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Showing content with the highest reputation since 01/25/2010 in all areas

  1. 12 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. 9 points
    The following is a story that I sent to the local paper as a letter to the editor. It was ran this past Tuesday. Think you may enjoy reading it and be inspired. http://www.courierpress.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/commentary-spotlight-on-caring-epd-officers_65881643 Editor, The Evansville Courier & Press 300 E. Walnut St. P.O. Box 268 Evansville IN 47702-0268 Dear Editor: Val is a lady in her 50's that I have known for several years and I consider her to be my friend. She is not very tall and probably doesn't weigh more than a 100 pounds soaking wet but is intelligent and as gritty and spunky as a pit bull. Unfortunately, Val is unable to work due to chronic back problems that multiple surgeries have not cured. While living in constant pain she bravely survives on a meager disability income which leaves her constantly scrambling to make ends meet. Val has been coming to our shop for several years to have her car worked on and we have helped her at times by doing work at reduced prices and allowing her to pay as she was able. However, lack of money to do needed repairs and the age of the car all came to a head recently. When she came into the shop there was no way around it. Her car needed a $1000 worth of repairs to keep it on the road, probably as much as the car is worth. While I could do a bit to reduce the cost there was no way to eat all of the work or let her charge an amount that large. It was a nut simply too big to crack. I gave Val the bad news and she went outside presumably to call family or friends. This is when the wonderful story that I am going to relate begins to unfold. It just so happened a first time customer, a retired policeman who now teaches criminal justice at an area university, had paid for his car, picked up the keys, and walked out the door but a few minutes later he came back into the shop. He told me that there was a woman (Val) out on the front sidewalk crying and he wanted to know the cirumstance. I explained the situation and he told me to let him see what he could do. He would talk to his friends including several police buddies. A few minutes later he came back in asking me to do what I could to keep the cost down and telling me that he would raise the money to fix the car. Subsequently, he brought me $200 in cash and an hour later a uniformed Evansville police officer I have never met brought me a check for $100. The next day all of the parts needed for the repair bought and paid for by he and his friends were brought in. When it was all said and done Val's car was fixed and she was able to pay her part of the repair in full. Now she has a dependable means of transportaion again due to the fine gentleman and his friends. What a wonderful reflection this is on our community, on our police and our law enforcement officers. Police are receiving a lot of bad press but I would like to declare that there are many officers who are kind, compassionate, considerate human beings that put their lives on the line for us everyday. We also hear a lot of bad press about race relationships especially abuse of the African American community by the police. Did I mention that Val is African American and that all of those who helped her fix her car are white? No one ever saw black or white they just saw a woman in need and reached out to help. I say hurray for the fine citizens and police of this community who let me participate in and witness this wonderful act of kindness and compassion. “God bless us everyone”! G. Frank May, Manager Car-x Auto Service
  5. 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.
  6. 8 points
    So about 3 weeks ago, I fired my service writer. Shop profitability was suffering due to too much discounting. He would let too much diagnostic time go uncharged. He was also of the mentality "well I wouldn't pay this much for this part" so he would discount the parts to a more "reasonable" level. After stressing the importance of hitting needed margin numbers, they were coming up slowly, but not fast enough. I finally had enough and let him go. I replaced him with a tech I was training. He had most of his previous experience in sales, selling both cars and electronics, so I figured he would be a better fit at the front counter. So far, parts margins are up well over 10% (total, not an increase of), and more hours are on the books. Best decision I've made yet in my business. By the way, the previous service writer was me. Margins still have a bit to go, but part of that is me still interjecting at times. I need to remove myself completely from the RO. Moral of the story: If you're too much of a nice guy to charge what needs to be charged, get the hell off the front counter so you can make some money.
  7. 8 points
    This post is a description of a very successful direct mail program we run consistently. If you're contemplating a budget for direct mail, it's worth the read. There's a lot to say about direct mail pieces, but some of the very best postcard mailings I've seen, are overshadowed by a micro-mailing program someone turned me onto years ago directed at acquiring new customers. The premise is simple, actually. Of course, we all know that the quality of your list is paramount, but without reitterating some of the most common aspects or practices of a program like this, I'll tell you what I really liked: Once you have a quality list defined, buy only a small portion of the target. In this example, let's say that it's 250 addresses. Scrub it against your own customer database - for our purpose, there's no need to solicit to anyone who's been to your shop before. Assume you need to drop 50 addresses (good for you...they've already been to you before, and if you like...you can mail them folks something different later.) This brings your usable control group down to 200 addresses. Now here's the exciting part - prepare 4 or 5 ad pieces (postcards work well for all but the final one). Create a marketing message that expresses who you are as a company, but DO NOT advertise any discount offers with fun little dotted lines around them. The point of the mailing is to introduce yourself to the prospects ONLY. You're going to mail out 200 postcards to people who have never been to your shop. Tell them where you're at, what awards you've won, how much you care about your customers, maybe offer a list of the services you offer...but NO discounts or "special offers". Just introduce your shop, and ask them to consider visiting you for service. "Does your mechanic not seem to care as much anymore about keeping you happy? Give us a try!" Give the post office 3 days to make sure they reach the prospects, then add a solid business week to the timeline, and make sure your staff is asking how new customer heard about you, so you can tell who's responded to the postcards. Let's say it was miserable. All that hard work, planning, and design work...netted you 3 responses. (Could've been 2 oil changes & a price shopper, doesn't matter). After a solid week goes by, send out your 2nd postcard to the same list, minus the ones who already responded to the first one. Mail out 197. The 2nd card is kind of like the 1st one - You talk about how much your customers appreciate your hard work – maybe even include a testimonial with a picture of one of your customers. Emphasize the flexible scheduling, your staff’s training & certifications, & tell them what hours you’re available to service their needs. NO DISCOUNTS. Wait 3 days for delivery, start tracking the response from the postcard again for a solid week, and tally them up. Maybe the 2nd mailing only netted you 1 more response. Maybe it was a brake job, though. Of course, your first postcards are still out there, too, so this week, maybe you got another one from the first round of cards. That’s only a total of 2 more…but it’s 5 altogether. Subtract the responding addresses from the list, and (you guessed it) send out the 3rd card. This one is really special, though…it has the American flag on it, and your face, and you’re smiling. There’s a short comment from you about how much you’ve been looking forward to meeting them, but you haven’t seen them. Tell them you’d like to personally invite them to come in for a cup of coffee, a brief tour of your shop, and that you’d like them to tell you EXACTLY why their old mechanic has let them down. NO DISCOUNTS, and send it to the remaining 195 folks on the list. Wait 3 days…then track the results for at least one solid business week. Now, a really cool thing will start to happen, and you have to try it to see for yourself, but people will start to respond! The right message sent to the right prospect, at the right time…and a direct mail program comes to life! I’ve seen the 3rd step of the program personally work to bring in a response of as high as 2% without offering an discounts or offers. Afterall – PRICE isn’t all they’re bargaining for, right? So if you’ll let me finish the story…a 2% response on 195 addresses is a whopping 4 responses! This one can be fun, though, because they want to talk to you about why they hate their old mechanic. Got time for that? Aren’t you going to tell those 4 people how horrible that is, and how YOUR shop works hard to prevent EXACTLY those kinds of issues? You’ll sell them more than an oil change, for sure. So after 3 mailings, you’ve received a total of 9 responses. (I won’t speculate on the gross sales…there’s too many variables, and that is truly up to your sales staff to control) Now you only have 191 addresses left. I’ll spare you the longer version of the remainder of the program, and just tell you to repeat the process of mailing/tracking for the last 2 pieces, but the nature of the pieces will change. #4 – You use a headline on the postcard that says, “We really want the chance to show you how hard we’re willing to work for you!”, and then you can finally add a SOFT discount on the card. Either give away a congruent service like a tire rotation, with their oil change, or offer a soft dollar or % discount off another, common service. Brake work? 5% off. Fluid services? $10 off. Give them the call to action they’ve been waiting for. Whatever response rate you’ve been seeing on average for the first 3 mailings will DOUBLE on the 4th. #5 – The rope-a-dope. Prepare a letter. Really – a personal letter, on stationery, with your company’s logo on it. Let the “Title” of the letter be something that pops, like, “Did we do something wrong?” Tell them in a paragraph or two about all the new faces you’ve been seeing, and let them know how much you want the chance to earn their business, and show them that what they’ve been reading about your company is true. Tell them that you’re SO ready to prove it to them that you’d like them to take advantage of you by redeeming a discounted oil change at your shop, and that you’re doing so only as a last ditch effort to meet them, shake their hands, and prove to them how hard you’re willing to work for them. Now, I use a $10 synthetic blend oil change (up to 5 qts. Includes filter, on most cars), and give them ONLY 30 DAYS to redeem it. If you track new customers, and you track average repair order figures, and you’ve been tallying up what the 5 mailings have cost you out of pocket, by the time you have the 5th mailing out to them, you’ll smile as you realize that the return you’re getting on a direct mail program is 6-8 times higher than those reported as averages by the DMA. I’ve seen total program responses of as high as 20-25%. (That’s 40 responses on your list of 200). You MUST remove people’s address who’ve responded, and keep track of sales, profits, etc., as well as keeping your schedule. 5 mailings in 6-8 weeks. The beautiful thing is that once you’re “finished”, you’ll be managing your new customer followups like normal…and you can start with 200 more that meet your list requirements, and do it again. Sorry about the long post. We’re currently managing a list of 300 at a time, and have 2 campaigns running concurrently. Our average response rate per campaign is 9-10%. Just one man’s (really long) story.
  8. 7 points
    A woman called her dentist the other day and asked how much would a root canal cost. Her dentist replied, “Sure, hold on, let me look that up. Ok, that’ll be around $1400 for that job. Would you like to come in and have that root canal done?” Ridiculous scenario, you’re thinking? I agree! A dentist would never give a price over the phone without first examining the patient. Why do some shops continue to give prices over the phone? Even something as simple as a wheel alignment price can lead the customer and you in the wrong direction. Do you really know the car needs an alignment? Pricing over the phone is the same as giving them a diagnosis. When a customer calls for a price on a water pump and you give a price, you are saying to them, “Yes, it IS the water pump and here’s the price. And then you get the car in the bay and it needs hoses, a thermostat, and the radiator is leaking, not the pump. Giving prices over the phone also tells the caller to please judge you on price alone; a road I refuse to go down. I know this is going to push a lot of buttons today, but my tip today is to resist giving prices over the phone. Get the car into you bay, perform the inspection and/or the proper testing and then when you know what the problem is, sell the job. We are professionals, no different than the Dentist. Your thoughts?
  9. 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!
  10. 7 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.
  11. 7 points
    Can't do much else...but get better. This fruit basket will be a part of it. Thank you guys.
  12. 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
  13. 7 points
    We can't install customer supplied parts. As the professional, we become liable. There are tons of articles about this subject. Shops have gotten sued after installing customer parts that fail and they lose. We as the professionals are liable for the work we do, parts do not matter. I do not allow in our shop not only for this reason, but because parts & labor are how we profit in order to stay in business. We only use certain brands for certain jobs. We over time have come to find what good brands are and what bad brands to stay away from. Why? Because we are the professional! How many brakes, ball joints, calipers, Mass Air Flow Sensors, etc have we installed in our careers? We know what fails and what doesn't. Stand up, be proud of your profession and let them know exactly why we can't adhere to this practice. We deserve to make a profit and make a living for the work we do. Still haven't even thought about taking my own steak to a restaurant. I feel great to pay others for the services they provide for me that I know nothing about. Home HVAC, not my thing, but I know who to call. Plumber!!! Got a company for that too.
  14. 7 points
  15. 7 points
    We’re not the cheapest guys in town. There – I said it. But we’re not downright unfair, and we do a good job at offering over the top value to those we hope to serve. In any market or industry, there are three distinct categories of customers, the price conscious, value conscious, and the quality conscious. Sadly, the price conscious folks seem to be the most discussed in forums. We had a young lady come to us 2 years ago for service when she had a breakdown. In addition to the way her concerns were addressed from a technical/mechanical standpoint, she received such over-the-top treatment (I think her initial invoice was about $300), that her review of our company online indicated some key points in our company's mission statement, validating our effort to serve our market in the way we set out from the beginning. This, alone, made us dance joyfully. (I know…picture that, will you…) A month later, she cancelled an oil change appointment...actually, I think she was a "no call, no show". When we called, we found that she had fallen ill with the flu. As she was local, and exactly the kind of customer we knew we wanted to be of service to, my service writer took it upon himself on his lunch to buy her a get well card, some hot soup, and a balloon, and deliver it to her door that afternoon. Total cost? About $10. Weird, I know, but seriously, how awesome do you think SHE felt about it? What happened after that, and over the next 2 years was nothing shy of amazing. She has, without failure, come in EVERY FRIDAY with a plate of fresh, homemade cookies for us to leave out in our lobby for our other customers to share. Every week, for two years and counting! He cookies initially sat next to a well-articulated, printed letter she wrote, expressing her gratitude for “these weird mechanics who always seem to be more interested in the people who come in than the money they are hoping to make.” As it turns out, she had a rotten experience with her last mechanic, and as we’ve all heard the story, vowed she’d never return there. Apparently they just didn’t seem to care about her…they only wanted her money, and over time, it became more and more evident to her & her family. Zig Ziglar (paraphrased) said that you can have everything you’ve ever wanted in life if you’ll just help enough other people get what THEY want. He’s right. We focus on serving the people that come in, not the “almighty dollar”. Focus on the needs of people, and the money will ALWAYS follow, I promise. Focus on the dollars, and you may make a few…but you’re falling short of your potential. By the way, the customer described herein is married, has 3 college aged kids, and an elderly parent living with her. 6 cars. Six. In the last 2 years, we’ve collected almost $12,000 dollars from them for services provided, including 2 engine jobs. And she couldn’t care any less about the coupon in the paper at my competitor offering $10 off an oil change. Just one man’s story.
  16. 7 points
    I would set your labor rate at 3.5x the highest paid tech. So as an example Joe tech makes $20/hr, you should charge $70. I've been using this strategy and it has worked out well. If you are just starting out anticipate what the techs pay will be in 24-36 months and use that figure. You don't want to keep changing your posted labor rate. Parts gross profit margin (ignoring labor) needs to be close to 50% on average. Your chart above is great. Remember profit margin and markup are different. To achieve 50% GPM you would markup your part 100% or cost x 2. I use the labor multiplier because it simplifies things, a tech that earns $20/hr probably costs $30/hr when you figure in all the expenses of not only insurance and taxes but soap, gloves, shop supplies, mistakes that cost you money. Its also important to charge for his/her time. The book might call for 1 hour to do a hub bearing, if he's hammering on it for 2 hours charge 2 hours. It seems simple but I hear owners crying all the time they can't make any money. In the above example say your a nice guy, you charge 1 hour for a bearing and 50% on the part. Its your good customer so you throw him a 10% discount and use a cheap bearing. The part cost you $100, you charge $270 for the job. With the discount you got paid $243. Customer is very pleased. Minus $60 tech cost. Minus $100 for the part. Your shop made $83 on the job, assuming it took 2 hours that's basically an effective rate of $41/hr to pay overhead. If it costs $40/hr to keep the open sign on you made zero for yourself. The bearing fails under warranty 10 months later, customer is shaken up and is angry he paid over $200 and has the same problems. The labor time your not getting back and you also lose 2 additional hours to work on a new job so now it ended up costing you money to do that job. Nice guy 10 months ago is now the bad guy. Let's revisit that same job. You insist on a OEM bearing or equivalent. $200 cost for the part, 2 hours labor. Now the job is $540. You need to present to the customer some valid reasons to justify charging this amount. It still takes the tech 2 hours. You still kept the open sign lit for 2 hours and paid your counter man. You made $280 or $100/hr money you actually keep*. The chance of failure under warranty is greatly reduced. The customer has long forgotten what he paid to get his car fixed because its still fixed. You are the nice guy now, really. * after all expenses you might cut this number in half or worse. Its important to have good percentages, but real money is what pays real bills and earns you a living. Every job needs to be scrutinized to maximize the real dollars earned, don't discount yourself out of business.
  17. 7 points
    Referrals... I have done 0 advertising in the last 7 months. I had to work last Saturday and Sunday to catch up. My other mechanic got 7 hours of overtime last week. We work late just about every single night. We just ordered another lift and oil drain for the shop and I have ads on craigslist for another mechanic. All of this is due to customers who walk out my door with 7-10 of my business cards in their hand. They call us up and say 'Hey, while y'all have my car in the shop, will you put some more of your cards in the cup holder?'
  18. 7 points
    I use Mitchell also. I dont find myself lowering, more often raising the price. If I find my matrix is far below recommended list I will raise the price. It is all about profit per ro/ hour/ day/ week. I used to find myself lowering prices because i thought it was to high or was afraid the customer would balk at the job. Then a wise old shop owner pointed something out to me. If the customer cant afford a $200 repair odds are they cant afford the $175 either. We have to be profitable or we wont be here next month. Just my $2.98 (2 cents with inflation and health care tax)
  19. 6 points
    My Thoughts on the Coronavirus and Business In my 40 years in business, I have lived through many economic downturns. From the stock market crash of the late 1980’s, the housing bust of 1990’s, the tragic event of 911 and the great recession of 2008. This is different. The fears and the realities of the coronavirus has affected us all. And some areas of the country have been hit harder than others. In all other situations, I fought like hell to make a difference and beat the circumstances. Again, this is different. I am not an alarmist, not a defeatist and I do not get sucked into the sensationalism of the press. Just today, I heard a sports announcer on a talk radio show advise her listeners to stay at home, don’t go to work, don’t go to the movies, don’t go out of the house and isolate yourself from other people. Is this rational? I can’t do that. I am an automotive shop owner. What I do matters to my family and the community. I…WE….need to be there to ensure that the doctors, nurses, police, public officials and everyone else has their transportation ready to perform. Stay home? Us? Is that an option? But again…this is different. This afternoon, I was getting ready to go to Church; 4:00pm Mass, when my wife got an alert that Church as been canceled. Wait; let me say this again real slow…Church… has…. been…canceled. Fear has a way of eating at the fabric of our rational being. I fully understand the reality of what is happening. This virus will take people’s lives. But, do we run away in the face of a threat? Is this who we are? What do we do? Close our businesses for a few weeks? A month or two? How many of us can afford that? We all know the answer to that question. As automotive shop owners, technicians, service advisors and all the other valuable employees of this great profession, we need to take the proper precautions. Do all you can to protect yourself and your family. If you decide to continue to operate your shop during this challenging time, have a meeting with all your employees. Take the proper steps to protect yourself, your employees and your customers. Business may get ugly for some. My company has taken a 40% drop in business the past three weeks, directly contributed to the coronavirus outbreak. I write this to tell you how I feel; not to decide for anyone what to do. I will not force my employees to do anything they feel would put themselves or their families in harm’s way. For me, I intend to fight. I will take care of myself, take care of my family. But there are too many people depending on what I do, and way too may years behind me to hunker down and wait this out. Stay safe, stay healthy. Take this situation serious. But please don’t give up. We will prevail and we will get through this together. We are the hardest working, most resilient, toughest people on the planet. Let’s show the world and this virus who we are!
  20. 6 points
    Isn't it fantastic when someone who knows little to nothing about our industry decides that shops are "cheating" our customers? And these software guys should be the ones who decide what a fair price is? I know for a fact that many auto repair shops undervalue their work and the owners barely scrape by. Are these companies who want to decide what I'm going to charge going to use starving shop owners as their data point for the "correct" price? I'm going to keep running a good business that's profitable enough to stick around to honor our warranty, and I'll let people like Vladimir run other shops out of business.
  21. 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.
  22. 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
  23. 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!
  24. 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.
  25. 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
  26. 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.
  27. 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
  28. 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.
  29. 6 points
    Alas, Joe - what a doozy of a post to throw out on a Friday! I couldn't agree more about not giving prices over the phone. The only pricing my staff is allowed to give over the phone is that which is represented by any of our advertised, "most cars" pricing, such as oil changes, fluid exchange services,basic A/C service, etc. As a matter of fact, I've proven time and again that if a price-shopper calls us on the phone asking for a price for repair service, giving them the price over the phone is a near-guarantee that we won't win the job, and earn their business. On the other hand, handling price shoppers according to our process DOES, in fact, increase our car count, new customer count, and increases our sales exponentially over caving and thinking we're somehow doing them a service by yielding to their ridiculous request. Again...a dentist doesn't quote prices. A doctor doesn't quote prices, (and they even make you pay for the, ahem, testing...EVEN if you buy the medicine they later prescribe), nor does any other professional person...unless its a packaged, "Most Cases" type service. The first thing we need to do is make sure that the person we're talking to falls into the category of "Price-Shopper". This is NOT just anyone that happens to be asking for a price. The basic premise I fall back on when training an advisor is that they need to educate our customers just enough to give them the ability to make an informed decision about the nature of the recommended services their vehicle needs. You can't do that over the phone. One of the simpleset, most powerful ways we accomplish this is by injecting the following into the conversation: "Mr. Smith, I understand why you're calling, and believe me...no one knows better how costly some repairs can be than we do, but I can tell you what the single most expensive part is that you'll EVER put on your car, and I'll always be correct. Since he apparently wants to talk about prices, I inform him that the most expensive part you'll ever put on your car is the part that you absolutely don't NEED. With that in mind, I explain to him that the process we have in place is intended to protect him from ever having work done that doesn't target his primary concern. (As a side note, by the way, this is a BEAUTIFUL place to tell your garden-variety price shopper all about Repairpal.) I like the previous comment regarding our value proposition. (Ok, those are MY words) Are you the low-price leader in your marketplace? If you are, then throw prices at everyone that calls. Most of us are not. I take the time to practice selling them on why they should come to us, and let us "throw our hat into the ring" with all the rest of our competitors who apparently have no problem giving a price on the phone. There's ALWAYS an angle, and no matter what they say, our advisors are trained to give the answer that results in one thing, and one thing only: GET THE CAR TO THE SHOP. Price shoppers who have been rightfully convinced that it is truy in their best interest to allow us the privilege of offering a free "quick-peek" inspection (If you're inclined to offer that), have come in with sometimes as many as 7 or 8 other estimates jotted down on a piece of paper, only to gleefully give us permission to service their car, sometimes at a final price that was 10 or 20% more than their best "phone estimate" Why? Because we're able to show them how much we truly care about getting the job done, getting it done right, not wasting their time, and the 50 other reasons that all build VALUE into the proposition of allowing us to work with them in achieving their vehicle repair/maintenance endgame scenario. Heck...it's become standard practice to tell people that in the end, if they take us up on our offer to give them a free inspection & the estimate of their asking, that if they like what we have to say, then GREAT. If not, we always tell them they are authorized to ball up the estimate, and throw it back at us, and we can all still be friends. We are in the business of meeting people and making friends...and you can't do that as effectively on the phone, only. The hardcore, meanie-head, sometimes crazy sounding automatons that just keep repeating, "But I need a price. I need a price." Those guys? They represent a VERY small minority of the market, (I've read them to be as low as only 11% of the universe of prospects) and you'd be smarter to LET them be mad at you and go elsewhere so they can give your competitors a hard time, cut corners, and beat them up on every last little thing, wasting their time, while YOU focus on the customers that are more interested in keeping their cars maintained, and those who appreciate a professional, capable, honest mechanic. What's the very best thing that can happen? They finally come in because you caved, and told them it will be $125? If so, you better not try to charge them for a gasket that is also necessary, or worse yet, tell them their widget wasn't the problem all along...either way, those kinds of people will always want to make someone ELSE responsbile for the troubles they have on their vehicle, and conveniently forget that it was all in response to the campaign they launched to squeeze the last nickel out of someone over the phone. Nah. I'm ok if they go somewhere else. I just make sure to plant the seed (politely) that if it doesn't happen to work out for them wherever they end up ,that I'll be happy to give them that inspection on their first visit, andmke absolutely certain we'll work as hard as we have to in making sure we meet or exceed their expectations. Just one man's blissful avoidance of people who'd rather argue over $5 than have the doctor give them a real assessment.
  30. 6 points
    What a wonderful discussion thread! I've had flat rate technicians, and hourly, and I agree with the consensus that there really is no "one size fits all". I have, however, come up with a promising program that I think encourages the positive aspects of both types of plans, and avoids many of the negative aspects. The bulk of out technical staff is paid hourly, but as alfredauto stated, my guys don't get sent home early, and in the rarest of occasions when there's truly nothing to do, I'm happy to let one or more of them take off, and I'll pay them for the day regardless. (The guys DO love to fish on occasion, and it feels like playing hooky when they dont have to run straight home for dinner, lol) So I decided that what flat rate guys like the most is that the harder they work, the more they bill, the more they make. What the hourly guys like the most is what they feel is a "steady" paycheck, and earnings they can count on. What I like the most is when I can run the appropriate reports, and see that I can generously pay my staff according to their productivity, and of course, what my customers love the most is that we have very little turnover, they get to know the same faces, & expertise thats cared for their cars on a regular basis for years. So how to make everyone happy? (Or so it seems?) I pay my technical staff hourly, at an agreed aupon rate, with the promise of 40 hours each week. In addition to the hourly rate, they earn a billable time bonus weekly, based on the hours they turn. Basically, its the best of all worlds. They have a living wage they can accept, and since they're hourly, no one is offended if I ask them to pick up a broom when it's their turn, or shuttle a customer to work. On the other hand, since their hourly rate doesn't get them "the whole way" toward being excited about their earnings, I make the top 20% or so of my payroll costs associated with who's billing out the time. The more you turn, the more you earn. One of the benefits to this approach is that I can scale/negotiate the hourly rate based on experience or skill level, and give hourly rates when it's appropriate to do so. Furthermore, I can give generous billable time bonuses on top of their hourly pay that expresses the sense of urgency in being efficient & meeting deadlines for our customers. The affectionate term for this at our shop is, "He who bills...eats." So an experienced technician with multiple ASE certifications may earn $16-$19 per hour in a promised 40 hour work week, but also know that he or she will earn $6-$8 for every billed hour on their sheets for the first 25 hours in a week, and $10 - $12 for every billed hour after that. At the bottom of my example is a guy making $16 per hour, or $640 per week hourly, plus $6 for each of the first 25 hours, and $10 for each of the rest that they bill out. Someone working a 40 hour work week who bills 45 hours in this example would earn a total of $990 in gross wages for the week. From my perspective, it's the same as having paid $25 per hour for the 40 hour week, but I didn't have to do that unless he/she billed 45 hours. When WE make money, my staff makes money. The risk I take is when my staff has little/nothing to wrench. And hey, when things slow down, as they sometimes do, everyone is on the same team, and pitches in, helping whereever they're needed. I love the team atmosphere it produces. Just one man's opinion.
  31. 6 points
    Let’s face it, as business owners we run a marathon all year long. Our day as no start, no middle and sometimes, no end. We do what we have to do. It’s our life, our job, and to a degree, it defines who we are. But, in spite of all that, we need to take a breather from time to time. So set aside time this holiday season and put down the tools, put away the laptop and focus on the things that really matter. Take this time of the year and spend it with the family, with friends and set aside time for you too. Do something different. It will do you a world of good. Trust me; the business is not going anywhere. The truth is the time you take away from the business will recharge your batteries. You’ll be in better shape to move forward. Make the best of this holiday season!
  32. 6 points
    DON'T DO IT! They are SCAMMERS! http://autorepairpayment.com/ Reasons: They have yet to provide a signed copy of our Merchant Agreement. Sales Rep was In, Out, GONE! Our first bad taste was when they falsified our PCI Compliance/Certificate using a false email address "for our convenience". We knowe this only because we went to do our PCI Compliance as Required and found it had already been done. They tried to tell us we did it. I asked for the email address. It was BOGUS, just like the certificate they then emailed to us. They CLAIM there are NO Annual Fees, NO Monthly PCI Compliance Fees, and Regulatory Compliance Fees are WAIVED, yet they almost immediately charged us $129 for "Past Year PCI Compliance" when we were not a customer in any past year. They Respectfully Refuse To Refund this fee. They offered a Welcome Gift of a $100 Home Depot Gift Card. Read the fine print on that. We hit $10k on 7/2. No card has been forthcoming. They CLAIM there are No Fees for Discover Card transactions for a Year. Lied on that one too. They CLAIM No Junk Fees. I don't know what Junk Fees are, but they charge fees for everything under the sun with no explanation at all. ALL Junk! They will FEE you to Death! Cumulative Average Cost per Transaction is currently at 3.79%, when you include ALL their Fees vs. Total Reported Sales. They charged us for the 1st 2 transactions they Required us to complete to activate the system and the Discover Card Free program. They charge $5 a month for a paper statement. Nothing is online, except their alleged "PCI Compliance Training and Certification". They charge a Batch Fee of $0.30 Daily for processing transactions. I can go on and on, but I think 10 reasons is a good start.
  33. 5 points
    Is it just me? or does it seem that lately there are a lot of businesses being started that insert themselves into the flow of existing transactions only to harvest your profits and lesson the margins of those doing the work and accepting responsibility (us). I am referring to technology companies: Repair Pal, Openbay, CarFix and now Blockchain to mention a few. It is frustrating to me after having built a business (brick and mortar), purchased equipment, hired employees, provide training, accepted full responsibility and risk, supported my community only to have a startup backed by money hungry venture capitalists attempt to erode our profit margin. I find the statements from co-founder Vladimir Lupenko of Blockchain in this months Ratchet & Wrench extremely arrogant: "The repair industry is huge, and people always get cheated" "We use reputable and undisputable technical data to set the market and price rate". Vladimir goes on to say "Based on our contractual agreement , the repair shop will have to provide the service at the price we have calculated". As good shop owners, protective of our future, we best rally against this technology, this Wolf in sheep's clothing. My research of these companies leads me to believe that no good will come from their involvement in our businesses. We, as independent shop owners, are operating in an industry some see as ripe for consolidation and this technology is just one of the signs. I ask that anyone reading this post refuse to participate. The involvement of these companies is not a 'quick fix' for a shop needing car count. Their intention is to drive down your prices, recruit price shopping customers only and mine your data base for their benefit. If our industry sees their existence as a threat and together, refuse to become a member of their organization, they will disappear. Without shops to refer to they lose all value to the consumer and will not be able to return a profit to their investors. To read the complete article, follow this link: https://www.ratchetandwrench.com/articles/5504-how-blockchain-technology-could-affect-your-shop To support this research here is a seperate article from this months Ratchet & Wrench magazine discussing how to price your services for long term health and growth: https://www.ratchetandwrench.com/articles/4841-how-to-price-to-gain-customer-loyalty?utm_medium=email&utm_source=utm_code
  34. 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.
  35. 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.
  36. 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
  37. 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.
  38. 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.
  39. 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). 🙂
  40. 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.
  41. 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.
  42. 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
  43. 5 points
    Today I had a customer throwing a fit on the phone because he said he was charged for a coolant overflow tank but it was never changed. When he came in I asked him to show me what he was talking about. He pointed to his old washer fluid bottle not his new coolant overflow tank. You can't fix stupid.
  44. 5 points
    Ok, Who Left the Gate Open? Clunkers, Hoopty’s, Leaners, Rust Buckets, and those bumper-draggin’-krinkled cars must travel in packs. How else can you explain how these oil dripping, rod knocking, windshield cracking, grease slinging, POS’s (Piece of Scrap) can find their way to the shop all at the same time? I swear there’s a gate at the end of the street that somebody has left open. I’m sure there’s a gate, there has to be one, and I’m sure there’s somebody down there who opened that sucker up and sent all of these dilapidated, unmaintained, falling apart fugitives of the service bay to my front door. Sometimes, after I close up at night I go on a hunt for this elusive gate. I can’t find it. Where’s this gate at? Wait a minute, I think I know why. When the closed sign goes up they move the gate to another part of town. Yea that’s it…it’s gotta be… and I’ll bet they’ve got a couple of these gates in every time zone too! It’s a mass underground movement I tell ya! Seriously, I can go for weeks or even months and not see one of these 4 wheel disasters. But, when one does sneak passed the gate one or two more always slip through as well. And, as usual, their owners are only concerned with one problem and one problem only, but with these run down relics it’s never “one” problem, it’s a series of numerous problems that lead up to a cataclysmic failure that finally brought these unrecognizable modes of transportation off the highways and byways and into a repair shop. As of the last “super moon” just a while ago, the gate must have been opened for an extended length of time. It wasn’t just one or two… but dozens of these overdue for the crusher jobs coming in. One guy asked if I could find out what the grinding noise was in the left front of his van. He forgot to mention he was dragging a huge overloaded trailer behind this old van. I told him that I can’t put it up on the lift with a trailer hooked to it, so if he didn’t mind, disconnect the trailer. After he pulled into the lot, and tried to back up, he found out his reverse gear had gone out. Right there in the parking lot! Geez, now I’m out in the parking lot looking at this POS not to get paid mind you… but to get rid of it. It was without a doubt the most tore up, bent, broken, fluid dripping, cancer rotted vehicle I’ve ever seen that still had air in all four tires. The guy wants to discuss fixing his metal grinding sound but isn’t concerned about the lack of reverse. I sternly told the guy, “Look, I’ll see what’s making the grinding sound, but, you’ll have to help push it off of the lift and out of the service bay.” He didn’t like that idea all that well. Oh, I forgot to mention… there was just enough room for the driver to get in the van. The passenger side was full of junk. Even the dash had about a foot of crumbled up papers, coffee cups, and various other unusable items stashed on it. And, the smell, OMG! Unbearable! Just as that one left and was heading down the street the next patron of the gate passed it on its way into the parking lot. This time it’s a service truck, a big Dodge Ram diesel dually on a trailer. It doesn’t start, and it’s supposed to have had a fire accompanied with all of this. The two fellas that were there to drop the truck off had no offloading ramps, no winch, no boards, and no idea what they were doing. I asked, “How did you get the truck on the trailer?” “Oh, that was easy,” the brightest of the two of them told me, “We used a crane and picked it up and dropped it on the trailer.” I watched in amazement as these two knuckleheads scampered around the trailer like the Keystone cops trying to come up with some way of getting it off. The no#2 trailer efficiency expert had a brilliant idea. “Let’s tie a rope to that there building over yonder, then I’ll drive the truck we used to tow it in with and you steer the broken down one. I’ll gun it and you’ll slide right off the trailer!” OMG! ! I’ve got to put a stop to this right now. I came out of the shop with both arms waving frantically, “Wait, wait, wait, hold on a second! You’re not using the neighbors building as some sort of anchor post for some foolish idea. How about you guys take this thing home, find the ramps, or get that crane and put this thing on a proper tow truck. Because what you’re suggesting can lead to all kinds of problems.” I thought I might have to break out a chalk board and a couple of school desks to get through to these guys about the variables that could happen. Of course, they both just stared straight ahead as if every brain cell in their head had just exploded. The last thing I needed was for these two hayseeds to be on the six o’clock news explaining they just saw Big Foot in the parking lot pushing their truck or how aliens landed and smashed the service truck into the side of the building next door. They finally towed it home… what a relief. Not to be outdone, the very next one was another piece of work. Lost horsepower, wouldn’t shift right, and sounded terrible. What a horrid piece of machinery. Honestly, you could have scrapped the gunk off this engine into a rag and squeezed a quart of oil out of it. I managed to get the inspection cover off of the timing belt and just as I suspected the timing had jumped. Way overdue for replacement. It’s not only going to need a new belt, but a bath before I work on this hunk of junk, and then… who knows what I’ll find. It just never ends. Someday I’m going to find that gate, and when I do.... I’m going to weld it shut. Lock it up and throw away the key. If you spend your day looking at these unbelievable poorly kept vehicles like I do, ya just have to ask yourself. “Can it get any worse?” Oh, it does… and it certainly will. For the most part, these sorts of jobs never turn into paying/profitable jobs. Most of these cars are so far gone that the repair costs keep going up and the customer still ends up with a bucket of rust to drive. Then… … … Hold on a second, listen. Do ya hear it? I hear the sound of a gate creaking open, and the sounds of an old wore out motor. I can see plumes of black smoke and I can smell the burnt oil too! Oh no, they’re coming. Ok, who left the gate open! Here we go again…. Click here to view the article
  45. 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
  46. 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.
  47. 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.
  48. 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?
  49. 5 points
    I hired a service writer a couple years ago. Set him up with a pricing matrix and some standard policies and things were going great. Then one day my wife tells me that she heard rumors that people did not like my service writer and I was losing business because of him. I investiagted a bit and found out the few people that were complaining were the ones I used to let make payments or give "deals" to. They didn't like having to actually pay for their car when the repairs were finished.
  50. 5 points
    I like to think of myself as a mechanic and technician. If my power steering pump leaks I find the leak and replace the pump (technician) or I take it out, replace the seal, bearing, and emery the shaft (mechanic). Mechanics fix broken mechanical things. There aren't many mechanics left in the world today, they all went broke. All that's left are the techs that learned its faster and easier to change parts that they know are the problem. Not to be confused with shotgunner who sprays parts under the hood and hopes one hits. :-)

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