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Showing content with the highest reputation since 08/24/2020 in all areas

  1. 2 points
    After a recent trip to California (Yes, in spite of COVID-19, I went to visit my family and grand-kids) I found that complacency has set in with many people. I thought that due to the current economic state for so many businesses, those that are working would be on high alert to go above the norm and provide an extra level of amazing customer experience. I found the opposite. The airport in NY, JFK, nearly empty, was filled with workers leaning up against the wall on their phones. The people in security bordered on rude, no, let me rephrase that...they were rude. The flight attendants must have been auditioning for the next zombie movie, because there was NO sign of life with them. We went to a restaurant in L.A. Outside dining only. We were herded like cattle through roped walkways, to our table and everyone spoke in a monotone voice, as if to say to us, "Why are you here? Can't you see we don't want to be here." I know we have been through a lot, but I was surprised at the level of complacency. Or was it something else? Shop Owners, it's been a strange and tough year. But we are still standing. Maybe a little battered. So, let's be thankful for each and every day. Let's smile. People may not see that smile through the mask, but it will show in your voice and attitude! Those with the right positive mindset will come out the other side of this stronger than ever. Trust me on that! Don't become a victim of complacency.
  2. 2 points
    What are the 4 words I'm tired of? "It's a leased car" I don't know about you, we don't fold when someone says to us that they are driving a leased car. No matter if you own your car or lease it, the car has to be safe for the road and for the occupants. They other day, a customer told my service advisor, "I don't believe in ever changing the Cabin Air filter, it's a lease car and leave it alone." My service advisor replied, "Sir, can I at least remove the dead mouse from the filter?" (See photo below) Lesson: You got to point out the WHY! And yes, he not only authorized the cabin filter, but also paid us to remove the blower motor to clean it out and completely sanitize the car. How do you handle customers that tell you, "It's a leased car"
  3. 1 point
    The ongoing "special session" of the Virginia legislature can best be described as "the inmates are in charge of the asylum." A couple of weeks ago HB5130 was introduced as follows: following the declaration by the Governor of a state of emergency pursuant to § 44-146.17 that includes or is followed by any additional executive order in furtherance of such declaration that includes a stay at home or shelter in place order, employers shall (i) compensate its essential workers at a rate not less than one and one-half times the employee's regular rate of pay for any hours worked during the closure order. We were originally overjoyed that our trade was considered essential, but this bill, if passed could be the death knell for business as we know it. I responded to our legislators with this: I strongly urge you to vote AGAINST HB5130. My family and I own and operate a business defined as essential during the pandemic. For six months we have struggled to keep our trained, experienced staff employed and paid in an uncertain market. Labor is the largest expense we incur and every labor dollar paid to the employee costs $1.25 when you account for additional expenses for taxes, insurance, etc. Employers can not absorb increases in labor costs and survive, rather, they pass them on to the consumer, but the consumer has no one to pass these costs to. Instead, at some point they stop purchasing goods and services that have been priced out of their reach. The essential employees that this bill hopes to help could soon find themselves unemployed in a market that can no longer afford their services. Researching the background of the eight sponsors for this bill (all D), I found that it doesn't appear that any of them has ever held a real job, much less owned and operated a business with employees. Almost all of them began their political ascent by first being elected to local school boards, then city council and on to state legislature. I am guilty of never having paid much attention to school board races because my kids have long since been grown up and gainfully employed. Believe me, I will research future races and eye each candidate as a potential legislator and beyond. If any of you live in Virginia, I urge you to contact our legislators and tell them how you feel about this Here are key email addresses: [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] Thanks, Mark Anderton First Landing Autocare Virginia Beach
  4. 1 point
    I'm using the latest version of RO Writer, and it's absolutely horrible. Imagine if someone designed a car with every single feature you could possibly imagine, but it would only go 20 mph and it broke down every single week. That's what using RO Writer is like. It's a very good software when it works, but it's always slow and is full of bugs. From what I understand, they're still using a Microsoft Access database system from the 90's.
  5. 1 point
    We, automotive shop owners of America, must take the opportunity of a lifetime and turn it into a bunch of success stories. What opportunity? Look around you. The world is in turmoil. COVID-19, social unrest, uncertainty about the presidential election, the economy, how are we going to get out kids back to school, on and on and on. While the world is spiraling out of control, we have the power to make big changes to our auto repair shops. And it can all be positive! The Opportunity... First, the average age of a car in the U.S. is about 12 years old, attaining well over 200k on the clock. Second, Uber, taxis and limo companies are suffering. Guess why? Third, the motoring public in the foreseeable future will be traveling by car, taking road trips like they have never did before. Fourth, the roads are packed with motor vehicles, as more and more people prefer their own car as their primary means of transportation. Fifth, as the cars get older and older, more of them will be out of factory warranty. Sixth, independent auto repair shops have a vast amount of training, resources and replacement parts. Seventh, the overwhelming majority of cars being build and sold today are still internal combustion engine powered cars. If you factor in the expected average age of car these days, we can safely bet that those gas engine cars being sold today will still be on the road in 2033 and beyond! Eight, You need more? That's not enough! Get your plan in place. Get your prices in line with making a profit. Don't give anything away anymore (I am mostly referring to checking, testing, diags of any sort!) Offer world class customer service. Be a leader of your employees. Show the world what you are made of!
  6. 1 point
    Again "hope is not a plan" A plan is better than no plan at all. It has been a tough year for the US 🇺🇸. This year has been our break through year. We have increased our sales by 10% . The last quater is always the hardest. There are, like it was mentioned before some factors to consider for the last months of the year. Google business has been a great tool for us... In the last 2 years we have been working on branding and promoting our business on social media with that intent. We're a 7 yr old brake and front end shop and we're beginning to see our efforts to pay off. Regards JP
  7. 1 point
    As we celebrate Labor Day, let us all remember that we, the automotive professionals, keep America moving! Be proud of the work you do each and every day! HAPPY LABOR DAY!
  8. 1 point
    Most of you probably already know what I am about to say: The Service Advisor position is the most crucial position in the shop. I know, I know, what about the mechanical work done by the techs? Well, that's important too, of course. For the most part, customers spend their hard-earned money and most of time don't really know or see what was done to their car. Let's face it, the customer can't see the water pump or T-belt. And most of the time, the customer does not feel any difference with the car as they drive out of your parking lot. What the customer does see (or experience) is how she was treated. And that makes all the difference in the world. Plus, great service advisors also motivate the technicians, because great advisors are also great leaders of people. Think about this...Six months from now, your customer will not remember the fuel injection relay or the mass air sensor that was replaced....but she WILL remember how she was treated. And trust me, that OE-quality fuel injection relay install by a certified A-level Master tech using Snap On tools and a Launch Scanner IS NOT the reason WHY your customers return to you....She returns because of the level of service your provide.
  9. 1 point
    I can't speak about all businesses in my area, but the repair shops are doing ok. In fact, most had a normal or near normal summer. A few weeks back we had a major storm that knocked out power for nearly the week. That killed the week. But aside from that, we had a very good June, July and August. With a miserable March and April, this was a great morale lift and financial boost. The only down side is the affect COVID is having on other businesses, like restaurants, deli's, sport businesses and other businesses. Will this have a trickle down effect on our industry. No one can tell for sure. I will be shoring up my finances and preparing for the unknown.
  10. 1 point
    I do not want to divide our group by introducing a social/political topic but the recent situation that occurred during a Goodyear training session is interesting. I assume most of you are aware but for those that are not this is the condensed version: During an employee training session a Goodyear employee utilized a slide presentation indicating that BLM and LGBT shirts/pins/hats are acceptable while at work but All Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter, MAGA and other politically affiliated slogans or materials are unacceptable while at work. Another employee took a picture of this training slide, released it to the press and ultimately President Trump retaliated with this Tweet - Don’t buy GOODYEAR TIRES - They announced a BAN ON MAGA HATS. Get better tires for far less! (This is what the Radical Left Democrats do. Two can play the same game, and we have to start playing it now!) Again I do not want to divide us but I am wondering if any of you have been faced with a customer who declined a Goodyear tire purchase because of the above information. In my shop this past Friday a husband and wife came in requesting four new tires with “Anything but Goodyear” as their only requirement. I asked if this restriction was based on a past poor experience with Goodyear tires and they quickly referred to the training slide incident outlined above as being the reason. What have you experienced in your shops? NOTE - The the husband and wife mentioned above did purchase four Cooper tires from me on Friday for those that are curious.
  11. 1 point
    Tire sales only account for 20% of my business. That being said, I immediately put out a marketing piece reminding the public that I have a large selection of Cooper Tires in stock. We love Mastercraft tires! As a rule I stay clear of political topics. Sometimes I think I’m weak because I fear taking a stand professionally. I watched the video of the Goodyear dealer removing his sign and was almost jealous of his confidence and conviction. As small business owners we know the risk he took.
  12. 1 point
    I don't sell tires, but we inspect them, so I'm always recommending tire stores that I trust, 1-2 times daily. Just Tires (Goodyear rebranded) was my first recommendation. We no longer recommend Goodyear / JustTires. I threw away their business cards. My main give back to the community is being a proud supporter of our Police. Their work is invaluable and we depend on them. I give all Police Officers significant deep discounts on their personal vehicles. We have officers from many local police departments, Texas State Troopers, Texas Rangers, US Marshall's, and so on. The undercover gang officers are incredible. They are in the thick of it all the time. It's probably not safe to rob us during business hours! Goodyear took a stand against multiple topics on their Diversity Training slide and the anti-police sentiment is not consistent with our values. It angered me greatly. Then they double-downed with their non-apology. It's a shame that some in our society anti-police. Without them, we would not have a civil society. I had one lady come in with a back seat full of freshly cleaned Sheriff uniforms for her husband. When I asked her about them, she was really nervous and didn't want anyone to know that she was a police family member. I took good care of her and thanked her for what her family is doing for the community. I've had a few discussions with police officers on this topic, but none from customers, as I don't sell tires. I've seen a number of forum posts and videos of shop owners with similar reaction to Goodyear's actions, including one guy taking down their sign and throwing it out. A bit off topic, but the Dallas DA is not prosecuting the criminals that the police are arresting, so one of the US District Attorneys has designated one or more sections of Dallas to be Federal Protection area (not sure of the terminology). Then, the folks arrested by the State Troopers in this area are getting charged Federally instead of locally in Dallas. This means 10-20 years for crimes that might otherwise be lighter sentences at the city / state level. The Governor / State Troopers / US District Attorney are trying to keep things under control even when the local jurisdictions are showing anti-police sentiment. Austin is about to be flooded with State Troopers given their defund-the-police actions & discussions.
  13. 1 point
    Matthew, I like you feedback and agree. All great points. And I do believe we need to prepare ourselves for any downturn and have a solid plan in place, and of course as you mentioned, it is crucial to stay top of mind with your customers through follow up, reminders, thank you's, etc.
  14. 1 point
    And I will not consider a system that isn’t in the clouds because it simplifies hardware needs and eliminates backup issues.
  15. 1 point
    Tech pay is determined by the profits generated by the repair shop. Too many repair shops struggle and want to remain competitive, but don't realize that all too often we compare our prices to the masses that undercharge their services and repairs. I have seen this time and time again for decades. It has changed somewhat since I started in 1974, but we need to go further. Sit down and do the math. Determine all your normal costs of doing business: Your rent or mortgage, insurance, workers comp, utilities, tools, equipment, computer programs, training, advertising and all other ordinary expenses. Then add up all those monthly costs. These expenses occur without even making a sale. AND, you haven’t even factored in payroll yet, or payroll costs. Once you have this number, you will then have a better understanding of what you need to charge in order to pay all your expenses and to generate a profit….yes…a profit.

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