't able to pay for that work, on top of the alignment. I also do show & tell whenever possible, I think it's huge to bring a customer back into the shop and let my tech. explain what he has found. The customers who have the time to do this come away with a clear understanding of what's going on. They also understand, because I explained it during setting the appointment, that there is going to be the inspection charge if they can't afford to do a complete repair and alignment. I will provide them with a completed quote, send a thank you card and I'd say that 6 out of 10, budget and prepare for the complete job at another time.

We had to order a new Hunter machine that will be showing up in boxes this week. This new machine is going to cut our alignment time in half, that's more profit in the bank. I am very excited to advertise our new and improved tool, now having to decide about raising our rate. We currently charge $85.00.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Charge for alignment check if the work isn't performed. Don't do alignment if you are not allowed to do it 100%...items up for law suit. You don't need customers who want you to do that anyway. Get more on your rack by offering shop discounts and for dealers. Offer Free assignments with certain repairs....work it in the price. But don't half ass.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Still don't agree with the thinking of offering discounts. Those customers are short timers and not my choice of clientele.

 

davine4real,>>>> Charge for alignment check if the work isn't performed. Don't do alignment if you are not allowed to do it 100%...items up for law suit. You don't need customers who want you to do that anyway

It only makes complete sense to charge for inspection since a test drive and complete suspension/front end "inspection" was done. Not shops fault it found concerning issues that the customer chose not to have done. A customer is fortunate to find a shop to be honest enough to not just shove a bogus alignment through just to make sure to get more $$.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Still don't agree with the thinking of offering discounts. Those customers are short timers and not my choice of clientele.

 

davine4real,>>>> Charge for alignment check if the work isn't performed. Don't do alignment if you are not allowed to do it 100%...items up for law suit. You don't need customers who want you to do that anyway

It only makes complete sense to charge for inspection since a test drive and complete suspension/front end "inspection" was done. Not shops fault it found concerning issues that the customer chose not to have done. A customer is fortunate to find a shop to be honest enough to not just shove a bogus alignment through just to make sure to get more $$.

 

 

Offering discounts is a business model in which I do not subscribe to.

 

Since I am charging a "premium" price for an alignment my next project is to come up with a benefits list of our alignments. Hopefully if I revamp my approach I will not get the same push back.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 

Offering discounts is a business model in which I do not subscribe to.

 

Since I am charging a "premium" price for an alignment my next project is to come up with a benefits list of our alignments. Hopefully if I revamp my approach I will not get the same push back.

 

I like that approach, makes for a stronger, more confident looking shop to a potential customer. Kill'em with confidence and pride.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My suggestion would be to stop worrying about a few customer's who say "unhappy with the service" I have many customers who say our prices are too high but the other 90% of my customers believe our prices are fair. I'm not going to entertain changing our prices because of the few that are unhappy with them. If your system of selling alignments is working for you, then I would stick with it and ignore the small percentage of customer's that do not like it.

 

Scott

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • 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 carmcapriotto
      Live from AAPEX 2022 with Jaron Kleber, National Sales Manager, Repair Shop of Tomorrow, a NAPA AutoCare endorsed program. Jaron discusses the parallels between the health and automotive industry and educating your customers to be proactive, not reactive to car repairs. Jaron Kleber, National Sales Manager, Repair Shop of Tomorrow Key Talking Points
      There are so many parallels between the healthcare industry and the automotive industry Switching from reactive to proactive maintenance   Processes that your team and you have in place and you can't execute those processes unless you have a solid digital vehicle inspection Customer experience- are you explaining your shop’s policy and procedure? The 300% rule on how we present the DVI. That's the policy Your responsibility is to that customer to let them know what's going on with their vehicle Repair Shop of Tomorrow, coaches, consultants, trainers and marketing. A tailored approach to each shop and help implement other NAPA programs that would be beneficial for them to grow. Like so many consumers, Jaron purchased his wife's leased car- how many customers are coming to your independent repair shop for the first time? How do you make them a client, not a customer?
      Connect with the Podcast: Aftermarket Radio Network Subscribe on YouTube Visit us on the Web Follow on Facebook Become an Insider Buy me a coffee Important Books Check out today's partner: Learn more about NAPA AutoCare and the benefits of being part of the NAPA family by visiting www.NAPAAutoCare.com
         
      Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio
    • By ASOG Podcast
      Dealing with BAD Customer Service: How to Handle It When You Expand Your Business
    • By carmcapriotto
      How many jobs do your service advisors have? Who covers when you are short-handed? How many technicians per advisor do you have? Are you using technology and systems to a service advisor’s advantage? How clear are your objectives to everyone in the shop? What are some different pay plan options? 
      Dave Schedin, CompuTrek Automotive Management Systems. Dave’s previous episodes HERE Bryan Kelley, Valley Automotive Repair & Electric, Covington, WA. Bryan’s previous episodes HERE. Jeff Grassman, Carsmart Auto Service, Sumner, WA. Jeff's previous episodes HERE Dave Kusa, owner of AutoTrend Diagnostics in Campbell, CA. Listen to Dave’s other episodes HERE. Key Talking Points
      Service advisor ranked 5th or 6th most stressful job- how many jobs do your service advisors have? Who covers when you are short-handed? How many techs per advisor? Are you using technology and systems to a service advisor’s advantage? How clear are your objectives to everyone in the shop? Building a model with everyone involved and everyone wins- 360-degree view with transparency with the numbers of the business What is your culture? Hiding numbers? It is about the money, but it’s not about the money- the incentive is to motivate and not ‘just enough to get by,’ and it has to be customizable based on their level. The plan has to have a direction. Ask a mentor, coach, peer Incentivizing the behavior- it has to be attainable Future for advisors? Self-check in? Will they be needed? Other compensations, no weekends? Hours of operation M-F? Lunch break schedule? Vacation time? Medical/dental cost paid by the employer?  If you have a family culture, what about the kids or spouse? College fund? Spouse bonus?
      Connect with the Podcast Aftermarket Radio Network Subscribe on YouTube Visit us on the Web Follow on Facebook Become an Insider Buy me a coffee Important Books Check out today's partners: Shop-Ware: More Time. More Profit. Shop-Ware Shop Management getshopware.com       Delphi Technologies: Keeping current on the latest vehicle systems and how to repair them is a must for today’s technicians. DelphiAftermarket.com
      Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio
    • By Joe Marconi
      A recent Auto Leap Survey revealed that 64% of shop owners are looking to retire in the next 10 years. (Link below to survey) 
      So, I want to take an informal survey of our  ASO members:
      How long have you been a Shop Owner? When do plan on retiring?   
       
    • Advertise your services or products to passers-by attracting them towards your business
    • By Joe Marconi
      Do you have a formal onboarding, or employee orientation, process?  I know that so many shops these days are looking for employees, and many shops have been short-handed for some time now.  But, is it wise to throw people into the mix without a formal onboarding process?  Many say that the time it takes to prepare a new hire will pay dividends down the road. 
      Your thoughts and comments...



  • Our Sponsors


Start LLC for $0 at IncFile


Start LLC for $0 at IncFile


Start LLC for $0 at IncFile

×
×
  • Create New...