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  1. 4 points
    Raise your prices and eliminate the bottom 20%. Work less make the same amount of money is one thought on how to move forward. Maybe your labor rate is way too low?
  2. 2 points
    The issue I've had recently is people ordering their tires online, and then wanting us to drop everything to install them today. My tire prices are competitive with all other shops around and even the big box store. I can't and won't attempt to compete with online prices for the tires. My mount and balance price is $80 for a set of 4 plus disposal and valve stems if required. My markup on automotive tires is a minimum of $20. When they buy online, they are in turn taking $80 away from me. Yes, I'll still install the tires. No, I won't drop everything to do it. Schedule at least a day or two in advance to drop off car and it'll get done same day. I'm not going to move a profitable job to the side for a customer that wants to bring his own steak to the steakhouse to save a couple bucks.
  3. 2 points
    HI Joe! Thanks for the response and point. I think the most important matter you brought up was .... You're 100% bang on. I never sold tires because there wasn't any money in them, so I can't speak to those matters but you're right. Tires aren't the complete job. Mount, balance, alignment, etc. is what the customer isn't thinking about. The most "mysterious" a system is... like A/C or Check Engine diagnosis - the more complicated it gets the more "ABC Auto Shops" mess with the price to get the job, regardless if they fix it or not! But with all that said, I think you said it best when you said "I sell relationships and trust". If all the other shops did that - I'd be out of work, so let's just keep this between us, okay! Thanks again! Matthew
  4. 2 points
    It's been 20 years since I did mine. It was beautiful for several years. Slowly over time wear and tear do get to the paint. It was a 2 part epoxy I believe made by Devcon. I recommend staying away from the water base stuff. I did my waiting room with it a few years ago and it didn't last very long, and the clear coat bubbled up. Here is what I can tell you. If you do any welding or cutting with a torch, it will burn holes. It will chip if heavy things are dropped on it. If you drag things across it, it will scratch, and it will yellow, and stain over time. For some reason washer solvent causes it to dry up and crack. Mine is looking pretty rough now, but it was great for many years. Scott
  5. 2 points
    First off let me say there is a lot of good information from the previous posts. A little about myself stated working in this industry in early 80's as a apprentice for a German Car shop after completing the training I work for the shop for a few years. I started my own shop in1987 specialzing in only German cars at the age of 27 I knew how to work on cars but no idea on running the shop, it was a 5 bay shop on a busy street in a small beach town, the entrance was small and speed on the road made it difficult to enter and exit safely. Also I had to come up with $65k to buy the business, big mistake, never buy a business and if so the customer base in the automotive repair business is of no value, depending on the equipement it's pennies on the dollar at best. After a few years I had the opportunity to move to a different location about 4 blocks south, The shop was a bit smaller rent was less but the building did not face the street, plus I was sharing the building with other tenants so parking was a issue, Still struggling due to low car count, buying diagnostic equipement and lack of education on running the business and marketing. In 2000 I moved out of the area and closed the shop, I found a shop in my new town, which was a piece of crap with a crazy landlord but it was the only place available that fit my wants I was there 6 years and build a good reputation and applied everything I had learned earlier from running the shop to marketing. In 2006 I found the shop of my dreams 7500 building 1500 sq of office 6000 of shop space at first it was pretty good my landlord was sharing the shop space so rent was god and it gave me time to build the business, the building was awesome but it was a warehouse and not a auto repair shop so it had to be permitted here in California that set me back 30k but I was grossing 500k with 2 guys and myself so it was ok. Once the landlord left and I assumed the entire rent it became harder especially when a the would leave or I would have to let them go. Also due to the location of the shop it was hard to get customer to come in. I was not on a main road, there was a main road just down the street but still did not help me with drive by traffic. In 2009 the landlord sold the building to a group out of Korea and I was on the hunt again. I found my current shop a 5 bay shop on a busy road with easy ingress and egress. I have 2 techs plus myself, one tech is still learning but getting better he came to me with little training but over the last 2 years he has come a long way, the second tech had his own shop but got tired of all the B,S so now he is working for me which is great. At the current shop my landlord is great that's a big deal for me, he painted my building a barn red so you can't miss it coming up or down the street. which has increased my bottom line. So some of the hurdles I have run into that you need to consider Money, how much in reserves do you have, you will need it to buy what ever this shop does not have, parts and equipment lifts, filters, fluids, air compressor diagnostic tools especially if you want to specialize. Plus all the licensces requied,, shop insurance workman comp ect. Techs, really hard to find good techs they all say they can work on cars, but as someone said if they make a mistake it could cost you your home, your business. You need to do extensive back ground checks. I've had tech steal from me lie to me walk out on me, I've had them disaapear come in wasted do not stand for any of that. Shop management tools there are a lot on the market you need to find something that is easy to operate and keeps in contact with your customer base. I use Mitchell shop manager with a few add ons this send out reminder text thank you text automatic but at a cost. You will also need either Alldata or Prodemand in helping with repairs Mitchell has labor and maintance programs build in to help with pricing. Insurance and workmans comp. Very important if you get caught without this fines are $1500 per employee in California Paying techs there is flat rate and hourly. In flat rate the tech gets paid on how much he can produce. If a job books out at 2 hours and the tech does it in 1 hour everyone wins but if it takes him 3 hours he looses. Flat rate is tough, the tech is working against the clock, especially when it come to diagnostic stuff or if there is no work he does not get paid. Hourly is tough on the shop owner because if the guys are sitting around waiting on parts or no work then they are burning your money, but at the same time a good tech and busy shop will more then pay for himself on a hourly system. Here in Ca it is not legal for techs to be on a flat rate system, they must have a min. of $1600 take home every 2 weeks. for a 80 hr work week. Shop is your shop currently zones for automotive repair best to check with the local city planning department. At my current shop that has been a auto repair building for 20 years I went to apply for a license at this shop and was told it was not approved for auto repair, I was shocked but after going through some old documents at the permitting department I found paper work stating that it was allowed. Advertising there are plenty of things out there they all say they will increase business but the truth is 99% IS A WASTE OF MONEY. Things like cheap oil changes free tire rotations brake specials will bring in cheap customers one time and will only return when you have the next special. I use a company called WOW cards this advertises to my customer base which you want to do when you get there. Very affordable and great results. Mudlick mailiers expensive but they send mailers to a specific area and or car type. Of course a good website is important too There are plenty of shop management training classes be very careful of these, they promise a lot and deliver a lot less then promised plus very costly. Most will offer a free seminar which are usually very informative also some of the suppliers like World Pac offer classes on car repair shop management ect Hire a good book keep and accountant, I have a bookkeep that comes in 2 to 3 time a week to input to quicken and filing then once a year send everything to the accountant. Also do not fall behind on any state local or federal tax payments Coming from a DYI background is hard but not impossible, you will have a pretty sharp learning curve, try and find good techs, buy good equipment, and good tools that will last you10 15 years, find good suppliers extremely important and keep the shop and office and waiting area as clean as possible goes a long way with customers especially if your a new shop . Good luck
  6. 2 points
    Well said on all points Traffic patterns are woefully underestimated in their importance, Imo. They become glaringly clear once you spend 50k (and more) on direct mail and then do a "sales by carrier route" evaluation. Once you overlay "carrier route spends" on a radius map, a lot of what is obvious is common sense. Are there geographical or road/highway barriers between your location and those "high value" neighborhoods? Is work, shopping, medical, ect. primarily in a different direction from those neighborhoods, that puts your store outside their normal travel routes? If they don't have another reason to stop in your area, then you will likely be a second choice. Only time and consistently delivering a higher value service overcomes this to any degree, but normal traffic patterns is still more important, Imo. I do not believe we can buy any report that demonstrates the likelihood of traffic passing your store actually being inclined to pull in. If there was, I would love to hear about it. I believe our original poster for this thread has gotten a clearer picture of our industry. As I have seen time and time again, their old job starts to look a whole lot easier then what we do everyday Thank You
  7. 2 points
    Here is a little insight from a franchise owner who was never involved in auto repair before purchasing and opening a new business. Location, location, location is the most critical factor. The number of cars passing the location is not as critical as do they have a reason to stop where you are at. CarX looks for locations in a destination location i.e. retail center. Recently a Meinke opened in a high traffic area with a very nice building in our city. They only lasted about a year. All that was near them on either side is industrial type properties. Thousands of cars were passing by but no one was stopping. It was outside of their travel pattern. It was only a pass through corridor. I new they were doomed the minute they opened in that location. Be sure there is reasons for people to stop where you are at beside s you. If it is just you it will take an established following or huge advertising dollars and you may still not succeed. The other advice is do not underestimate how difficult it is to hire qualified help. I have been in business twenty years and went through a time this spring where I thought I might have to close for lack of help. I survived by overpaying and hiring a couple of problem techs that I survived with until I got very lucky and hired better people. When you talk about working on your own stuff you sound like every guy I interview looking for a job. Most of them are woefully under skilled and way too confident. The learning curve is very steep if you come into this business from the outside. I have survived but it hasn't been an easy journey.
  8. 1 point
    Epoxied floors look great! We get compliments all the time and it is fairly easy to keep clean. I personally do not ever plan to have bare concrete floors in any shop for many reasons. I've used multiple DIY Epoxy products over the years and none of them held up to the chemicals or lasted very long. I found that Armor Seal 1000HS (purchased from Sherwin Williams) to be a very good product and has now been down for 5 years with minimal issues and still looks great. I know a few other shop owners that paid to have their floors epoxied and can tell you that theirs are going to far outlast my DIY epoxied floors. As with any other painting type of application, it is all about the prep work (and that is why I think the professionally done floors seem to be holding up better). My advice would be, if you are going to stay in that building for 10 years or more, pay the professional. If you are planning to move, I highly recommend DIY with the Armor Seal.
  9. 1 point
    Matthew, all great points. Which I do agree with. Before I would even entertain a price match, let's match it line by line. In the 40-plus years in this business, I have never seen a job matched up the same exact way. There is always something left out or the parts are not the same, or the warranty is not the same, or there's something else that makes their job different from mine. We all know how so many play the game. ABC Auto gives a customer a price for a water pump, thermostat, hoses and labor. The customer calls a competitor and asks, “How much is a Water Pump?" (Neglecting to mention all the extras) The competitor gives a down and dirty price on only the pump and labor. Which makes the "perception" that ABC auto is priced too high. With tires is worse. This particular company advertises online pricing for the tires only. When you book your appointment and arrive at that tire store, they then explain the labor to install, and upsell the wheel alignment. Often making thier price higher than mine or other shops. Here's the bottom line for me; I don’t sell parts and labor. I sell relationships and trust. And through the years, I have been successful with that strategy. I learned a long time ago that If I want to have a quality shop and afford to pay my employees a very good wage, I need to attract the consumers that appreciate the work that we do. Now with that said, if I get an objection about price, I will offer options. I find that when people are left in control and decide between A or B, and not yes or no….A Sale is Made. Thank you for the great conversation! This is how we learn and grow! Joe
  10. 1 point
    Not every shop pays flat rate; for many reasons. So, many techs are on hourly pay. There is nothing wrong with hourly pay, as long as you have an incentive program in place that promotes high production levels to avoid complacency. For hourly paid employees I strongly urge you to have a pay plan that rewards production levels on a sliding scale. As a business coach, I have seen too many times shops with low production levels and high tech payroll due to overtime pay. Overtime pay must not be used to get the jobs done with no regard to labor production. Limit overtime and create a strategy that increases production and rewards techs with production bonuses. By the way, there are many ways to incentivize techs, it's not all about money. Overtime without high levels of production will eat into profits and if not controlled, with kill your business. If your shop is an hourly paid shop, what incentives do you have in place to maintain production levels?
  11. 1 point
    Shop owners, you have a little less than two months before the end of the year. And that means it's time to start thinkning about your Tax Planning for 2019. Don't procrastinate on this. Meet with accountant. Review the year, review profit. Consider things such as major equipmenet purchases and other major investments you made in 2019. Look at bottom line profit and determine if you set aside enough cash to pay your taxes come April 15, 2020. One thing, Cash is King, So, before you purhase any major equipment before the end of the year, listen to your accoutant, not the Tool Sales-person. In many cases, it's better to pay some tax and hold on to cash for a rainy day. A little planning now will save you big time in 2020, and also help you sleep better!
  12. 1 point
    Getting your techs to maintain a consistency in work flow is always a battle and probably has much to do with individual habits. My approach has been to create a good work environment with employee communication. ( Taking time to talk with employees about their interests / family. Compensation: I have chosen to use a lower hourly rate with a higher commission based on book hours. Shop hours are M-F , 8-5pm (40 hours) This gives techs a full weekend / family time. Shop worked many years 6 days per week and longer hours. In today's environment I found it better to totally end overtime.
  13. 1 point
    I love them. Over 100 new reviews in 3 months. I don't use the inspection, so I can't confirm the comment that you have to bypass anything. I also didn't have to leave a cc for the free trial?
  14. 1 point
    I just purchased an Autel Mk808 off the internet used for $250 does a lot for $250 and easy to use.
  15. 1 point
    I worked as a tech on flat rate. I worked as a tech on hourly. And I worked as a tech on salary. For me, I always preferred flat rate. On hourly, as soon as I hit 40 my employer wanted me out of there. In order to earn more I would have to find another job. Of course I am a work-a-holic and see 80 hour weeks as a part time job. On Salary, it would have been fair pay for a 40 hour week, but my employers were never satisfied with me only putting in 40 hours. It was 60, 70 and sometimes 84 hours a week. On Flat Rate, if I wanted or needed to earn more, my employer was thrilled if I worked around the clock. Currently I have a mechanic that's been with me 3 years tell me he would Never go back to hourly. He comes in at 8:30 when we open, and is usually out of here by 3:30 or 4 every day. He busts his butt the entire time he's here, but at 7 hours, he really is done. Even if he stayed another hour, it would NOT be a productive hour. I work with that and hold no grudges because he's flat rate. Of course I also pay significantly higher than even dealers per hour for my techs. I don't have health insurance, 401k's or paid vacation. I'd love to provide all that, but then I'd have to cut his pay. He doesn't want that. I think just as every shop owner has different needs and reasons to operate however they do, every tech has different preferences. Recently I had to let a tech go. He only worked for me a little over a month. He'd get 2 days in good in the week. Show up 3 hours late 2 days a week and hardly get anything done while he was here those days. Then complain about his paycheck on payday. If I have a tech short on hours for a week (usually from a job running over the weekend), I often pull hours from the following week so he still has a livable wage. After doing that week after week and having overpaid this particular tech close to 50 hours in a month and a half, we had to have a separation of ways. He'll never make it in the flat rate world and that's ok. I'd never make it paying him straight hourly or salary with performance like that.
  16. 1 point
    This may not make me the most popular here, but I get so tired of hearing shop owners complain that they can't find good techs, and that the industry is facing a tech shortage, or that the ones they hired turned out to be crooks selling unnecessary work, and then go on to talk about how all their techs are on commission, and if they don't work, they don't eat. Wow, that sounds so appealing. I can't understand why people aren't knocking down the door to take advantage of that opportunity, and why techs sell unnecessary work. This industry does not have a tech shortage, this industry has a technician pay structure, and technician pay shortage. If technicians started getting paid, and provided benefits that were inline with what they could earn with their skills in other industries, there would be many more reputable technicians. Now, my comment above is not to blame those shop owners, as we are all struggling with the high cost of providing automotive and trying to make a profit. I just want some honesty about the reality of the issue. It's an industry problem. Customers are only willing to pay so much, and there is almost always someone out there that is willing to do it cheaper. Yes, we can sell them on the value of our shop over the guy down the street, but that only goes so far. I pay all my employees a flat salary plus a commission on the gross sales of the shop. Yes, this can be painful during slow times, but my employees don't have to worry that they might not eat this week, or be able to pay their mortgages. It's amazing how much more productive and committed employees are when they are not living with that fear. I can go away for weeks at a time, and when I come back ,it is no different then when I left it. With the commission component, they also know that the more the shop produces as a whole, the bigger their paycheck is. This also encourages them to work as a team, and not fight over the "gravy" tickets. I currently have 4 employees. The first tech I hired 30 years ago is still here. The service manager I hired 20 years ago is still here. The technician I hired 11 years ago is still here, and I hired a young guy about a year and a half ago and I don't think he will be leaving anything soon. In fact, while I have fired a few techs, I don't recall ever having one quit. I also offer paid time off, a 401k, and pay portion of their health insurance. I used to cover the whole amount, but it got too expensive. Now, you may be curious about how much they get paid. I don't want to give specifics, but I assure you that they can all make more money working some place else. I know for a fact one of them could be making twice as much as I pay him because a friend of mine is doing just that at a shop around the corner, and he works shorter hours. I understand that this pay structure may not work for a lot of shops out there, but it does illustrate my point that a more traditional employee pay structure, one that they don't have to worry about being able to eat or not, or have to sell unnecessary work to eat, does breed commitment, motivation, and teamwork. Scott
  17. 1 point
    My techs are flat rate. My Service Writer is hourly plus a commission. With Warranty work, it depends on the situation. If it's something that returns because of a tech, then that tech ends up doing the warranty work without time added. If it's a parts failure, I end up paying the tech twice to do the work. If I have a different tech do the job for some reason.... then I pay them the hours whether it's a parts failure, or a tech failure. Not getting paid to do the job a second time is the motivation part of doing it right the first time. If there is any question of blame, my tech get's paid. Using this method has kept my techs accountable for their quality of work at the same time as paying flat rate keeps them accountable for their efficiency. I tried once going to a straight hourly pay structure and found quickly that a tech would rather make $28 an hour sweeping the floor and polishing the wrenches than fixing cars quickly and efficiently. Billable hours dropped almost immediately and without me micro managing their time, I just couldn't get the production needed to stay in business. I also tried an hourly with a smaller commission, and still found that a couple of the techs that could survive on just the hourly would be here 40 hours a week and only book 12 to 16 hours. Went back to straight flat rate, and my shop might not be the cleanest in town, and the techs tools might not be blindingly shiny when their drawers are opened, but the production that keeps the shop profitable and open is there.
  18. 1 point
    I think the marketing has potential, but in one day of use so far, I have had a very positive feedback from customers about the inspections. I had been using alldata mobile inspections, but you can't attach pictures. Pictures are worth a thousand words and I'd rather have my techs working than trying to type a thousand words on a phone or tablet. We are also a small shop in a very rural community. last year about 220k. This year shooting hard for 280 to 300. It's taken 7 years to get there, but things are finally improving for us enough to not be as stressed every day. Might be changes in economy, but I believe it's all we've invested into the business over the years in tools, equipment and workflow. We are probably the only shop in 20 miles that does digital inspections. Might be the only shop in 10 miles that doesn't do written work orders.
  19. 1 point
    I just started a demo with them. I think I like the inspections. I'm calling them in the morning because there are automated emails based on my scheduler in AllData. I may use the scheduler different from most shops. I move customers jobs in and out of the schedule constantly as jobs get moved forward for waiting on parts frequently. Apparently that triggers a text to my customer that their appointment has been cancelled. I had to explain the situation to several customers Saturday morning because of this. Our shop works on everything from small engine and powersports to automotive and commercial trucks. My schedule probably is in a more constant state of change due to parts availability. Auto only parts are seldom more than a day away. I can't find a way to turn that text feature off. Not real happy about answering all those texts Saturday morning.
  20. 1 point
    We've been busy working on several specific features and enhancements over the last month. We have a few items that will be released between now and Mid-November. Looking forward to sharing that with everyone. We are also removing the free plan. If you signed up for the free plan, it will still be available to you. However we will not be allowing new accounts to use the free plan. We are working with a few members on getting their accounts setup and moving into the platform. With that has come months of use and product training that we have provided to them. So anyone who is seriously interested, we are able to provide you with several months for free as we prepare you to switch over. We are grateful for the members that have given us a chance here, even if you didn't sign on. Every relationship has proven invaluable in fine tuning our product for the better.
  21. 1 point
    Another acronym being thrown around is ADAS, short for Advanced Driver Assist Systems. I think everyone is stuck staring at those four letters without understanding the liability that those 4 letters represent for the future of the automotive industry, regardless of how much safer they make vehicles on the road. As one of the first facilities in NJ to purchase and utilize the ADAS calibration system from Autel, we have some really unique experience with it and want to pass on some information you should be aware of when considering whether or not you want to jump in. Facility Is Too Small - Size matters, A LOT with ADAS calibrations and if you have less than 2500 sf of space with a booming business... chances are you don't have the room to perform calibrations. Your exact business configuration will help determine this, but you ideally need a location where you can pick up 10 feet of open space all around a vehicle for most calibrations, but some calibrations may require 20 feet or more. Floor Isn't Level - If your floor is uneven, you can't perform ADAS calibrations, period. Can't Program? - If you are not experienced with programming modules or updating vehicle modules, you will not be able to perform a fair amount ADAS calibrations. Can't Diagnose? - If you don't have a team that can efficiently and accurately troubleshoot the vehicles already coming into your shop, ADAS isn't going to be any easier, it's going to be significantly harder. Who Needs OE Information, I have "X"! - Replace X with All Data or Mitchell or even the instructions in your scan tool. What happens when the manufacturer updated the information on the procedures yesterday and they didn't share that information with anyone yet? We've already encountered steps missing from the Autel scan tool... Minimum Insurance Policy Is More Than Enough - We have more than double the minimum and we are worried it's not enough. With lawsuits that settle into the tens of millions of dollars, we're not sure what enough is anymore. Don't Document Your Process? - This is where a lot of people will scoff. Who has the time? Save pictures and files, where am I supposed to do that? Who's gonna pay for this? We've figured this out and more importantly... we get paid for documenting. Do you? Mobile Calibrations? - Besides the fact that you're trying to transport $20,000 of equipment needed for calibrations in a van, this one is so serious... we couldn't give you a 2 sentence paragraph, read below. How are mobile glass services, like Safelite, performing calibrations on the go? We don't know, but we have A LOT of questions surrounding this. A recent calibration of a 2019 Toyota C-HR, after a windshield replacement, has some really interesting requirements. Requirements which we are used to, but we want to know... how is a mobile tech handling this? These are the requirements that must be met prior to starting a calibration: It is our experience that once a windshield has been replaced, the vehicle should not be moved for a period of at least 2 hours (weather dependent) in order to allow the glue to harden properly. So, what's going on? Is the mobile glass tech filling up the vehicle prior to replacing the windshield? How many of you had a windshield replaced and a vehicle calibrated with a fuel tank that was not full? We don't know how many corners are being cut and where they are being cut... but what we do know is that the above requirements have been there in every vehicle we have calibrated at this facility thus far. Lastly, pay particular attention to this requirement in this photo... *Calibration should be performed in a window-less environment with no bright lights or reflective materials. Ensure no other black and white patterns similar to the calibration pattern should be behind the calibration pattern. In a world where reducing liability is at the forefront of most public discussions, there are sure a lot of companies undermining their insurance policy in the field.
  22. 1 point
    Have you ever called your own phone just to make sure it's working? I laugh because even the robo calling telemarketers dont call during those times. Its erie.
  23. 1 point
    Ricardo, I'm experiencing something a little different. Maybe it is because of my location or our size. We are just outside of Washington DC which is a fairly affluent area, and our sales were $830,000 last year. So newer cars may be populating our area at a earlier and faster rate. We have a strong web presence. Other shops are always calling me to find out how we are ranking so well. You wont find a single bad review of our shop. We have 6 showing reviews, and 26 hidden on Yelp, and they are all 5 star. We have 32 reviews on Google, 30 of them are 5 star. the other 2 are for another shop. We purchased their customer base, and Google merged the reviews. We have 33 reviews on RepairPal. 28 are 5 star. The other 5, are 4 or 4.5 star, and those were because we weren't in a convenient location for them, or we were not able to reproduce a problem, and were only able to offer them a possible solution. We spend $30-35,000 a year on direct mail, and for those to be effective, we have to offer an incentive that really hurts profitability the first time they come in. We email service reminders, follow up for reviews, and text with customers. The county I am in is the 4th richest in the country, with a population of over 1,000,000. I have a program where I will donate 10% of the invoice to a PTA when they directed a customer to us. I sent out emails for several years to all the PTA's I could find the addresses for. That yielded me 2 customers. A few years ago we spent $10,500 on a large billboard on a major road near our shop. It brought in 1 customer. We are RepairPal certified which sends us a few cars a month. We tried all the usual suspects like Groupon, Living Social, and a few I'm sure I'm forgetting. We even had a customer reward program for a few years. That was an expensive lesson. We have made a lot of changes to adapt to the changing landscape. We were a Volvo Specialist for the first 20 years. In 2010 it was clear that was no longer going to work. We started adding more and more makes. Now we will service any 4 wheel passenger vehicle. We added State Inspections, Tag and Title Service, and I even got my Notary. We added 6 Free Loaner cars. We started manufacturing some special tools, and through eBay we are selling them all over the world. We do software downloads for many of shops in the area, as well as diagnostic work when they are stuck. We provide a rebuilding service for the READ units on the Volvo, Jaguar, and Land Rovers. I did one for a guy in Africa a few weeks ago. In April of 2017 we bought the customer base of a European Specialist when he went bankrupt after years of declining sales. He was doing well over a million dollars a year for many years just a decade earlier. It increased our revenue about 15% for 2017, but we have been flat this year so far. It scares me to think about if we had not gotten that customer base. I'm pretty convinced that more, and or better advertising is not going to grow or even save my business. More and more I am experiencing the opposite of what Old and Tired is, and that probably has more to do with my dissatisfaction of this business than anything else. Customer's used to respect and value what we do. Now it is a commodity. I have labeled it the Amazon effect. They want immediate service, the best price, and if they are not happy with what they got, they want a refund. You are correct, the next generation of technicians will have to have computer and IT skills. Fortunately for me I have them, and it's why I will probably be out of here, and in the IT field in the next few years if my new product does not work out as I hope. The question will be, will individuals with those skills, go to work in the Auto Repair industry, or go to a Tech firm with guaranteed salaries, no requirement to invest thousands of dollars a year in tools, vacations, sick leave, 401k's, stock options, and room for growth. Maybe it's me. Maybe I am just old, tired, and after 30 years of this, ready for a change. Scott
  24. 1 point
    A lot of that comes with how we treat people... if you have that happening... you're doing something right.
  25. 1 point
    I hate to sound optimistic haha but they've been predicting the end of the independent shop since the invention of H.E.I. Every step of the way shops have figured out a way to repair things and adapt. I dont miss the unprofessional mechanics and I dont miss grease up to my shoulders at the end if the day. Maybe there will be less volume but maybe the average ticket will make up for it. I've noticed alot more respect from people as time goes by and with respect comes the willingness to pay for what we do.
  26. 1 point
    Hey Scott, Have sent you a message for us to have a conversation offline. Would love to hear more about what you have done in the past. Our product is www.completeautoreports.com I don't think we as an industry can go away that fast, there's simply too many cars to be serviced. What I see happening is that the tech shortage will have to lead to a price increase and the technology gap will push many people to get educated or look for a new job.
  27. 1 point
    Ricardo, Looking for ways to get out of this business, I created some shop management software about 5 years ago. It was the first web based system created. It never really caught on, so I closed it off to new users. There are still about 50 of us using it. I've put my business up for sale a few times with the plan of getting into IT. I've done some consulting, and I can make more money at home with a computer than I can with my shop, probably twice as much; without all the headaches. The shop does allow me more freedom though. I was committed to selling it at the end of last year, then I invented a new consumer product that has the potential to make me more money than my shop ever has. So I'm now using the business structure and assets to develop and market the product. If you are interested in see the product, you can check it out at https://www.tubeanew.com I hate sounding pessimistic, but the truth is that the automotive repair business is dying. It has been for many years. More reliable cars, longer service intervals, and cars by subscription. Most of the "gravy" work is going away, being replaced with more advanced diagnostic work, and repairs that require us to purchase subscriptions to download software every time a module is replaced. Quite often you have to update your own computer with the manufacture's latest software to do those downloads adding another hour or so to the job. You keep your fingers crossed that the download doesn't fail leaving you with a bricked module, and when their system doesn't work correctly, tech support is quite often lacking. I did a X3 a couple weeks ago using a pass through. After 5 days it was at 50% complete. Once I switched to the BMW ICOM, it was much faster, about 4 hours. However, even after that the system wanted a release code for the new rack that was installed. Even though it was BMW's system asking for the code, BMW support had no idea how to provide one, and said the system should have done it automatically. So it ended up having to go to the dealer for the code. We've had a couple of Tesla's in the shop recently. More and more cars will be EV's and HV's. In 2 years all Volvo's will be, and they are 60% of our business. EV's and HV's will never need brakes. The steering racks will never leak. EV's will never need oil changes, transmission flushes, power steering flushes, air filters, spark plugs etc. There will be no more engine, transmission, differential or fuel system repairs. What is your software product? Scott
  28. 1 point
  29. 1 point
    This must be the 30 year club. Family started the business in April 1989, I took over alone in April 2008.
  30. 1 point
    CAR, What are your suggestions? I have long considered just selling parts at my cost and adjusting my labor, or some other fee to compensate. I've suggested it here on AutoShopOwner before. It would reduce work load, eliminate a more and more harmful data point for customers to judge our pricing, and eliminate the need to explain to customer's why we need a margin on parts. As if customers really care about why we charge a markup at all. As shop owners we continually search for the best price on everything. From parts, supplies, tools, rent, insurance, etc.. We shop on Amazon, eBay, AliExpress, etc., but we get frustrated with customers when they do the same thing. If there is anyone here that pays supplier B more money for parts than supplier A because supplier B needs to make a higher margin to pay his bills, I would love to hear from them. Having said all that, I have just not been able to get myself to do it. It's a radical change and we would need to make sure we have a labor formula that works. Scott
  31. 1 point
    I can't speak for everyone, but I can tell you I am not ashamed to make a profit. This is business and the way to survive is to adapt. If you can name one industry that has not adapted to consumer behavior and survived, I would be very happy to hear about it. Consumers have long treated this industry as if we are all thieves. Before the internet, they had no recourse. With the internet, they can put you out of business in 30 days time, if not sooner. The medium here for discussion is how we all thrive in an environment that is turning every industry upside down, not just this one. Part of that comes with providing a streamline experience where people pay for your experience and not your parts. If we, as a group, adapted the mentality of my labor is where I make money, and not my parts... there would be less ability for the consumer to create havoc in our environment. As long as we sell parts for multiples of what we are paying for them, while our consumers can research prices on their own... is as long as we'll have the mentality that's made this industry the last one to transform and shake the horrid reputation we have with the general public. If you buy anything at a national chain, from the groceries in your house, to the device you are likely typing this on... you are a consumer. Put yourself in their shoes and realize we provide the worst experience known to man. There are no trades left where parts have such an influence on business, like this trade. If you work on fleets, ask their owners how their business is going and what challenges they are facing. Most of the fleets we service, make less than 20% on parts and all of their meaningful revenue is generated by labor. Why? Because the consumer can go to Home Depot and buy everything for the same price they can. The consumer just can't install it, they realized that... adapted to it and are now seeing the benefit of not worrying about how much money to make on parts and focus on labor costs and managing them.
  32. 1 point
    Why would any of you feel ashamed or the need to make excuses for making a profit off of parts ?Every business makes money off of the product they sell. How is it possible that everyone on here understands the shortage of qualified mechanics yet act like theres a surplus? What I've told people us that every bay in my shop is like a machine in a factory. It has to make me money. I have bills to pay. Not only am I giving away profit but what happens when the part is wrong? Now that car is trying up a bay (my machine) while I wait for them to get off of work, pick up their wrong part, fix THEIR mistake, bring (hopefully) the correct part back the next day or so, and then we can finish the job. Who's going to pay for the downtime for my machine? Are they willing to pay me for 1 1/2 days of idleness just so they can save $50? No. They only want to use you. After this, theyll be on to the next chump. Dont be that chump.
  33. 1 point
  34. 1 point
    Yep, we sell a lot of maintenance up sells by doing an inspection, oil change past due, tires worn & need rotate, brakes etc. Make sure your techs are doing a proper NY inspection & service check over, that is key. Most of the techs I have hired need inspection training as to the rules, do it in shop meetings. Do not forget the easy inspection failures like wipers, we sell a lot & many times the customer says they forgot how bad they were. We get lots of check engine light repairs & they pay accordingly. Dave
  35. 1 point
    Super old topic but I hope you've learned that there's no profit in the inspection. The profit is from the increased customer base. Inspection today, oil change next week, brakes next month.
  36. 1 point
    DON'T DO IT! They are SCAMMERS! http://autorepairpayment.com/ Reasons: They have yet to provide a signed copy of our Merchant Agreement. Sales Rep was In, Out, GONE! Our first bad taste was when they falsified our PCI Compliance/Certificate using a false email address "for our convenience". We knowe this only because we went to do our PCI Compliance as Required and found it had already been done. They tried to tell us we did it. I asked for the email address. It was BOGUS, just like the certificate they then emailed to us. They CLAIM there are NO Annual Fees, NO Monthly PCI Compliance Fees, and Regulatory Compliance Fees are WAIVED, yet they almost immediately charged us $129 for "Past Year PCI Compliance" when we were not a customer in any past year. They Respectfully Refuse To Refund this fee. They offered a Welcome Gift of a $100 Home Depot Gift Card. Read the fine print on that. We hit $10k on 7/2. No card has been forthcoming. They CLAIM there are No Fees for Discover Card transactions for a Year. Lied on that one too. They CLAIM No Junk Fees. I don't know what Junk Fees are, but they charge fees for everything under the sun with no explanation at all. ALL Junk! They will FEE you to Death! Cumulative Average Cost per Transaction is currently at 3.79%, when you include ALL their Fees vs. Total Reported Sales. They charged us for the 1st 2 transactions they Required us to complete to activate the system and the Discover Card Free program. They charge $5 a month for a paper statement. Nothing is online, except their alleged "PCI Compliance Training and Certification". They charge a Batch Fee of $0.30 Daily for processing transactions. I can go on and on, but I think 10 reasons is a good start.
  37. 1 point
    This is always tough. We're on a vw tdi job that we spent way to long waiting for aftermarket parts and now we've installed in and found the machine shop surfaced a warp into the head. The customer has been understanding but some won't be. As said before some may look for free work, some just look to place the blame anyway possible. The reality is, in this line of work its going to happen. Things won't get fixed the first time, won't get fixed fast enough, cost more than expected and the list goes on and on. Honestly if you ever find the answer you will have shop owners beating the door down to hear it. I'm not sure there is one right answer but I have found what works for us. 1: Be honest, open and positive. 2:Never accept liability until your positive you or your staff are truly responsible. 3: Explain from the very beginning known charges and that during said type of job it's possible for more items to be required. 4: Don't get caught up in trying to fully please the customer, in these situations sometimes it just won't happen. In other cases you might stress yourself out to the point your more worried about pleasing than they are about being pleased! 5: Charge fairly, don't work for free under any circumstances (unless your the cause of the problem). If you feel obligated to offer a deal in a situation like this have a discount policy that locks it at 10-20%. This will prevent you from unnecessarily discounting your profits away. I find if I already have struggled with a job and then take a loss I end up being upset with myself, the car and the customer lol. I might even cringe next time they call, and believe it or not they can hear it in your voice lol. I'm not sure if this will work for you, it's just what I remind myself when similar situations occur. For instance today a customer came in from out of town. We had worked on his vehicle (lots of aftermarket go fast parts) a couple weeks back and found he had a cracked injector nozzle causing a misfire, low power and smoke. We pulled them and had them sent to the company that built them (2 years ago), they found a cracked nozzle as suspected. They priced repairing 1 for $500, which included setting the other 5. Or $900.00 for all new nozzles, a complete rebuild job. Now I don't necessarily agree with the companies warranty policy but that was the deal from the get go. A 1 year warranty. They knocked off $100.00 on the repair service. He chose to fix the damaged injector not all 6. If you guessed he came back with the same problem you'd be right. Don't know if it was the repaired injector or another one but I explained if it was one of the others he'd of course be responsible for charges similar to the last bill. He wasn't happy, but I can't work for free! We have a sign in the shop that states no warranty on performance parts or labor when using performance parts. Is it fair? Probably not but life's not fair lol. If I've done something wrong and it's our fault I'll foot the bill for the labor out of kindness, but otherwise the owner is paying. I may not handle things the best way, and of course I'm open to any advice possible. If nothing else I hope my story will let you know your not alone! Sent from my SCH-I605 using Tapatalk 2


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