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Showing content with the highest reputation since 09/19/2021 in all areas

  1. I've not had a single negative reaction to our labor rate rise. We're higher than one of the local Honda Dealerships and some others too right now. It did enable me to pay enough to steal a shop foreman from a local dealer. Deal is done, but not consummated yet (vacation, and notice standing in the way). I'll remain nervous until he's on board. Having great people further supports our labor rate. Price is only one variable in the value equation. I did raise my European lube prices. I'm only seeing reactions from 8-9.5 quart VW owners so far and had but a few declines. Frank, $125 sounds the same as $129.99. Push it a little more.
    3 points
  2. In another forum someone noted the backlog of containers at the Savannah, GA port. Where's Waldo. Zoom in to find your back-ordered parts. Waldo is much easier to locate for you tire guys: Brace yourselves, this isn't on a path to correction. However, Savannah has a better chance of catching up than any of ports in California. Word is that the CA ports are going to start 24/7 operation, but this doesn't address the real problem: Truckers and Trucks. Here's a Savannah article on Trucker Shortage. Also, who knows how many truckers will be displaced due to the vaccine mandates? I'm sure that they would just switch to a new role somewhere else with such demand, if it's not a statewide mandate that prevents that. It's even worse in CA. CA has banned any trucks older than 2011 from operating on their roads. Wonder what the average age of the fleet is? Further, CA's AB5 law bans Owner/Operators from operating in CA (but order stayed, in Supreme Court now). Lastly, even if they had truckers to haul containers at night, from the port, the distribution warehouses aren't running night shifts to accommodate. It is a supply chain with many links. Here's a good article that many factors causing the disruption . Sal Mercogliano has a surprisingly interesting YouTube series about container shipping. And when there's a shortage of truckers, a hike in gas prices and other inflation (tires, etc), then there will be stranded containers because they are offering bargain rates for expensive hauls. Who's going to haul at a loss? There was a recent video that I saw detailing a stuck cargo container, for many months... that may still be there... in Galveston that the owners could not move to Pennsylvania because they didn't allocate/have enough funds to/for the transportation costs. I wonder if the ports hold Auction Wars? All of these increased shipping costs will be hitting us soon. Offshore manufacturing may get bested by shipping costs... bringing some manufacturing jobs back to the US. Last point to ponder.... How many very necessary repair parts for these trucking rigs are stuck in these shipping containers?
    2 points
  3. I understand everyone has a different pay plan, I also understand bonuses, I am saying that federal labor laws are easily violated by pay plans. Flat rate is cut & dry & shouldn’t be a problem, however I was specifically told that bonus plans are a problem & I paid heavily for having one. The easiest way to explain it is to say that if you are paying flat rate, don’t deviate without speaking with someone with the federal labor board. They will answer your questions if you ask. If you pay hourly, or any thing close, you better make sure your people punch a clock & you better pay them for every hour they punch including time & a half over 40. Bonuses change the overtime rate you owe, that’s why if you have a specific plan, you have to account for it while factoring overtime.
    2 points
  4. I cannot reveal all the details yet, but I am in contract to sell my last location. The deal is set to take place by the end of the year. I will use this forum to outline my journey the last 41 years in business and the steps I took to exit out of the business. My objective is to share my experience so that others can learn from my ups and downs and also to learn about the importance of an exit plan, no matter how old or young you are. I will give details on how I prepared my business for sale, how I negotiated with different companies, and different people, and how you can get the most for your business when the time comes. Plus many behind the curtain details on how to sell a business- the good, the bad and the ugly. Please feel free to contact me with questions. So stay tuned for more details, week by week! Oh, by the way, I am not going anywhere. I will still be active in the industry, invloved with Auto Shop Owner, continue to work with Bob Cooper and all the great people at Elite as a business coach and trainer, writing articles for Ratchet and Wrench, remain invloved with the Service Stations Dealers of Greater New York and more.
    2 points
  5. Congratulations Joe! I know this is exciting and bittersweet all at the same time.
    2 points
  6. Why do independent shops always compare ourselves to dealers? Those guys can't hold a candle to a good independent shop. Isn't that why we do a large majority of the repairs and maintenance? We're better than they are at getting to the heart of the problem, caring about our customers and getting things done faster and less expensively. We aren't the ones that need to play catch up. We passed them by decades ago. Stop selling yourselves short!
    2 points
  7. Well I did it too. I was going to go up to $110 from $105 but a talk with my Car-x area manager persuaded me to go to $125. Well I have jumped on the train lets see how this plays out!
    2 points
  8. I switched to one of those providers that promises lower rates a couple years ago. Total cost was almost double for the first three months while I was fighting with them on the phone. Took 2 months to force them down to comparable and I check my total processing cost at least every other month. Usually around 2.2 to 2.4% They had hidden fees and instead of one transaction from my bank it's broke up into 3 every month. They tried to tell me that only one of those fees should be used to calculate my percentage and the other two were just service charges. Took me awhile to explain that I learned math before common core became a thing.
    1 point
  9. Business is slowly getting back to normal. (Wow, I actually called something normal!). While car counts are down, ARO is way up. One thing I have notices; many people have not gone back to the office for work and it seems that many will never work full time at an office again. How this affects business, only time will tell. Otherwise, no complaints.
    1 point
  10. 2021 started off real slow, with Jan and Feb being the worst months. March to August were very good, with sales hitting our goals. September is a little slower than we like it to be, but I feel we are trending in the right direction, with customer coming back to us that we have not seen in over a year. No complaints. Could it be better, of course. But all good and moving forward!
    1 point
  11. That is exactly correct. The inverse of that, is being sure you know what the effect of those "overtime makeup wages" are when you establish the bonus amount. The way we calculate the bonus is completely up to us. We make sure that when we put a bonus plan is place, the total amount bonused is the what we would have bonused anyway, if we did not understand the process necessary to make non-discretionary bonus's legal. We label the "overtime makeup wage" as "premium overtime" and it is listed as such on all pay reports, checks, and ADP data entry forms. Where we get in trouble is when we create bonus plans that deliver all the dollars we intended to give, and then find out we owe additional dollars for overtime consideration, on the bonused amount.
    1 point
  12. This entire reply is generally applicable if you have employees that work more than 40 hours per week. Most, if not all, of the trouble owners get into is caused by calculating overtime incorrectly. If your folks work more than 40 hours and you pay some form of pay based on "do this, get that", then their is a high likelihood you will owe additional "premium overtime" on your employees wages. If your folks always work less than 40 hours(actually "clocked" in, assuming you meet the FLSA definition for calculating actual hours worked), there are still other considerations. Contact your local wage and hour division or labor law attorney. We had our awakening in 2016. We have been a "productivity/profit based pay" company for the last few decades, and did it wrong for most of those years. Once we were awakened(without the expense of fines/ DOL audit, Thank You), my head was spinning and it hurt for the better part of a year. I was unwilling to move away from productivity/profit based pay, so instead we made some changes to our tech flat rate pay plan(went to modified flat rate), and implemented a "regular rate/premium overtime" calculation for all employees. Our hourly techs get a monthly bonus with overtime, based on labor dollars produced. Our entire staff receives monthly bonus based on a percentage of "new gross profit dollars generated" above same month, previous year. Our entire staff receives yearly bonus, based on a percentage of "new gross profit dollars generated" above the previous year. The key to all of this, Imo, is understanding the effect(the "load") that meeting the FLSA requirements places on labor margins. Once you have that worked out, and the the plan(s) are delivering the desired margin, the overall results have been very positive in our store. Sales, gross and net profit have been coming into line with what our coaches have been telling us is possible for decades. And I always thought they were nuts! I will admit that this is not for the faint of heart. There is a fair amount of setup, and in our case, a fair amount of Excel worksheets. Monthly and yearly bonus plan overtime are calculated using the weighted average method. Managers, Service advisors and service techs all have "daily trackers" to complete, which they should probably be doing regardless of pay plan. A few of the most important points I have learned: (1) If you have a payroll company, they accept the data you input. They do not keep you out of trouble with the DOL and most of their EULA'a speak directly to this. They are not responsible for correctly calculating overtime on bonus pay plans. Almost every pay period in my store involves a "overtime" field be filled in and a "premium o/t" field be filled in. (2) We still run under the presumption quoted from above: "Per W&H, Flat Rate still requires OT pay if more than 40 hours are worked." (3) Always, always always know exactly what your total wage cost is per billable hour. If you want to know how much you pay "flat rate" or "per billed hour", regardless of how you actually pay, take all the wages (all "paid in cash" wages including regular pay, o/t pay, flat rate pay, vacation pay, holiday pay, bonus, spiffs, ect, not including benefits) that you pay them for a specific period, and divide by the number of billable hours they produced. My service techs cost $33-$38 per billable hour and my tire/lube techs cost an average of $92.16 per billable hour. We have a staff of 10, not including owners, and all of them are on a pay program that rewards for productivity/profit and provides for FLSA compliance. Not impossible, and the value of the "buy in" from staff is what lets us work at the shop 8 hours a week( one day), with no phone calls in between. Just one, of many ways to skin the cat
    1 point
  13. I agree. My accounting system has a few options for how they are entered in the system, hourly, salary, or commission. All of my guys are entered in as commission, and their base pay is well above minimum wage to ensure I never come close to violating minimum wage laws even if they drag feet all month and take base.
    1 point
  14. On a side note….don’t trust the attorneys, just ask the labor board. Seems scary enough to call but they will steer you in the right direction whereas a labor attorney will offer advise, but will balk when fines are issued & leave you holding the bag!
    1 point
  15. Speaking of lucky. We have to pay $55 per pickup. It doesn't matter if they pick up 5 gallons or 500 gallons. (of course they only come when I call them and tell them we need them so I will NEVER pay for them to pick up 5 gallons)
    1 point
  16. I've decided I want to join a banner program, but I'm having a difficult time deciding which one. My shop is in Tucson Arizona. We (Tucson) are kind of unique in that the parts supplier in town who is usually going to have the part available and reasonably priced is a locally owned franchise called Merles. (not a national chain) They've been around a long time and have market saturation locally that the big boys have always envied. They were recently (within last 2-3 years) purchased by the same conglomerate that owns NAPA, which extends their buying power even further. They give excellent service and pricing, and when our shop was brand new and had no established credit they gave us NET 10th credit terms immediately when everyone else (First Call, Factory Motor Parts, Autozone, Worldpac etc...) wanted us to either pay cash to get established, or guarantee it against mine and my business partner's personal credit. They have a program called Auto Service Experts (I'm not sure if this was a banner program they've always been affiliated with or if it came in with their affiliation with NAPA) However, Advanced Auto Parts recently moved into Tucson and they are wanting our business. They are very competitively priced. They (along with Carquest and Worldpac) are part of the Tech-Net program. The one advantage Tech-Net appears to have over Auto Service Experts is their labor claims. (Auto Service Experts limits you to 3 hours at $75/hour and a limited number of claims each calendar year) Tech-Net current labor reimbursement on labor claims is also $75/hour but they don't have limitations on how many hours per claim (based solely on labor manual flat rate time) or how many claims per year....which could be huge if you get a bad part on a high labor job like an oil pump. However, in order for my customers to be covered on the 36/36 warranty and for me to get the labor claims all parts would have to come from them (Advanced, CarQuest or Worldpac). Merles has been good to me and I value that business relationship. I'm not ready to stop buying from them. However, the tech-net program offered by Advanced Auto Parts appears to be a better overall program than what they offer. My local Advanced Auto Parts branch has given me excellent customer service so far, and is willing to price match. However, they don't always have the part available same day and rather than wait a day for them to bring it down from Phoenix I'd rather just purchase the part from Merles. I saw in a different thread someone talking about Certified Auto Repair banner program offered through First Call. It claimed that the nationwide warranty is good no matter where you buy your parts because it's offered through Certified Auto Repair, not by Firstcall. However, that is a very old post and I'm not sure that information is still valid. Everything I've read on the program that is current seems to suggest you are expected to buy your parts from FirstCall. One option is to join both banner programs and then continue buying my parts on a case by case basis from either Merles or Advanced whichever has the part available immediately at the best price (which is what I'm currently doing) However, I'm not sure I can justify the cost of both programs annually for the overall benefits. Another option is to go ahead and join Tech-Net because it's the better program, and roll the dice on Advance Auto Parts eventually being able to offer me the same level of service that Merles has offered me in the past. The final option is to join the Auto Service Experts program that Merles offers. I'm not really happy with the severe limitations on their labor claims, but in every other way the program is competitive with Tech-Net. Obviously, this is a decision my business partner and I will have to make, and I'm not asking anyone to tell me what I should do. However, if there are other options I'm not aware of (like a true banner program that covers you no matter where you buy your parts) or if anyone has any other input or information on the two programs I'm discussing that I may not be aware of, I'd deeply appreciate it. Thanks in advance.
    1 point
  17. Well, if you can make it at all, even for one day, it would be an honor to meet you.
    1 point
  18. Yes, my wife thinks it will hit me the day after the closing.
    1 point
  19. Joe, if I wasn’t trying to retire I would definitely try to make at least one day. I don’t think it is a good investment for me at the late stage.
    1 point
  20. 1 point
  21. Nice! Proud of you. Trust me, all will be ok. Shops around the country are realizing that labor rates need to increase in order to stay in business, pay our bills, pay our employees and build for the future. Good for you Frank!
    1 point
  22. I was fortunate to be introduced to Bob Ward several years ago. What a difference that day has made in my life. Bob has a knack for structuring exit plans for a perpetual outcome. In my case it involved having a young key employee with the time and energy to make this kind of arrangement work. Young, time and energy are the key words, Imo. There would be no wasted moments in a conversation with Bob. https://www.perpetualbusiness.co/
    1 point
  23. In high cost SF Bay Area I am now $180/hour labor rate from $155 for a few years and the dealers are all at least $200/hour. My senior tech makes $40 an hour flat rate and he is worth it. My B tech is $30 and my two C techs are $24 and $22. I also keep my reputation high so people are choosing to come to my shop.
    1 point
  24. Ha! I am 66 and there too. I will let everyone know soon my next chapter in my life. After 41 years in business and 47 years in the auto industry, it's time to turn the page.
    1 point
  25. 1 point
  26. I am trying to go from one location to zero locations. I will be 69 in December. Anyone want to buy a good business in Indiana.
    1 point
  27. We are on a national account deal with Safety Kleen and are being paid currently. Our deal has ranged from paid, no charge, or a flat stop fee depending upon the market. Of course our deal was negotiated for 1300 locations. I think the last check was about $0.20 or $0.25 per gallon.
    1 point
  28. Yeah had a garage door fixed. They put a link in the drive chain and adjusted it $300. Wanted a drain cleaned plumber was going to charge me $600 to take the toilet off the floor and put it back on! We do a heck of a lot more and need to know way more things than most trades but people think they don’t have to pay for it. I think the fantasy world is over the people in our trade want to be paid for what they do to and I think we should get it!
    1 point
  29. I am thrilled to announce that I will be the presenter at Elite's Fly With The Eagles course Oct 12 to 15. This is the first live event since before COVID. This will be held in Indianapolis. We are expecting a big turn out, so please check this out ASAP. Details below. The Eagles course is Elite's premiere event for Shop Owners and Managers- course covers: Leadership, Time Management, Goal Setting Financial Reports and Cost Controls Recruting Employee Management Marketing Click on the link below for more information. You can reply to this post too with questions. https://eliteworldwide.com/event/fly-with-the-eagles/
    1 point

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