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Showing content with the highest reputation since 03/01/2020 in all areas

  1. 4 points
    My Thoughts on the Coronavirus and Business In my 40 years in business, I have lived through many economic downturns. From the stock market crash of the late 1980’s, the housing bust of 1990’s, the tragic event of 911 and the great recession of 2008. This is different. The fears and the realities of the coronavirus has affected us all. And some areas of the country have been hit harder than others. In all other situations, I fought like hell to make a difference and beat the circumstances. Again, this is different. I am not an alarmist, not a defeatist and I do not get sucked into the sensationalism of the press. Just today, I heard a sports announcer on a talk radio show advise her listeners to stay at home, don’t go to work, don’t go to the movies, don’t go out of the house and isolate yourself from other people. Is this rational? I can’t do that. I am an automotive shop owner. What I do matters to my family and the community. I…WE….need to be there to ensure that the doctors, nurses, police, public officials and everyone else has their transportation ready to perform. Stay home? Us? Is that an option? But again…this is different. This afternoon, I was getting ready to go to Church; 4:00pm Mass, when my wife got an alert that Church as been canceled. Wait; let me say this again real slow…Church… has…. been…canceled. Fear has a way of eating at the fabric of our rational being. I fully understand the reality of what is happening. This virus will take people’s lives. But, do we run away in the face of a threat? Is this who we are? What do we do? Close our businesses for a few weeks? A month or two? How many of us can afford that? We all know the answer to that question. As automotive shop owners, technicians, service advisors and all the other valuable employees of this great profession, we need to take the proper precautions. Do all you can to protect yourself and your family. If you decide to continue to operate your shop during this challenging time, have a meeting with all your employees. Take the proper steps to protect yourself, your employees and your customers. Business may get ugly for some. My company has taken a 40% drop in business the past three weeks, directly contributed to the coronavirus outbreak. I write this to tell you how I feel; not to decide for anyone what to do. I will not force my employees to do anything they feel would put themselves or their families in harm’s way. For me, I intend to fight. I will take care of myself, take care of my family. But there are too many people depending on what I do, and way too may years behind me to hunker down and wait this out. Stay safe, stay healthy. Take this situation serious. But please don’t give up. We will prevail and we will get through this together. We are the hardest working, most resilient, toughest people on the planet. Let’s show the world and this virus who we are!
  2. 2 points
    Tomorrow I will talk to my Banker and Accountant and will try to start a SBA Loan process. Do not have a choice at this point.
  3. 2 points
    UPDATE TO TEXTING: We did our 1st mass text blast ever. WOW! We did it to our regular customer base. The phone started ringing right away.
  4. 2 points
    Our March was super strong thru about March 13. Then I noticed about a 20% drop for 2 days. Then on Monday March 16, we dropped 80%. This kept up until Friday, then only down about 20%, then down 90% for 2 days, and on Monday, back to just a 20%-30% drop. We have a local radio show Wheels with Ed Wallace. He always has dealers on and they were discussing their repair business and it was pretty much mirroring what we saw. The drop-off seems to coincide with the Shelter in Place order issued by Dallas County (our local news source), as it was announced many days before taking effect. Our county, north of Dallas, is acting more sanely and issued a "Work Safe" order... aka social distancing. Regardless, auto repair and parts sellers are considered an essential businesses. I was contemplating shutting down Tue (today), Wed and Thur, but given yesterday, I'm open today. Not sure what comes next.
  5. 2 points
    Sometimes I feel like I’m alone on a deserted island. I charge for diagnostic analysis. Why? Because I know what cost is to buy the tools, equipment, information systems, training and pay a technician to professionally and accurately diagnosis a check engine light, air bag, ABS or any other complicated problem. But, I feel a lot of shops are willing to give this up in hopes to get the work. In my opinion all they are doing is digging themselves in a hole. And, I have heard all the reasons: “If the customer gives me the job, I waive the analysis”. “I package the analysis into the repair, so the customer does not see the diag charges” “I will lose customers if I charge analysis” And the best yet: “It only took me 10 minutes to diag the O2 sensor, so I can’t charge diag labor”. Waiving the analysis is the same as a doctor waiving the x-rays and blood tests. They don’t do it, we should not either. I will also challenge those who “package” the analysis into the repair. You mean to tell me that after taking 1 hour to find a faulty mass air sensor, you will add the 1 hour to the 5 minutes it takes to install a new mass air? Come on, we all know the truth. And let’s address the 10 minutes it took to find the failed O2 sensor. Did it really take 10 minutes? NO, it took years of training, years of experience, the investment in the right equipment and the investment in the right information systems. Why we sometimes diminish what we are truly worth is amazing. No other profession does that. Sorry for being so tough on this topic, but business is hard enough these days and people question everything. If shops don’t realize what they are giving up, it makes it bad for all of us. Please tell me what you think. Agree? Disagree? Or any other thoughts....
  6. 2 points
    I had a guy last week that had spent $600-$800 on his Grand Caravan having another shop throw parts at it. He then brought it to us to diagnose. Guess what low compression on cylinder #7. We told him $250 to test up front once we knew what we had to test. That should have been where he began not finished. I ask him before we took the van in if it was missing before the other shop worked on it. He lied to me and told me it was not. Initially I figured a cracked spark plug or the like. He knew it wasn't the case but lied to me hoping to blame it on the other shop. Some people don't want to pay diagnosis and then lie to you to boot. Makes for a tough situation. He has an extended warranty but I think they will deny coverage due to insufficient oil changes.
  7. 2 points
    Read my negative fb or Google reviews they are all because I charged someone to "just look" at their car. That's why people are shy to do it. I charge for diagnosis. My doctor charges me for it. My dentist charges me for it. My electrician charges me for it. Every professional on earth charges for their expertise. I do the same. Toughen up folks.
  8. 2 points
    THIS IS DIFFERENT I know, I know. Yet ANOTHER message about the Coronavirus. But this one's different. Let's get to work. Here’s What I know: 1. What's going to happen: Things are going to get weird. Then they will get better. It's a new virus. It's contagious. It gets people really sick. A small percentage of those people die. That sucks. 2. What is "everybody" going to do? People are going to continue to panic and then they'll stop. They're going to panic for two reasons. First, because this is a new virus and it's pretty nasty and that's pretty scary. Second, because of the media ...specifically social media. It's full of anecdotal "reports" ...and light on facts.We humans like to pass on "information" without checking it out. And traditional media (the news) gets paid for viewership ...and nothing drives viewership like FEAR. In my opinion, World Health Organization is probably the best place to get your info about this situation. 3. What this means for Your Repair Shop: The best answer I can give you here is ...IT DEPENDS. The best advice I can give you is actually a quote from one of my long time mentors, Mr. Jim Rohn. Mr. Rohn once said… (this isn’t a direct quote, but you’ll get the gist of it)... “You can not change the direction of the winds. You can change the setting of your sails.” Are you going to spend your time browsing social media, watching the news all day, and talking back and forth with people about this situation? Or are you going to FOCUS on business? I'd suggest you focus on business, avoid crowds, and wash your hands. If you step up and LEAD them, you'll stand out. (And it's good Karma.) Think about it this way. Most of your competition will be following the herd and doing the whole "let's sit around and talk about the corona virus ...while simultaneously browsing social media and reading stuff about the coronavirus...while simultaneously watching the news for updates on the coronavirus thing. That means they're NOT promoting. They're NOT in front of the market. They're NOT in the game. What I'm doing personally: 1. Avoiding large crowds, washing my hands, and keeping my immune system strong. 2. Not paying attention to anyone other than non-biased expert health organizations. That means no social media.No news media. Just the facts. 3, I’ve got new free training being released in the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned and I’ll keep you posted. If you have any specific questions or need some help right now - it’s 100% totally free to talk to me about your specific problem. Just AskTheCarCountFixer.com Stay safe - Talk soon! Matthew “The Car Count Fixer” P.S.: You could take this FREE TRAINING: How to Double Your Car Count in 89 Days. Over 2 hours and 20 minutes of video on demand. P.P.S.: Join me on YouTube at Car Count Hackers! FREE Help to grow your Car Count, Income and Profit! P.P.P.S.: Like and Follow Car Count Hackers on Facebook
  9. 2 points
    Everything went crazy on Friday. Schools are closed, all meetings of any size canceled. I am sure we will see a decline this week due to the craziness. My wife and I are staying in. She is high risk due to age, past chemo, and a weakened heart. Fortunately so far Indiana only has 12 confirmed cases and nothing close to our area.
  10. 2 points
    Business here has not been affected but I suspect we will start to see things change starting this week.
  11. 2 points
    Alex, we have seen a 40% drop in business the last three weeks. The worst drop in business in my 40 years. I made a post, by the way, under Joe's Tip. Here's is our plan: We have daily meetings with emoloyees to maintain our aim to keep oursleves clean and our customer's car clean We wipe down customer's cars before we get into them. The areas we are in contact with. We launched more radio spots to let people know that we are taking precautions, we will santize your car before and after we work on it. We are also promoting that we will pick up and deliver your car if you wish not to come out of your house We are offering a Deep Cleaning of the HVAC system at cost, $39.95...Usingb BG Kits. We purchased cases of small hand sanitizer and are gvivng them out to our customers No overtime and we may need to cut hours. No non-essential spending I have advised my employees to also not to spend any money now, unless necessary I have some employees take vacations now, We need them when business returns Don't panic Stay postive PRAY! Let's share our ideas and beat this thing!!!
  12. 2 points
    After a road testing for a customer's complaint of "Intermittent odd feeling when braking" we identified it as an intermittent false ABS stop. Not unusual for a late model GM truck. We identified the L/F wheel speed sensor dropping out at lower speeds and ordered a wheel speed sensor. I remembered that we had replaced the L/F hub/bearing about two years ago with a Moog hub/bearing assembly which concerned me. The new wheel speed sensor arrived in a tattered, taped up box and would not fit, the sensor tip was contacting the tone ring. The part was re-ordered in a different brand (OEM this round) and we were disappointed again, still improper fit. I then called Moog Tech Support and found out that if an ABS WSS fails on a Moog hub/bearing it can't be replaced. Moog uses a proprietary WSS and is unable to be sourced separate from the hub/bearing. I confirmed with tech support that this is the case for all Moog hub/bearings that include a WSS and NOT isolated to the vehicle that we were working on. To add to this issue I also found out that ALL Moog hub/bearings have proprietary wheel studs so if a stud strips or is damaged on a replacement Moog hub/bearing you have a major problem because the hub/bearing will need to be replaced, studs alone are NOT available. I tried to contact Timken and BCA to see if their hub/bearings are the same as Moog in regard to proprietary WSS's and wheel studs but neither answered my email request for assistance. All of this is news to me, maybe because we use quite a bit of OEM parts but I thought I should pass it on since it will make me think twice before ordering a Moog hub/bearing.
  13. 2 points
    A bit of a clickbait title, but not inaccurate. The shop is doing amazing, and I haven't been here but a few hours here and there since last June. Prior to that I had been the shuttle driver and not much else. I sold the shop to my manager, something that has been in the works for over 3 years. Spending the next couple days at the shop getting a few things settled (vendor accounts, recurring payments, etc) before the final handover on Saturday. I'm retired now at 55, and I won't have to work another day. My wife and I are moving onto our boat and we're going to sail around the world a few times. The moral of the story is that you CAN get there. You don't have to be particularly bright, I'm certainly not. You don't even have to be an amazing manager. There are thousands of shop owners who are better managers than I am. You do have to work hard. Way harder than the average guy, and a lot of guys work pretty hard. You do have to be smart about your business. Don't spend money you don't have yet. Cash in the bank fixes a world of sins, make sure you have plenty. You do have to take calculated risks. Business ownership is not for the meek. You'll have to take risks that the average guy would never dream of. Be fearless, but DO THE MATH before you jump. You do have to fully understand your financials. If you can't read a P&L and be able to see there's a problem that needs further investigation, you better learn how. Same with your KPI's. You do have to do great marketing, and lots of it. There are guys out there who claim they don't need to do any marketing and are swamped. Maybe there are, but I'm not one of them. Odds are you aren't either. Get busy marketing. And you do have to get good business coaching and listen to what they say. You could be stupid like me and wait 12 years before you finally get a business coach and start making money, but why would you want to do that? Get one now. If they don't pay for themselves many times over, odds are you didn't do the work to go with the advice. John
  14. 2 points
    Your lead tech is not performing up to expectations. Shop production is slipping and you’re not sure why. You hear through the grapevine that some of your employees are wondering when they will get their next pay raise. After a few agonizing weeks of pouring through reports, you make the decision to give across-the-board pay raises. Almost immediately, you see a boost in production. The shop is more upbeat and all is well. Your decision appears to be correct. Three months later, your shop is once again struggling to meet its sales and production goals—and morale has slipped, too. I have seen this scenario all too often. And, while there are times that we need to give pay raises, if your shop is struggling to meet its sales and production goals, increasing pay to improve business is not the answer. The reality is you have deeper issues. Let’s address employee compensation first. You must pay people a competitive wage with the opportunity to earn more. There should be incentives in place to reward your employees for reaching their personal and team goals. And, there needs to be a process in place where your employees understand how and when they will get a pay raise. However, in terms of long-term company growth, a focus on pay alone will never be the formula for success. In other words, throwing money at a problem is a short-term fix. It’s putting a Ban-Aid on a more serious injury that requires much more care and attention. About 10 years ago, Mercedes-Benz was struggling with its customer experience at many of its dealerships. In response to this, Mercedes decided to increase pay incentives, implement new policies and training programs. No improvements were realized. Mercedes top executives could not understand why customer service was not up to company expectations. After all, this is Mercedes, a car company that represents quality and sophistication. Why were their dealer employees so indifferent? A senior leader at Mercedes recognized the problem and stated, “Pride in the brand was not quite as strong as we thought, the level of engagement with work was not as deep as we thought.” Mercedes finally realized that until the employees at Mercedes genuinely cared more, no amount of money, policies or training would make a difference. Understanding the need to get front-line people more engaged and take pride in their work, Mercedes began to invite its dealer employees to spend 48 hours with the model of their choice. To experience not only the amazing performance and mechanical attributes of the vehicle, but also that they can turn heads as they drive through their neighborhoods or when they drive into the little league parking lot. Mercedes also built its Brand Immersion Center in Tuscaloosa, Ala., in 2014, where hundreds of employees go each year to spend time getting to know how the cars are built, gain a deeper understanding of the brand, the history of Mercedes and experience the legacy of the company. According to Philippa Green, brand immersion trainer for Mercedes-Benz, “The ultimate goal is to engage their hearts and minds around the brand. We’re teaching them about our legacy.” As business owners, we track KPIs, set goals, work on marketing and refine our business plans. We also ensure that we provide our employees with adequate training and a well-equipped environment. These are the essentials of our business. However, we must never overlook the importance of your employees taking pride in their work. And, pride comes from employees knowing who you are, what you stand for, what you do for your community and for the industry. Giving people pay raises can motivate them. But the bounce you get from that is short-lived. Once people have gotten over the excitement of the raise and made the financial adjustments to their lifestyles, the raise is long forgotten. If there are no other intrinsic motivators, then shop morale, production and employee engagement will fall right back to where it was before the raise. Anyone who knows me and has read my articles, knows how much I preach about leadership. The theme of this article also has its roots in effective leadership. You, the leader of your company, have the power to transform the people around you. Focus on the person, not the position. Recognize when your employees do things that are from the heart. Promote your company’s brand, vision and legacy. These are the keys to a long-lasting company. This is what will improve morale, not a pay raise. This story was originally published by Joe Marconi in Ratchet+Wrench on March 1st, 2020
  15. 2 points
    Just had one yesterday... Why are you charging me $230 just to look at my car? Well, the technician had your car on the lift for 1.5 hours identifying all types of problems or safety issues. The service advisor then spends at least 1 hour researching and putting together your estimate and communicating everything to you. So we have ~3 hours of work into your vehicle and have provided a comprehensive estimate with labor times, parts and part numbers. You can now take this information and make an educated decision on whether or not your vehicle is worth fixing. Information you didn't have when you dropped the car off for "low brake pedal". You were also charged for 2 hours when we spent much closer to 3. Do you show up at work and work 3 hours for free every day? **Silence falls over the room**
  16. 1 point
    Whatever your normal advertising and marketing strategy is, now is the time to tone down call to action advertising and promotions and communicate your brand to your community. In times of crisis, it’s crucial that your customers and community know what you stand for and there to help if at all possible. Contact your customers by phone, email, text, etc. Not to sell them anything, but to ask if they are ok. Let them know that you are thinking about them. Connect with them emotionally, like a friend or family member would. For many shops across this great nation, there will be significant sales drops. With the new financial package, there will be help on the way. Contact your accountant, payroll company, financial advisor, bank rep and find out about the help that is coming your way. We will get through this together.
  17. 1 point
    I have been contacted by many shop owners about the decision to close or not. In most cases across the nation, Auto Repair Professionals are considered essential workers. Which means that we can stay open for business. However, even though we are essential, I personally will not demand my employees to come to work. If business fails because of this virus, it will fail in the short term. We will all eventually find a way to come back and rebuild our businesses. Things are changing by the hour, and that makes our decisions as leaders even more difficult. I don’t want to get sucked into panic, but I don’t want to turn a blind eye to the fact that we are in uncharted territories and that we are all learning from this crisis together. The decision to close your business is yours. There is no wrong or right decision here. The safety and well-being of our families are our number one concern. If it makes it any easier, make your next decisions from the heart, not from a business standpoint. Be strong, be a leader, and know that we will get though this. When the dust begins to settle, we will have learned a lot about business and even more about who we are are as a culture and a society. I cannot tell you what I am doing tomorrow. I plan on having a meeting with my staff, and a decision will be made to stay open, cut staff, cut hours or perhaps another scenario will surface. I will keep you updated and try to bring a little sanity to everyone during these crazy times. You are all leaders; you are automotive shop owners. You are the toughest of the toughest. I know you and I will prevail through these troubling times and I look forward to the future when we can all look back and say…”We may it through, and we’re better off for it.”
  18. 1 point
    Yes Frank. I agree. I have been in business 40 years. Never before have I asked for helped or expected it. This is different. When Churches are closed, you know these are different times. Stay safe.
  19. 1 point
    Questions to everybody. Who is mass texting their customers? What company are you using? Cost? Complaints.? We do use e-mailing with over 50% opening. With the covid-19 we want to let all our customers know we are open, we are essential company and how we are doing business now? Keeping them informed. weekly.
  20. 1 point
    Agreed Joe. The most important part is communication. Get in touch with your customer. Let them know you are thinking about them. Let them know you care. And yes, (if you are) let them know you're open and available for them. My group of car count hackers have all reached out and have gone as far as telling customer what they're doing. I detailed it all in this video, and you're welcome to take notes and use the exact wording that I detail in the video. Stay safe. Keep calm. We ARE in this together! Hope this helps! Matthew "The Car Count Fixer"
  21. 1 point
    Shop owners, if you are having problems with cash flow due to the Coronavirus or even if you are not feeling the effects yet. It is always a good idea to make preparations to have enough cash on hand. With that said, the government has allocated 8 Billion to assist business owners affected by COVID-19 by offering SBA disaster loans and I am helping shop owners with filing their applications. Please see my article for more info.
  22. 1 point
    I am hearing this story over and over, and not just from our industry. I spoke to the local deli owner yesterday. Business for him is down 95%. He is working alone, and has one employee working 2 hours a day. He cannot pay his rent or his bills. The only thing that I can say is that this will pass. Right now is seems like the worst of times, and being in business for 40 years, and in New York, I can tell you that I am never seen anything like this. But, we will prevail. Talk to your banker, accountant, financial advisory. Get the help you need and make those hard decisions. You need to save the business first, then rebuild when things begin to get better. I know it may sound fruitless at this point, but maintain a positive and strong attitude. This will help your mind find ways to get through this. It will not be easy, but we will succeed.
  23. 1 point
    Agreed. We'll come back strong. Here's another angle on Corona Virus impact.... I needed to send out an (Westcreek) finance application for a customer's large repair bill today. Tried to do it and found that they are not accepting new applications. Finally read their notes and they are saying two things (my reading in-between the lines): 1) Your credit score today is NOT an indication of your ability to pay. We can no longer reliably judge/predict your creditworthiness. Maybe you were laid off yesterday, etc. and 2) We might soon have a cash flow problem on our already outstanding loans and need to keep a hold of our cash until we understand the impact. I would guess if these guys are pulling back on credit, others might be doing the same. New car loans?
  24. 1 point
    No one knows what will come next. Where we are in New York, it's the hardest hit state in the country. Things change by the hour and we are making adjustments as needed. We do not plan on shutting down, but we will adjust hours and staff as needed. Hang in there everyone, this is not our fault, we will get throught this.
  25. 1 point
    My location is in Bergen County NJ about 25 minutes outside of NYC. Statistical reports released today show that NYC has the highest number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the USA. Our county has the highest number of confirmed cases in NJ. The severity of the situation in our area has prompted authorities to invoke travel curfews and close all non-essential businesses. Gas stations and vehicle repair are both considered essential services. Examples of non-essential services which are now closed are: malls, gyms, bars, barber shops, nail salons, clothing stores, movie theaters, wedding venues, department stores, gift stores, card stores, toy stores, furniture stores, shoe stores & most corporate offices. Pre-schools, public & private schools, colleges, churches, mosques, synagogues and public playgrounds are all closed. Eating in restaurants is not allowed but take out, curbside pick-up or delivery is allowed. The entire state and neighboring states are on a tight lockdown leaving most streets and highways quiet with little or no traffic. One of my techs is 67 and my brother/partner is 70. We decided it was best if they both stayed home because their age predisposes them to a possible worse outcome should they contract the virus. Both of these key people decided to stay home as bay work slowed down which worked out well. We have gas and repairs and our gas volume has dropped about 75%. I have several attendants that requested a leave of absence due to age, pre-existing medical conditions and also family pressure/fear. The loss of gas attendants came as gas volume eroded so that presented no problem. The closing of all non-essential businesses caused a self regulating slow down of both available business and available staff in a very timely manner. The authorities in our area are predicting that things will continue to get worse in the weeks ahead so I certainly could see the need to reduce hours or possibly close as less and less people venture outside their homes. I am having a meeting with my staff tomorrow and I will give them the opportunity to weigh in on matter. If my remaining staff members are willing to continue working and our customers continue to need us I plan to remain open.
  26. 1 point
    We have went to four days Tuesday-Friday. We will see what it is like after this week. Currently shop calls are being forwarded to my phone so I can speak with them and hopefully schedule them for the days we are open.
  27. 1 point
    I respect your decision. There is no right or wrong decision here. Stay safe.
  28. 1 point
    A few days makes a difference. We got all our work done that was here and I closed the shop today. It hurts me, I enjoy working. I enjoy talking to people. I like steady income. But I couldn't sleep the last couple nights worrying what if? So that's that I paid my help a couple weeks time off and I got enough groceries for a couple weeks so I'm just going to chill out and do nothing and just hope we get this thing under control quickly.
  29. 1 point
    AutoZone doesn't!!! LOL (That's the tiresome refrain around here) I've said it before, AZ has done more damage to the automotive repair industry than anything else in the last 30 years. Hatred for this company pales when describing my feelings for them.....
  30. 1 point
    The people that ask the labor rate are not normally good customers. We price by the job brake pads and rotors $335 plus tax for most cars just an Example but that's all they want to know how much to get my car fixed. Tell someone its $90/hr next thing you know they show up with half the bolts taken out and parts in the trunk "imma pay you 30 mins to put it together right now quick" so I just price the job so we can pay everyone to work another day.
  31. 1 point
    Thank you Joe for the well written post. I have weighed the option to close as I'm sure many of you have. Here are my thoughts; I am fortunate enough to be able to go a few months without worrying about the financial repercussions but I do worry about my customers. My shop is in a rural isolated area and I would feel terrible not helping people that need emergency services. We fix flat tires and broken cars every day. We aren't doing upgrades we are getting cars back on the road. I certainly clean the counter more frequently but life goes on for us.
  32. 1 point
    Shop labor rate should be set off your shop’s fixed costs & hours of operation, not what somebody else is charging. That’s what we do. However, I don’t tell customers what we charge per hour, I simply tell them we charge by the job, not by the hour. We are a transmission specialty shop and for most vehicles, we charge $1,750 labor only for the R&R and the build. Some are less, some are more. When calculating by the hour behind the scenes, we calculate it @ $125/hr but still tell the customer we charge by the job if they ask how much an hour, but that’s only perhaps >2% of all customers who ask. In my experience, the subject of shop hourly labor rate virtually never comes up unless we mention it. Most people only want to know the bottom line.
  33. 1 point
    Joe, I agree with your comments 100%. For most, it's the FEAR that's driving them to make decisions that don't make sense. They PANIC. Now, the drop in business is real, but like most others, it's a bump in the road. If we all simply rely on the hard facts (like WHO information) and stay away from all the FEAR and PANIC, we'll do fine. I posted about this too with the best advice I've got. You can read that here: Thanks again for your calm sensible approach and comments. Matthew "The Car Count Fixer"
  34. 1 point
    The BEST thoughts on this subject to date. My sincere compliment for a well written, heart felt message that both touched and inspired me. Thank you.
  35. 1 point
    Thank you Joe for putting things into perspective for us. We appreciate your thoughts, especially in a time like this.
  36. 1 point
    Thanks for sharing @Joe Marconi, good plan! If anyone is looking for Joe's topic, please click here @xrac glad to hear things are still normal by you! Seems that last week things really shot up in terms of closings, panic, and especially in states where there are a large number of reported cases. Here in lower NY, schools are closed next week and the rumor is that they might be closed into April. This coming week may be even more active as numbers start rolling in from more and faster testing, due to the private sector getting in on it; quest, lab corp, etc.
  37. 1 point
    Frank, you are lucky. Please be prepared. Have a plan. If nothing affects your area, you will still benefit.
  38. 1 point
    We charge for Diagnostics,period.If questioned we state;"If you tell us which parts you want replaced,we can make you an Estimate,otherwise we must charge you for our time in locating your vehicles troubles"
  39. 1 point
    "You mean to tell me that after taking 1 hour to find a faulty mass air sensor, you will add the 1 hour to the 5 minutes it takes to install a new mass air? Come on, we all know the truth." Original Content From: For us......yes. How often do we find the diagnostic process results in a 5 minute fix? For us its alot of the time. Also after performing and charging for the diagnosis we have had customers fail at attempting the repair themseves and blame our "diagnosis". So we moved away from the label diagnosis and started calling it a repair procedure. Customer calls in and ask how much to diagnose an overheating concern we explain that repair starts at $97.50 and once it begins they will owe that fee along with any additional charges they agree to in order to complete the repair. Customer says they only want the diag we tell them we are not interested.....we are here to maintain and fix vehicles not diagnose things for other people to fix. We also feel its bad practice to make repairs based on others "diagnosis" if you are confident they correctly assessed the issue you should let them make the repair. More than once we have made a repair "diagged" by the dealer only to find it wasnt the needed repair leaving the customer unsure who to hold accountable.
  40. 1 point
    NCTransmission, The original post was from 2012. The employee is still with us, we decided his loyalty was more important than a few extra dollars profit. Since then we have come up with a new role for him and although he is still overpaid by most standards I don’t regret keeping him. We’ve increased business by over $1.5 million per year since 2012 and his hard worked has helped us get to this position. I wouldn’t consider him someone that is “sucking at my teat”. I would consider him a loyal, lifetime employee that I’m proud to have on my team. Sometimes you just need to be creative and figure out how to switch things up with loyal, hard working people rather than cut them and move on to the next guy.
  41. 1 point
    We're far from that, I took 0 offense to what you said and just look to provide a medium for discussion. We all do what we need to do to survive, but I think more often than not we all do the same things at different times in our career and how it was executed... depends on the outcome. To your point, we're really upfront with new customers that we do not work for free and there will be a charge to look at their vehicle. We literally give them the keys and state "This is how long it takes us to do X, we need to do X first and then move onto Y, which requires Z time. It is impossible to predict if we will need more time at this stage, but we can only promise to be fair and forthcoming in everything we do. We understand this might not suit your needs, but we're always here should you need it." When you say that because you mean it and not because it's a sell line, people will open their minds to the idea of trusting you. Once you give them a reason to solidify that trust by doing exactly as you said... you change the conversion from 2 in 10 customers to 4 in 10 customer becoming life long customers. I really just want to reiterate to everyone that the basis for my success started when I treated every single customer as I would expect to be treated in that scenario. It doesn't mean I didn't lose my cool or make a mistake or I didn't perform a service for free to make it up to someone... It means I set my goal and I did everything in my power every single day to achieve it. Ultimately, years of free training provided by a local vendor.... made me open my eyes. But I still had to do the leg work. Just remember everyone: A thorough vehicle inspection takes no less than 45 minutes. Full code scan: 10 minutes on a $4000+ piece of equipment, with monthly updating costs. Test drive?:15 mins min, depending on customer concern Lift and wheels off: 15-20 mins Document findings: text, photo 10 mins Build estimate: 5 minutes to 3 hours. The fastest at their craft and process can do that in 45 minutes. It;s likely closer to an hour from start to finish depending on exact needs. Would you call your plumber and electrician, that pays you for your service at your shop, and expect them to do the equivalent for free? Why should you?
  42. 1 point
    I don't "run the clock". Every circumstance is different. To help customers understand, I document everything I do from start to finish, just like we track our time. That means every test we perform, I attach its result and label what I did to test any given part and why. Since each circumstance is different, we try to make the most of our time. We request up to 2 hours and will work up to 3, assuming the third hour is on us. If we need more than that... we send the customer the information and then call them to review it. Ask them if they want us to keep going or if they will figure things out differently. Strange thing happens. When you treat someone like a friend and respect their hard earned money, they have no problems paying for the service they are receiving. So, we work insanely hard at being accurate, fair, and professional at everything we do. Our customers notice and don't mind paying... because they feel what we provide, is worth paying for. It didn't happen overnight and it was a really long road here, but I'll never run any other service business in this lifetime with any other mindset.
  43. 1 point
    @CAR_AutoReports With all due respect can I ask how you can run the clock and then hand them the bill? I am not saying you are doing anything wrong or shouldn't do as you do, I like how you do it. But do you just have the customer sign a blank check or do you have them approve a couple hours and then have them approve more time as needed? Here in Michigan we have to have a signed work order authorizing a certain amount and if we exceed that amount we must have verified approval of an additional amount. Unlike a plumber or carpenter or doctor we can't just do the work, hand the bill and expect to get paid regardless of what the amount is. If we want to charge for 6 hours we must either write the estimate/work order at the outset or get approval along the way. I'm just wondering how you handle the approval process if there is one.
  44. 1 point
    We charge full labor for diagnostics as we have seen full vehicle diagnosis with test drives and other in bay testing surpass the 4 hour mark for accurate assessments. We occasionally get a complaint or a "Can't you remove the charge", we hold the line. "We are sorry but the amount of tools and time it takes to properly inspect vehicles, does not allow us to perform this service free of charge." Our most recent full system diagnosis had 3 hours on the lift, followed by one minor repair to get the vehicle driving, followed by 1.25 hours of driving for all monitors to run. Then a reevaluation of codes that returned, what they are indicating, and another 1+ hour(s) of lift time diagnosing them. Throughout the diagnosis we used the scanner for 2 hours at minimum. We will use the volt meter at minimum and possibly the scope. All tools that cost us a lot of money and some of which require subscriptions to stay up to date. We'll be all into this particular example for 6 hours. If they get all the work done, we can and usually provide a fairer rate for diagnosis considering their support. If they get nothing, They pay full rate and have our entire process documented, and available to them digitally to take anywhere else and bargain on their time. I've had one person really cause a problem over the last 3 years over this practice. He was warned prior that we do not assess vehicles for free and there is no "standard" charge to do so. So I don't lose an ounce of sleep over it. I used to be the guy that allowed diagnostics to leave uncharged, not since I learned how much time we spend diagnosing and inspecting.
  45. 1 point
    We hear all too often that the "other shop they went to, does not charge for diagnostic testing" or "waives the diag if the customer agrees to do the work" This may have happened years ago, but I really can't see this has common any more. Shop owners know the costs of complicated diagnostic testing. And shop owners know that 2 hours of testing has no part profit, so in order to maintain your hourly gross profit, you need to charge. And depending on your labor structure, many shops use a multi-tier labor rate to offset those jobs that have little to no parts for a particular job.
  46. 1 point
    When customers balk at a diagnostic fee, I just tell them the diagnosis is usually the most time consuming part of the job. I use the analogy that if the car was brought in for an evap leak and I spend the time to smoke test it and find a leaking gas cap, I still need to be paid for the diagnostic time not just the time it takes to replace the gas cap. I charge an hour for driveability and electrical diagnosis($99.00) and a half hour for other stuff. If someone doesn't want to pay the fee, they're probably going to be a pain in the butt about the repair cost as well.
  47. 1 point
    I keep it short and nice. I tell people I have to pay the technician for his time spent working and testing for the correct repair needed to your vehicle. If I don’t pay him, he wouldn’t work here. I haven’t got any bad mouthing from it, but sometimes they just say OK thank you and hang up.
  48. 1 point
    Spring is here! Market you shop in your community. Dollar for dollar, the best marketing you can do is right in your own back yard. This is the time of the year when a lot of outdoor events begin: From youth sports to adult golf games. In addition, there are fund raisers each weekend. Find out what's going on in your community. Get involved. Sponsor a youth sport's team, sponsor a golf tournament fund raiser or other fund raiser events. Get your shop known for being part of the community, not just another repair shop. The more you stand out, the more people will take notice and stronger your business will become!
  49. 1 point
    Joe, you are not alone. I charge for analysis, always. We have to get paid for our time and our professional knowlege. What takes us a few minutes, may take others much more time. Should we sell ourselves short for this?? Heck no. We educate our customers on how, and why, they are paying for diagnosis and inspections ahead of time, makes life easier for me and my employees.
  50. 0 points
    With everything closed some folks take advantage of the extra time to get their car fixed. We've been busy the last couple weeks but I expect everyone will stop spending money and going out very soon. I must say that this year has been the slowest on record since we opened in 2010. I just paid the lowest tire bill I've ever had in 10 years. Maybe it was fear of the virus in January and February who knows but we didnt sell very many tires this quarter that's for sure.

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