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  2. 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%.
  3. Yesterday
  4. 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.
  5. 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 !!
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. The $19.95 Oil Change Offer

    Here is the point I am trying to make. Good info in means good info out ! He has 300.00 he needs 1200.00 more to get this car in good shape and, you get full boat for the repair. After that he has a car we can start servicing and making repairs as needed so it doesn't get in this shape again correct? So ! I take it he seemed like a good guy someone you would like as a customer? He has 300.00 ! Mr Customer here at (shop name inserted) we want to help you in anyway we can (tried financing etc) as we want all our customers to drive a car they can depend on to take them where ever they need to go. What we don't want you to do is have you spent your money and drive away and still have (said issues) springs struts along with the hub bearing due to repairing one said issue is not doing you good justice then explain reason springs are broken due to struts, ride height is altered now because springs are broken handling is effected etc, and so on telling the truth in every word. You just built why he shouldn't go to a shade tree as he is thinking now again about his money. Mr Customer we can do this if you like. We can order the parts (I am sure they are right down the street and of course leaving a 250.00 to 300.00 deposit) If you want to do this as we want you as a valued customer. If he goes for it fine, if he is still on the fence (last ditch effort) last breath only !! I would most likely be able to get you a 10% discount on parts due to the fact its going to be a week or two (you set a time table, you became his friend by helping him out above and beyond) you will be surprised how people can come up with money at times of need. Talk to your vendor rep and get 10% off on these parts, your in business be assertive be innovative. At this point you did all you could , your not out a dime and you my gain a good customer !
  12. The $19.95 Oil Change Offer

    Just had an almost identical situation except the rear axle was moving out of the rear end and binding the brake caliper. The guy just wanted to fix brakes but we didn't want to do anything due to the possibility of him losing the wheel.
  13. The $19.95 Oil Change Offer

    I'm with you...it would be a decent daily driver if these repairs were made. He can't afford it and I can't afford to only do what he can afford.
  14. The $19.95 Oil Change Offer

    You did the right thing by not half stepping it. Honesty and ethics are a must. If it had the work that you described fixed, would it be a decent daily driver ? Do you think this would have been a customer for you IF, he had the money to do a full repair ? You know his income, financial situation, because you helped him try to get financing. Stay with me on this. I have many shops that made many new and good customers from situations like this one here.
  15. The $19.95 Oil Change Offer

    He had $300 to spend. He needed $1500. But I still feel we didn't lose a sale - we did what was right and can live with our advice. My SA is young but good. He's trying. True, I was concerned with the reason for being disappointed but it was the right thing to do. Hindsight, my question was kind of dumb.
  16. The $19.95 Oil Change Offer

    If they tried financing approval for just the wheel bearing, as well as the whole job, and the guy didn't get approved, and he didn't have money to fix it, no sale was lost since no sale was there. Really though, this guy is not your customer...has no money to fix or maintain his car. If trying to get a single job creates a pattern of the advisor not being thorough on his process, many more jobs will be lost, not just a single wheel bearing on a cheap customer.
  17. The $19.95 Oil Change Offer

    That was my concern (ethics). He knows and understands that we did the right thing. If I ever find we're selling 'what we can get' he'll be terminated immediately.
  18. The $19.95 Oil Change Offer

    No offense but it sounds like your manager needs a lesson on ethics. Will someone get that wheel bearing job? Probably. Some hack shop. If the customer couldn't afford to properly repair their vehicle and you exhausted all of your options to help them then there is nothing you could do.
  19. Opening on Saturdays

    We are currently not open on Saturdays, but I'm thinking about it. I wonder how many of you are open on Sat and how it works for you, what your thoughts are. I've always appreciated the model of having a business that was closed evenings and weekends, and it's nice for the employees. However, we're trying to maintain a higher level of gross sales with more employees and I'm trying to keep an open mind. I went from 2 techs and a lube tech and one service advisor with a CRM, to 3 techs plus lube tech and two service advisors on May 1st. We've done well for the summer, but I'm nervous about keeping everyone busy through the slower season. Also, going forward with the challenges we'll face in coming years I'm wondering if being open on Sat will give us an advantage. Welcome any input.
  20. The $19.95 Oil Change Offer

    Thanks everyone. Very good stuff here.
  21. The $19.95 Oil Change Offer

    Just had a car in here from a new customer. Complaint was grinding noise. We assume brakes and look the car over. He's got high mileage, two broken springs and blown struts, a bad RF wheel bearing. Manager asks me what to do. He's thinking we just lead with the wheel bearing. I tell him to let the customer know all that it needs because that's what we're here for and broken springs may result in other issues that if we don't tell him and something happens how is that not on us? I follow MAP standard of communication - a broken or failed part is a 'required' fix and other worn parts are a 'suggested' fix. On this case - the RF wheel bearing and two springs/struts are a required fix and the other two springs/struts are suggested since both broken springs were on the driver side. Customer declined all repairs. My Manager is upset we let the wheel bearing walk out the door. We didn't let him walk out the door unless we purposely omit the other issues on the car to simply get a $275 wheel bearing ticket. The customer applied for financing, was declined, and didn't do anything with us. My Manager thinks someone else will get the bearing work and we lost a sale. I like he's fighting for the business but if a customer has multiple things that need attention now and they pass with us because they can only afford one thing so be it. I can live with that rejection knowing I did what was right. Customer may go to another shop, ask for a bearing R&R, and that shop may take his money and then mention the things I hope they find. Any thoughts on how we could have done better? A little off topic but in the vein of inspecting cars and presenting findings...
  22. Did you know we do custom exhaust work at our Raleigh shop? Custom bends, dual exhaust, etc.… https://t.co/bYsY4x3Lgl

  23. CHAT Back Online

    We've been having issues with the chat room, specifically Sunday night chat. The 3rd party chat software we have been using by Chatwee was causing login issues for some. If you click on the chat tab in the main menu moving forward, you'll notice a new interface that better integrates with AutoShopOwner. You can also get there directly via this url https://www.autoshopowner.com/chat/ Please post in this topic if you encounter issues. On mobile browsers, only Chrome (Android) and Safari (iOS) is supported. 😎
  24. The $19.95 Oil Change Offer

    Hello Everyone - I kept getting those notices too and when I read the above, I wanted to "chime in" again. With all due respect - I don't think it's a matter of right or wrong. I think it's a matter of which business model do you want to run. Using the math and numbers from what I quoted above, the difference is this: 160 cars/month x $600 ARO = $96,000 500 cars/month x $425 ARO = $212,500. Of course if the 96K is returning a 10% profit, it's still better than 212K at 5%. Now, I'm not saying those profit numbers are correct- I am just making a point that it's not all about gross sales - it's about "what sticks". I get it. But I'm thinking that with the tracking and work you've put into your business, the 212K is doing better than 5%. But the issue I always struggled with is that when you're smaller - fewer people - and fewer customers - there just seems to be more room for the bottom to fall out. In other words, if half of the 160 customers left - it would a much bigger problem than if 1/2 of the 500 customers left. See what I'm talking about. Now, with that said, of course, nobody wants to (or likes to) lose customers. I'm just looking at extremes. A loss of 1/2 of the customers a year is rather surprising... and this is what I talk about with my clients. When it costs between $75-$150 to get a new customer, would you spend $15/year to keep your old customers?? I have to think the answer is a "yes". That's why I've always instituted a real, printed and mailed newsletter with my clients. Okay, I can see you rolling your eyes now - so STOP that! ;)) But really, it's another channel to market, and when you can turn postage stamps into dollars - can you lose? The nice thing about the newsletter is (shhhh... don't tell anyone, okay?) is that all the Customer Only offers are done WITHOUT A DISCOUNT. That's because we use a strategy of "stacking value". As an example, let's say your oil change is (regular price) $40. Just using round numbers for the example. Then you add things that you probably do anyway... like Unlimited Fluid Top Up, Check all External Lights, and stuff like that... AND ASSIGN A VALUE TO THOSE (like $22 or fluid top up and $15 for external inspection of all lights) you get a TOTAL VALUE of $77. Sell that at $40 (your regular price) and you can promote a CUSTOMER ONLY OFFER that will list "SAVE 48% or $37". Go ahead - laugh. But it's like taking candy from a baby. Got stacks and stacks of records to prove it. Now, there's a little more to it than that - but understand that's the math behind it. On top of that, my clients get tons of great reviews (because we know how to get them), clients do contests, give-a-ways and all that stuff - and some even have "fresh hot popcorn" in the waiting room. Go ahead - laugh. But when I work with clients that are serious - I'm serious about building solid TWO COMMA shops that are profitable. One last comment - if you think this is too much work, then picture this. Picture a person trying to start a fire rubbing two sticks together. Got it? Now, picture him doing that s-l-o-w-l-y. Not the same, is it? Hope this helps! Matthew Lee "The Car Count Fixer" Get "The Official Guide to Auto Service Marketing" Fix Your Car Count in 17 Minutes... Guaranteed! Get on the Early Bird List for my new book! See this post!
  25. Last week
  26. The $19.95 Oil Change Offer

    What those guys said. Remember, 500 cars is a lot of cars. Concentrate on figuring out exactly how many vehicles your shop can handle, and do an exceptional job with those vehicles. One metric that I used to measure, and I really should get back into, is the number of jobs found per RO. We all work on pretty much the same vehicles, 10 years old with 120-150k on the clock. Things are broken on most of those cars. Your job is to find what's broken, and tell the customer every single time. When we were measuring jobs found per RO, we were looking for about 5 to 5.5 jobs found per RO. Some cars need nothing, some cars need 13 things, but in the end we looked for the average. If a tech could only find 2.5 items per car, we knew he wasn't doing a good inspection. We also tracked the sales closing ratio by the SA, and broke it down by technician. If I have 3 advisors and 2 of them sell everything a particular tech gives them, and one advisor doesn't sell anything for him, we have a personality conflict that I need to get involved in. If I have 3 advisors and 6 techs, and all my techs are finding 5 items per car, but all the advisor closing ratios on one of those techs is complete crap, I know I have a tech who's pencil whipping his inspection and the advisors don't believe him. Lots of interesting things you can find out when you track that stuff. When we do an inspection, I have the techs give the advisor the list in a specific order. 1. What the car came in for. 2. Safety items. Actual safety like metal to metal brakes and ball joints that are about to fail. 3. Things that will become a safety items in the near future. 4. Things that won't become safety items, but get more expensive if you wait. 5. Needs fixed but won't get more expensive. 6. Maintenance.
  27. The $19.95 Oil Change Offer

    In addition to Stevens points I would add.... Inspect every vehicle, the more consistent you can be the better. Identify all needs. Estimate all needs, present all needs to customer in order of importance, along with estimates to correct. Watch average ticket grow. To improve results add in Stevens points: Dont market to bottom feeders. Market to value. Treat people well, serve them and consistently deliver. Hire the best you can find and help them be as efficient as possible. Also, get sales training. While you need (IMO) to be genuine knowing the tools and how to use them will assist in closing some of the more difficult sales and close more of the easy ones.
  28. The $19.95 Oil Change Offer

    You get to these numbers by Great Marketing, Smart Marketing Great Customer Service, bonding with the customers. Build Trust ! and don't let them down. Extremely effective techs that produce. Productivity. Attention to business details I am not saying it happens overnight but it can and does happen ! Depends a lot on size of shop , techs etc as well. Lots of factors come into play.
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