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  1. Today
  2. Great feature. Don't know if it will be utilized but it is a great idea.
  3. What do you guys think about this statement?
  4. We've launched a new section here at AutoShopOwner called Groups. You'll see the section link in our main menu. We've had some requests in the past to have the ability to start specific forum sections and group sections within our forums and this not only addresses that, but also gives you the ability to start your own "mini" AutoShopOwner based on basically whatever you want. Our Premium, Platinum, and Sponsor members can all be group creators. All FREE members can join groups, but it's up to the Group creator on who is allowed in, who is invited, etc. Group creators can also assign moderators and control aspects of the group. Our Platinum and Sponsor members have the added ability of creating closed/private groups as well. This can be a great way to start your own network. At any time, you can upgrade your membership here. Once you create a group, you can add a topics section (just like our main forum), chat section (same as regular chat), blogs, downloads, gallery, etc. It's really up to the group creator on how to lay it out and it's simple to do. Once you create a group, it will be approved by us within 24 hours and you'll be ready to go. I'm going to leave it at that for now and encourage anyone that is interested in this, to go ahead and try to start a group. You'll see how easy it is. In the very near future I am going to be starting a blog around AutoShopOwner features, as we have a lot of them...😎
  5. New Group Section, get your own mini AutoShopOwner!

  6. Yesterday
  7. I can't complain, business had been really great this year, mostly because we were able to identify several patterns that really let us prosper. And you know what, another opportunity is coming right this very minute that will let you make a lot of wealth that will let you retire if that is what you are looking for. As you are aware, all the catastrophes that are affecting our country will dislocate millions of people. You will see a lot of migration into your areas putting pressure into housing, and inflation. Labor will be abundant and assets will rise in price, so act accordingly and take this great opportunity for what it is. Cheers, -Harry.
  8. reminds me of a computer repair from years ago where it passed all diagnostics yet in real time(computer was running software to do a specific task) it would fail. so how you fix it? While running the real time program you would swap out electronic boards that made the computer run until you found which board it was. Anyway back then then there were spare boards on each system. Today you would just replace the computer. Keep in mind that one computer years ago cost $30k or more!
  9. Painting you will see at our RTP shop. Owen, our technician Matt's 13 yr old son painted it. We… https://t.co/WTFQQGztiL

  10. ahh yes, lol the code tells you what is wrong guys. Unfortunately I work with those guys LOL.. I have seen them go round and round with a car, I come over and in a short time find the problem for them. Then when the customer comes to get the car they wear the crown proudly , trying to BS their way through any questions the customer asks taking full credit for the diagnostics . Sometimes I will step in and give the explanation of the problem making them wonder if the guy they are talking too really did the job, but I do not come out and out them completely . These guys are really no better than the customer who thinks the code tells all . I always tell them think of a code as a number on a door, open that door and there is a long hallway lined with doors on both sides up and down, behind one of those doors is the problem, you can guess and open every door for a fee or just diagnose the problem and open just the one door . I think that one door is going to cost less than opening several till you find the problem. These guys you will find, are also the Youtuber's for repair. I had a customer come to me yesterday with a 2017 jeep he slammed the door and knocked the glass off track. I gave him the estimate to put it back.. "That's okay I can figure it out on Youtube." off he went. about three hours later I see him pull up , I am thinking great look at this guy coming to gloat in his glory. Nope he had four band-aids on his fingers and a now broken regulator and door handle.. As he agreed to my estimate he stated " See the difference between the average guy and the mechanic is the average guy can take it apart they just can't put it back together where as the mechanic can put it back together" I just looked at him laughed and said "Really that is what you think" I said "the difference is we figure out what is wrong and make the repair without breaking tons of other parts, not to mention we don't wear as many band-aids !" Also remember one thing, who told you what was wrong with your window.
  11. Water Cooler Diagnostics We’ve all heard the phrase, “codes don’t fix cars, good diagnostics does”. Codes are merely a direction or path, not the answer as some might think. Those “codes fix it all” believers are usually at the bottom of the diagnostic chain. You know the type; those Neanderthals with little wrenches and big cheater bars, or the ones that follow the old adage, “When in doubt-rip it out” method of diagnosing a problem. It’s seems to me that car repair for a certain demographic of people has always been something related to hand-me-down repair information, not diagnostic skills. I believe it’s all because of the availability of cheaply made parts and bad information. Some of it is hearsay, but a lot of it comes from two guys chatting next to the water cooler at work, and neither one of them have any automotive diagnostics background at all. This latest case study is a perfect example of why swapping parts and paying attention to those water cooler experts isn’t always a good idea. A trained technician with diagnostic background and less time at the water cooler may be what you need. A 2007 Dodge 4.7L pickup came into the shop with a stalling problem. The owner had already stopped by the water cooler and made a trip to the code fairy. Since no codes were stored, there wasn’t much for him to do except follow the water cooler genius’ advice. He swapped out every sensor and computer part he was told about and a few more he could barely reach, just to be safe. All of which didn’t change a thing. Before writing up the work order, I had to listen to his story, which ended like most of them do, "I've already spent too much on this truck, and I don't want to spend a penny more." (I wonder what kind of commission the water cooler guy got from the part store for helping this guy spend all his cash.) The stalling was pretty predictable, usually every 15 minutes. Just as it would stall, the check engine light would rapidly flash, then the truck would sit silent. If you turned the key off and back on, the truck would run perfectly as if nothing happened, right up to the very moment the whole scenario repeated itself. Since the only odd thing was this momentary flashing of the MIL, I decided to hook up a scanner and wait to see if this odd failure would show up on the screen. Sure enough, code P0688 popped up momentarily, just as the truck stalled “ASD signal low”. Out of habit I reached up and cycled the key. Dang it, the code never stored and the truck is back to running correctly again. I’ll have to wait one more time and see if I actually had the right code number. Since it only occurred as it went through its death roll, catching this failure was going to be tricky. It was the correct code alright, but no signs of dropped voltage or weak connections anywhere to be found. It’s time to pull out the big guns. Break out the scope boys! With the scope hooked up to two different injector leads and the remaining channels on a couple of coils, I spent the afternoon watching the ASD voltage like a nervous hen watching her chicks. As if on cue, the truck died. Not a bit of change on the scope. I’m definitely going at this the wrong way. Something is dropping off, or at least I assumed it was. Instead of looking at the ASD signal, how about checking the injection signal and coil signals from the PCM? This time the scope did have a weird response. Just as it stalled there was a little extra squiggly line that didn’t belong in the pattern on the coil input leads. Very subtle difference, but enough of a difference that it needed closer attention. The voltage signal spiked a bit higher than normal just as the truck would stall, and then the voltage would drop to zero. It must be the PCM or a coil. Since the signal was only there for a brief blip on the scope, it wasn’t exactly something I could put my finger on just yet. Time for some old school tricks. Since the PCM was new, I could at least (with some trepidation) rule it out for now. I could test further, or I could try to create a problem that might mimic what I was seeing on the scope pattern, or with luck, if it was a spike that was coming from a coil, disconnecting it could show the problem. I decided to give this truck a miss of my very own and see if I could increase that little squiggle into a bigger one. I'll unplug one coil and watch the scope pattern. If I’m lucky, the truck will either stay running longer than it normally did, or it might show me a larger voltage spike. Sure enough, I found it on the third coil. As long as that particular coil was left unplugged, the truck ran well past the usual stall time. To verify it, I plugged the coil back in and watched the scope readings directly at that coil. A millisecond before the stall the coil spiked to the top of the screen as the truck shut off. Just as I suspected, if it was on the coil that was causing the problem the spiked voltage would show higher there than on the adjacent coils. The big question for me was why did it not set a code? The reason was the coil lead led straight to the PCM. The extra high voltage going back into the circuit simply turned the PCM off as if the key was turned off. There’s no codes for shutting the truck off, only codes for failures that make it shut off. The solution...replace the coil. Now and then there are problems that don’t follow the diagnostic steps laid out by the engineers. Even though you’d think every aspect and every type of condition has been tried and tested, or at least talked about around the water cooler. There are times when you’ve got to look past the “assumed” problem and dig a little deeper to find the cause. There's no doubt this repair is going to be another one of those conversations around the water cooler, but I seriously doubt anywhere in this story will the novice know-it-all admit that it took an experienced technician to locate his problem, not his water cooler buddy. Oh, and I don’t expect to hear him say as he leans on the cooler, “Codes don’t fix cars, mechanics do” even when there isn't a code. View full article
  12. Water Cooler Diagnostics We’ve all heard the phrase, “codes don’t fix cars, good diagnostics does”. Codes are merely a direction or path, not the answer as some might think. Those “codes fix it all” believers are usually at the bottom of the diagnostic chain. You know the type; those Neanderthals with little wrenches and big cheater bars, or the ones that follow the old adage, “When in doubt-rip it out” method of diagnosing a problem. It’s seems to me that car repair for a certain demographic of people has always been something related to hand-me-down repair information, not diagnostic skills. I believe it’s all because of the availability of cheaply made parts and bad information. Some of it is hearsay, but a lot of it comes from two guys chatting next to the water cooler at work, and neither one of them have any automotive diagnostics background at all. This latest case study is a perfect example of why swapping parts and paying attention to those water cooler experts isn’t always a good idea. A trained technician with diagnostic background and less time at the water cooler may be what you need. A 2007 Dodge 4.7L pickup came into the shop with a stalling problem. The owner had already stopped by the water cooler and made a trip to the code fairy. Since no codes were stored, there wasn’t much for him to do except follow the water cooler genius’ advice. He swapped out every sensor and computer part he was told about and a few more he could barely reach, just to be safe. All of which didn’t change a thing. Before writing up the work order, I had to listen to his story, which ended like most of them do, "I've already spent too much on this truck, and I don't want to spend a penny more." (I wonder what kind of commission the water cooler guy got from the part store for helping this guy spend all his cash.) The stalling was pretty predictable, usually every 15 minutes. Just as it would stall, the check engine light would rapidly flash, then the truck would sit silent. If you turned the key off and back on, the truck would run perfectly as if nothing happened, right up to the very moment the whole scenario repeated itself. Since the only odd thing was this momentary flashing of the MIL, I decided to hook up a scanner and wait to see if this odd failure would show up on the screen. Sure enough, code P0688 popped up momentarily, just as the truck stalled “ASD signal low”. Out of habit I reached up and cycled the key. Dang it, the code never stored and the truck is back to running correctly again. I’ll have to wait one more time and see if I actually had the right code number. Since it only occurred as it went through its death roll, catching this failure was going to be tricky. It was the correct code alright, but no signs of dropped voltage or weak connections anywhere to be found. It’s time to pull out the big guns. Break out the scope boys! With the scope hooked up to two different injector leads and the remaining channels on a couple of coils, I spent the afternoon watching the ASD voltage like a nervous hen watching her chicks. As if on cue, the truck died. Not a bit of change on the scope. I’m definitely going at this the wrong way. Something is dropping off, or at least I assumed it was. Instead of looking at the ASD signal, how about checking the injection signal and coil signals from the PCM? This time the scope did have a weird response. Just as it stalled there was a little extra squiggly line that didn’t belong in the pattern on the coil input leads. Very subtle difference, but enough of a difference that it needed closer attention. The voltage signal spiked a bit higher than normal just as the truck would stall, and then the voltage would drop to zero. It must be the PCM or a coil. Since the signal was only there for a brief blip on the scope, it wasn’t exactly something I could put my finger on just yet. Time for some old school tricks. Since the PCM was new, I could at least (with some trepidation) rule it out for now. I could test further, or I could try to create a problem that might mimic what I was seeing on the scope pattern, or with luck, if it was a spike that was coming from a coil, disconnecting it could show the problem. I decided to give this truck a miss of my very own and see if I could increase that little squiggle into a bigger one. I'll unplug one coil and watch the scope pattern. If I’m lucky, the truck will either stay running longer than it normally did, or it might show me a larger voltage spike. Sure enough, I found it on the third coil. As long as that particular coil was left unplugged, the truck ran well past the usual stall time. To verify it, I plugged the coil back in and watched the scope readings directly at that coil. A millisecond before the stall the coil spiked to the top of the screen as the truck shut off. Just as I suspected, if it was on the coil that was causing the problem the spiked voltage would show higher there than on the adjacent coils. The big question for me was why did it not set a code? The reason was the coil lead led straight to the PCM. The extra high voltage going back into the circuit simply turned the PCM off as if the key was turned off. There’s no codes for shutting the truck off, only codes for failures that make it shut off. The solution...replace the coil. Now and then there are problems that don’t follow the diagnostic steps laid out by the engineers. Even though you’d think every aspect and every type of condition has been tried and tested, or at least talked about around the water cooler. There are times when you’ve got to look past the “assumed” problem and dig a little deeper to find the cause. There's no doubt this repair is going to be another one of those conversations around the water cooler, but I seriously doubt anywhere in this story will the novice know-it-all admit that it took an experienced technician to locate his problem, not his water cooler buddy. Oh, and I don’t expect to hear him say as he leans on the cooler, “Codes don’t fix cars, mechanics do” even when there isn't a code.
  13. This is a reminder that I will be at the Ratchet and Wrench Conference. This Monday, I will be making two presentations; "Beating Shop Owner Burnout" and "The True Cost of Comeback" If anyone is going, please stop by and say hello....and of course, please attend my presentations! Thank you. Joe https://rwconference.com/
  14. @Ron Ipach your 2 topics have been merged into this one as 2 posts. Please only post once per topic. Thank you.
  15. Last week
  16. Opening on Saturdays

    I changed my hours back in Sept. 2012 8-5:30 M-F to 7a -7p 6 days a week. Full crew and full hours every day. Best single thing I've ever done. It was also one of the hardest transitions I've had to make. While I didn't lose any employees for it, I have lost the opportunity to hire a few great people because Saturdays are not possible for them. My techs work 7:30-6:30 and advisors go from bell to bell. The switch was good for an almost instant 20% increase in sales. 3 weeks after changing hours, Saturday revenue was indistinguishable from any other day. The ARO on Saturday is slightly lower, and the car count slightly higher. 2013 was our first full year of it, and we finished the year up 34% over 2012. The key seems to have been having full crew and regular hours. Half crew and half days gets you less than half results. Parts can be a challenge, but you quickly learn who you can count on for Saturday parts, which we then reward with more purchases from them during the week. The beauty of having a full crew and full hours is that we can identify problems during an oil change inspection, and actually get the work done without putting the customer out of their car during the week. I've found that people who generally get their oil change done on a Saturday are the same people who have a hard time giving up their ride during the week. They appreciate being able to get things done on their day off and are very likely to leave the car for the day for other repairs as long as it can be done same day. The way it works is that everyone is on a rotating schedule. The shop is closed on Sunday of course, but in addition to Sunday, everyone gets 2 days off during the week, and the 2 days off rotates every week. Week 1 has Monday & Tuesday off. Week 2 has Wednesday & Thursday off, and week 3 has Friday & Saturday off. I have 3 advisors and 6 techs. 1 advisor and 2 techs are paired up on each rotation, so I always have 2 advisors and 4 techs in the building. The schedule allows the guys some pretty good time off, and allows me to attract good talent while also working Saturday. Every 3 weeks when week 3 wraps around to meet week 1, the guys get Friday Saturday Sunday Monday and Tuesday off. I tell my people they could go on a cruise and I wouldn't miss them. Combining their 5 day weekend with vacation is not only allowed, it's encouraged. Lube dudes are hourly and work 5 days a week, and both of them work every Saturday. The difficulty in implementing this program was that when I started it I had one advisor, one assistant advisor, and 3 techs. I had a lot of hours of operation I had to cover at the front desk and not enough people to do it. I also didn't have the sales or car count to justify 3 advisors. I made the assistant advisor an advisor even though I knew he wasn't the right guy and would have to replace him, and I filled in the other advisor spot. On the 2 days a week that I wasn't playing advisor, I was playing shop owner/manager. I worked 7-7 six days a week for a year. The new hours and lots of marketing got us in a position to add staff, and after 18 months of this program I was at 3 good advisors and 6 techs. The other difficulty was learning how to handle/avoid having to pass a partially completed job from one tech to another and from one advisor to another without dropping the ball. We bought quite a few rental cars as we figured this out, but now problems with it rarely arise. I didn't really implement any specific strategy to fix it. After the advisors and techs got burned enough times they figured it out all on their own. Now if a big job walks in the door on a Thursday, the advisor who's getting ready for his 5 day break will instinctively pass it to the other advisor. Same for the techs. If they find a big job on an inspection, they'll tell the advisor to give it to another tech. In some instances if there's just too much gravy on the ticket to give away, the advisor or the tech might come in on their day off and sell/finish the job. It all works with almost no input from me.
  17. NEW FREE WEBINAR: Discover The Most Up-To-Date Proven Ways To Increase Your Car Count & Attract More High-Quality Customers To Your Repair Shop What you will learn on this LIVE webinar... If you need more car count, you can’t afford to miss this webinar. We’ll show you exactly how shops all over the country are using the latest techniques and technology to attract more new customers to their shops. There seems to be no shortage of new whiz-bang (and often unproven) ways to advertise your shop that are springing up almost every day. On this webinar, we’ll be working through the clutter and uncovering what actually works now, and what to keep your eye on for the future. The good news is, the cost of attracting new customers has dropped dramatically with most of these new strategies and we’ll show what you can get started on right away with little or no cost to you. And finally, we’ll be debunking myth of the ‘car count shortage’ and show you how to advantage of this to gain an almost ‘unfair advantage’ over your local competition. When: Click Here For Additional Details and To Register For Free...
  18. I wanted to make sure that all of you heard about my brand new FREE webinar I am putting on next week. What you'll learn: How shops all over the country are using the latest techniques and technology to attract more new customers to their shops. How to work through the clutter and uncover what actually works now, and what to keep your eye on for the future. What you can get started on right away with little or no cost to you. How to take advantage of the 'car count shortage' myth to gain an almost unfair advantage over your local competition. When: If you're one of the vast majority shop owners who need more car count you simply can’t afford to miss this webinar. Click here to get all the details and to register… See you there!
  19. Opening on Saturdays

    Although I laid out my history of Saturday hours, I failed to give a conclusion stating my opinion on what is best. Would being open on Sat result in more sales? Absolutely. But there is a trade off. As I have stated in other forum topics, I haven't had to hire a tech in 23 years. Besides a generous pay and benefits plan I truly believe the reason for the longevity of employment I'm experiencing is due to giving the lads a full weekend away from the shop. Lastly, I dusted of the archives and looked back at our numbers from 1994 to 1995 when we made the switch. Our numbers went down 1.3%.
  20. Custom dual exhaust setup. Curious to hear what it sounds like? Video coming soon @ Carmedix… https://t.co/Rj48xEiFLg

  21. The $19.95 Oil Change Offer

    My SA said the customer was scared to even do the bearing at this point. Could he have salvaged a bearing RO out of this? Not likely. I could have but if I have to survive on people whom I can clearly tell are having money issues by taking what little they have then I don't want any part of it. I talked with the customer a little when he checked in to welcome him in and thank him for choosing my shop. A different guy, car was in ROUGH shape, neglected, older, different color quarter panel, etc etc. I feel good about not pushing and getting this poor guy's money. I pray he's safe and finds a way to get the work done somewhere.
  22. The $19.95 Oil Change Offer

    I agree with you both but there has to be more that we don't know or I think he would have done it !!
  23. The $19.95 Oil Change Offer

    No, not right or wrong, but like with everything, it depends. You could choose to run my business model in a two bay shop with one tech, one lube dude, and one advisor. Could it work? yes, depending on your expense structure. If you're in a high rent area, then I would guess probably not. I'm happy to be proven wrong of course. Choosing which business model you want to run is not to be taken lightly. You have to analyze where your bottlenecks are, and whether you can do anything about them. Your math is right, but not all of the story. If a guy is running 160 cars/month at $600 ARO and getting a 20% net, I wouldn't want to move him to 200 cars/month at a $425 ARO and a 20% net. Not only less sales, and less net on those sales, but the advisor doesn't have time to do a good job consistently. And, if a guy is doing 20% net on $96K/mo, I'd bet anything he'll be at 10% net or less on $85K sales. Sales fixes a lot of evils, but it's hard to get around a bottleneck like limited shop space/advisors. I'm obviously a firm believer in oil change marketing, but I'm also realistic about the ARO it will generate. ScottSpec runs a good operation and gets a higher ARO than cheap oil change marketing will likely get him. Is it possible that his advisor is such a rock star that he could prove me wrong and maintain that ARO? Possible, but I don't like the odds. If a shop is running 100 cars/month, and a $200 ARO, then very likely a discounted oil change and proper inspection/sales process would dramatically improve the business and the bottom line. Like I said, it depends. Everyone is surprised when they find out what their customer attrition rate is. The absolute lowest customer attrition rate I've seen is 35%, from a shop in a small town with limited options for auto repair, and an owner that the entire community knows and loves. There's absolutely more room for the bottom to fall out in a small shop. If my car count goes down 35 cars in a month I might notice, but I'm certainly not worried. The shop that's doing 160 cars a month and drops 35 RO's just went into a loss for the month. It's a big problem for any shop to lose 50% of it's customers a year. In fact, it might be a bigger problem for the bigger shop. I literally have to come up with 1000 new customers every year. Can you say that about a shop that runs 160 RO's per month? In either case, if you don't replace those customers who are lost, you will perish 100% of the time. Marketing is critical, I don't care who you are. It's just that I think the marketing needs to be well thought out to produce the car count/ARO/repeat business that you need to be profitable, not simply car count. Oil change marketing certainly does that for me, but I'm not about to say one size fits all.
  24. The $19.95 Oil Change Offer

    If the customer had the $300, we would have done the wheel bearing. That was the most immediate, and most safety related repair, and it gained a new customer. If he needed financing to do anything at all, and got turned down, not much there. Hard to second guess the situation not being there.
  25. Opening on Saturdays

    We used to be opened on Saturday 8-5 for all services. We rotated our 3 techs and 2 service advisers so that 1 of each was always off on Sat. I didn't care which tech or adviser it was, I left that up to them. Eventually we cut it back to 8-2, then 8 to noon. Finally 20 years are so ago I made my techs/advisers a deal. We would not do service on Sat, only tires. The techs and service advisers would get Sat off, but they would all stay 4 hours later one night a week. So on Wed night we would have a full crew till 9. It stayed that way until last year when we split the extra 4 hours into 2 hours extra each on Tues and Wed. Back to Sat. So since 1994 we are open 8-noon for tire work only and it's usually just myself and a tire tech unless I have something going on and then 1 of my 2 advisers fills in. We sell a few tires and do some rotations and tire repairs. Obviously we also have customers make appointments, pickup and drop off vehicles. There are some Sats when we don't pull a vehicle in the bays. However that all changes in late October thru the end of the year during tire season. Then we have both tire techs work as well as myself and 1 of the advisers. Most of the independents in our town are closed on Sat.
  26. Opening on Saturdays

    We tried opening on Saturday's and it didn't work for us at the time. We had 4 techs at the time and two service writers. We would rotate the techs on Saturday and as an incentive we would give them the previous Monday off. This gave them a 3 day weekend. What I found is that we had difficulty in obtaining parts and really did noting more than state inspections, oil changes and brake jobs. While that was ok, the cost was high because we would have an expensive tech doing these services due to the rotation of the techs. We also did not have enough staff in the office and it was easy to get overwhelmed. I'm not saying it doesn't or will not work, we just did not have enough staff to support it and do it well. If we couldn't do it well and provide the level of service that we were accustomed to providing then I felt like we needed to kill it for now. I also always felt guys need two days off. One to get all the stuff they can't get done during the week done and one day to spend with family and friends. None of the shops in my area are open on the weekends other than a few dealers. We will probably revisit at some time and our next shop will be open 6 days a week.
  27. The $19.95 Oil Change Offer

    Obviously you did the right thing by making the customer aware of everything you found upfront rather than sell the wheel bearing and tell him about the rest after the fact. My question is, if after being informed of all the issues he had asked you to do only the wheel bearing would you have done that? I believe we would have.
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