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Showing content with the highest reputation since 02/22/2019 in all areas

  1. 1 point
    I have been in business a long time, and the only tows I am interested in are from our own customers, or when someone calls and asks to be towed to us. I have arrangements with a few tow companies. I pay them a wholesale rate and I charge the retail rate to the customer. I don't rely on tow companies bringing me work that they recommend. There aren't many people that breakdown and don't know where to have their car tows. People do breakdown on the highway, and we do get tows from that, but it's not a major source of income.
  2. 1 point
    Looking for ideas or suggestions maybe something that has worked for other shops. Again we are a small rural shop, out of the main town about 10 miles. We have several tow companies in the area that will haul by our shop & take to another shop. We mainly do tires but are able to do light mechanic work like brakes, alternators, batteries, starters, etc, etc. I know some customers may request to take it to another shop but I also feel that we are an option that gets over looked & the tow companies may make a little more buy driving on by. My Question is does anyone have a program that they are working with a tow company to bring cars to the shop when a customer does not have a preference. We have a loyalty program that I thought for every dollar the customer we will give the tow company the same value in points. Do we offer to pay the tow bill upon del so they don't have to mess with? How do we know if the tow driver is bringing to us on his own or the customer requested? Open to ideas & maybe it is what it is. Thanks
  3. 1 point
    They have a nice public facing video right on their website front page. Was curious so I took a look.
  4. 1 point
    I remember being at a meeting with my staff where I voiced my opinion on an important issue. When I was finished, I asked if everyone was in agreement. Everyone nodded their heads yes. After the meeting, one of my service advisors told me that half of the employees did not agree with me. When I asked why did they agree, he replied. “You’re the boss, you intimidate others.” This made me think about my leadership style. Being unapproachable will prevent you from hearing other opinions; which is important to the success of the company. When speaking with your employees, ask a lot of questions. Avoid giving your opinion until you have heard from others. Praise suggestions and the opinions of others, and thank others for speaking up. The most successful teams are those that build strategies through a collective effort.
  5. 1 point
    No, the OEM sensors are a smaller style sensor head. These are a more common head size that fits in the TS601 that I have. It took some doing but it works and I expect future repairs to take less time.
  6. 1 point
    I am also a longtime BayMaster user and I think you should give them a call since they already offer digital inspections. I copy and pasted the information below from their web site. Digital Inspection Forms (FREE WITH CUSTOM JOBS!) Completely Customizable inspections for your shops individual needs Full Tablet and mobile device support Prints alongside jobs on invoices Show recommended inspection and repair alongside a quote for the repair Save with the ticket in history to be able to reference in the future Can be as short or as long as needed with no limits USE WITH A TABLET TO SPEED UP INSPECTIONS AND SHOW CUSTOMERS!
  7. 1 point
    I have since spoken to Autel. I've spent two hours trying to speak with them/chat with them and get something going. Updated my tool and they said as long as you get their sensors you can program them. I'm going to give it a shot. We didn't use our tool to program the sensors as someone on staff thought the car would self-program which is a laugh. This is on me for not staying on top of this with my team. Will report back and see what we can do...
  8. 1 point
    You can't program these at the moment with aftermarket tools, dealer only. We paid to have one done within the last 6 months on a customer's vehicle at our shop in Linden NJ.
  9. 1 point
    This Month's Progress: Plate To Vehicle Information - Fully functional Reporting now exports: Year, Make, Model, License Plate. Benefits if this allow you to use excel to understand your customer base a little better. Will eventually be built into our reporting tab, but giving raw data access for now. Here is one set of statistics you can perform with this data: $0 balance is auto marked as paid System updates refresh cache through a message when logging in. Still Working Through: Price Matrix - Linear - Expected by end of this month. Delayed by some parts and inventory tasks to enhance operation. Diagnostic Time Option When There Are Rejected Jobs. Currently testing, live likely within 14 days. Learn While You Use - 3 out of 6 walk through tutorials in testing phases. Other Current Enhancements: Parts redundancy elimination - We're working on several items that really help shops control their parts information. Working to: group exact parts together & eliminate double+ part numbers. Vendor | Sponsor Enhancements: We are building a portal that will allow vendors or sponsors to reach their customers through our portal in an efficient and elegant manner. This is something completely new to this arena and was driven by a partnership we are presently working on. However, it's going to be a game changer when it comes to Vendors or Sponsors with features they want their customers to have access to through their Shop Management System. We've also got a lot of surprises up our sleeves from user generated suggestions. All things we are working on for 2019 as it continues to move through.
  10. 1 point
    @rpllib Great information. I think the most important thing in your post was that you realized you're not a bank! I remember telling customers "We've got an agreement with the bank. They don't fix cars and we don't lend money!". That seemed to hit home with most! Hope this helps! Matthew "The Car Count Fixer" Join the conversation at Car Count Hackers on YouTube!
  11. 1 point
    We also spent our share of years chasing money, and really sucking at collecting. We do not have a tow truck, although if i would have thought of it, I would have been more than willing to threaten a tow. It did eventually sink in that i am not a bank, so i should let the professionals handle deciding who to give out credit to. We started with Synchrony a couple decades or more ago with 90 days same as cash and now 6 months same as cash. I decided that the extra .5% for the discount rate was worth it and if they couldn't get approved, there was a good chance that I shouldn't approve them either. Historically we see a about a 50% approval rate with more being approved then not in the last year or so. We get access to the program as part of our certified service center program with Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper. We also have available the CFNA program through another program we are part of. The backend advantage besides getting paid, is that it makes future transactions much easier with the same customer. Today I have a call with a representative from West Creek Financial for a program that will approve 20-30% of those that Synchrony or CFNA won't approve. We are big believers in having financing programs available. We are also in a small rural community, not necessarily smaller than yours by population, but our percentage of households with 75k or more in household income is about 1/2 of yours and our percentage of households with at least one 4 year degree in the household is about 1/2 of yours as well( Holton). In any case, we are both in small rural communities. I find the visual of "number of traffic stoplights in the COUNTY" helps folks understand what my definition of rural is. We have two traffic stoplights in the county and three blinking caution lights. I suspect yours is similar(Jackson). I relate this information for the benefit of other readers. For some subjects relating to automotive service, it can be somewhat different, doing business in communities our size. I would encourage looking into having the ability of offering at least one of these type programs available in your store. I clearly remember the transition from in house financing to Synchrony and how much easier it was to let folks know that although we do not have in house financing, we do have an option for them. I am equally looking forward to having an option for those that tell you right up front that they won't get approved. I am hopeful that Westcreek is an answer for those folks.
  12. 1 point
    Got your attention? Good! Before I start, let’s get something out of the way. Does technician aptitude or attitude affect the productivity of your shop? Absolutely. But this is the exception, not the rule. If your overall production levels are low, that is the sole responsibility of management. Let’s look at a few reasons for low production levels. The first area I want to address is billing. Many hours of labor go unbilled due to not understanding how to charge. This area is most prevalent with testing and inspecting. If your technicians are handed a work order, with no direction and not a clear process of what to do, or when to stop and ask for labor testing fees, there will be a ton of wasted labor hours, never to be recovered again. Next is training. Service advisor and technical training is a key component to high production levels. But let’s not forget in-house training. All policies and procedures must be reviewed often and refined if needed. Your team must follow a process. With no road map, labor dollars are lost. By the way, if you don’t have procedures in place, you need to make this top priority. Every successful organization has a detailed set of workflow guidelines. Let’s look at shop layout. How organized is your shop? Are shop tools and equipment readily accessible? Or do techs tend to wander around looking for the shop scanner or TPMS reset tool. Are stock items such as wiper blades and oil filters fully stocked and cataloged properly? Do technicians have separate access to technical information? Or are techs waiting to use the same computer station? Again, all these things kill labor production, which kills labor dollars. Next up is scheduling. There should be a structured approach to scheduling where the day is balanced with enough opportunity to make profitable sales. Have a process where vehicle history is reviewed before the customer arrives. Any previous service recommendations or notes is any opportunity to make a sale. But the key ingredient is in preparation. A customer that’s scheduled for an oil change may have forgotten that he or she received a recommendation for tires. Informing the customer at the time of scheduling and preparing for the work ahead of time, greatly improves productivity and overall efficiency. Another problem area is with service advisors and their workload. The service advisor, in many situations, handles the front counter, the phone, scheduling, helps with dispatch, part procurement and sales. All these tasks are critical to the daily operations. However, nothing happens in the shop until a sale is made. You need to look at your service staff. Are estimates getting processed quickly and upsells getting back to the technicians in a timely manner? If not, this is another area where production suffers. Carefully analyze your staff and run the numbers. More estimates processed means more sales and higher profits. Adding a service advisor or an assistant may be the missing link in a shop’s production problem. Knowing your numbers is another key component to attaining high production levels. I will refrain from giving you benchmark numbers, since all businesses models are different. With that said, you need to determine your breakeven and establish your labor goal for the week. Then knowing your labor goal, you need to calculate how many labor hours you need per technician. Then, you need to communicate this number to each technician. Having clear expectations and knowing the goals of one’s position is essential for hitting production goals. With regard to the technician’s responsibility, let’s remember one important fact; the technician has control over his or her efficiency. That’s it. If you dispatch a four-hour ticket to a tech, the ability of the tech to meet or beat that time depends on the technician’s skill, experience and training. There are a lot of other factors that influence production, such as the right pay plan and hiring the right people. But perhaps the most important influence is leadership. The shop owner or manager must study and look at the entire operations of the shop. Productivity goals must be established and then a system of monitoring production must be put into place. This includes sales goals, as well. Service advisors and technicians must get continuous feedback on their progress. Improvements in sales and in production, no matter how small, must be celebrated. The bottom line is this: If you’re not happy with your production level, you need to look at every aspect of your company that influences production. Improvements in key areas put technicians in a position to win. When they win, so do you. This story was originally published by Joe Marconi in Ratchet+Wrench on March 1st, 2019
  13. 1 point
    Thought this would help. I just released this video that reveals: FREE Tool you can download that shows you exactly what people are searching for in your market - it's a totally free download and I show you exactly where to get it - how to use it! Google hack - to get your shop found in search - and this costs NOTHING to do! Mind blowing FACTS about the most popular search in YOUR MARKET. If you're looking for help with SEO, this video explains it all! Hope this helps! Matthew "The Car Count Fixer" P.S.: Find out what car owners in YOUR MARKET are searching for on Google P.P.S.: Don't forget to subscribe on YouTube at Car Count Hackers P.P.P.S.: Like & Follow on Facebook!
  14. 1 point
    The VAA convention is being held April 12-14 at The Main in Norfolk Virginia. This is always a great show and includes great speakers, great food, and a big automotive trade show. Everyone is welcome - you don't have to be a member to join in the fun. Visit vaauto.org for details and registration. Join VAA and you get one free registration to the show! 2019 Convention Brochure.pdf
  15. 1 point
    If anyone is going the the Vision Conference in Kansas this week, I will be there at the Bolt on Technology booth. Come by and say hello! For more info, click on the link below. I will be representing Elite Worldwide. I will be there Friday afternoon and Saturday to mid day. https://lp.boltontechnology.com/industry-experts-at-vision
  16. 1 point
    I agree with Joe Marconi and Tyrguy for what causes the slow done. January and February has always been very slow months for us also. I send monthly newsletters to my customers and I will have a coupon insert for oil changes and other services. Any customer who hasn't been in over 6 months, we send them a oversize postcard with a $25 coupon good for any repairs and services. And of course we check and double check for other repairs and services needed when the car is on the lift and send then a picture and video of the problem. What had also helped us at times is we will post something on Facebook stating why service / maintenance is important and we will boost it for $10. We had people call us after seeing the post, ask questions, and we got them to make a appointment. And we currently have a mailer going out in the mail to a new customer list. My thought has always been to try something to get the phone to ring, than it is to wonder why the phone isn't ringing and do nothing about it. The person who received our newsletter or mailer in the mail may not respond, but that newsletter / mailer may sit on the kitchen or dinning room table for a couple weeks, and they may look at it again and think," I do need to get my car in for a service". And it does happen. Why? Because I have done the same thing. But there will be times no matter what you do, the phone just doesn't ring.
  17. 1 point
    Iv noticed over the years there are times when business/car count drops off by a huge amount all at once. Last year it was brutal in January and got worse in February. It got busier the 2nd week of March and was pretty steady the rest of the year with my best month ever in November then even topped that in December. But this year its back to the same. January came leads completely dropped out, February came and it got worse, just like last year. Now I know its just a waiting game and business will pick back up. Its not just me every shop in the area is completely empty. --- What triggers these pattern down turns? Has anyone ever figured that out? Thought?
  18. 1 point
    After sending invoices and calling fails to yield positive results I have been known to go to the customer’s house at 6:00 am with our tow truck and park in the street blocking their driveway. First you will notice curtains or shades are moved with quick glimpses of inhabitants trying to see what your plans are. Then the front or side door opens and they step out briefly, acknowledging your presence with a half hearted wave and then they return into the safety of their house. Eventually they sheepishly walk out to the truck and ask what you want. At that time you calmly say “I just want to get paid for the repairs that were performed on your vehicle and when that has been settled I need to go back to work”. Do I have a legal right to do this? I don’t know and so far I don’t care because it works. I have also taken local customers to small claims court with equally favorably results but more time is spent representing yourself in court than an hour or two in front of a dead beats driveway. Do not worry about what people of that class and caliber might say to other people because it is useless anxiety. Never feel embarrassed to demand payment for work that was completed properly and at a fair price. The people who owe you money should be the ones that are embarrassed and worried that everyone in your small town will view them as a dead beat. Unfortunately people like that have no pride and/or don’t care and that is why they ignored your previous attempts at obtaining payment. When they owe you money they will never come in so don’t worry about losing them as a customer, they are already lost. Once they pay up they may resurface in the future and request help, then it is up to you whether to forgive and forget. If you choose “forgive” just make sure you don’t “forget”. I have had to remind people (they needed no reminding but I do it as a formality to let them know where I stand) and I explain that I have no time or patience to chase them like the last time and full payment is expected at completion or the vehicle does not leave the property. Good luck.
  19. 1 point
    The day is coming soon when vendors will be passing on the fees to the consumer, this is one of those processors who is trying to be on the ground floor of that. It's already done in Europe and will be here within a decade. The problem is, who wants to be the first companies to do that? I have a big shop and we pay over $50,000 a year in CC fees. I will be glad when that happens and I no longer pay for my customer's points and airfare!
  20. 1 point
    yes this has been going on for a long time in my area, the problem around here is that the big name parts houses are catering to the public, they are giving them the same price as we get parts for. Then the next piece to the puzzle is the hack shops and shade tree mechanics on the street under cutting shops prices big time .. How do you compete? Well I am not to sure there is anything that can be done about this but as time goes on people will have to start looking for a place that can actually repair their car and not throw part after part at it . It is hard to deal with but I stand firm on my prices. I explain that my price may be a little higher, but you will have a warranty with the work and that the work will be done right the first time. So you pay for what you get. Cheap work isn't good , good work isn't cheap ! Until some sort of standards are set on who can actually work on cars etc. this type of thing will go on and on, but also you have to figure that the shop doing the cheap work is just looking for the quick turn around, thus the work is not going to be done properly. A/C recharge for 59 bucks, well may only be good for 59 minutes before needing another recharge and a 19.95 oil change how is that possible? Recycled oil? cheapest filter on the marked.. I think time will sort these shops out as people become fed up going back to them for things to be made right and the shops will get annoyed with the costumer complaining all the time and black list them so in the end it may take time, but I think will work it self out.


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