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  1. 11 points
    Best way I've found to jump start business? Bring your own car into the shop, and tear it apart so it's stranded on the rack and tying up a bay. The shop will instantly fill and you'll be in desperate need of that rack. Every friggin' time.
  2. 10 points
    Your solution for feeling burned out: By winning! As long as your losing in life or in business you will always feel burned out. Pardon me for stating the obvious but YOU SUCK as a business owner. You blamed the long hours, the bills, the taxes, the customers, the employees, you might as well say your god damned as well. Basically all the components of business are your problem. The common denominator is you! "All work, no play, little reward" Who's decision is that? Who's decision was it to go into business for themselves? So let's start there! It's ok everyone sucks at somethings. Especially when they are untrained. But first step is realizing it and taking responsibility for your condition. You are lacking successful business owner qualities. If you are not making money you suck at sales and marketing. If you are dealing with unreasonable cheap customers than you suck at handling communication. If your employees suck than you suck at hiring and training! If your taxes, bills and insurance are a problem than you suck at administrative know-how. If long hours suck for you than you suck at setting a schedule and prioritizing. Luckily no one has to suck forever. It's a personal decision to recognize problems and not do something about them. The above things that you suck at is a list of your homework of things to study, learn, apply and improve. I will empathize with you but you get no sympathy. Let's see how many of these things you can improve in a month. If you can fix a carburetor, you can fix your business. With Confidence In You, Andre
  3. 9 points
    Oh by the way I am a very rich man. I may not have $1,000,000 cash but I have a wife that I love and who loves me and we have been MARRIED 43 1/2 years. I have three wonderful children and nine wonderful grandchildren. I have a roof over my head, clothes to wear, a warm bed to sleep in, and a full belly. I just got back from a trip to Fort Lauderdale where I dined like a king and stayed in a 4 star resort. I am healthy enough to get up and go to work today. I have a successful business. I have no complaints. Come to think of it in more ways than one I am a millionaire.
  4. 8 points
    AndersonAuto, please don't take this the wrong way. "I REALLY HATE THE CHEAP OIL CHANGE GIMICK." In my opinion, giving out a cheap synthetic oil change like you are doing gives our industry a bad image. Why? Again, in my opinion, because it distorts the consumers' perception of what it cost to do business. One of the reasons that fancy car manufacturers strive to have you use a machine to reset the maintenance interval is because it gives the impression that you need a qualified technician to reset the little light. Think about the biggest industries that thrive in people's ignorance: lawyers, insurance, and finance. Please do not take this personally, as I understand you have to do what is best for you. But in my opinion, you are hurting yourself and others by doing cheap oil changes.
  5. 7 points
    MEN ARE JUST HAPPY PEOPLE This needs no explanation - and is a fun read, no matter your gender. Men Are Just Happier People! What do you expect from such simple creatures? Your last name stays put. The garage is all yours. Wedding plans take care of themselves. Chocolate is just another snack. You can never be pregnant. You can wear a white T-shirt to a water park. You can wear NO shirt to a water park. Car mechanics tell you the truth. The world is your urinal. You never have to drive to another gas station restroom because this one is just too icky. You don't have to stop and think of which way to turn a nut on a bolt. Wrinkles add character. Wedding dress - $5,000. Tux rental - $100. People never stare at your chest when you're talking to them. New shoes don't cut, blister, or mangle your feet. One mood all the time. Phone conversations are over in 30 seconds flat. You know stuff about tanks. A five-day vacation requires only one suitcase. You can open all your own jars. You get extra credit for the slightest act of thoughtfulness. If someone forgets to invite you, he or she can still be your friend. Your underwear is $8.95 for a three-pack. Two pairs of shoes are more than enough. You almost never have strap problems in public. You are unable to see wrinkles in your clothes. Everything on your face stays its original color The same hairstyle lasts for years, maybe decades. You only have to shave your face and neck. You can play with toys all your life. One wallet and one pair of shoes - one color for all seasons. You can wear shorts no matter how your legs look. You can 'do' your nails with a pocket knife. You have freedom of choice concerning growing a mustache. You can do Christmas shopping for 25 relatives on December 24 in 25 minutes. No wonder men are happier! NICKNAMES If Laura, Kate and Sarah go out for lunch, they will call each other Laura, Kate and Sarah. If Mike, Dave and John go out, they will affectionately refer to each other as Fat Boy, Bubba and Wildman. EATING OUT When the bill arrives, Mike, Dave and John will each throw in $20, even though it's only for $32.50. None of them will have anything smaller and none will actually admit they want change back. When the girls get their bill, outcome the pocket calculators. MONEY A man will pay $2 for a $1 item he needs. A woman will pay $1 for a $2 item that she doesn't need but it's on sale. BATHROOMS A man has six items in his bathroom: toothbrush and toothpaste, shaving cream, razor, a bar of soap, and a towel. The average number of items in the typical woman's bathroom is 337. A man would not be able to identify more than 20 of these items. ARGUMENTS A woman has the last word in any argument. Anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument. FUTURE Awoman worries about the future until she gets a husband. A man never worries about the future until he gets a wife. MARRIAGE A woman marries a man expecting he will change, but he doesn't. A man marries a woman expecting that she won't change, but she does. DRESSING UP A woman will dress up to go shopping, water the plants, empty the trash, answer the phone, read a book, or get the mail. A man will dress up for weddings and funerals. NATURAL Men wake up as good-looking as they went to bed. Women somehow deteriorate during the night. OFFSPRING Ah, children. A woman knows all about her children. She knows about dentist appointments and romances, best friends, favorite foods, secret fears and hopes and dreams. A man is vaguely aware of some short people living in the house. THOUGHT FOR THE DAY A married man should forget his mistakes. There's no use in two people remembering the same thing!
  6. 7 points
    Can't do much else...but get better. This fruit basket will be a part of it. Thank you guys.
  7. 7 points
    I have spent the last 20 minutes looking at your website, advertisements, reviews, Facebook, google street images, and more. I have some definite profitable improvements in mind, and I am going to share them with you. If you have been there since 2000, you have lots of people that trust you, and you have plenty of room for much more profit!! You will want to build on that Big-Time!! "The shop has been known for cheap oil changes." *** How does the following sound? "My shop is known for precision front-end and undercar work and is a leader in computerized alignments." How about this?? "I know brakes and I perform long-lasting, smooth-stopping, and quiet brake jobs. "I can diagnose your "Service Engine" light for you and get it turned off after the necessary repairs and services have been completed." "We are known as the Go-To shop for Air Conditioning Service." Think about what it would be like to have from three to four alignments scheduled for one day, and you get them in and some need repairs and/or tires. I see that you advertise alignments and promote them on Facebook. When folks come in for an alignment, many times they are prepared to invest a lot to have their car repaired in order for it to drive and perform properly. When folks come in for a cheap oil change, their mind and pocketbook are on a cheap oil change. So....think about this!! Nobody else (I imagine) is doing $18.95 oil changes, so you need to up the price and add more benefits!! Walmart oil changes are about $35.00 and Jiffy Lube about $50.00. So when Miss Jones comes in for her oil service with safety inspection, you tell her up front: Miss Jones, you have been a great client of mine!! And I thank you for that!! I am going to give you better service than ever, because I have integrated a safety and maintenance inspection with our oil change services. I am going to use a checklist, inspect your car, and go over any needs with you. Your investment in this is only $29.95 plus tax. Please have a cup of coffee or hot chocolate while I'm bringing your car in the shop!! **** Note: 3 important sentences coming up: A client came in to my shop Friday with his 2011 Altima for an oil change service only. I told him that the factory maintenance recommended a belt, air filter, cabin filter, and trans. service. His invoice was $440.00. They won't all buy, but lots will, and that's what counts. Now notice that you didn't say that "oil changes" went up....you told her about the added benefits. ***PLUS most of the later model cars take 0W20 Synthetic motor oil and the Oil Change Services are usually $44.95 to $59.95. Be sure to ALWAYS SPECIFY the factory recommended oil because it's what the car and your cash register require!!! $$$ You will want to work on enhancing your train of thought from Cheap and Lowest Price to Precision, Performance, Smooth, Quiet, Vibration-Free, More Power, Long-Lasting, Straight, Hot for heat, Cold for AC. Practice selling the benefits and you will see MUCH HIGHER ARO'S, more satisfied clients, and MORE CA$H in the BANK!!! I'm ending for now, but please pay close attention to the above, start tomorrow, and have a CHANGED WEEK!!! I will be in touch!! Hi-Gear
  8. 6 points
    Guts and brains is what it takes for us to succeed. A lot of us owners lack the guts to charge what we need to charge to really succeed.
  9. 6 points
    I hope everyone had a great month. April seemed to be off for a lot of shops, so if yours was one of them I hope it turned around for you. I had a great month! My guys turned in an all time record month. They beat the snot out of the previous record by $15K, and had a higher GP doing it. Car count is up, ARO is up, and I spent most of the month at the lake working on my boat while my guys took care of business. Tomorrow is one of my favorite times. I get to go in and write some serious commission checks. I'll probably flip everyone a Benjamin while I'm at it. Life is good.
  10. 6 points
    Slowly getting back at it. Very sore and low energy... but getting better every day. Thanx for all your caring thoughts. U guys are the best. Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
  11. 6 points
    One thing I often repeat over and over again is this; "Back in the 1980's, there were three things that made repair shops successful; General Motors, Ford and Chrysler." Those cars broke down a lot, and there was an endless supply of cars that required a lot of profitable work. Well, those days are gone. Cars today are build better, last longer (thankfully), and have ever-increasing service intervals. Consumers are also conditioned to think that their cars don't need maintenance. It wasn't that long ago when your customers were coming to you 4 to 5 times a year for service. Now, you are lucky to see those customer twice a year for their routine LOF service. The point here? You must take a proactive approach and promote preventive maintenance. You must inform your customers of their next service and any other future service recommendation or repair. You must do all you can to get your customer to return to you. Which means providing the absolute best customer service with quality repairs. Even the term "repair shop" needs to redefined. Be proactive and you'll be successful!
  12. 6 points
    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.
  13. 6 points
    I'm ready to see more positive posts on this forum, so I'm starting with one tonight! On Wednesday, a lady called and said she had a blowout and wanted her car towed in. Once the 2006 Buick Lucerne got to the shop we found that it needed a new tire. We had sold a set of 4 tires to her in July 2016 with road hazard warranty. So she's getting a free tire now on the house. Along with the tire purchase in July we also performed $1400 in repairs and service. So on Wednesday my technician jacked it up on the floor and installed the new tire. Then he told me he was putting the car on his lift to do an inspection. The car had been well maintained, but while doing his inspection he found that it needed repairs. It had a timing cover coolant leak, oil pan leak, rt. rear caliper leak, cracked serpentine belt, needed an oil service, and a couple of other things. I called her and told her that the tire needed replacing. She asked if it was warrantied, and I replied that I had good news....she had purchased warranty coverage and I was replacing it free. She loved that. Then I told her that we performed a safety inspection and told her of our findings. I didn't wait for her to ask "HOW MUCH?" I immediately told her that I could get started on the work the same day and it would be $2150. She then asked if I had something she could drive, and I told her I would provide her with a loaner car and could have her car ready by Friday. She asked if I could put the work on a credit card, so I said "SURE!!" Just come on by and pick up my Altima to drive while your Buick is in the shop. She got a ride and came by about thirty minutes later. Today she picked up her Buick and handed me her credit card. She was one happy lady, thanked me for finding what her car needed, and left smiling. Ladies and Gentlemen, I call that a VICTORY in MY LIFE!!! We need these victories daily in our businesses. Do you know any shops around your town that would have replaced her tire, done no inspection, eaten the cost of the tire, and would have been in a bitchy mood after eating it?? So remember, Be an Optimist, Be Positive, Be Excited, Service Cars Properly, Make Money, and Achieve a Victory in Your Life!! Thank you for listening, Hi-Gear
  14. 6 points
    I figured I would share this and I don't believe it is covered enough in the shop owners circles and thats about leadership qualities and what it takes to lead. In my shop I am trying to change the culture where all of my guys buy in. I preach team work and education. We invest a lot into our people and I am sure you guys do as well. Recently one of my Service Advisers just graduated Elite's Master Course which is a 6 month intensive service adviser / writer's course. The transformation I have seen from my guy is nothing short of amazing. It has been a group effort from management down to the technician in increasing our sales, adjusting our work flow policies and implementing all the crazy ideas I have. In passing his final exam I promised my service adviser I would take him out to an expensive steak dinner. After thinking long and hard about it I decided I was not doing the right thing. The other employees may see this as favoritism and as a "reward" which is not the intention of passing his course. Instead I made a decision to invite my whole staff to a dinner on us. In the invitation I took the time to acknowledge everyone for the good work they have been doing and that the reason why I wanted to invite everyone was not as a reward but as a celebration. We are a team and our successes and failures are shared as a group. I emphasis that everything they achieve in their professional and personal lives that make a positive impact are important to me and important to our company. Does it cost us money to invest in our team? Absolutely, this dinner alone is going to around $1000. Will it pay dividends in the future, for sure. It also feels really good to do for others. I believe acknowledgement, appreciation and team building is sorely lacking in our industry. One of my goals is to make our company the best place to work in the industry. Take care of your employees and your employees will take care of your customers. I am grateful for the amazing people I work with and I hope its an attitude that everyone strives to share.
  15. 6 points
    Ok, I am back. Like I was saying, Do not expect anyone to help your vision if they don't understand it, or if you don't communicate it. Set realistic expectations, there are only 24 hours in a day, don't overextend yourself or your resources beyond their capabilities. Comprehend that there are bad people out there, bad as in malicious, predatory, evil, don't put up with them, avoid them if you can. There are also toxic people, just like you would not let a thief into your home, do not let toxic people's ideas and attitures pollute your mind, or steal your dreams and ambitions. Do not spend time on idle thoughts, grudges, or ill desires, they will harm you. Commit to your cause, and do not look back. You are a leader, you must lead, those that will follow you - need you to lead. Know that knowledge is potential, it needs action, to make things happen. On the other hand, action without knowledge is dangerous action. In sum, choose to be successful, think successful, act successful. Your attitude is the engine that powers the outcome of your actions, knowlege is the potential, action is the consequence of your thoughs. I hope these words help to alleviate your burn-out. -Harry
  16. 6 points
    The biggest business problem is that on the small business level of automotive repair and the auto body industry there are too many criminal enterprises and transactions. They can be recognized easily by "pay me cash and I'll save you the tax." Also by paying employees off the books. Quoting dealer parts and selling cheap aftermarket parts instead. Selling not needed or untimely repairs, etc. Claiming to have installed parts but didn't, etc. Misdiagnosis seems to be big in the automotive repair area too. So on and so forth. The reason this industry is so suppressed financially and distrusted is because there are too many unethical shops, unethical employees and unethical transactions creating unethical customers. I'm willing to bet that if we went to 10 shops in an area, 7 out of 10 would have these unethical practices if not more. How do you build trust or get a customer or employee to trust you when your blatantly waving a pirate flag stating I'm willing to break the laws of the land and I'm doing it so you can save the tax? I'm willing to get arrested, go to jail, pay tremendous penalties, and this sacrifice is all for you the customer. It would take a jackass on both sides of this transaction to believe this fairytale to be the case. Selfishness has created criminality. If the shop owner is afraid he/she can't eat his piece of bread because he has to pay more taxes when he shows more money, or pay employees more money off the books to save money, then that shop owner is losing his game as shop owner and trying to win by cheating instead. So let's stop lying to ourselves about what has been created in our industry. To many people believe the automotive repair industry is a racket. So to reiterate, the biggest business challenge is playing in a slanted game with an unfair playing field. Picture this, you are playing a game of monopoly with family and friends. You think you're good or should be good. You realize though no matter how good you are or should be doing, you are losing. The guy next to you has more money and/or properties and you wonder how. You catch a glimpse at the right moment and you see his slight of hand towards the cash box. You say, "This person is a thief". "This game is a joke." And that is what your customer says and thinks as well when you give them a glimpse of your criminality. From that point on he/she thinks that everyone in this game is a thief or has the potential of being a thief and the whole game is distrusted and goes to hell. The customer you created, who is now criminal also for partaking in these unscrupulous activities of save the tax goes shop to shop looking to save the tax, get the deal, or take advantage of a losing and unsuspecting shop owner. So the lack of consistency and standardization in the automotive industry is a problem I see. Automotive repair shops should play by a consistent, predictable, and scrupulous set of rules that customers can trust. Cheaters don't have that, they have fear based systems and pricing. Through that fear they resort to unscrupulous activities. Through unscrupulous activities they create distrust in an area, activity or industry. That area, activity or industry then gets suppressed financially or oppressed by the government. It then appears to become less lucrative. But that is only the case for those who don't know how to play the game right. In order to win in life you need to have self-confidence and self-respect. When you have self-respect and self-confidence you have power. People believe in you and people trust you to do the right thing and are willing to pay you to do the right thing. We get paid very well and handsomely at my shop. We attract many high end clients. I have never marketed to any of these people. They have been referred by other high caliber individuals. I am proud of this. I bought my first shop and cleaned up the previous owners BS and criminality, business doubled the first year and then doubled the second year from the first years numbers. I did that through ethical practices. I bought the next shop over and did the same thing. Both of these places were dumps from the get go. I am buying another shop a few blocks away that has been sold twice in the last few years. How am I doing it? Ethical practices. Self-confidence. Self-respect. Ethical environment - people, places, things. So my solution is: Have some self-respect and do the right things. Take survival actions. You will feel strong. Have the self-confidence to believe in yourself. That you can make it in an honest manner and do it and keep on keeping on with honesty and integrity. Create an ethical environment that you can trust in and people around you can trust in. This is how you make it in life and in business. Try it for a week, the worst thing that can happen is you feel better about yourself and like a more able human being.
  17. 5 points
    About 6 months ago, The Wall Street Journal ran an article that featured all the trades: welders, electricians, plumbers, auto mechanics, etc. They found that there is a shortage among all the trades, nationwide. At the same time, we are seeing more and more automotive graduates from schools like Universal Technical Institute and Lincoln Tech. So where are they? It's time we start a movement to become involved in our community, schools, and technical schools. If we can't find them, we need to grow them. Xrac is right about the money. Unfortunately, until shops make enough profit, they cannot always pay what a tech deserves. Basically, the shop owners too need to earn the wage THEY deserve. I know I may hit a nerve here, but here it goes: I find that too many shop owners do not earn enough profits, so how can they attract quality people and pay them. As an industry we need to raise the image and the average income of shop owners first. Automotive shop owners are the hardest working people on the planet. They owe it to themselves and their families to earn the income they deserve. When this happens, they will be able to offer their employees a better pay package. It's not all about money, but everyone needs to earn a decent wage and feel good about themselves.
  18. 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.
  19. 5 points
    I am not talking about walking and working in the bays or on the service counter. I am referring to walking through the back room, the inventory shelves, the closet areas and all the nooks and crannies. The other day, I did my monthly walk through and looked behind the tire balancer to find box after box of overstocked wheel weights. Hidden out of sight, but not hidden on my statement. I quickly gathered the overstock and called the vendor. My process is that all stock inventory items must be authorized by the manager. The manager has his stocking level sheets and will make sure we do not overstock any item. When I asked the vendor how this stock got past the manager, his reply was, “The manager was not there that day.” So, I responded, “And no longer are you.” The point is that we need to keep track of inventory and have systems in place to check all costs that can go under the radar. I like to trust my vendors, but as President Reagan once said, “Trust, but verify.”
  20. 5 points
    Gonzo is home and has been outside for a walk. His wife said this on Facebook yesterday: Here's the King on a walk this morning surveying his domain. He's feeling really good.
  21. 5 points
    Reckon Gonzo will come out with a story to write?
  22. 5 points
    Don't know if anyone has heard yet, but Gonzo's wife posted that he is out of surgery and in the icu.. The surgery was a little more involved than first thought but the outcome was outstanding.. He still has a breathing tube in but apparently is Good old Gonzo interacting and joking the best he can with his hands LOL.. So now it is just all best wishes for a speedy recovery ! He will be in the icu for two days then in the heart hospital for another 3-4 days
  23. 5 points
    My shop is similar to yours. Although this Spring we figured out how to jam a 4th lift in a 1500 foot space with 3 doors. It makes a huge difference when we are packed. Do it if you can. As far as charging for diagnostics. Absolutely. We sell time in this industry so you have to. Just don't call it a diagnostic. I have a bunch of canned "Inspections" that I charge a fixed amount for. For example, a fan inspection is $100. A pressure test is $100. An alternator test is $50. I try to separate them from time as much as possible. It's just a flat fee for the test. It works great. For tough runnability or electrical I have a flat $100 charge and then we call the customer and to go time based billing on the customer's authorization. For scheduling, here's what we do: 2 techs - 1 General Tech, 1 Lube Tech. We use Mitchell1 so the scheduler has a column for each tech. We schedule oil changes in 1 hour slots so we can do up to 9 oil changes per day. Sometimes we do! It doesn't take 1 hour but then we have time for rotations, show and tell with the customer, batteries, belts, wipers etc... and we can get it done for a waiting customer before the next oil change starts. Then we have the Lube Tech service other minor work (brakes, alternators, belts, tires etc...) between oil changes so he basically can have 2 jobs going on simultaneously all day. Master tech has 2 bays so he can swing back and forth between 2 jobs if he's waiting for parts or authorization. (side note, we are growing so we see patches of full capacity but it isn't like this all the time...yet) So, when this is working with an average tech and a lazy lube tech we've averaged 7.8 cars per day for stretches of 60 days or more. Sometimes it doesn't even feel busy. Now I have a much faster master tech so as we spool up this Summer I expect this to work even better. In fact, at 7-8 cars per day my service writer becomes the bottle neck. (we've actually serviced 18 cars in a day using this method...not recommended, but it worked on the shop side, just not the office). My service writer can't talk to customers fast enough or order parts fast enough to keep up. So we end up short circuiting the oil change inspection process because he can't write and sell all the work we find while he's answering phones and ordering parts for the bigger jobs. I just wanted to add that 6 cars/day is relative to how many hours per car you are selling. We haven't been great in that respect so if you are 2.5-3 hrs per car you might be at max with 6-7 cars/day. In that case you might need a bigger space before you pursue a full blown oil change marketing program. As for me if done right I seems I could service up to 12 vehicles per day without short circuiting my sales process. That being said, we are trying to improve our sales process right now so this might all change when we succeed. In that case we will add staff or reduce car count to make it happen. I'll cross that bridge when we get to it though. Hope that helps.
  24. 5 points
    How Long is a Labor Hour? Did you ever stop and wonder how long a labor hour actually is? I’m not talking about time ticking away on a clock. I’m talking about the actual time spent on a repair vs. the labor guide’s suggested time. Personally, I’ve never had a job that started and finished exactly to the second of the given labor time. It’s not like the labor guide’s hourly chart is set in stone, or that they’re wrong, but when it comes to getting paid it sure seems like they are. Any mechanic will tell you that a labor hour can stretch to half a day if a lot of research is involved, or it can last 15 minutes. Most labor guides typically don’t take into account how much research, diagnosis, equipment setup, or the time it takes recover your 10mm socket that just fell down into the motor. Time, as they say, is money. If you don’t think so, take your car to any bodyshop and read off the labor charges. You’ll find the labor time is divided into a 1/10th of an hour. However, in the mechanical repair shop, seldom are the labor costs scrutinized as they are when dealing with insurance companies. Even still, I’ve never once been asked to break down the mechanical repair labor into diagnostic time and the actual physical labor when giving an estimate. Estimates are usually quoted by the R&R labor time for a particular repair. Generally, that doesn’t include diagnostic time. Even though the book time has been calculated out, it’s still not a complete guide and certainly not the Holy Grail of the repair industries time clock. Try sticking with an estimate for changing a starter that’s listed as one hour job. More than likely the estimate is only going to be quoted straight from book of a one-hour labor charge and not any diagnostic time included. Even with all the technically advanced diagnostic tools a professional mechanic has at their disposal there are still people who can’t understand why diagnostic time should be included in the labor estimate, even though it’s not part of the R&R for the component. In their mind, (as I’ve been told numerous times), the mechanic should already know what’s wrong when they pull their car into the shop. What’s worse is the price shopper who calls from shop to shop looking for the cheapest repair. I’d bet to say the cheapest quote is probably nothing more than the R&R labor time for whatever part they’re concerned about. However, nobody mentioned anything about the crusted connections at the battery, or the leaking valve cover that’s coated the starter in oil, or whether you’ve installed aftermarket headers. Not to mention any diagnostic time, because the real problem isn’t the starter at all. On the other hand there are the stop watch aficionados. You know, the people who literally count the seconds of every minute and are bound to argue over any labor time discrepancies on their invoice. The mechanic’s entire career, (in their way of thinking), is strictly turning bolts and slapping on parts. These tick-tock-time-keepers, watch their timepieces with precision and inevitably use “time” as the only determining factor for the cost of a repair. For instance, let’s say the book time said an hour, and everyone involved agreed upon the charges, but the mechanic got it done in 25 minutes. The argument has always been that the cost of the job should be no more than the time it took to do it. Should the mechanic be penalized for doing his job proficiently and having completed it early? Where does it say he should give the job to the customer at some discounted rate because he can beat the book time? Doesn’t seem right at all. But, what if the same job that was quoted for an hour has taken four hours to complete? Who pays for the time difference now? So in a sense, a labor hour isn’t an hour at all. It’s an arbitrary amount of time that may or may not be exactly 60 minutes. If it was as accurate as some people believe, then theoretically you should get an estimate for that hour’s labor, pull up to the repair shop, and walk out in exactly 60 minutes with the job completed. Not a second sooner or a second later. Yea, good luck with that one. Like most trades mechanics get paid by the hour, however it’s not like you punch a time clock in the morning, work all day, then collect a 40-hour paycheck at the end of the week. Most mechanics work on flag time. Realistically, let’s call it what it really is… piece work, (the piece being the car). Very few mechanics are offered an hourly pay and a guaranteed 40-hour work week, (although there are some places that use a combination of both flag time and hourly pay). More times than not, a mechanic ends up eating a whole lot of labor time for problem solving. Whether there are rusted bolts, bad connections, illusive intermittent problems or poor information from the get-go, something is going to use up time which eventually won’t go towards a paycheck. Any time money and people are involved in the same situation, and you’re dealing with something that’s not widely understood, such as the modern car, it’s up to the mechanics and the repair shops to make sure they do. Customers also need to understand that this is a business based on suggested labor hours and not a time clock. There needs to be a reasonable amount of trust in the labor guide estimates from both sides of the counter. Because, it’s hard to say how long an hour of labor really is.
  25. 5 points
    About 15 years ago I was in dire straights. I was dangerously close to having to lock the doors and going home. I calculated my break even point, and what my labor rate would have to be to survive. Not make money, just to stop losing money. I raised my labor rate $15.75 in one day. Not one single customer complained. Not one. The only complaint I got was from my advisor, which ended quickly when I gave him the choice between selling the new labor rate, or going home forever. The bottom line is that no customer is going to complain. Charge what you have to charge to make your business successful, and stop worrying about raising the rate a few bucks to do it.
  26. 5 points
    I am at $150, Diesel $175, Ambulance and class 8 at $225.
  27. 5 points
    I do not come from the bays, my background was from the Towing business and I bought an auto shop. My ex partner was supposed to run the shop but I got dragged into the customer service end. Over the course of a couple of years I quickly learned I have little if any tolerance for dirtbags (price first types) and it seems these are the ones who try to take advantage of every situation. I decided at that point I would do everything I could to keep those types from crossing my threshold. My marketing implies we are professional and not price driven in any way shape or form. No coupons, specials and price based offers at all. Only pretty pictures and discussion of our expertise and good intentions. Our office is not filled with menu boards or automotive related items, more like a dentists office with local kids artwork on the walls, clean furniture and conveniences for out customers. No point of sale items at all. My intent is to deter without stating it outright. The best response when someone first absorbs my branding is either that's the place for me or that's NOT the place for me. I'm actually ok with either response. I do not have to win over all consumers to win at this game. Luckily what I've done has worked. Although I clearly remember the pain of dealing with those types I rarely do anymore and the one or two who slip though the cracks every once in a while no longer dictate our policies. We move on to those who wish to be served and understand quality comes at a reasonable cost. I welcome the low cost/low end repair facilities or providers, they increase my value.
  28. 5 points
    I got a call the other day from a shop owner who happens to own a repair shop in the town I live in. He told me that a new Advance Auto Parts store has opened up down the road and they want him to buy from them. I asked him how he felt about buying from Advance Auto Parts. He told me that he really has an issue due to all the signage in front of the store: Free Wiper Blade installation, Free Battery Testing, Free Battery Installation, Free Alternator Testing and Free Starter Testing. There’s even a sign that says, Loaner Tool Sets Available! I don’t know how you feel, but as a shop owner I cannot align myself with a company that devalues the work we do. It’s hard enough to generate a profit these days, but to compete with the same business that wants me to buy from them? That’s insane. Advance Auto Parts claims that they target the DIY, not my customers. But the truth is, everyone sees and hears their advertising. So my customers here the “Free message” over and over. And, let’s not kid ourselves: If Advance Auto Parts can convert a few motorist to try to do auto repairs themselves; that would be just fine for Advance Auto Parts. All at the expense of the auto repair shops. The bottom line here is truly the Bottom Line. Advance Auto Parts has to answer to Wall Street and its investors. I have to answer to one person…myself. And I will not compromise my beliefs for anyone or any company. So Advance Auto Parts and Tech Net, say goodbye to someone that has been a life-long friend.
  29. 5 points
    If our community here at AutoShopOwner has helped you in your business or in another way, please share with a post in this topic. There is nothing better than word of mouth and testimonials, some of which I'd like to post on our main page (coming soon). 🙂
  30. 5 points
    Without this forum I would not know people like Simon, Jay, Jeff, Gonzo, Alec, Joe, Al, Spencer, etc., etc., Although we haven't meant in person I feel like you are all friends, compadres, and allies.
  31. 5 points
    Car repair isn't a glamorous job, in fact it doesn't rank very highly as a career choice (ask any high school counselor) But, it is a way of life and a career for a lot of people, including myself. I enjoy it, still to this day. ASO is one place where you can talk shop with like minded people in the business. They're technical wisdom, stories, and passion for this trade is evident in the pages of ASO. If you read a few of the topics from all over the country, you'll find that passion, that drive, that "want to do it better" atmosphere of helping people with their car problems. We just don't fix cars, we fix people's faith in the automotive mechanic too, and that's what you'll find here at ASO.
  32. 5 points
    DEFINITELY! I have gained knowledge, wisdom, insight, information, ideas, techniques, encouragement, etc. I have also had some laughs and inspiration. ,
  33. 5 points
    If I didn't have 200K laying around, I would probably not take on another shop. I like to have a good cash cushion for unexpected slow downs or any occurrences that may pop up. Having a good cushion allows me to sleep at night. I am currently building a new 8 bay facility that has an additional 8 covered bays and the only stress I have is dealing with the city and the contractors. I am not too worried about any cost over runs because I have cash set aside. The way the new shop is set up is I am actually relocating a current shop that is sharing space with another business I own. I let both my manager and lead tech buy into the business at 20% a apiece, I set up a new LLC to facilitate this. There is a buy sell agreement as well as protections for me and them as well. I had an attorney set up all the documents. Both of the employees have felt that I have always been generous to them and that this was a great opportunity to own a shop without having to come up with a couple hundred thousand dollars. They have both been with me over 10 years and they had to put cash in the deal, the business financed the remainder of their buy in for 10 years. They each draw a salary plus benefits and then they share in the net profit. I currently draw $1K a month for the little accounting and paperwork that I do. Now they are owners which has a psychological effect because they treat the business a little different and there is something to be said for being able to say "I am an owner". I let them be involved in all decision making as well as the sales forecasting, budgeting hiring and firing. Some people say I was crazy for thinking about and doing this when I started discussing it. I just felt like if they could share in the wealth then I don't have to worry about someone stealing them and the other employees are aware of the overall deal. I still get 60% of the profit and the actual payback on the buy in. Their loans are funded by the 20% share of profit they receive at the end of the year. They only own part of the operating business and I own the real estate and all major equipment which is leased to the operating company. So I make money on the lease as well. I do not get very involved in day to day operations as they handle it all. I have a 10 year plan for them but I have also talked about speeding up the plan as well as sell them the real estate at some point. Shortly after the new location is in operation I will probably acquire or build another location as I have 2 more individuals who I may set up on a similar same plan. Remember cash flow is king.
  34. 5 points
    My invoice now reads: Diagnostic and Troubleshooting 89.95 I believe I will now make it read: Troubleshoot, Test, and Analyze $110.00
  35. 5 points
    I have 7 tow trucks available. Brian has 4, Jimmy has 2, and Jerry has 1. 3 telephone #'s....7 trucks. Zero expense until I call one of them, but then it's Zero expense, also, because the customer pays for the tow and I mark it up and make money. Forget about buying a tow truck and concentrate on your ARO, GP %, profitability, customer retention and acquisition, and putting lots of money in the bank. Hi-Gear
  36. 5 points
    Very polite and elegant way of putting it. I call em leeches. Of course, they all have an excuse why life, the man, or whoever, keeps holding them down. When both parties attacked Trump, I knew he was the right guy.
  37. 5 points
    You know, if I were younger, I would whole heartily agree with you. But now that I am older, and as a businessman, I am aware that our whole economic system is political. That's why they used to called the subject "political economy". See Adam Smith "Wealth of Nations." "Political" has not been left out of the subject theme by accident but by purposeful design to avoid addressing the subject by its true nature. The Political class do not want the majority of small business people getting involved into politics because it would muddle the interest of the large multinational patrons. So, by all means let's talk about politics in the context as to how it affects our economic well being, how regulation and tax policy affects all of us and who we can support to help us butter our own bread.
  38. 5 points
    A really good place to start is to treat them like you're really interested in helping them. Not saying you don't - of course - I don't know you and have never met you. But what do you think of this; "Hi Mrs. Smith, glad to see you. Do you want to buy more than what you came in for?" Upselling right off the start is probably not the welcome more want to hear. I think it was Disney who said it - something like do what you do well - and do it so well that people will tell their friends about you. I know you're not Disney, but think about it. Help them first - the money will follow. Hope this helps! Matthew Lee "The Car Count Fixer"
  39. 5 points
    We do code reads for free. Diagnosis costs $90. "What's the code?" "P0430" "what's it need?" "Diagnosis".
  40. 5 points
  41. 5 points
    I can't tell you everything we did, I can tell you some of the big ones. 1: go above and beyond with every customer, educate them and treat them as much like friends and family as possible (don't cross the free line) 2: communicate proper expectations, and notify them on plan changes as soon as possible. 3: Admit when your wrong. Always be as honest as possible. 4: If it breaks and it's your fault, fix it. And tell them it was and honest mistake. 5: explain in as much detail as possible the issue and educate them. Teach them how the system works. 6: make sure to do thorough look inspections when you see the car, inform the customer with out being pushy about sales. (I think we all forget, when customers come to us - regardless of how ridiculous an expectation it is - they expect us to find upcoming failures so they don't while driving. The more of these you catch the better. 7: don't be nervous about the price, don't over think the price. If your nervous about what your charging you can bet they are picking up on that. Honestly, for me it all comes down just be a quality repair provider. We are a small 2 bay shop. We don't advertise outside of our website, Google listing and a Facebook page. We are telling customers 3-4 weeks before we see the vehicle, and we're turning down work we don't want. My point in this ridiculous and long post is simple, don't over think increasing aro/car count - if your being a quality shop, and treating your customers right it won't be long until you realize aro/car count are great tools to stay on top of the performance of the business. But focusing on them may give you tunnel vision that sees the customers wallet without seeing the customer! Sent from my SM-N910V using Tapatalk
  42. 5 points
    Hello all! New to the forum but would like to chime in. Our shop has only been open for a year but we do alright. Here is my advice on what I am finding to be the most important, most of which are marketing (an aspect most shops neglect): 1) Logo and Branding - our logo was professionally designed to look modern yet sophisticated and will stick longer in a person's head. Our shop walls also match the color and all of our documents have our logo. We were lucky that my cousin is a graphic designer so didn't spend much on this but I know there are a lot of reasonably priced designers out there. We get so many compliments on our logo/branding....which means so many customers want stickers, windshield banners, shirts, etc...its all advertisement and then people will start to hear about your shop from random places and remember seeing that logo. 2) Updated Website - I see a lot of auto shops that have very outdated looking websites. However, websites are usually the 2nd thing new customers will look at when they find you on yelp or Facebook first. We use our website to showcase our shop, lobby/office, let customers request appointments and quotes. We get most of our appointment requests via our website, which is awesome because it gives us time to come up with accurate quotes. Also use our website to show what events we're going to, post blogs of photos of past events, show all of our pricing, show our bios and photos of us. I find that people like transparency....there are reasonably priced sites that have beautiful templates: Wix, Squarespace, Shopify. 3) Clean & organized shop - First thing new customers say when they walk in is wow, your shop is clean. We make sure we set time each day to clean and organize. Our clean floors make any photo of our shop look great. Customers think if we take care of our space like this, we take care of the cars as well. Also our office is modern with plants, TV with Roku, Wifi, coffee machine, free snacks, car books to read, phone charging station, we bought a cheap counter top and brackets from IKEA to put by the window so that customers can work on their laptop while look into the shop. 4) Social Media - we are very active in social media and we dont spend a dime on it. Instagram: great for photos, and tagging...just had a new customer come in today and said he found out about us on Instagram (tagging works!) Facebook: we get a lot of engagement here. Post photos of cars we're working on, blog entries that link to our website, events that we are going to, we message customers here if they do that to us first. We tend to get a lot more likes when we are more personable, show them that we are humans 5) Network like crazy - we go to a lot of events, and we host a lot of events/BBQs as well. We work on a lot of track cars, so we go to the track a lot. We paid about $1k for a canopy, large flag, and tablecloth with our logo on it. That was kinda pricey but it made its money back. A lot of people say they knew about us first because they saw us at the track. Some people walk up to us just to ask what we do. So even though we're there to have fun and track our cars, we are still advertising. If not track, we go to meets, drives, car shows. 6) Treat everyone (including vendors and other shops) with respect, regardless of the car they drive or how much money they spend at your shop. One customer said he comes back because he gets better vibes from us than any other shop. Another customer tried to tell us we should try to takeover another shop's customer base and we replied that we're not about that, and we are all just car enthusiasts trying to make a living--there are enough cars to go around--that customer replied well, thats why i love coming to you guys. Always stay humble, never bad-mouth anyone and people will always remember that. Hope that helps!
  43. 5 points
    Carbtech27, this is a priceless post for you. I'll be honest, I am too selfish to go out on a limb and advise anyone other than my children like Andre has done here. I have just a wee bit quible with it, he pointed out the obvious to you for those of us that have been through it, he didn't really tell you how to come out of it. Like he pointed out, first you must accept responsibility for your own condition, and the culprit for that condition you find yourself in is your mind set. You need the proper training to have the knowledge to prosper. First step, stop acting like a victim. Second, understand even the best people that love you and have the best intentions toward you will present obstacles in your life. You must overcome that. Only you know what you want for you, and if you don't, you will always end up lost and burned out. ( I know this by my own experience, even when extremely financially successful you can feel lost and burned out.) Third, charge the proper amount for your goods and services that will allow you to live a comfortable life. Do your numbers, know your numbers, if you do quality work at a cheap price you will not enjoy your work, you will end up feeling cheated. And if a customer comes back for warranty work, you will not want to deal with that customer. On the other hand, if you charge a premium, you will gladly take care of your customer because he is a source of value. Fourth, give and be charitable only with things you can afford to give and be charitable with. Take care of youself first, then your family, then others as you have in excess; this includes your precious time and knowledge. Fiifth, be strong enough to ask for help, study, seek knowledge, pray or meditate and ask for guidence, strength and wisdom to overcome all obstacles. Learn to give thanks and praise, learn to receive graciously and gladly. Six, learn to communicate, learn to listen and detach your emotions as you hear constructive criticism. There is more, but I have to run a conference call with my people for now.
  44. 5 points
    Answers are in exact order as asked. I am. Initially zeal, not insight. No partners. Different for now. Took over existing shops and cleaned house to make sense of operations. Either way would have been fine with me. Cash Down Payment and Mortgage. Own properties. Self-confidence. Believers and supporters. Know-how. Paying attention. Intention to be successful. Unreasonablness, not making excuses, taking full responsibility for all success and failure. Doing things that make sense, not doing what's popular. Communicating clearly and concisely. Being able to hold a position I believe in. A market place trained by tricks and gimmicks. An illusioned market place. Supportive spouse that believes in me and allows me to make mistakes without ridicule or regrets and constantly pushes me toward improvement. People that hold my vision when I'm tired, burned out, or practically dead! A tainted and rising scale drug induced society that perpetuates what they see on TV instead of reaching toward the stars to better themselves and mankind. A society where apparencies trump actualities. Bad advice. Lack of due diligence. Pitfalls are subjective. One man's pitfall is another man's stronghold. Experience / Know-how; Personal inherent unwillingness. Lack of know how. A small business is an extension of its creator and management. If the creator and management is weak, so is the business. If the creator/manager is disorganized, so is the business. If the owner/manager is fiscally sound due to proper handling of income, so is the business. Don't waste time with losers. Losers only know how to lose and want to tell you I told you so while they are killing your game. Massive income comes from ethics, communication, sales, efficient well handled overhead, fully functional administrative lines. Everything that is in good good standing in the first location will have to be carried over to the next location. Anything and everything that is not handled, ignored, succumb too and avoided will be perpetually amplified to the subsequent locations and will become a greater monster to slay. I will add and update this post, but in short and for now, this is my quick response. I'm a business enthusiast and I am a continual and predictable success. There are many more people here that have built empires through willingness and know how. Hopefully they will chime in. Additional thoughts: I read a book called The Peter Principle about 10 years ago which stated how people hit the ceiling at their own level incompetence. For some people that can be owning one business, for others it may be 100. Know-how is attainable as long as one is willing.
  45. 5 points
    Depending on the job and the customer. If its a one off customer and you know its going to be a problem, I would definitely pass it along. If it is one of your good customers, the ones that spend money with you on maintenance and repairs and tell their friends all about your shop then yes you have to bite the bullet and take care of them. I always tell my guys what is important about our jobs is not repairing cars. That is a given. Its how we take care of our customers and leaving them with a great experience. One that will create a circle of business in which they always come back and tell all their friends. The real challenge is to find all these great customers! They are out there, we just have to find them.
  46. 5 points
    We tell them to come back if the system fails. I don't want/need to look at it if it's working OK. As a side note, our techs are required to soap test the ports after servicing. It's amazing how often you create a leak just by putting your hoses on the ports.
  47. 5 points
    Not sure where to post this, but when I like a post I click on the thumbs up button. It turns into a thumbs down icon. When I like a post will it be identified with a thumbs down or am I thumbs downing a bunch of folks on here inadvertently?
  48. 4 points
    What those guys said. Remember, 500 cars is a lot of cars. Concentrate on figuring out exactly how many vehicles your shop can handle, and do an exceptional job with those vehicles. One metric that I used to measure, and I really should get back into, is the number of jobs found per RO. We all work on pretty much the same vehicles, 10 years old with 120-150k on the clock. Things are broken on most of those cars. Your job is to find what's broken, and tell the customer every single time. When we were measuring jobs found per RO, we were looking for about 5 to 5.5 jobs found per RO. Some cars need nothing, some cars need 13 things, but in the end we looked for the average. If a tech could only find 2.5 items per car, we knew he wasn't doing a good inspection. We also tracked the sales closing ratio by the SA, and broke it down by technician. If I have 3 advisors and 2 of them sell everything a particular tech gives them, and one advisor doesn't sell anything for him, we have a personality conflict that I need to get involved in. If I have 3 advisors and 6 techs, and all my techs are finding 5 items per car, but all the advisor closing ratios on one of those techs is complete crap, I know I have a tech who's pencil whipping his inspection and the advisors don't believe him. Lots of interesting things you can find out when you track that stuff. When we do an inspection, I have the techs give the advisor the list in a specific order. 1. What the car came in for. 2. Safety items. Actual safety like metal to metal brakes and ball joints that are about to fail. 3. Things that will become a safety items in the near future. 4. Things that won't become safety items, but get more expensive if you wait. 5. Needs fixed but won't get more expensive. 6. Maintenance.
  49. 4 points
    Handing out copies of wiring diagrams that I have to pay for through subscriptions is like lending tools..... I don't lend tools, I'll lend a hand, but I'm not about cut it off to help someone out.
  50. 4 points
    For me it is pricing. I think as an industry we are too cheap for what we do, what we need to know and how we service our customers. Labor charges has to be more in line with today's demands on overhead, tool expense and training. Plus, we will always battle the tech issue until we can attract quality people. I am not saying it's all about money....but it does factor into it. Collectively we need to convey to the customer value, not price. We need to deliver world class service and not lead with price or market our business by price alone.


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