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  1. Yesterday
  2. Great story! Great little model too! I like how you added in the bit about the Mechanic at the end very nice sir !
  3. Define luxury, it seems to me, each decade the luxury level changed. Take power windows, that was luxury in the 70's. . . Now it's the norm
  4. Yea, I recognized your wooden model! You have to wonder when did the shift from practical innovations or improvements to the automobile, change to luxury type innovations that really are not needed and just add cost to the automobile. What year do you think that happened?
  5. BTW, the wooden car... it's one of the many models I have built over the years. Built from scratch too.
  6. Car and Driver The technical changes most everyone is familiar with have more to do with emissions or performance issues. But, let’s step back a bit and look at the whole thing from the occupant’s vantage point. You know, what changes has the driver had to endure? When the horse and buggy were still rulers of the open road, cars were just a tinkerers dream. Actually those open roads were more like uneven ditches with wagon wheel ruts, but a road none the less. The first cars had to adapt to those rutted roads and of course, the driver had to take his fair share of bumps and bruises just to prove his new horseless carriage was up to the task. It wasn’t long before a confrontation between the staunch horse and buggy drivers and the scarf wearing, goggle protected new-fangled automobile occupants came to a cross road. Laws were enacted that a man had to walk at least 50 paces in front of the car holding a raised red flag to warn fellow travelers (mainly the horses) to be aware of this metal contraption belching noxious fumes while sputtering along at the amazing speed of 7 mph. Later, it was the horse and buggies turn to have a red flag warning assistant in front of them as the roles of were reversed. Before long, a horn was mounted to the side of the car creating this obnoxious sound that not only scared the remaining horses but annoyed every passerby as well. The model T has always been considered the father of the new age of automobiles. But, there were a lot of improvements other than the assembly line that came along around the same time period. Later, enclosed cabs were added into the latest designs with retractable windows and a hard top. Heating systems were incorporated along with other creature comforts. All of these changes made the ride that much more enjoyable, and of course, sold a lot more cars. Eventually the pedals of the model T were replaced with the standard three pedal design, which made operating the car a bit more “driver-friendly”. Changing gears was made easier with a shift lever instead mashing down the pedal for low and up for high as in the model T. Cold starting a car was still an issue, but instead of getting out of the car and raising the hood, a lever on the dash could be pulled out for cold starts and in when the engine warmed up. The electric “automatic” choke followed years later which meant one less chore the driver had to accomplish. Hand starting your car was the norm. Even with careful instructions there was still the potential of a few wrench elbows and a couple of broken bones from simply trying to get the car started for that weekend jaunt around the country side. An electric starter was the answer. Now all the driver had to do was mash a pedal on the floor to accomplish the same task. When the automatic transmission made its debut a person’s strength or ability to shift correctly wasn’t important in operating a vehicle. The car was becoming even more user friendly. The huge steering wheels could now be replaced with a much smaller version incorporated with power steering. Brakes, wipers, suspension, steering, lighting, heating, and air conditioning improvements meant less effort and far less exertion on the driver’s part to control the vehicle while being enclosed in their very own micro climate controlled environment. The car was becoming what some said in the 50’s as ‘futuristic’. True, yes… but Oh, if they only knew what was coming off those assembly lines just a few decades later. Thoughts changed to emission controls and safety issues during the 60’s and 70’s. Speed limits, bumper heights, seat belts, safety glass, were required from all the manufacturers. Those creature comforts were not forgotten about either. Smoother rides, better tires, and lush interiors were on the minds of every manufacturer. But, it was only the beginning of things to come. We’ve zoomed through the jet set age, moon landings, and the smog, to come face to face with the electronic age or what some would call the computer age. Cars aren’t wired together with bulky switches, relays, and mechanical linkages anymore, most everything is data signals, sensors and plastic. Not only is the modern car a rolling computer controlling all aspects of the emissions and passenger comfort it is also can be seen, controlled, and monitored by outside sources. Let’s face it, the days of you holding your hand out of the window to signal or move that seldom used device on the side of the steering column to tell other drivers of your intentions of a right turn may be entirely left up to a computer and not yourself. The car will soon talk to the other cars on the road and they’ll all know what your destination is, and the route you’re taking. All you need to do is tell the car to ‘Go’. In the near future, the only requirement to “drive” a car is to be able to push ‘enter’. Traffic lights, R&R crossings, and highway congestion can all be controlled by a system of checks and balances. You won’t need to know how to shift the transmission, how to use a road map, decide which wiper speed to use, signal for a turn, judge when the high beams need to be dimmed, or control your traveling speed. You won’t have to do a thing except to be patient and wait in the comfort of your car while you arrive at your destination safe and sound. When that day comes, you won’t need a steering wheel, pedals, or even a horn. Today’s standard safety features such as air bags, have saved countless lives, but it’s possible that a new and far more advanced crash avoidance system may even make the air bag system as obsolete as the guy with the red flag. Multiple position seating with heat, massage, and air conditioning, automatic tinted windows, premium sound systems, navigation, active cruise control, parking assist, touch screen commands, voice recognition, and an endless variety of other creature comforts are available. Honestly, some of these creature comforts are far better than what I have at home! But, it’s our car, our transportation, something we spend several hours in and of course, we want it to be just the way we like it. It’s no wonder you hear that today’s generation can’t drive a stick shift, or how they’ve never heard of “three on the tree”, let alone understand the three pedals on a model T. Those technologies are from a different time, a different era, and are not part of the modern world. In fact, most new cars don’t even have a shifter of any sort. Everything is done by the push of a button. Talk about occupant evolution! What do you think the next generation of drivers are ‘not’ going to need to know that you need to know today? It’s very possible that an ignition key will only be found in a museum, and I’ll bet they probably won’t understand what a door key was used for. Soon, those automatous cars won’t be something we’ve heard about, but will be the average-everyday car on the road. Now, the only reason to have a guy holding a red flag is to keep the crowd back from the cars on display at the weekend car show. But, through all the evolutionary changes for the car and driver, one thing has remained a constant. The seldom appreciated, hardly thanked, and least likely to be respected by the hustling-bustling-fast paced money-chasing drivers of these new-fangled contraptions… the person we couldn’t do without… the mechanic. As long as they make some form of transportation, and continually make it more complicated the more we need the educated and highly skilled technician to keep things in tip top shape. Today’s average driver knows far less about their cars than the previous generation. Although the mechanic needs to know quite a bit more than their predecessors. Before a driver was responsible for nearly every function of the car, but those functions have been passed onto computer signals. The responsibility of keeping those computer signals flowing has fallen onto the mechanic. So, if you like all of your cars bells and whistles, thank a design engineer. If you’d like to keep all those bells and whistles working…thank a mechanic. There may not be a ‘driver’ for every car in the future, unfortunately, they’ve been evolved out of the picture. But, you can be sure one thing… there will still be a need for a mechanic. View full article
  7. Car and Driver The technical changes most everyone is familiar with have more to do with emissions or performance issues. But, let’s step back a bit and look at the whole thing from the occupant’s vantage point. You know, what changes has the driver had to endure? When the horse and buggy were still rulers of the open road, cars were just a tinkerers dream. Actually those open roads were more like uneven ditches with wagon wheel ruts, but a road none the less. The first cars had to adapt to those rutted roads and of course, and the driver had take his fair share of bumps and bruises just to prove his new horseless carriage was up to the task. It wasn’t long before a confrontation between the staunch horse and buggy drivers and the scarf wearing, goggle protected new-fangled automobile occupants came to a cross road. Laws were enacted that a man had to walk at least 50 paces in front of the car holding a raised red flag to warn fellow travelers (mainly the horses) to be aware of this metal contraption belching noxious fumes while sputtering along at the amazing speed of 7 mph. Later, it was the horse and buggies turn to have a red flag warning assistant in front of them as the roles of were reversed. Before long, a horn was mounted to the side of the car creating this obnoxious sound that not only scared the remaining horses but annoyed every passerby as well. The model T has always been considered the father of the new age of automobiles. But, there were a lot of improvements other than the assembly line that came along around the same time period. Later, enclosed cabs were added into the latest designs with retractable windows and a hard top. Heating systems were incorporated along with other creature comforts. All of these changes made the ride that much more enjoyable, and of course, sold a lot more cars. Eventually the pedals of the model T were replaced with the standard three pedal design, which made operating the car a bit more “driver-friendly”. Changing gears was made easier with a shift lever instead mashing down the pedal for low and up for high as in the model T. Cold starting a car was still an issue, but instead of getting out of the car and raising the hood, a lever on the dash could be pulled out for cold starts and in when the engine warmed up. The electric “automatic” choke followed years later which meant one less chore the driver had to accomplish. Hand starting your car was the norm. Even with careful instructions there was still the potential of a few wrench elbows and a couple of broken bones from simply trying to get the car started for that weekend jaunt around the country side. An electric starter was the answer. Now all the driver had to do was mash a pedal on the floor to accomplish the same task. When the automatic transmission made its debut a person’s strength or ability to shift correctly wasn’t important in operating a vehicle. The car was becoming even more user friendly. The huge steering wheels could now be replaced with a much smaller version incorporated with power steering. Brakes, wipers, suspension, steering, lighting, heating, and air conditioning improvements meant less effort and far less exertion on the driver’s part to control the vehicle while being enclosed in their very own micro climate controlled environment. The car was becoming what some said in the 50’s as ‘futuristic’. True, yes… but Oh, if they only knew what was coming off those assembly lines just a few decades later. Thoughts changed to emission controls and safety issues during the 60’s and 70’s. Speed limits, bumper heights, seat belts, safety glass, were required from all the manufacturers. Those creature comforts were not forgotten about either. Smoother rides, better tires, and lush interiors were on the minds of every manufacturer. But, it was only the beginning of things to come. We’ve zoomed through the jet set age, moon landings, and the smog, to come face to face with the electronic age or what some would call the computer age. Cars aren’t wired together with bulky switches, relays, and mechanical linkages anymore, most everything is data signals, sensors and plastic. Not only is the modern car a rolling computer controlling all aspects of the emissions and passenger comfort it is also can be seen, controlled, and monitored by outside sources. Let’s face it, the days of you holding your hand out of the window to signal or move that seldom used device on the side of the steering column to tell other drivers of your intentions of a right turn may be entirely left up to a computer and not yourself. The car will soon talk to the other cars on the road and they’ll all know what your destination is, and the route you’re taking. All you need to do is tell the car to ‘Go’. In the near future, the only requirement to “drive” a car is to be able to push ‘enter’. Traffic lights, R&R crossings, and highway congestion can all be controlled by a system of checks and balances. You won’t need to know how to shift the transmission, how to use a road map, decide which wiper speed to use, signal for a turn, judge when the high beams need to be dimmed, or control your traveling speed. You won’t have to do a thing except to be patient and wait in the comfort of your car while you arrive at your destination safe and sound. When that day comes, you won’t need a steering wheel, pedals, or even a horn. Today’s standard safety features such as air bags, have saved countless lives, but it’s possible that a new and far more advanced crash avoidance system may even make the air bag system as obsolete as the guy with the red flag. Multiple position seating with heat, massage, and air conditioning, automatic tinted windows, premium sound systems, navigation, active cruise control, parking assist, touch screen commands, voice recognition, and an endless variety of other creature comforts are available. Honestly, some of these creature comforts are far better than what I have at home! But, it’s our car, our transportation, something we spend several hours in and of course, we want it to be just the way we like it. It’s no wonder you hear that today’s generation can’t drive a stick shift, or how they’ve never heard of “three on the tree”, let alone understand the three pedals on a model T. Those technologies are from a different time, a different era, and are not part of the modern world. In fact, most new cars don’t even have a shifter of any sort. Everything is done by the push of a button. Talk about occupant evolution! What do you think the next generation of drivers are ‘not’ going to need to know that you need to know today? It’s very possible that an ignition key will only be found in a museum, and I’ll bet they probably won’t understand what a door key was used for. Soon, those automatous cars won’t be something we’ve heard about, but will be the average-everyday car on the road. Now, the only reason to have a guy holding a red flag is to keep the crowd back from the cars on display at the weekend car show. But, through all the evolutionary changes for the car and driver, one thing has remained a constant. The seldom appreciated, hardly thanked, and least likely to be respected by the hustling-bustling-fast paced money-chasing drivers of these new-fangled contraptions… the person we couldn’t do without… the mechanic. As long as they make some form of transportation, and continually make it more complicated the more we need the educated and highly skilled technician to keep things in tip top shape. Today’s average driver knows far less about their cars than the previous generation. Although the mechanic needs to know quite a bit more than their predecessors. Before a driver was responsible for nearly every function of the car, but those functions have been passed onto computer signals. The responsibility of keeping those computer signals flowing has fallen onto the mechanic. So, if you like all of your cars bells and whistles, thank a design engineer. If you’d like to keep all those bells and whistles working…thank a mechanic. There may not be a ‘driver’ for every car in the future, unfortunately, they’ve been evolved out of the picture. But, you can be sure one thing… there will still be a need for a mechanic.
  8. Last week
  9. Hi-Gear how much did it cost you the total package? I just got a quote from Hunter the rack is $32,070 and the Alignment machine is $13,660.
  10. Service Advisor Performance

    Let me know what you get . I'm looking for the same info. Thanks
  11. credit card machine fees

    We are using go payment from quick books. 1.6%, 25cents per transaction and 19.95 per month. No hidden fees, deposits within two days and fees are dedcuted at same time as deposit.
  12. More Issues with Flat Rate

    The tech shortage isn’t all about money. I think it’s a lot harder to do this work compared to 22 yrs ago when I started. Well, at least if you want to make good money. Knowledge wise, it’s way more demanding and physically it’s way more demanding. To make good money in this industry, you have to be an intelligent person nowadays, not just moderately skilled. A lot of young guys come into this industry and realize it’s not easy. On top of this we are talking about the snowflake generation. There is definitely a different mentality today with young people. They think they should instantly be able to work thier way to the top and be rich. I had a kid right out of high school with no experience what so ever tell me he wanted $12 per hr to start. That was the end of our chat. Minimum wage in my area is $7.35. I start lube techs at 10-12 an hr. Its a good starting point. I try to get guys from oil change places or tire stores. A person that shows promise will not be in a lube tech position for too long. I will usually pay them $5 extra per hour commission done on small repairs.
  13. When your techs come to you to tell you they’re stumped, and you give them a recommendation, you’ll lose regardless of the outcome. If you solve the problem, you’ve sent a message to the tech that you’re more knowledgeable than they are, which is not going to build their confidence. But then it gets worse; you’ve also taught them to come to you when they're up against a wall. This is a lose-lose situation, in that if your recommendation doesn’t solve the problem, the tech will come back to you looking for your next recommendation, because you’ve now assumed ownership of the problem. As a business owner, you need to invest your time working on the business, not working on cars or solving problems for your techs. The answer is a lot easier than you may think. The first thing you need to do is create a system for solving technical problems in your shop. Once you have the system outlined, you’ll need to meet with all your techs and tell them something like this: “Guys, I realize you all know we each have a job here at Elite Auto Service. Mine is to set the goals of the company, hire remarkable people like you, and to provide you with a lot of opportunities. Your job is to accurately diagnose the vehicles, and then get our customers back on the road just as soon as possible. Unfortunately, I’ve been spending way too much time helping you do your job, which means that I don’t have the time needed to do my job to the best of my ability.” “So what I’ve done is put together a system that you guys can use to solve technical problems without my help. Here’s how it’s going to work: If you get stumped with any diagnosis or repair, the first thing you’ll need to do is ask one another for any ideas. If no one in the shop has a quick answer, I want you to go to the second step, which is checking our Mitchell Repair service. If you can’t find the answer there, I want you to go to the third step, which is to call our technical support line. Now, if for whatever reason, you still can’t come up with the answer, it’s time to go to step number four, which is to post online. If you still can’t find the answer, then it’s time for step five: Partner up with another one of our techs and commit to resolving the issue together, because you know as well as I do, there’s a good chance the answer is right under your nose, and sometimes all we need is a second set of eyes. At this point you’ll need to hit the reset button, and start at the very beginning by re-confirming the customer’s complaint, and then going through this entire problem solving system one more time.” “Now if for whatever reason you still can’t solve the problem, then you’re more than welcome to come see me to ask if I can help. But if you do, bear in mind that I’m going to ask you what you have done to solve the problem so far, and I’m going to have an expectation that you’re going to tell me you’ve followed each and every one of these steps.” “So here’s what I’m going to do next: I’m going to put each of these steps down on a piece of paper, and pass out copies to each of you. Then we’re going to have another meeting so I can learn what you think we need to add, subtract or change on our list. As soon as it’s finalized, I’m going to give each of you a copy, and I’ll have an expectation that you’ll use it. If you do, I am confident you’ll be able to solve problems a lot more quickly, you’ll flag more hours, and I’ll be able to do what I need to do: Invest my time in finding ways to provide you with all of the opportunities you’ll need.” In closing, I know there is no one single problem solving system that will work for every shop, but hopefully this information will give you the start you need to solve the age-old problem of your techs relying on you, when all they need is a simple system they can follow. Since 1990, Bob Cooper has been the president of Elite, a company that strives to help shop owners reach their goals and live happier lives, while elevating the industry at the same time. The company offers coaching and training from the industry’s top shop owners, service advisor training, peer groups, along with sales, marketing and shop management courses. You can learn more about Elite by visiting www.EliteWorldwide.com.
  14. The one that we are going with is month-to-month. We only have to pay for the embroidered shirts if we boot them before two years is up. Live and learn.
  15. credit card machine fees

    I have been with electronic payment systems for over 2 years, and my average fees for both locations are always right around 1.8% for the month. What i like better than anything is that i have a local rep that is excellent with customer service. If there is an issue with a machine, he comes out and fixes it personally, or he calls the company and handles it. I have never had to sit on hold waiting for support. That aspect is a huge value for me.
  16. Joe, This topic has been an issue as long as i can remember. And that is why so many shops complain about no being able to hire quality techs. We pay our techs a base pay and then flat rate on top of that. It works out to about 50-55% base pay, and 45-50% flat rate. It provides a more consistent pay for them if there is a slow week. It also balances the burden of making sure there are cars to work on. My techs make from 50-75k, Our payroll numbers are good, we are averaging 17% net for the year, and everyone is happy.
  17. I'm to the point that I almost refuse to sign contracts (unless I don't have much of a choice). We don't ask customers to sign a contract with us, it's up to us to earn and keep their business. In fact, some of the best companies I work with do month to month because they know their product/service is top notch. Usually the ones I sign a contract with are the ones I regret doing business with
  18. Military Discount

    First off in your zip code you have a military population of (web provided info) close to 25%. One quarter of your phone quotes are, or could be asking for that discount. When you are talking to them working up a price somewhere in the conversation ask them if there military so you can work that into your price quote. Here again is my point on the statement that is made so many times " We don't want the discount shopper in our shop" In this area you would be saying I don't need 25% of my customer base coming to my shop !! Work with your tire distributor, parts store , get creative , do something your competition is not to get these customers a reason to come to you and after a short while, price will have nothing to do with why they come to you. As those pilots would say " you are in a target rich environment " With tire rebates etc you have to work with you could be very creative in offers and not give up anything and gain customers.
  19. Ditto. We've been in that situation, and this can make it difficult to service your clients. If you're doing work for the lot it should be fill work, not scheduled, and shouldn't stop you from taking appointments from YOUR customers.
  20. This is a rant, pure and simple, but I hope that it can serve as a cautionary tale for others. Unifirst came in with a proposal as the "AAA preferred uniform vendor". As we are a AAA approved shop we qualified for special pricing, almost 30% less than what we were paying at that time. We gave them our business and it has been a cluster since. It took almost 6 months for them to deliver, and when they did the sizes were all over the map. About half of my employees (and myself) had to have size changes. They embroidered all our dark shirts with dark logos and had to re-do them which took months. They actually embroidered them wrong TWICE before they got it right. My tech's shirts came back with with huge oil and rust stains after their first washing and have never been clean since. The towels are usually oily and sometimes have metal shavings in them. They routinely mis-deliver and fail to deliver uniforms, leaving techs short for the week. I've had the service manager, plant manager, and regional manager all in my office to tell me that this would all be corrected, to no avail. We have a new service starting in December and I anticipate threats to sue on the three year agreement they require. I've been cataloging, photographing and corresponding with them over the past 8 months and I am confident that we can prove that they are unable to provide anything close to the level of service they promised. I have learned, yet again, that you get what you pay for. Don't let Unifirst in the door.
  21. Military Discount

    New customer calls pricing tires and wheels, tight margin items. After we get to the closing of the sell they say, oh by the way, do you have military discounts. What would you offer.
  22. Military Discount

    Ok, Give me a scenario on a customer coming in and on what they are looking for a discount on. I may be able to help you in showing the customer a discount without effecting your margin that you need in making a win win for both.
  23. Customer gets my price down as low as I can go then they ask about a Military Discount. How do you guys/gals handle this. I usually sniff out the takers although these are nice people looking for the best price. I am sure this happens with others , I just have not found a way out. I usually compliment a oil change or a extra service although it always feels odd. Any ideas would be appreciated.
  24. Vision KC

    Awesome! Hopefully we'll have the opportunity to meet! Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk
  25. THAT DISCOUNT CUSTOMER YOU DON"T WANT

    Really ! If you don't someone else will and your right, you won't see them again! Time and time again I hear in this site "They just want a discount" they are not the kind of customer we want !! I would suggest you change your mind set. Just because a customer has been programmed to seek discounts doesn't make them a bad customer. Every business offers some kind of marketing pitch that, in the customers eyes, is a discount. DEAL WITH IT !! And how YOU DEAL WITH IT can get you a lot of good repeat customers. Yes customers that trust you, spend money with you ,listen to you etc. You should ,or have a staff of advisers that should be able to overcome this and in the process gain a customer. Your competition is changing rapidly in 2018 as small lube shop chains are starting to do brakes, tires, etc. That's right your gravy work, and that's just the beginning. There are a lot of changes getting ready to be rolled out in 2018. Be innovative, smart and never judge a book by it's cover it could cost you more that ever. How do you deal with that type of customer ? I hope in the future it is with doing smart business.
  26. It is time to get serious about 2018. This could be your year to get to where you need to be. Get ahead of industry and weather changes by acting now. Market your shop in both, call to action and branding your business all at the same time, all year long. Having a program for any size shop in marketing and management, training your staff in sales, customer service etc. We can get it done for a small investment that produces big returns. You can be the number one go to shop in your market. Contact me for a no cost consultation.
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