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  2. Just wanted to commiserate with you on helping people. Over the years I have attempted to help many people. My failures outweigh my successes by many. I still keep trying because I don’t want to miss the one that actually gets it. It was heartening for me to hear of your attempt to help someone and get burned by it. I thought I was just a fool. Maybe not?

  3. SOCIAL MEDIA ATTACK SNOWBALL

    In case anyone doesn’t know this. The Better Business Bureau is NOT A GOVERNMENT AGENCY. THEY HAVE NO POWER TO DO ANYTHING. They are a for profit non profit just like your non friends at AAA. Another fine institution out to fill their pockets.
  4. Damage to customers vehicle

    It is good practice to always ask what the customer wants. I have had customers ask for way less than I was going to offer.
  5. I tried repair pal for over a year. Brought in people we didn’t want as customers. Dropped them. No change in business except more money in checkbook. My old policy for over the phone estimates was to take down their information on a piece of paper and do nothing. If they called back and bitched they had not gotten their estimate I would apologize and make out the estimate and call them back. Now we do give the estimate but it is when we have the time. People go down the line in the “phone book” they have no idea the cost of estimates.
  6. Jeffa is right. You cannot make everyone happy no matter how hard you try. As long as a business has a rating above between 3-4 and some really good comments it looks very realistic. To have all 5 stars seems almost doctored. I have some one star reviews from people that I do not think have ever been in the shop. I have a 1 star review recently from a former employee who is a druggie that I have helped countless times. I have bailed him out of jail on two times, loaned money to, let him borrow a car, stored an engine for him for a number of years, and all kinds of stuff. I think he did it because he came in a couple of years back and wanted me to loan him $300 for Christmas. He offered me a pistol to hold for collateral. After hanging on to the pistol for over year and not hearing from him I saw him one day and gave him a deadline to pay me back. He didn't pay and I sold the pistol. He left a review slandering me and slander my technicians that he doesn't know. I contacted Google and have no response. You can only do what you can do and you can't lose sleep over stuff like that.
  7. SOCIAL MEDIA ATTACK SNOWBALL

    My policy is: I will repair at no charge anything that myself or my employees break. I know that people make mistakes. I WILL NOT pay for damage not caused by myself or my employees. If the customer does not believe me when I tell them it is not our responsibility, my response is to go get it repaired elsewhere. Bring me a receipt from a repair shop (not your boyfriend or some guy in his garage) stating that we caused the damage and I will write you a check. I will and have bent over backwards to make people happy. If I reach a point where I realize I cannot make this person happy I stop. I have never gotten above a 3.8 star rating and don’t really care if I ever do. I always ask how a person found us. They will say, I read your reviews and they were good. I always respond, did you read the bad ones? Nine out of ten respond, yes if you didn’t have any bad ones I wouldn’t believe the rest. EVERYONE knows you can’t make EVERYONE happy. Many years ago a shop in town was busted for not re[lacing parts they were paid to replace. I thought, wow goodbye to them. Ten years later they are still there. Just as busy. I learned THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS BAD PRESS. It is time to get nasty with these people. Your good customers know your good, the rest all think we are thieves anyway. It’s our job to prove we are not.
  8. Today
  9. Oil vendors & pricing?

    I have purchased from Keltner in the past also.
  10. It is like I said. It is time to fight fire with fire. Depending on how nasty you want to be you can withdraw your previous offers and demand payment for what is due you. You are actually now in control of this situation because you have their car. If you have your lawyer send a letter it would scare the socks off them. Hiring a lawyer to defend themselves would cost them a couple of grand. People are naive and watch too much TV. They are overplaying their hand. In regards to the BBB they are just a joke, a paper tiger. They never give a business a bad rating unless that business is bankrupt or being pursued by the law. If you respond to them they will always wind up closing the case whether anything is resolved or not. BBB is too afraid of being sued to give a business that is functioning a bad rating. All BBB is a money scam. When people threaten to call the BBB I offer to give them the number.
  11. Lift for low cars

    That bendpak seems pretty nice, looks like it will do what I need. The only one I found that is lower is the tudedo/ideal TP10KAC-DX with 1/2 inch more clearance at the pad. Both are ALI certified. The bendpak is the better brand name for a few hundred more, probably worth it. Thoughts on screw up pads? They are an option on both lifts, I've never had a lift with them, just drop in adapters.
  12. Damage to customers vehicle

    It's not a lowered vehicle. An Audi A6 that sits a little low. Just seemed odd to have been torn up as badly as it was.
  13. Damage to customers vehicle

    Filters can fall off but I agree, there would be tons of telltale signs, oil everywhere and should have had an oil light long before it fell to the pavement. It does happen, happened with my old shop a few times, or at lease loose filters, every time it was by the hand of the owner. In any other scenario he would be looking for work but it wasn't my call to make at the time. Even if it is an honest mistake it never makes the customer feel good. How you handle it could though. If it was possible that it was your (shop) fault then own it and help the customer come to a resolution. So I agree, do what you think is right. One time had a defective purolator and they covered the engine, so its not out of the question that it would have been a defective part. On the note of those axle boots, inner boot failure is SUPER common on a lowered vehicle. Axles should never be warrantied on non stock ride height vehicles. I personally own a fleet of very low cars. Those that haven't had the engines raised to correct the axle angle blow through boots/axles on a regular basis. Especially FWD vehicles with long/short axle configuration, put it up on an alignment rack and look at the angle of the short axle under load, no way that boot is gonna last!!!
  14. Damage to customers vehicle

    Don't you believe that if this really just came off after 2000 miles you'd see more instances of this happening? Something happened but I don't feel it was your shop's involvement. I've had it happen here twice and both times it was a scam.
  15. SOCIAL MEDIA ATTACK SNOWBALL

    Thank you for all your remarks. Her last demand from the BBB was she wanted cash for refund of her oil change. I answered the BBB with I would give her cash. They closed the case after she again rejected it and wanted more. I called an attorney and he told me to send her a certified letter and a regular letter stating she must pick up immediately, storage would be added and if not would be given to a third party for abandoned vehicle lien. Also found out the person slandering us on the neighborhood site is her sister. Attorney said to write her a letter also with a cease, desist and remove all of her remarks.
  16. Damage to customers vehicle

    Going to handle it. Called my insurance agent and he said it's covered....maybe. If they deem it could indeed be our fault it's covered. If they say we aren't responsible they won't. So it's a catch 22. I'll be happy if they say there is no way it's our fault but then I take the hit. In that case it will really make me look like a hero. On the other hand, if they say it could be our fault and they cover us, it makes us look incompetent.
  17. Oil vendors & pricing?

    Unfortunately I cannot identify with your issues. We are a much larger facility and I do not have the time to shop for specials at various stores. I recently fell out of contract with Valvoline and after reading posts by Anderson Auto and his strategy of inexpensive synthetic oil changes to drive car count, we decided to shop around to see if we could effectively bring down the price of a full synthetic oil change to increase value to our customers and then make the move to "5k service intervals" and then building a service package around them (LOF, rotate, inspection). There is a company out of Missouri called Keltners distribution who sells Dexos approved full synthetic oils for less than $2 per quart by the case. I used to order that in various weights by the pallet. I think minimum order is like $600. They sell a lot of other things that might make it doable for a smaller shop and you can mix and match. Recently we found a local supplier where we can buy dexos approved in bulk at $7.10 per gallon....so we no longer use or offer conventional oils. While we dont advertise cheap full synthetic oil changes we are exclusively using synthetics for only a couple of dollars more than we used to charge for conventional.
  18. Damage to customers vehicle

    Filters just don't fall off, especially after that long of a period of time. If another shop attempted 'repair' I'd question whether or not they're involved. An oil filter blow off would have ample evidence of the event with oil all over the under side of the car/truck/SUV. 'Driving it and smells something hot so pulled into another shop.' Without that filter it would get hot quickly and there had to have been warnings to shut the car down pronto. If this is a good customer for me - I consider the used engine replacement but that's the same as admitting fault. Insurance claim is an option. One of my good customers had two CV axle boots torn to shreds after a year. Something hit those boots and I told my customer. He asked what could tear them and I say anything other than flat pavement where this car has been, like a field, could have this lowered car suspect to damage. His son, naturally, tells him "No, Dad, I never was off road. I promise." Dad believes him. I redo the work, file a labor claim with supplier, and move on. Sure, weird things are possible but very, very unlikely. Also - I won my small claims court case on a guy who claimed his filter fell off and he lost an engine. Follow your heart, Tyrguy and do what you think is right.
  19. Oil vendors & pricing?

    Unless the price is just absolutely spectacular, drums are out for me., I just don't do enough oil change work to justify having that much cash tied up in a single weight.
  20. Who and where does everybody get oil from, and what are you paying around the country? I'm still somewhat small and don't use tons of oil. I was buying single quarts and 5-quart jugs, and still do for some things. Have started getting 6-gal boxes of Mercon V from Worldpac, and 20l jugs of Motul 5W-40. The rest has typically been able to be filled in with great oil sales that I find at the parts stores. Typically spend ~$1k or more every christmas at Autozone scooping up all of the $2/qt synthetic or syn blends or HM oils on clearance. Where do you buy? Do you have price limits, while still trying to maintain quality?? For generic synthetics, $3.00/qt is where I try to stay under, but will sometimes grab some of the Napa syn when it's on sale ($3.49/qt lately) if I'm running low on something. $2/qt max for conventional or blend/high mileage. I stock Motul 5W-40 for most of the euro stuff that we work on, and thats obviously a bit more, and those oil changes are of course priced accordingly. The deals are getting harder to find though, and I have a supplier that stopped by the other day with a flyer for decent case pricing, but requires buying 20 cases. Figured before I dump money on that I'd check and see what others are doing. I also like the boxes, I'd love to get one of the racks to store them all on too, saves a ton of space and so much less waste in plastic. FWIW - I contacted Valvoline about bulk purchased, but never heard back. So they're most likely out....
  21. Yesterday
  22. Here is a perfect example. How would you price a spark plug change on a 5.4 Ford? Keep in mind, you are providing this quote to a price shopping customer and the price you provide will be discounted by 13% (26% GPM) by the 'opportunity generator' OpenBay.
  23. Damage to customers vehicle

    When it rains it pours. Has anybody ever had an oil filter fall off 2000 miles after an oil change? Yesterday a good customer's car was towed in. His daughter was driving it and she started to smell something "hot". She thought it was overheating so she pulled into another shop. They racked it and found the oil filter was gone and there was no oil left. They put a new filter on and filled with it oil but of course now there is a rod knock. My tech of 36 years just can't believe it could happen after 2k miles. I tend to believe him but I don't see any other option but to put an engine in it at no charge. Comments?
  24. By Bob Cooper If there is one thing our industry has done since the very beginning, it’s put technicians into the role of service advisors. The rationale is that they have a good understanding of automobiles, which will enable them to be competent advisors. Unfortunately, that’s the furthest from the truth. Although an in-depth understanding of automobiles can be an asset, there are a number of other things you should consider before offering a service advisor position to one of your techs. First and foremost, you need to consider why they want the position, or why you are offering it to them. If they suggested they would like to become an advisor because it has become difficult to work on cars at their age, then they may very well be the wrong person, because they are looking to become an advisor out of necessity rather than interest. The same is true if you are looking to move a tech into an advisor position when that tech has shown little interest in becoming an advisor in the past. Two of the most common mistakes we see at Elite are shop owners making this hiring decision out of necessity rather than interest, or out of desperation rather than inspiration. In either case, there is a high probability of failure. Another major mistake we see made by shop owners is they put far too much value on the technician’s technical skills, and far too little value on the tech’s natural people talents, and their passion for the position. Unfortunately, these owners don’t understand just how important the people skills component is to an advisor’s success. So here is what I am going to encourage you to consider before you offer one of your technicians a service advisor position. First of all, when it comes to selling auto repairs and services, bear in mind that natural talent trumps technical skills every time. Talent can’t be taught, but skills can, so if your tech doesn’t naturally smile, doesn’t have a positive attitude, or is not quick-witted and articulate, then they may do a fair job for you, but they will never be the advisor that keeps you ahead of your competitors. You will find there are a number of companies that offer online behavioral assessment testing to evaluate the sales potential of candidates, and I would strongly encourage you to take advantage of this type of testing. You will more than likely be surprised with what you discover. Secondly, you will need to evaluate how well he or she will be accepted in the advisor role by your other employees. If the candidate has a good relationship with your other employees, and if you feel your employees will be willing to take directions and orders from the candidate, then they may very well be a good fit for an advisor position. The third thing you will need to do is avoid overselling the position to the candidate. In addition to knowing the benefits of the position, they’ll need to know all of the negatives as well. In essence, you want to make sure that there are no surprises. We also encourage all of our clients to get the significant other of the candidate involved in the decision making process. As we say at Elite, “When you hire Larry, you get Mary”, so you will need to ensure that their spouse is also onboard with the new position. Lastly, I hope you do two other important things if you decide to have one of your technicians take on the role of service advisor. First of all, take them for a test drive by having them help you on the counter, and pay close attention to their people skills, how well they are able to manage their emotions, and how they deal with difficult situations. Secondly, if and when you put that tech on the service counter, remember, training trumps productivity. What that tech will need more than anything is professional sales training, encouragement from you, and the opportunity to become… a superstar. 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 online and in-class sales, marketing and shop management courses. You can learn more about Elite by visiting www.EliteWorldwide.com, or calling 800-204-3548. View full article
  25. By Bob Cooper If there is one thing our industry has done since the very beginning, it’s put technicians into the role of service advisors. The rationale is that they have a good understanding of automobiles, which will enable them to be competent advisors. Unfortunately, that’s the furthest from the truth. Although an in-depth understanding of automobiles can be an asset, there are a number of other things you should consider before offering a service advisor position to one of your techs. First and foremost, you need to consider why they want the position, or why you are offering it to them. If they suggested they would like to become an advisor because it has become difficult to work on cars at their age, then they may very well be the wrong person, because they are looking to become an advisor out of necessity rather than interest. The same is true if you are looking to move a tech into an advisor position when that tech has shown little interest in becoming an advisor in the past. Two of the most common mistakes we see at Elite are shop owners making this hiring decision out of necessity rather than interest, or out of desperation rather than inspiration. In either case, there is a high probability of failure. Another major mistake we see made by shop owners is they put far too much value on the technician’s technical skills, and far too little value on the tech’s natural people talents, and their passion for the position. Unfortunately, these owners don’t understand just how important the people skills component is to an advisor’s success. So here is what I am going to encourage you to consider before you offer one of your technicians a service advisor position. First of all, when it comes to selling auto repairs and services, bear in mind that natural talent trumps technical skills every time. Talent can’t be taught, but skills can, so if your tech doesn’t naturally smile, doesn’t have a positive attitude, or is not quick-witted and articulate, then they may do a fair job for you, but they will never be the advisor that keeps you ahead of your competitors. You will find there are a number of companies that offer online behavioral assessment testing to evaluate the sales potential of candidates, and I would strongly encourage you to take advantage of this type of testing. You will more than likely be surprised with what you discover. Secondly, you will need to evaluate how well he or she will be accepted in the advisor role by your other employees. If the candidate has a good relationship with your other employees, and if you feel your employees will be willing to take directions and orders from the candidate, then they may very well be a good fit for an advisor position. The third thing you will need to do is avoid overselling the position to the candidate. In addition to knowing the benefits of the position, they’ll need to know all of the negatives as well. In essence, you want to make sure that there are no surprises. We also encourage all of our clients to get the significant other of the candidate involved in the decision making process. As we say at Elite, “When you hire Larry, you get Mary”, so you will need to ensure that their spouse is also onboard with the new position. Lastly, I hope you do two other important things if you decide to have one of your technicians take on the role of service advisor. First of all, take them for a test drive by having them help you on the counter, and pay close attention to their people skills, how well they are able to manage their emotions, and how they deal with difficult situations. Secondly, if and when you put that tech on the service counter, remember, training trumps productivity. What that tech will need more than anything is professional sales training, encouragement from you, and the opportunity to become… a superstar. 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 online and in-class sales, marketing and shop management courses. You can learn more about Elite by visiting www.EliteWorldwide.com, or calling 800-204-3548.
  26. Just read the article. Thanks for the giggle Vlad. You're going to find out exactly how much that complete brake job on the 2008 Chevy Tahoe costs so consumers can compare? Sure, knowing that the truck has been abused, neglected, and is rusted to sh%t underneath your little 'program' can tell that the bleeder is going to break off, need replaced, then the brake line is going to bust loose at the next weak spot. Let's face it, Vlad, you're an opportunist preying on consumer fears of being taken advantage of. A pure deflection move meant to distract consumers from the real thief. Our industry despite having a reputation that isn't deserving of the honest shop owner and Technician will survive just fine without you or your little algorithm. Some people will never trust us because they have trust issues with just about everyone and everything. People naturally are skeptical with what they don't understand especially if that means shelling out money they don't want to spend and haven't planned on spending. The hugs I get from my customers, the cards and gifts of food at holidays or just surprises are all the proof I need to know I'm doing it right. And if I miss out on a millennial or two's business because I refuse to outbid another shop without even seeing the car for myself I'll sleep well at night still. I just don't see the benefit in Vlad's concept.
  27. Last week
  28. Do you ask for reviews?

    We have a couple of customers that provide 'reputation management' services. They work with you to craft the hopefully most responsive 'ask' for the review and then with simple clicks take the customer to an initial review where if the customer chooses fewer than X stars, it notifies you so you can fix the problem. If the customer gives a positive initial review it gives them choices and routes them to the review platform of their choice (i.e. Google, Facebook, Yelp, etc). I'd be happy to make some introductions if desired.
  29. Isn't it fantastic when someone who knows little to nothing about our industry decides that shops are "cheating" our customers? And these software guys should be the ones who decide what a fair price is? I know for a fact that many auto repair shops undervalue their work and the owners barely scrape by. Are these companies who want to decide what I'm going to charge going to use starving shop owners as their data point for the "correct" price? I'm going to keep running a good business that's profitable enough to stick around to honor our warranty, and I'll let people like Vladimir run other shops out of business.
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