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  1. Yesterday
  2. Hi! I'm looking to open a new automotive repair shop and I could use some help assessing a specific opportunity from the experts here. To put this in perspective, I would be a new owner without prior repair shop experience, however, I understand repair work and have done almost all of my own work on my personal vehicles for nearly 30 years. The scope of work I have personally performed included transmissions swaps, suspension, brakes, ignition systems, fuel systems, computer diagnostics and so on. My formal training is in science and management and I've been in corporate positions for 20+ years. I also have experience running my own real estate rental business. I've always been interested in auto repair and I believe this business would be a very good fit for my aptitude, skills and experience. I would plan to operate as the business owner and bring in skilled staff to handle repairs and customer engagement under my leadership. Here is the scenario I could use help with. I found a 10,000 sq. ft. building which is split up between 6 existing bays (3 front and 3 rear), office space and retail area. The section with the bays has about 5000 sq. ft. , about 1000 sq. ft. of office space and another 4,000 sq. ft. of retail area. The property has not been used for auto repair in a long time but could be converted back very quickly along with opportunity to do something interesting in the retail area. I have many potential ideas for the property. I am running into two primary challenges in evaluating the opportunity. The first is the competitive landscape and the second is how quickly I could ramp up the business along with how much business I would likely do from the location after ramp up. The property is located on a main road with 20-40k total vehicles/day depending on the day of week. About a mile up the road, in a cluster, there are 6 name brand auto dealerships. On the same road, within just a few miles from the site, there are three tire shops, one local and two name brand, along with a Midas and another local 6 bay garage. Think of this as 5 competitors, each with 6 bays plus the new car dealers. There are a handful of smaller local shops with 1-2 bays locally as well. Also, there is a State DMV location, with inspection services in the same zone. The overall geographic area is in a town that contains a Wal-Mart, Lowes, BJ's and a Costco plus restaurants, etc.. These stores are all within 10 minutes from the potential new location. The next closest big retail areas are 30 minutes north or 40 minutes south of the target area described. The demographics of the area skew affluent and population density is moderate - this is not a big city - however people are drawn in from at least a 30 minute drive time radius due to the shopping and other resources. I have a few ideas to differentiate my business from the rest in the area although on Google, it appears that most of the competing businesses have decent reviews overall. My shop would do all types of repairs including the heavier stuff and the bays are very tall so we could potentially accommodate trucks too. So, my questions are: Is this an opportunity worth considering given the competitive landscape? If I were to open a shop, how quickly should I expect business to ramp up? I am really looking for solid feedback from folks with deep experience in this industry to help me evaluate if this is a business proposition worthy of consideration at this location. Thank you!
  3. Well, I'm not having a problem today. I see a post box there now and I expect that it would work. I didn't see one previously, but I can't promise that I wasn't blind on that day. Indeed this was a response to that article and belongs there.
  4. Same in Jersey! We are responsible for the part whether we supplied it or the customer. I use the same “insurance liability” statement. Shuts it down right there. Works every time. Never had a customer argue the point after that.
  5. The Autel MaxiDiag MD808 is a good choice for a Professional OBD2 Scan tool because of the smart design and advanced features. It can help with oil and maintenance service light resets. But have some cons like slow speed for scanning & sometimes Inst. manual is indeterminate or vague.
  6. We don't see it a lot, but when we do, we keep it simple. We tell them that we cannot install customer supplied parts, that my insurance company will not allow it, and that would put my business licenses, as well as a number of my relationships with outside organizations that require insurance, at risk. It completely eliminates the steak and potatoes conversation, or it's variations like bringing your own needles or stitches to the hospital. It also eliminates the I have to make money conversation. None of those usually go very well. It shows you are open to discussing it, and the customer will see that as an opportunity to sway you their direction. When they can't, they will experience it as a failure. Joe, in your opening post, you stated: "I review all the benefits of me suppling the part, the warranty and the fact that if the part is wrong or defective or fails in the future, he will have no recourse and will have to pay to have done all again." You may want to check the laws in your area. There have been quite a few legal cases that have established that you are just as responsible and liable for a customer supplied part as you are for a part that you supplied. You may have to provide the same warranty on their part as you do on one you supply and sell. That's right, you may end up buying a new part out of your pocket, and providing the labor to install it. Even if a customer does not pursue legal actions, they almost always expect that you will "help" them out with the cost of replacing their part, after all, they "already paid you for the repair". For anyone who is still installing customer supplied parts, I suggest you check with your insurance agent to see if you have coverage should the customer supplied part fails. Don't waste your time having a customer sign a waiver. These will never hold up in court. This has been battle tested. The courts hold you to be the expert, not the customer. If you agreed to install it, you have given it your stamp of approval, and now it is your responsibility. There is a more complete article here: https://www.searchautoparts.com/cust-supplied-parts-liability-again One interesting extract from that article is: "I know that in my home state of Maryland and many other states, there also is an issue of parts warranties not being transferrable. In Maryland, any installed part has to be given a minimum 4,000-mile/90-day warranty, and any repair facility would be on its own if a customer supplied part fails. Those implied warranties are very serious business, with all of the risk and liability that comes with them, including such little gems as responsibility for property damage or bodily injury. Install a customer supplied part at your own risk." Maryland also happens to be where my shop is.
  7. Last week
  8. Personal on all 4 subjects. The only texting I do is to get authorization on an ESTIMATE overrun and to advise the customer of job completion and picture of INVOICE. On texting of job completion and picture of INVOICE I have had very positive feedback.
  9. Every bay in my shop is no different than a machine in a factory making whatever they make. I need that machine running to make living. That's why I bought the machine. What happens when the customer supplied part is wrong or defective? Now my machine is shut down while I wait for him to get off work, find the time to ship it back and get a new one delivered plus spend time helping him negotiate who's fault the problem was? Who's going to pay me for the lost income while my machine is shut down? The cheap customer?
  10. @bantar are you having issues commenting on this article by @CAR_AutoReports or other? You should be able to add a comment below the article: You can also post in the syndicated topic (same as the article and shares commenting)
  11. That's a good point, similar to the steak at a restaurant example. When you go to a bar or restaurant, don't expect to get a 6 pack of bud light for $11.99. Expect to pay over $5 a bottle. Your not going to get that same price on the steak you would buy at the butcher's shop either...
  12. A friend of mine asked me if it is possible to use diagnostic scanner initially intended to test cars (12V) but with intended capability to test other vehicles be used to diagnosed truck (24V). The idea is to use OBD 24V to 12V converter adapter (as photo shown) where the adapter to be plugged to truck DLC and the diagnostic scanner will be inserted into the adapter. Are there any considerations of doing so? What else could be the other usage of OBD 24V to 12V converter adapter? Any advise would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
  13. I am at a loss on where to find comprehensive information on rules, regulations and laws that govern Automotive Body Repair in the state of Louisiana.  I have done extensive searches on the internet and made numerous phone calls in search of anyone thats knowledgeable in this area.  Is there anyone on this site that can lead me in the right direction? Thanks in advance for any information. Yvonne 
  14. Hi, I'm currently looking into a business acquisition. It's a wheel repair shop based in South California. I have questions in terms of profitability and also, the expenses involved within the business. I have profit and loss statements of the business. They currently operate 24/7 and have 30-35 employees. I am looking for someone who has experience in this sector that may be able to give me some unbiased advice. I also wanted to somehow come up with a valuation of the business. It operates out of a leased building, but consistently profits the owner a large amount of money. Who should I look for to verify these numbers? Will any CPA be able to understand? Thanks in advance, Nevil
  15. This experience taught me a lessen on human nature. As I'm inspecting the paint on a first time customer with a Porsche Turbo, the customer says, "I see you found my 2 nicks." I said I found 4 and pointed them out to him. He was shocked and surprised. Point being: he came in believing he had 2 nicks when he had 4.
  16. Earlier
  17. Do you have any details on his shop - Please message me privately, Thank you.
  18. Tracking the return on your auto repair shop’s direct mail marketing can be a challenge. One tool that can give you a tremendous amount of transparency into your direct mail ROI and that I recommend almost 100% of the time is call tracking. For those of you who aren’t familiar with what call tracking is and how it works, it involves putting a unique phone number on your direct mail that isn’t used anywhere else. When someone calls the number, it forwards immediately and seamlessly to your main phone line. This gives you the ability to track and record all phone calls from this special number, in turn giving you some transparency into how your direct mail marketing is performing. There are of course many other nuances, capabilities, and uses for call tracking that you can learn about from companies like CallRail or Conversa, just to name a few. That said, it’s critical you understand call tracking is NOT the be-all end-all when it comes to determining how well your direct mail marketing is working. If this were the case, you’d have to assume that 100% of every new repair order you get calls directly from your mailer. However, we all know this will never be the case. Here are a few reasons why. Your Online Presence Before they consider using you repair shop, many prospects will go online to check out your website. If a customer lands on your website – assuming you aren’t using a PURL (Personalized URL), which is almost never the case with most auto repair shops – they do their research and then call your shop from the phone number on your website. In this situation, you immediately lose insight on how they heard about you. Customers are also reading your online reviews, whether on social media or review sites. Sites like Demandforce, SureCritic, Carfax, Repair Pal, Facebook, Yelp, Yellow Pages, etc. all have your shop’s contact details, including your phone number. Any call from customers who used these sites removes transparency on how they heard about you. Walk-Ins Our auto repair shop clients consistently tell us customers will just stop by their shop with their direct mail piece in hand. I’m not just talking about quick lube shops that are based on walk-in traffic. I’m talking about general and specialty auto repair shops. It’s great when customers have your mailer with them, because you can attribute these customers to your direct mail marketing. However, this won’t be reflected in your call tracking, which is another reason call tracking isn’t the be-all end-all when determining ROI. Online Appointment Scheduling More and more auto repair shops are offering online appointment scheduling. We like to position these shops as being easy to work with, and part of that is promoting their online appointment scheduling. We include verbiage on our direct mail pieces to inform customers they can conveniently schedule online, and most times we accompany this with a QR code that brings them directly to the appointment scheduling page. This is similar to my first point regarding your online presence and website. However, I also want to point out this specific example because in these cases, we’re actively pushing people to go online to schedule their repair or maintenance service, thus losing transparency from call tracking. All that said, call tracking is an effective tool that gives you a lot of transparency into your direct mail marketing ROI. However, you should also be running matchback reports that compare new repair orders during (and in the trailing months following your campaign) to your direct mail list. This helps you identify customers who were missed on call tracking or by your service advisor. You can then use your call tracking data in conjunction with your matchback reporting to get a clearer picture of your direct mail ROI. If you’re using EDDM® Retail or EDDM® BMEU, you won’t be able to execute matchback reporting because there’s no mailing list to compare your repair orders with. Josh Davis Mail Shark Executive Vice President of Sales Direct: 484-948-1611 Email: [email protected] www.TheMailShark.com/Auto
  19. This looks like a very old post is someone looking for a scanner? I just went through all the research and purchased an Autel.
  20. Hey, thank you for the guidance. We did try to remove it with fingernails, but this blemish was under the clear coat it seemed. Body shop told him it needed to be repainted. I told him that it wasn't our doing and was subsurface. He left (back in April), was a reasonable guy all things considered, and I've not seen him back nor heard from him. Hopefully this is over at this point. Just yesterday, we received a threat to call the police for damage to a car while in my care. We reviewed the security camera footage and I had video of her driving away with no damage. She did have real damage - a glancing blow to the rear bumper... just not by us. Explained this to her, gently and calmly and I think this one is done too, but video is archived just in case. And a few weeks ago, one of my guys "stole" some paper plates out of a car. These plates were on a different car later that day on the tollway and photographed. After some digging, he called me back and said that the last digit was garbled and he was charged by accident... we didn't take the plates. Again, he was really just giving me a heads up of possible shenanigans, but it's nerve wracking. On the flip side, if we had been responsible, I would want to know about it. Sadly, I can keep going.
  21. Thank you as well. Always good to see successful aimen.
  22. Your insurance agent will answer these questions they are supposed to let you know about potential exposures, liabilities ect. There are also OSHA consultants out there you can make an appointment with to go over those requirements. There is a lot of leg work to do for sure with starting any business. It will be hard to do while deployed, but you could start reading business self help books. If you can get your hands on a business planning book this will help. Good luck on your deployment, I am ex Air Force. Thank you for your service.
  23. thanks for the advice. youre right, its a business. and I need to think like a business owner. I appreciate any help and advice I can get. As I stated earlier, I will inquire about a policy and see what it offers. What are the basic coverages I would need? I see theres Garage keepers policy, Garage liability, etc. Do I absolutley need them all?
  24. I've never said anyone is hating on me. Just mobile techs. and I would imagine its the shady mobile techs...atleast I would hope so. If youre lumping me into the shady ones automatically (which it would appear is what happened here) then my theory is correct that all mobile techs are hated on. -- "Am I mad that there is a mobile repair tech performing auto repairs at a residential home garage with no access to the service panel which is locked in the basement? Yes, that annoys me because the mobile tech will never have to deal with a fire inspector. That safety hazard goes undetected. We no longer have an even playing field." --" If I cause a spill I own it and the authorities will look no further than my front door. If the mobile tech causes a spill he is gone like a fart in a wind storm." --"I am amazed how mobiles they get away with BAR, Osha, City, Fire, Carb etc..... Sounds very unacceptable to me....." --"If there are any mobile guys reading this, I just want you to know that this isn't personal. But when I applied for my business license in my town... I was explicitly told that I would be given citations for working on the street in the area in front of my business. So it burns me a little to pay taxes, be legal and get these kind of limitations thrown at me and have to adhere to them. I wouldn't even work outside, because it's just not what we do. But to have that limitation thrown at me and have it become a business model all around the country... seems like a point waiting for friction. " All of these are definatley issues worth mentioning, but it would appear that they are also a stereotype derived by shop owners generalizing ALL mobile mechanics. Most/all of them are likely to be true in some way and is the exact feedback I was looking for in order to become a successful, legit, OSHA abiding, non-shade tree, mobile tech. As far as the insurance is concerned, I have done alittle research and found out there are policies for mobile mechanics. I have a friend who I served with and is currently a shop and mobile mechanic business owner and he led me in the right direction. I am currently deployed, and with the time difference it is difficult to get in contact with anyone by phone. Ive inquired via email and received info stating there are policies, but they all want a phone conversation which I want to do. I may just wait till I return to get an actual quote, then I could make an informed decision to which company to go with. I will definatley be reporting the policy details. I want to see how/if they differ from a shop policy.
  25. Get the local desperate tool guy to float you or sign up for credit. My scanner costs 24 a week. If you are unable to do that you need to change something and maybe should ask for more help here.
  26. Shop around best thing to do, every market is different. If I was not so lazy I'd get my stuff off Amazon, but too easy to pick up the phone when I run out of gloves. I do get my ink from Amazon. World pac for wipers. Shop towels are uniform company. Sam's club for paper products and cleaning stuff. This is a great place to cut some costs. I supply tech gloves because I insist they use them and some will skimp if it is out of pocket. A local private parts store supplies my filters I use percolator. Another area i could probably save a ton online if i took a minute.
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