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  1. 5 points
    I think you're nuts!! I think if I looked up ADD ADHD in the dictionary your picture would be there.....please.....don't take that the wrong way. I can appreciate your youthful enthusiasm but as I follow your posts your going off half cocked all the time. It's like you cant focus on one thing and you allow every thought that crosses your mind to become a reality. In one post you go from one shop to three, then back down to two, next your thinking about a tow truck.....discussing how to get proper gp and now selling trinkets....I get tired just reading your posts.....(they are interesting) I suppose one day when you're on the cover of fortune magazine I will be able to say I interacted with him on a message board for a while....good luck.
  2. 4 points
    I have the hardest time understanding the ethics in this industry. It's like the auto repair industry has it's own set of ethics and expectations that are completely different than any other industry. It's absurd! Look at it: 1) Billing for 100% of Time - Lawyers do, doctors do, accountants do, plumbers do, phone companies do, and employees do...however, shops are supposed to stick to the estimate come hell or high water. Otherwise we are gouging or padding our time, or just adding random time. It's crazy! It's a double-standard that we allow to be placed on us. 2) Selling Only What Customers Need - People don't need 2 TVs, or 10 pairs of shoes, or bottled water, or Apple products, or bubble gum. Yet none of these industries are considered unethical for selling people something they don't need. Why are we unethical for selling people something they "don't need"? How did that happen? Don't go the wrong way with this...I'm not proposing telling people their car is broken when it isn't. I'm saying that right now our industry is in a position to bow to the customer any time they don't feel like the "need" a certain repair because they'll pull the unethical card on us. 3) Marking Up Parts - Why are we the only industry that is unethical for marking up things that we sell? Hardware stores do, restaurants do, plumbers do, Wal-mart does, O'Reilly's does. But for some reason, certain customers expect us to sell parts at our cost. Why not at O'Reilly's cost...or at Moog's cost? What is the ethical price? Is anyone allowed to make a profit selling parts? If so, who is and why only them? It's just crazy when I think about the unbelievable expectations people have for our industry. Here's my theory for how we got into this position. When we are desperate for customers we'll do anything they want. And it's much easier and less risky (so we think) to give into them by knocking the price down than it is to spend time teaching them about what they just bought or are about to buy. There's so much focus on shop efficiency that we don't take the time to develop customer relationships and educate them about the benefits of buying from us. It isn't a waste of time to teach customers about their car, to show them why we are proposing a certain repair, or to explain every item on the invoice. If we don't then people will continue to expect us to sell parts at cost, eat unexpected labor time, and not perform a proper repair all in the name of ethics. We have to put a stop to this. Our industry generally isn't unethical (we have 7 shops in my town of 12,000 and only one is shady) but we accept that moniker. We don't have to. I certainly don't. Does anybody else think the expectations on our industry are just plain stupid?
  3. 3 points
    Along with doing an inspection on every vehicle, the customer needs to be primed for it at drop off. I train my guys to use the line "while your car is in the shop, I'll have my guys look it over to make sure everything is ok for you." Without fail, the customer says "Great. Thanks!" It's important to use that line pretty much verbatim. We don't talk about courtesy inspections etc. It's all about making sure the car is ok for them. In a round about way, we have permission from the customer to inspect the vehicle, and sell them the needed repairs, while not making them feel like you're simply going for the upsell. Considering the age and mileage of the average vehicle we see, every single customer knows there's something wrong with their vehicle, and isn't surprised when we tell them there are things that need to be fixed. If they're primed to hear about it, the odds of getting the job are much higher.
  4. 3 points
    This is not new topic for me, but I need to revisit it again. And I will keep revisiting this topic for the sake of our industry. For independent repair shops to "thrive" today, you must take a proactive approach with regard to business. If you only want to "survive" you can stop reading now. Waiting for the phone to ring, or for cars to breakdown, or for a customer to drive into your shop asking for a repair or service is business suicide. The days of broken cars lining up in front of your bays are over. Sure, cars still breakdown, but you cannot thrive with a wait-and-see strategy. Make sure you perform multipoint inspections on all cars in for any type of service. Yes, any type of service or repair. Look up vehicle history on all vehicles. Let the customer know of needed services, missed services and services due. And lastly, book the next appointment. Yes, I know....Joe's been preaching this over and over and it does not work in your shop. Fine, then let me focus on those shops that do book the next appointment. Because those are the shops that are adopting a proactive approach...and I will see those shops in the future.
  5. 3 points
    I don't like to just mark up my products....I usually double, triple, or quadruple my cost. Plus I buy deals and I pass the savings on to ME!!! I smother my clients with excellent, super, and unexpected service, and I make sure I am MORE than compensated for said service. If I were in business for my health, I would own and operate a GYM!!! Hi-Gear
  6. 3 points
    Explaining is the only way that customers will ever understand. If you just eat it then they'll never understand. Your strategy is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Watch: YOUR SHOP 1) don't tell customers why you charge for shop supplies 2) customers don't understand what's in shop supplies 3) customers complain because they don't understand 4) you can't charge for shop supplies because they complain MY SHOP 1) we tell customers why we charge for shop supplies 2) customers understand what's in shop supplies and why we can't break it down into line items 3) customers don't complain because they know we billed them fairly 4) nobody complains about shop supplies (I've never had a single person complain about it) so we can charge for them Every shop owner is free to make their own decisions, but in my experience people are willing to pay for the things that are required to do the job as long as they know what they are paying for. Any shop owner that isn't charging for shop supplies is leaving money on the table that customers are willing to pay for. I'm up 30% this year in sales and July alone was up 58% in sales over last year! I'm not losing customers due to charging for shop supplies. I'm not losing them because my shop rate went up 2%, I'm gaining them because they feel comfortable with us because we show and tell everything that we can so there are no mysteries. They know they are getting what they pay for and that there is no fluff in the invoice. It's all legitimate charges for what it takes to do the job in a professional manner. And just an FYI I'm not a tech and I've never been a tech. I'm just a business person in this industry trying to make a profitable business that people can trust. It seems to be working.
  7. 3 points
    Got my own branded flashlight, ordered 500 of them from Alibaba.com - talked to a bunch of suppliers and bought 500 for a good deal. I got my own branded long double box end wrenches as well being manufactured right now. Also ordered magnetic phone holders (1000 of them) and 200 OBDII wifi code readers. Spent about $10k, trying to get my name out there and earn some extra money on the side. http://www.ebay.com/itm/Carmedix-Super-Bright-Rechargeable-LED-Water-Resistant-Flashlight-for-Mechanics-/272713331814?epid=16002924438&hash=item3f7efb3466:g:JzIAAOSwrfVZPg0r https://www.amazon.com/Carmedix-Rechargeable-Resistant-Flashlight-Mechanics/dp/B072MPMQ5P/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1501210798&sr=8-1&keywords=carmedix I am new to listing products and advertising, what do you guys think? I took all the pictures myself. Thinking about giving away the magnetic phone holders with oil changes. Has a nice big logo on it and customers will see it when phone is removed. I like the idea of arming my loyal customers with code readers. I know it's controversial but for my loyal customers, it'll be good. When making a appointment, they can tell me the code in which I can tell them it's a emergency or schedule them my next available. I will also know if I need to schedule for a smoke test or diagnosing a misfire.
  8. 3 points
    I don't see the more reliable cars as a problem. There's no denying that cars are more reliable and require fewer visits to the shop, but there's also no denying that there are more cars on the road per shop than ever before, leaving each of us with more cars available even if those cars come to us less often per mile driven. There's also no denying that people in most areas of the country put more miles on their car every year. This leads to more wear and tear on the car, and more needed repairs. You just have to go out and get them. My car count is up 11.75% on the year. This has been my trend for the last 5+ years. Probably more if I go back and look.
  9. 3 points
    I looked into paid yelp advertising. I called some shops that were advertisers. They were in big cities and yelp worked for them. Yelp is not popular in my area though. I get 8-14 views a week on yelp. I focus on Google and Facebook. Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
  10. 3 points
    Ron, I’ve seen you give some helpful advice here, but I think you are way off on this one and are doing a disservice to all of us trying to find ways to maintain and grow our businesses. Being a some what overly optimistic person, I fought this idea for years, but more reliable cars are having a negative effect on the automotive repair industry and there is no denying it. I could provide you hard data to prove it, and could probably spend hours responding to this post. But to minimize the time I spend on my response, I’m just going to make a few simple points about your 14 year old average car. Right now that would be 2003 models. Compared that to a 14 year old car we would have been working on 10 years ago, which would have been 1993 models. We were exclusively working on Volvo’s 10 years ago. We are now servicing all makes and models, and one of the main reasons is because of the issue of increased reliability and the reduction in required maintenance. Just a quick look at the maintenance charts from 1993 to 2003 you will see major extensions in the intervals for just about every maintenance item, or the elimination of them. While it was not uncommon for 1993 to be towed in at least once over the course of several years, it is uncommon for 2003 models on to be towed in. Over the last few years we have seen timing belt service intervals go to 150,000 and a lot of cars going back to timing chains. Oil leaks were always good money makers, but with improvements in seal designs and PCV systems, those repairs have diminished. Oil change intervals of 3,000 miles are now going to 7,500, 10,000, up to 15,000. Simple math on that alone will indicate lower car count. I have been hearing for years how many cars there are on the road and how the average age continues to increase and how great that is going to be for our business. Meanwhile I have watched most everyone I know in this business have their year over year sales decline. In fact, I just bought the customer base of a German car specialist who went bankrupt after 39 years in business. Just 10 years ago he was grossing over $1M. I don’t think people have changed that much when it comes to car ownership expenses. There are always exceptions, but most people will not keep an older car if it does not make financial sense. Generally that means the older the car gets, the less they are willing to spend on it. So if the average age of vehicles on the road is increasing, it is a further indication to me that less money is being spent on maintenance and repairs. There is one last point I would like to address and that is fear. Fear is a very strong motivator. When I first started in this business, most customers knew what it meant to have a car break down or leave them stranded somewhere. Fear of that happening was a strong motivation for them to do all they could to make sure it did not happen to them again. When someone got towed in, they almost always bought any other recommended work. Most of my customers now can’t even imagine a car that won’t start or one that might quit running. You can say that bad behavior is no longer punished. Scott
  11. 2 points
    yes the bugs, mice and rats ewwww... the biggest thing I came across was a full grown buck stuck under the front end of a little old ladies car.. She pulled up to the station in an old crown vic with a huge buck stuck under the front of the car . leaving a nasty skid trail of fur etc as she came in . She calmly walked up to me and asked if I could remove the deer from under her car she had been dragging it around for the last two days (over the weekend) .. How could I say no to a little old lady, so I grabbed some rubber gloves and went over to take a better look. I took a quick look and decided the best way was to just back up and see what happens. I got the keys from her threw it in reverse and slowly started backing up since I wanted to drag it as far from my bay as possible. As I started to back up she started clapping and cheering as I backed a few more feet i could see the deer laying right outside my bay door. I got out of the car she came up to me and said " If I knew all I had to do was back up I would of done that two days ago" so this little old lady seems to only drive forward. WOW . I ended up calling the county to come and pick the deer up they said it would be several hours and it needed to be dragged to the edge of the road so I guess I didn't put the rubber gloves on for nothing, Luckily I think it had lost a lot of its weight being dragged around for two days LOL.
  12. 2 points
    My experience in the past two years I went from $85 - $95 then $95 - $105 my car count has increased. Industry standard is around 2 hrs per RO I think. So if you raise your rate $10 per hr the increase average is about $20. If a customer doesn’t come back over $20 either you don’t want that customer or you haven’t built enough value into your repairs or service.
  13. 2 points
    The biggest problem we have in this industry is that most shop owners started as technicians. Those technicians have a thought process in their head that revolves around how much they would pay for something, not how much a customer should pay. If you can buy a water pump for $30 and the technician/owner knows that he can bolt it on in an hour even though the book pays 3 hours, and as a tech he got paid $25 an hour, to them, that job was worth $55. Most guys have a hard time wrapping their head around charging a customer $400 for that job. If they sell it for $200 they made a killing - they think. The second biggest problem that we have is that any one of our customers can buy parts just as cheaply as we can. Standard retail markup for many many years has been cost times 5. That's an 80% gross profit for those of you playing at home. When you think of a "discount" store like Walmart, that just means the items are being sold at cost times 2.5 or 3. The difference is that I can't go to the supplier for Dillards department store and buy a shirt for the same money Dillards pays. Most people have no clue how much stores mark up their products, and would be outraged if they found out. We are in the crappy position of having to explain to customers why we have to mark up parts at all, much less why we have to mark them up over 100%. A lot of the technicians turned shop owners are unable to explain it. The rest of us are compared to those shops who can't explain it.
  14. 2 points
    $120 Chicago suburbs. I can see $130 by the end of the year. I think in the near future we will be going thru a major industry change. I think labor rate will go up substantially.....like 30%. There is a major tech shortage out there and the ones who will win will be able to compensate their people properly and that's going to take a lot more $$$ and a change in how we currently compensate techs. (flat rate) Of all the industry speak I hear all shops including so called good ones are having difficult times finding employees. Business has been really really good....but we can't keep up.
  15. 2 points
    https://www.chicksontheright.com/peyton-manning-retirement-home-best-thing-youll-see-day/
  16. 2 points
    For years we didn't charge and then I switched to charging a nominal amount. Finally, about three years ago we switched to charging 5% up to $35 maximum. What I found out was the biggest problem in charging shop supplies was me not my customers and that for years I had been giving away money.
  17. 2 points
    Hide supplies charges by incorporating it into some other charges? Hell let's just hide everything. Supplies? Hide it. Parts? Hide it. Labor? Hide it. Sales tax? Hide it. Lets just have one big fat total at the bottom of the invoice. No itemization whatsoever. Yeh, that will go over big. I read a lot of repair shop reviews and although I've seen reviews that say so and so shop has too high a labor rate or is marking their parts up too much, I've never seen a review that mentions supply charges at all. We charge 5% of labor capped at $40.
  18. 2 points
    In my comparison TABS & Winworks were the best value for my shop. My shop is small- 5 lifts, 4 empty bays, and a small yard (about 30-35 cars). TABS was easier to use but couldn't fix my duplicate ordering problem. Winworks is always pleasant and quick to take care of us. And $50 / month for updates & tech support is as reasonable as it gets. Many people thrive on new technology, but I'd rather be sitting in my bass boat than stuck in front of a PC learning new programs & updates. This business dominated my time for years. Never again. Missed too many ball games & school stuff with my kids. Now I do everything my way and on my schedule. Now it's time to take my "grand kids" to the lake.......
  19. 2 points
    I'm working on the waiting room right this minute, I cleaned it up immensely. Looks like a whole new place actually. Cleaning the shop is always a ongoing project, but something I'm also working on. I've already spoken to my website guy about shifting the focus of the website, that will take place in the next couple weeks. The google reviews I will make a point of to get, just need to figure out how to do it in a way that I feel comfortable. I understand the Yes man mentality, at the same time I have to say no more in my opinion. To keep jobs that I think are going to be unprofitable out of here.
  20. 2 points
    I will be there giving two presentations: "Beating Burnout" and "The True Cost of Comebacks" If anyone is going, please let me know. It would be great to meet you. And of course, please attend my presentations!
  21. 2 points
    We have 2 options for our customers. We are a Bosch Authorized service center and a NAPA Authorized service center. We offer CFNA from Bosch and Synchrony thru NAPA. Here is what I have found. Most of the customers that have applied have been denied. Customers with good credit have credit cards and just use them. I have spent hours submitting applications online and decided it is not worth my time. Now, I just email the customer the link and tell them they have to apply online. This also helps you avoid that always uncomfortable situation of tell the customer that they have been denied. Scott
  22. 2 points
    Like Joe said, more info would be needed to make a full diagnosis, but there are a few things we can glean from your post. First, your labor rate on your master tech is low. If he's producing most of your hours, you need to base your labor rate on his pay. You should be targeting 70% GP on labor, so divide his pay rate by .3. Also, I would be looking at what your Effective Labor Rate is with your current sales mix. Divide your labor sales into the labor hours flagged. Divide your ELR into your door rate to determine what percentage you're off. If your ELR is 85% of your door rate, then when you adjust your door rate to reflect your desired labor GP, increase it by 15% more to compensate for your ELR. This will compensate for the low labor rate on flushes etc. You might find this a little strong for your taste, but get something, a few bucks goes a long way. Friends and family are a real problem. In my shop the only friends are my friends. And I mean friends. People I actually do things with on the weekend. I've found over the years that there are a lot of people who want to call themselves your friend when it's time to get their car fixed. Those are acquaintances, not friends. Your employees friends are not your friends. There's no reason for your employee's friends to get a discount from you. Family is family. Family includes your parents, and anyone who lives in your house. Cousins don't count. Sister in laws don't count. If they aren't your parents or they don't live in your house, they are extended family, and they get no discount. Been down that road way too many times. Hope this helps.
  23. 2 points
    We signed up for Synchrony through CarQuest Technet. It works fine for us. Not a big volume, but it does work for a few customers, and it allows us to say we have that option and use it occasionally.
  24. 2 points
    As I told a student in my class the other day, "Experience comes from yesterdays mistakes. Knowledge is not making the same mistake tomorrow." I appreciate every day anymore . . . .and I'm not done making mistakes yet.
  25. 2 points
    It's always a little challenging when we realize there are more years behind us, than there are ahead of us. But, the really good news is that we learn to appreciate the things that you cannot define with a price tag. And that makes it all worth it to keep on pushing through life's obstacles.
  26. 2 points
    Last night- I dreamed I was a muffler: and woke up exhausted!
  27. 2 points
    When I bought my partner out a few years ago, he said it was time to raise our labor rate. Because I lost his customer base, and he was the expert mechanic, I was afraid to raise the rate. I worked my butt off and struggled. I finally got over my fear, and challenged by other shop owners I raised my rates. Nothing happened. So I raised them again. I don't recommend this, but I can tell you what I did and what happened. I ended up raising our labor rate from $89 to $125 in a period of 18 months. Nothing happened. Except I started being profitable. I know I am the highest labor rate in town. The shop across the street, a very good shop, is at $90, we're both very busy. The big difference between me and the owner across the street is that he's the main guy and can't leave, and I don't work in my shop in daily operations and have taken up to a month off at a time. I know this is not recommended, but I ended up not caring what any other shop in town did. I concentrated on giving great service. Besides, if any shop works towards a 60% GP you have to get it somewhere. There is less push back on labor rates (rarely comes up) than there is on parts pricing. BTW, I'm just sharing experience here. We've had lot's of issues to overcome. I found out last year that we were not charging nearly enough on parts compared to other shops, and getting that pricing correct has really helped our profitability. Also, we try to stay comparable by quoting an opening estimate for testing at $98. If we really get pinned down on labor rate we quote our average labor rate, which is 110-115, and we say it's our average rate. Not recommending thus stuff, just saying what we do. Richard G
  28. 1 point
    The first thing I would do is check out the reputation of the dealer. If he is shady or unethical, like it or not your reputation will be tied to his. Next, lose that mind set that there isn't much money in the area because everybody drives a 10 year old car. It takes a lot of money to drive a 10 year old car, especially in NY.
  29. 1 point
    i am sure that story is going to bring out all kinds of gory responses.. Can't wait for that one 😆
  30. 1 point
  31. 1 point
    So, I feel like most shops on this forum are performing some sort of multi-point inspection on just about every car that comes in. I know we do. I'm curious though what everyone's inspection consists of. Are you having techs pull every cabin filter and air filter? Test drive every vehicle? Are you pulling wheels to check and measure brakes? Also, are you paying your techs for these inspections on top of other services? If so, how much? Here is a copy of one of our digital inspections if anyone is curious. http://2un.me/yssm Personally, I've struggled with checking cabin and air filters for 2 reasons. 1.) It is a bummer to pull out those filters, take pictures, make the recommendation, and the customer decline, just to turn around and put them back in. 2.) Some filters a real pain in the ass to check. I really struggle justifying pulling out a glove box assembly to find a clean cabin filter, or to find a dirty filter and the customer decline replacing it. I've also struggled with with the following situation: We find a radiator leaking, build a quote, present to the customer, and they decline. I've toyed around with the idea of scrapping all component specific inspection points and simply informing the customer that we found a coolant leak on their vehicle and using that information to sell a '$49 cooling system inspection'... I haven't pulled the trigger on that yet. It would be cool to see what kind of inspections you guys are doing on every vehicle and how you are handling different aspects of it.
  32. 1 point
    Well, might as well make it official. I'm selling the shop and or parting it out. Most likely parting it out. After much thought has been put into it I've decided to go the route of writer/teacher for my next leg of automotive. After 33 years of running a shop I guess you could say... I've seen it done it and own lots of T shirts. Equipment wise I've got most everything up for sale. Including a few specialty tools that aren't even around anymore. Such as a gauge tester for anything from 95 on back... Very handy. I'll try to put together a list... but if there is something you'd like to know if I have one... send me a message. I'll get back to you.
  33. 1 point
    Actually total miles driven in this country peaked in June of 2005. https://www.advisorperspectives.com/dshort/updates/2017/06/20/vehicle-miles-traveled-another-look-at-our-evolving-behavior "The Driving Boom – a six decade-long period of steady increases in per-capita driving in the United States – is over. Americans drive fewer total miles today than we did nine years ago, and fewer per person than we did at the end of Bill Clinton's first term. The unique combination of conditions that fueled the Driving Boom – from cheap gas prices to the rapid expansion of the workforce during the Baby Boom generation – no longer exists. Meanwhile, a new generation – the Millennials – sees a new American Dream that is less dependent on driving." I didn't look up whether there are more cars on the road than ever because it really doesn't matter. What matters is that the total miles are down. Less service due per mile x less miles driven = less overall repair opportunities
  34. 1 point
    Hmmmm... Okay, here are a few more statements that I've never made, and won't admit to being a fact either... "The use of E-cigarettes will make you addicted to technology" "If only I had a 3D printer. Then I would illegally download a lego" "Using your old laptop to research buying a new one is just like asking it to dig it's own grave" "If you touch your phone in all the right places, a pizza will show up at your door" "Since nothing ever gets removed from the internet, in 15 years the internet will be filled with videos of cats that are dead" "Sacred cows make the best hamburgers" "During the day I don't believe in ghosts. At night I tend to me a little more open-minded" As amusing as this has been for me, it seems you're simply looking to find an argument with my point of view on car count. I see that now. So rather than playing ping pong with you all day, I'll declare you the winner =>You're right! Better made cars are exactly what is killing car count in your shop and there is nothing that you can do about it to quickly turn the car count deficit around in your shop.
  35. 1 point
    I agree with Joe. Don't waste your time building an estimate for a radiator or valve cover leak or whatever. Sell the customer a cooling system pressure test, oil leak diagnosis etc. If it's super obvious, tell them you'll do the test for free if they decide to fix it. That way you're not wasting time bidding jobs that the customer doesn't care about.
  36. 1 point
    Mechanic for Life A lot of us mechanics may not have started out with the ambitions of being one. It’s just how things worked out. You might have started out with a college education or military background, and it turned out to be something that didn’t suit you at all. Others might have grown up in the business and were handling wrenches long before they were out of diapers. Still others started by fixing their own car, because they couldn’t afford to pay someone else to do it, and found it was something that suited them more than an office cubicle. Whatever the method that got you into the business, you’re probably hooked. Most likely, just like me, you’re a mechanic for life now. I’ve been turning wrenches for as long as I can remember. Maybe not always for a paycheck, but no matter what I was doing there always seemed to be a wrench close by. Eventually, all that tinkering led to a chance to be a mechanic at a real shop. Actual diagnostics took a lot longer to learn, but it’s fair to say most all of us started off doing minor repairs or on the lube rack. Back when I started, my diagnostic skills and tools weren’t all that special. Usually nothing more more than a rubber hose held up to my ear to listen for knocks or taps, or whatever pieces of equipment the repair shop had on hand. It took time to learn how to diagnose a problem correctly, but even then, I was hooked. I couldn’t get enough of those mechanical marvels that travel up and down the highway. Tools and techniques have changed over the years, and every mechanic has had to change with each new technical innovation. These days, the new technology seems to change even faster than a person can imagine. It used to be the hand tools that changed as rapidly as the new models were introduced, now it’s the laptop requirements and the software that are constantly changing more than the hand tools. I’m seeing components such as the power steering pump, water pump and even the air conditioning compressors slowly being replaced by electronics. I’ve got a lifetime of tools and techniques I’ve learned to take care of all those fluids, belts, and hoses, as well as how to replace all those components. But, being a mechanic for life you have to expect changes like that. I’ve got drawers full of specialty sockets for timing gears, distributors and that odd looking soup bowl for removing those Northstar water pumps. Now, they’re just another one of those tools that will end up in a lower corner of the tool box along with an ever increasing pile of outdated scanners that are gathering dust. For me, I’m still amazed at how many tools and techniques for repairing cars I’ve used for so many years are now just a lifetime of memories. The computers and data lines have taken over the automotive world, and the state-of-the-art electronics can be overwhelming to anyone unfamiliar with the modern car. Making a lifelong career as a mechanic means you’ll experience a lot of these changes in your tools, as well as the cars. It is a new and different automotive world than ever before, but even with all these changes, and the years that I’ve been at this, I’m still amazed and in awe of the mechanical wonders we drive down the road. It’s that fascination of searching for a problem, the latest technology, and the mechanical nature of the modern automobile that gets to a person whose life revolves around maintaining them. With all these changes it takes years to get familiar with the systems and to actually get good at this job. You’ll make a few mistakes, a few discoveries, but all in all, you’ll learn from them both. This learning process goes along with my favorite saying, “Experience comes from yesterday’s mistakes. Knowledge comes from not making the same mistake tomorrow.” That says it all. Then, you might branch out of the service bay into other forms of mechanic work. Maybe as a service writer, working in the parts department, maybe owning and running your own shop, or perhaps as an instructor bringing up the next generation of mechanics. Deep down we’re all still a mechanic just in a different way. No matter what direction your future holds, you’re still a mechanic for life, and that’s just the way we like it. View full article
  37. 1 point
    interstate batteries became junk in our shop. local route would argue on warranties including in my own personal vehicle. batteries on shelf that were put into stock as replacement tsted bad on multiple occasins. i took 3 differant testers to batteries on his truck and same result. the driver took his tester and confirmed same result. was so happyto remove them from my shelves.
  38. 1 point
    My son sent this link to me, he explained that the creator of this application show mathematically why those of us that care for our customers win, and also why some cheats prosper so much. Great application, worth your time if you want to understand why developing trust and excellent communication with your customers is critical. http://ncase.me/trust/
  39. 1 point
    if a vehicle needs a reflash or a part is going to need programming and I know it is something I am unable to do I send them to the dealer. I find that being straight up with the customer they will continue to use you for all their needs.. A job lost to the dealer because it may not be cost effective to you may lead to a customer that has more confidence in your for being completely honest with them.. I tell them It is not cost or time effective for me to purchase equipment to do the flashing and as stated above some only take a one time flash screw that up and you have to buy a new module or ecm, easier to let the big guys (dealers) with the money to make those repairs. That way you aren't out money and time , the bottom line is we want to make more money than we spend in a timely manner 😉 I had a Kia forte the other day the bcm was bad (would not release the shift interlock ) I did a quick look through my scanner to see if I could do the programming , but didn't see it.. On some models you can copy the old bcm if you can communicate with it and then install the new one and program. Instead of taking any chances I told the guy the problem he was happy , been several places that installed new brake light switch , new solenoid etc. if they had just done some bidirectional communications and checked some very simple wiring (after removing the center console everything is right there including the bcm) they could of made the correct diagnosis. He paid for the diagnostic time agreed upon when he first brought the car in and said he would like to use me for his other repairs.
  40. 1 point
    One of our techs had a heater core to do in a Hoarder vehicle when he heard a rustling sound. It was maggots inside a fast food bag.
  41. 1 point
    Gonzo, I really enjoyed this piece, you made me recall memories when I used to go to Sears and their professional tool sections. I felt like a kid in a candy store! Thank you for sharing, I hope you are healing well and feel even better. Out thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
  42. 1 point
    Thanks Joe! Love the way you put it about friends and family. Looking forward to seeing you in person in Sept!
  43. 1 point
    There is a lot more information needed before I can really determine what is going on with your business. However, we can draw a few general conclusions. It's not so much your prices or labor rate that is the problem, but how efficient and productive you are. In other words, how much labor is being produced per hour by your techs? You could have a $150.00 labor rate, but if a tech only produces $300 in labor in an 8 hour day, that translates into $37.50 per hour for that day, for that tech. You need to look at production, the type of jobs you are selling, you customer base, your profit on parts. And too much discounting is a sure way to go out of business. By the way, EVERYONE of my customers are family and/or friends, but I don't discount a dime. Good luck and I hope this helps.
  44. 1 point
    After the month I've had... I'm definitely an antique.
  45. 1 point
    Jay, You do realize [or maybe you don't] that having those customers sign a waiver won't do you any good in court. The court will state that as the professional, you knew it was an unsafe situation and you will still be responsible. I always laugh when a customer says that they will sign a waiver relieving me of any liability. I then ask them if they can relieve me of the liability of the other person that they hit when they have an accident.
  46. 1 point
    Hey guys, so here's the update. A LOT has happened in the last few months and I have learned TONS. I have been super busy and haven't been on the forums at all - but I saw a lot of activity on the post and there's actually a worthwhile update. First thing to note was that once I opened my second and third shops, my car count went up as well. My Google rankings for the first shop is pretty good but it went up after opening 2nd and 3rd locations (not sure if google has algorithms for this). I opened 2nd and 3rd back to back months. All 3 shops I have running and self sustaining. I just drive from shop to shop to shop making sure all goes well and I fill in where needed. What I have learned is, location and demographics are really really really important for opening multiple shops. I've had customers drive 30+min away to come to me so I have a lot of loyal customers. Whether I have just the 2nd shop or just the 3rd shop, 75% customers would come anyway as they live between the 2. In my experience in these past months, I gained 25% new customers that were local to the new shops. The third shop has been doing much better because the demographics are better- my second shop is in a poorer neighborhood and sales have been abysmal from local customers - absolutely not able to upsell - even metal to metal rotors, they reject rotors and we have them sign a waiver.... I actually have had a few homeless customers. Now there are a small handful that drive from further South that are good but they would have came to me no matter what. I realized this last month so I decided to close the 2nd location and keep the third. It worked out because it wasn't too difficult to get out of the lease- worked it out so that I just had to pay 2 months rent upfront. Last official day open is this Friday. I keep my customers anyway and the 25% I lose out on are the customers that I don't want.... I think I will open another 3rd location though, but I think I have to be more strategic on the location - I will wait longer for better cash reserve and spend more on a nicer looking location with higher end clientele. Just to give you guys some numbers- my first current shop opened last Feb. Last month the first shop was around $6-$7k profit - (after all expenses including payroll for myself). 2nd shop which I opened Feb lost $3k 3rd shop which I opened in March showed profit just south of $1k (after all expenses) If you are planning on opening a second location, I'd do it as long as the location is good. I would make it at least 30 min away from the first one though and I'd only do it if your first shop is profitable. Do I regret opening the second location? Not at all, yes I lost money but going from 3 shops to 2 shops... 2 shops is now a cinch.
  47. 1 point
    In my shop bodywork and interior work are not sublet. The complexity of body work along with insurance company involvement make it too difficult. Interior work allows for too much personal opinion on the finished product. For all the other sublet (glass ,trans work, machine shop work) we pretty much can nail down a price before service or once the vehicle problem has been diagnosed and give a final price to our customer. Trans work is the easiest example for me so....we let people know we have a trans re-builder. Why go with us instead of directly to him. You have a relationship with us, as we do with him. You may have one or two trans failures in a lifetime. We rebuild 10 per year (insert number). This allows us to control the situation better for instance he offers a 12/12 warranty. For us he honors our 36/36 warranty (value). We also ensure the job is done to our standards when the vehicle is brought back to our shop. The volume we do allows for us to get better warranty and better pricing than he can give to the public. For glass work we bring in a glass company, same thing, we do volume which gives us better pricing as well as more leverage if something is not right. For our customer it is more convenient to bring the car to one place and get it all done even if it does cost them a few more dollars. They are comfortable with us and are willing to pay us to take care of it.
  48. 1 point
    The debate to add a supply charge or not also has to take into account your local and state laws. But, regardless of that, every shop needs to account for those supplies and other expenses that too often go under the radar, and adds up over time. Every shop owner needs to know those costs, and add it to their overall breakeven number. Also, any small items, hardware, etc. must be paid for by the customer.
  49. 1 point
    Discount works on keeping their overhead low. They do not do their own alignments - no lifts - lower worker's comp etc. In - great customer service - out - send the customer somewhere that does alignments. We do alignments for our local Discount Tire. It was a great business decision. We have gained several good customers because of their referral. We maintain a great relationship with the managers and most of the tire techs also. They are all willing to refer their customers to us.
  50. 1 point
    The Digital Shop® takes shape in Schools Lindsay, our trainer extraordinaire went back to school. Not as a student but being a professor for two days at the Career and Technology Center Fort Osage. Based on the initiative of SmartFlow users in and around Kansas City, MO, Bill Lieb, and Bryan Compton – teachers of the Automotive Classes at CTC – AutoVitals provided equipment and training for the next generation automotive technicians. It has been an honor to support this initiative. The technician shortage and hesitance for new technology by older generation techs make it a necessity to have young technicians equipped with the knowledge about the tools available and how to use them. SmartFlow can not only guide these students to the digital frontier, but also learn about productivity and efficiency that is typically missing in everyday curriculum. As you can see in the pictures below, the students and Lindsay had a lot of fun with the lab portion of the training. Each group performed digital inspections on their vehicles, and expanded on the importance of documentation and pictures. Four classes in two days showed high school students the opportunity in this industry, both present and future. Professor Lindsay had a blast! Are you a School interested in taking your Automotive Program to the next level, or know of one? Please use our contact-us form to reach out!


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