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  1. 5 points
    Joe, this one really hits me as "off". If I've done my job as a sales person, and established right setting from the moment I spoke with them on the phone, or engaged with them at the front counter, they wouldn;t BE looking up a part on their phone. I am a solution to their problem, not a mechanic, not a whatever. "We've identified the problem with your vehicle, it's going to be XX time to repair and will cost about XX out the door. I'd like to get everything on order ASAP and keep you moving towards getting your car back and mobile again." If I'm answering questions about parts costs and why I don't install Rock Auto deliveries, well I haven't done my job at all. You shouldn't be selling when the diagnosis is done, you should be closing. The selling is established way earlier.
  2. 4 points
    With Mother Google literally tied to our hands, through our cell phones; are part margins becoming more difficult to achieve? Traditionally, shops use a 50% part margin, which they deserve. But, we live in a world today where part prices are so transparent that maybe we need to rethink this. Consider this: What if we concede on prices? Hold to a suggested list…BUT…raise our labor rate to offset the loss in overall profit. In other words, keep your parts prices at a margin the consumer will not question, but raise your labor to make up the part profit? This is being discussed around the country and there are shops that have implemented this strategy. We can’t give up our overall gross profit, so is this a viable option? Your thoughts?
  3. 4 points
    Raise your prices and eliminate the bottom 20%. Work less make the same amount of money is one thought on how to move forward. Maybe your labor rate is way too low?
  4. 4 points
    The other day, a local fellow shop owner, was complaining to me that his plumber just charged him $225 labor for a house call. My response was, "And why do you have an issue with that?" I know this plumber; he is very successful, in high demand in the area, does great work and provides a VALUBALE service. Does this sound familiar? You bet....sounds like you and your business!!! When the day comes that all of us truly know what we are worth and charge for it, that will be the day when all us raise the level of the auto industry, begin to attract more people to us, pay our employees better, build for our future and go home with the pay we deserve. I know this is going to cause controversy....so let's start the conversation.
  5. 3 points
    I have always wanted to ask this customer, "And did they fix the problem? If so why are you here?" Because you know that the shop either did NOT waive the fee or they didn't fix the problem or they don't want to deal with this customer any longer. I have also wanted to ask the customer who asks me if I do "Free Inspections" if they are willing to work at their job and not get paid for it. If you think about it, the customer is really our boss, on an average day we will have 2 or 3 or 5 "bosses". What they are telling us here is that they want us to do work for them for free. But let their boss ask them to come in and work for an hour or two and not get paid for it and what do you think their answer will be?
  6. 3 points
    It disturbs me to hear that you were ganged up on Facebook. We are professionals and need to conduct ourselves to a higher standard. We can all share and learn from each other. If someone disagrees, that's fine. But we need to be civil. I have been around for over 46 years in the auto business, forty of them running my own company, and I can tell you, the auto repair world has changed and we will see even more dramatic changes in the next five years. Sadly, for the most part, most shop owners have not gotten the income they deserve and it points right back to labor dollars; which has always been an issue. But now, it's the difference between keeping your doors open or shutting them down for the last time. Achieving your labor dollars to attain profitability is the only way to remain in business. We do more diagnostic testing than ever before in our history. And think about the jobs you do that require little to no parts: Removing a bumper cover to replace a side market bulb, Removing the bumper cover and radiator support to gain acces to a leaking 50 cent o ring at the receiver dryer. There is no way any shop can charge thier standard labor and remain in business. Let's please have an open and honest discussion and move forward!
  7. 3 points
    The ability to profit on parts started to erode in 2008, by 2015 we basically gave up on it, in 2018 in we streamlined our parts matrix to reflect higher labor vs higher part margins... 2019 was our busiest year yet.
  8. 3 points
    I believe tech pay will be going up rapidly, but so will shop labor rates. With the low unemployment currently, wages are going up in every industry. With the average tech pay of $41,000, if a tech was at work 40 hours a week all year he's only making $19.71 an hour. While that's a decent wage for many, most techs have to invest in a lot of costly tools. I was in a McDonalds a few months ago and saw signs all over the store advertising for employees with starting wage of $14 an hour. Of course my breakfast there gave me sticker shock also. The same will have to happen to the automotive repair industry or there will be no more techs. I see shops all around going out of business. It's not because of it being a profitable business. It's because the shop labor rates throughout the area are to low to be able to pay techs well enough to attract them and keep them while most customers gauge the cost of one shop vs. another entirely on the shops labor rate. Hands On says we have to have the same knowledge base of a doctor. Considering they only work on one make and two models, I'd say we may have to have a larger knowledge base in our profession. If we operated as doctors, we would also have a specialist for heater blower motors, and a different specialist for hood release cables and yet another specialist for brakes. The same tech that replaces the spark plugs wouldn't even consider working on the exhaust system. If we are going to keep techs coming to our industry, it will not be long before it will have to be an 80K or better per year profession. That will be achieved as shops either raise the average shop labor rate significantly or go out of business placing more demand on the shops that survive.
  9. 3 points
    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.
  10. 3 points
    Hi Mark, Texas was under the gun to cancel our inspection program and before doing so, they commissioned UT to perform a study. Their results are public. We had on state representative in particular, who was pushing to get rid of it, living in my district, and we voted him out. Still had more. There were a total of 5 bills in this legislative session that were killed by our lobbying group. I can provide a bit of data that might let you see how Texas handled it and provide contact information of our lobbying group. Hope this helps. Some background on our Safety inspections. We are not that tough. Brakes, tires, lugnuts if visible, wipers, lights, horns, power steering, 1 mirror and exhaust leaks. No inspection of front windshield unless it is really bad. No disassembly is allowed, which implies no racking of cars, which means that we won't generally spot and eliminate rust bucket cars. So, braking test, then visual inspections of all other systems while on the ground. Tires are 2/32" (we've only heard rumors of snow elsewhere). Brakes must stop the car and no obvious safety issue noted. Much discretion allowed to the inspector, so if something is bad, it can be called out and the car blocked from passing. It could be over-ridden by a regional State Inspector Supervisor if protested, but they tend to do the right thing. All of this is done for a whopping $7. If you live in a SMOG county, then $18.50 more to get an ODB readout and a gas cap leak check. Annual cost here $25.50. News link: Study Results: And you may already know our lobbying group: Texas Vehicle Inspection Association 6101 Long Prairie Rd Ste. 744-240 Flower Mound, 75028 --brian
  11. 3 points
    After 39 years in business, it's time to get serious about my exit plan. While I don't think I will ever truly retire, I do think it's time to plan the next chapter in my life. I would like to hear from shop owners out there in the same situation. What are your plans? Are you selling your repair shop? Do you have a succession plan? And are you thinking about a different line of work to keep you busy?
  12. 3 points
    The issue I've had recently is people ordering their tires online, and then wanting us to drop everything to install them today. My tire prices are competitive with all other shops around and even the big box store. I can't and won't attempt to compete with online prices for the tires. My mount and balance price is $80 for a set of 4 plus disposal and valve stems if required. My markup on automotive tires is a minimum of $20. When they buy online, they are in turn taking $80 away from me. Yes, I'll still install the tires. No, I won't drop everything to do it. Schedule at least a day or two in advance to drop off car and it'll get done same day. I'm not going to move a profitable job to the side for a customer that wants to bring his own steak to the steakhouse to save a couple bucks.
  13. 3 points
    Matthew, all great points. Which I do agree with. Before I would even entertain a price match, let's match it line by line. In the 40-plus years in this business, I have never seen a job matched up the same exact way. There is always something left out or the parts are not the same, or the warranty is not the same, or there's something else that makes their job different from mine. We all know how so many play the game. ABC Auto gives a customer a price for a water pump, thermostat, hoses and labor. The customer calls a competitor and asks, “How much is a Water Pump?" (Neglecting to mention all the extras) The competitor gives a down and dirty price on only the pump and labor. Which makes the "perception" that ABC auto is priced too high. With tires is worse. This particular company advertises online pricing for the tires only. When you book your appointment and arrive at that tire store, they then explain the labor to install, and upsell the wheel alignment. Often making thier price higher than mine or other shops. Here's the bottom line for me; I don’t sell parts and labor. I sell relationships and trust. And through the years, I have been successful with that strategy. I learned a long time ago that If I want to have a quality shop and afford to pay my employees a very good wage, I need to attract the consumers that appreciate the work that we do. Now with that said, if I get an objection about price, I will offer options. I find that when people are left in control and decide between A or B, and not yes or no….A Sale is Made. Thank you for the great conversation! This is how we learn and grow! Joe
  14. 3 points
    First off let me say there is a lot of good information from the previous posts. A little about myself stated working in this industry in early 80's as a apprentice for a German Car shop after completing the training I work for the shop for a few years. I started my own shop in1987 specialzing in only German cars at the age of 27 I knew how to work on cars but no idea on running the shop, it was a 5 bay shop on a busy street in a small beach town, the entrance was small and speed on the road made it difficult to enter and exit safely. Also I had to come up with $65k to buy the business, big mistake, never buy a business and if so the customer base in the automotive repair business is of no value, depending on the equipement it's pennies on the dollar at best. After a few years I had the opportunity to move to a different location about 4 blocks south, The shop was a bit smaller rent was less but the building did not face the street, plus I was sharing the building with other tenants so parking was a issue, Still struggling due to low car count, buying diagnostic equipement and lack of education on running the business and marketing. In 2000 I moved out of the area and closed the shop, I found a shop in my new town, which was a piece of crap with a crazy landlord but it was the only place available that fit my wants I was there 6 years and build a good reputation and applied everything I had learned earlier from running the shop to marketing. In 2006 I found the shop of my dreams 7500 building 1500 sq of office 6000 of shop space at first it was pretty good my landlord was sharing the shop space so rent was god and it gave me time to build the business, the building was awesome but it was a warehouse and not a auto repair shop so it had to be permitted here in California that set me back 30k but I was grossing 500k with 2 guys and myself so it was ok. Once the landlord left and I assumed the entire rent it became harder especially when a the would leave or I would have to let them go. Also due to the location of the shop it was hard to get customer to come in. I was not on a main road, there was a main road just down the street but still did not help me with drive by traffic. In 2009 the landlord sold the building to a group out of Korea and I was on the hunt again. I found my current shop a 5 bay shop on a busy road with easy ingress and egress. I have 2 techs plus myself, one tech is still learning but getting better he came to me with little training but over the last 2 years he has come a long way, the second tech had his own shop but got tired of all the B,S so now he is working for me which is great. At the current shop my landlord is great that's a big deal for me, he painted my building a barn red so you can't miss it coming up or down the street. which has increased my bottom line. So some of the hurdles I have run into that you need to consider Money, how much in reserves do you have, you will need it to buy what ever this shop does not have, parts and equipment lifts, filters, fluids, air compressor diagnostic tools especially if you want to specialize. Plus all the licensces requied,, shop insurance workman comp ect. Techs, really hard to find good techs they all say they can work on cars, but as someone said if they make a mistake it could cost you your home, your business. You need to do extensive back ground checks. I've had tech steal from me lie to me walk out on me, I've had them disaapear come in wasted do not stand for any of that. Shop management tools there are a lot on the market you need to find something that is easy to operate and keeps in contact with your customer base. I use Mitchell shop manager with a few add ons this send out reminder text thank you text automatic but at a cost. You will also need either Alldata or Prodemand in helping with repairs Mitchell has labor and maintance programs build in to help with pricing. Insurance and workmans comp. Very important if you get caught without this fines are $1500 per employee in California Paying techs there is flat rate and hourly. In flat rate the tech gets paid on how much he can produce. If a job books out at 2 hours and the tech does it in 1 hour everyone wins but if it takes him 3 hours he looses. Flat rate is tough, the tech is working against the clock, especially when it come to diagnostic stuff or if there is no work he does not get paid. Hourly is tough on the shop owner because if the guys are sitting around waiting on parts or no work then they are burning your money, but at the same time a good tech and busy shop will more then pay for himself on a hourly system. Here in Ca it is not legal for techs to be on a flat rate system, they must have a min. of $1600 take home every 2 weeks. for a 80 hr work week. Shop is your shop currently zones for automotive repair best to check with the local city planning department. At my current shop that has been a auto repair building for 20 years I went to apply for a license at this shop and was told it was not approved for auto repair, I was shocked but after going through some old documents at the permitting department I found paper work stating that it was allowed. Advertising there are plenty of things out there they all say they will increase business but the truth is 99% IS A WASTE OF MONEY. Things like cheap oil changes free tire rotations brake specials will bring in cheap customers one time and will only return when you have the next special. I use a company called WOW cards this advertises to my customer base which you want to do when you get there. Very affordable and great results. Mudlick mailiers expensive but they send mailers to a specific area and or car type. Of course a good website is important too There are plenty of shop management training classes be very careful of these, they promise a lot and deliver a lot less then promised plus very costly. Most will offer a free seminar which are usually very informative also some of the suppliers like World Pac offer classes on car repair shop management ect Hire a good book keep and accountant, I have a bookkeep that comes in 2 to 3 time a week to input to quicken and filing then once a year send everything to the accountant. Also do not fall behind on any state local or federal tax payments Coming from a DYI background is hard but not impossible, you will have a pretty sharp learning curve, try and find good techs, buy good equipment, and good tools that will last you10 15 years, find good suppliers extremely important and keep the shop and office and waiting area as clean as possible goes a long way with customers especially if your a new shop . Good luck
  15. 3 points
    We've been busy working on several specific features and enhancements over the last month. We have a few items that will be released between now and Mid-November. Looking forward to sharing that with everyone. We are also removing the free plan. If you signed up for the free plan, it will still be available to you. However we will not be allowing new accounts to use the free plan. We are working with a few members on getting their accounts setup and moving into the platform. With that has come months of use and product training that we have provided to them. So anyone who is seriously interested, we are able to provide you with several months for free as we prepare you to switch over. We are grateful for the members that have given us a chance here, even if you didn't sign on. Every relationship has proven invaluable in fine tuning our product for the better.
  16. 3 points
    I’m not just selling radiators. I’m diagnosing, repairing, inspecting and warranty-ing cars That is, Rock Auto can’t inspect the customer’s car. Nor diagnose their problem. Nor can they replace the part. I’ll bet those same people bitch about $7 for of a beer when hanging with friends. “I can get a whole six pack for that price!” But they don’t think about all they get for that $5 markup. They get the experience of hanging with their friends at a fun place, away from the distractions, worries, and commitments of home (no kids or dogs), with sports on the TV, music, the ability to laugh and joke out loud. No preparation (house cleaning) and no clean up after. Not bad for $5. For our markup, I read we’re supposed to deliver a great “the customer experience,” but most articles leave it at that, with few suggestions. Oh, a comfortable waiting room. If that’s all it took, I’d be calling an interior designer to increase my car count. Or, “exceed expectations,” again with few suggestions. How do you exceed them at the second and third visit? I talk life with my customers, because they know that their car is taken care of: I’m going to fix it, at a fair price for both of us, and check out the rest of their car – like I’ve always done. I ask: “So how are you? And the family? And life?” Which I think is a big part of the “experience.”
  17. 3 points
    I tried a partnership once and it did not work out well. One person will want more of something, control, money, time off ect. Buy them both out. If you can not afford that move on.
  18. 3 points
    You have to be as smart as an electrical engineer, with the knowledge base of a doctor, working in conditions similar to a garbage man, for the same salary as a garbage man.
  19. 3 points
    Yes I do believe we need to make this industry more financially attractive. Many are lured in by interest in how cars work and fixing them as a hobby but soon find out how steep the earnings curve is when it comes to buying tools and going to school. Nowadays a tech nerd can buy a small toolkit online and become a computer repair technician with minimal investment in tools and education. These jobs have far better starting pay and you don’t get your hands dirty.
  20. 3 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?
  21. 3 points
    Got your attention? Good! Before I start, let’s get something out of the way. Does technician aptitude or attitude affect the productivity of your shop? Absolutely. But this is the exception, not the rule. If your overall production levels are low, that is the sole responsibility of management. Let’s look at a few reasons for low production levels. The first area I want to address is billing. Many hours of labor go unbilled due to not understanding how to charge. This area is most prevalent with testing and inspecting. If your technicians are handed a work order, with no direction and not a clear process of what to do, or when to stop and ask for labor testing fees, there will be a ton of wasted labor hours, never to be recovered again. Next is training. Service advisor and technical training is a key component to high production levels. But let’s not forget in-house training. All policies and procedures must be reviewed often and refined if needed. Your team must follow a process. With no road map, labor dollars are lost. By the way, if you don’t have procedures in place, you need to make this top priority. Every successful organization has a detailed set of workflow guidelines. Let’s look at shop layout. How organized is your shop? Are shop tools and equipment readily accessible? Or do techs tend to wander around looking for the shop scanner or TPMS reset tool. Are stock items such as wiper blades and oil filters fully stocked and cataloged properly? Do technicians have separate access to technical information? Or are techs waiting to use the same computer station? Again, all these things kill labor production, which kills labor dollars. Next up is scheduling. There should be a structured approach to scheduling where the day is balanced with enough opportunity to make profitable sales. Have a process where vehicle history is reviewed before the customer arrives. Any previous service recommendations or notes is any opportunity to make a sale. But the key ingredient is in preparation. A customer that’s scheduled for an oil change may have forgotten that he or she received a recommendation for tires. Informing the customer at the time of scheduling and preparing for the work ahead of time, greatly improves productivity and overall efficiency. Another problem area is with service advisors and their workload. The service advisor, in many situations, handles the front counter, the phone, scheduling, helps with dispatch, part procurement and sales. All these tasks are critical to the daily operations. However, nothing happens in the shop until a sale is made. You need to look at your service staff. Are estimates getting processed quickly and upsells getting back to the technicians in a timely manner? If not, this is another area where production suffers. Carefully analyze your staff and run the numbers. More estimates processed means more sales and higher profits. Adding a service advisor or an assistant may be the missing link in a shop’s production problem. Knowing your numbers is another key component to attaining high production levels. I will refrain from giving you benchmark numbers, since all businesses models are different. With that said, you need to determine your breakeven and establish your labor goal for the week. Then knowing your labor goal, you need to calculate how many labor hours you need per technician. Then, you need to communicate this number to each technician. Having clear expectations and knowing the goals of one’s position is essential for hitting production goals. With regard to the technician’s responsibility, let’s remember one important fact; the technician has control over his or her efficiency. That’s it. If you dispatch a four-hour ticket to a tech, the ability of the tech to meet or beat that time depends on the technician’s skill, experience and training. There are a lot of other factors that influence production, such as the right pay plan and hiring the right people. But perhaps the most important influence is leadership. The shop owner or manager must study and look at the entire operations of the shop. Productivity goals must be established and then a system of monitoring production must be put into place. This includes sales goals, as well. Service advisors and technicians must get continuous feedback on their progress. Improvements in sales and in production, no matter how small, must be celebrated. The bottom line is this: If you’re not happy with your production level, you need to look at every aspect of your company that influences production. Improvements in key areas put technicians in a position to win. When they win, so do you. This story was originally published by Joe Marconi in Ratchet+Wrench on March 1st, 2019
  22. 2 points
    We charge up front 60-260 for a check engine light. If you believe in your techs and they know how to diag this will come across to customers. Lots of times we can diag for less, but you don't want to keep calling your customer and asking for more diag time. Our Service writer explains this is how our techs get paid and that is the hardest part of any job is the diag. If asked if that goes in our the repair, our answer is no. Customers can tell when you are sure of what you are doing or if you are really scared to ask for the diag. We do between 7 and 10 per week. Based on your labor hour, it would work out 1/2 hour to 2 hours for diag or so. We rarely ever have somebody say that is too much or I'll check around. Also, a lot of times they will call and say I know the code what will it cost. You then explain that the code is a system and you don't want to just replace parts and still not fix the problem.
  23. 2 points
    I personally think you made a few mistakes here. a) You're trying to substitute parts for another line item, and that just looks shady when it comes to taxes. b) You're now trying to lump your parts margin into a new category and have that on the invoice c) Under no circumstances is a customer who provides a part to get a better deal than a customer where you are the one supplying the part. What we did here: a) Raised our labor rate to reflect the quality of service provided b) Maintain accurate records on the amount of time actually spent on vehicles. Many jobs go over at least an hour because of rust/corrosion and the after service check list. Like going over the service, cleaning up the mess made from the service, test driving the vehicle. From these accurate counts, we bill with a 90%+ accuracy now. c) Lowered prices on parts to a justifiable degree. Most of our real margin is on items $100 or less. Most stuff over $100 still has a margin, just nothing like you'd expect in most circumstances. Also, customers who buy their own parts aren't generally welcome here. Liability has become so large, that the instances where customer acquired parts are used, have been greatly reduced. We will figure it out and you can bring it somewhere that allows you to use your own parts or you can keep going around town till you find the guy willing to help you save money over his own needs to survive. We also didn't make our change overnight. So what I might suggest: Lower your parts margin and raise your labor rate. Like a $10 raise in rate coupled with an equal decline parts margin based on the hours you bill a month. Try that for 6-12 months and see where you land. Then readjust till you can reduce your margin. Our goal: To get all parts to a less than 50% margin. We're still a little bit away, but we are close enough to where online retailers don't make us look like we are just fleecing people. Consumables like brakes, air filters and oil/oil filters are the hardest to get down to reasonable levels.
  24. 2 points
    I keep it short and nice. I tell people I have to pay the technician for his time spent working and testing for the correct repair needed to your vehicle. If I don’t pay him, he wouldn’t work here. I haven’t got any bad mouthing from it, but sometimes they just say OK thank you and hang up.
  25. 2 points
    When I mentioned this exact thing on a Facebook auto shop owners group, I was basically ganged up on by an angry mob fueled by one idiot shop owner who said I was a you tube mechanic newbie idiot. His words, not mine. Actually I’ve had a successful shop for over twenty years, but have always been forward thinking. As long as dinosaurs such as that shop owner exist in this industry we’ll never move forward. Face it, parts margins are shrinking and it’s time to adapt. I’ve been looking at ways now to get more labor out of the job and not worry so much about the parts. Any ideas would be welcome as I’m just starting to experiment with this.
  26. 2 points
    I started out as a technician in Virginia and I was a VSP licensed Safety Inspector for 3 years. The program has a lot of problems as you mentioned. Some places will put a sticker on anything. When you reject a sticker the customer is mad. When you require a repair for a sticker, that is almost always your best sales tool ever. I always felt good about making the roads safer. The price for an inspection is below what it costs to pay most technicians, but that was generally gained back in repairs to pass. I took issue with the dealership method of inspections. There was only 1 inspector on a team, who wrote stickers for everyone on the team, for cars he never looked at. That was a job requirement if you were an inspector, despite it being completely against the law. I left that job and later found out there are entire dealerships with only 1 or 2 inspectors writing stickers for more than 50 inspections in a day. The state police support varies by location. In Virginia Beach, our station assigned trooper was trying to bust us and shut us down. In Newport News, our trooper was actually trying to improve vehicle safety and would back us. Now working as a technician in Tennessee, I see a large loss of sales for legitimate safety related repairs due to there being no safety inspection requirement. I see many vehicles that would fail the Virginia inspection and I am horrified when I can do nothing about it. Whether or not the safety inspection has an impact on safety involves statistics I do not have, but I can say with certainty that while i was a Virginia Safety Inspector I rejected and repaired many unsafe vehicles and felt good about it.
  27. 2 points
    Right on CAR!!! This is the way to do it! The POS industry should be enhancing their core platform rather than abdicating the creation of these features to others. I abhor overlay software systems. When you use a 3rd party software package, they have to store data in a separate database, while at the same time communicate with your POS system. Now you have twice the chances for something to go wrong as either can have a bug that breaks the system. If you terminate the service of an overlay program and keep your POS, the historical data in the other database is now gone. Please note: I'm not critiquing any of these overlay software products. They add value for some shops. I only have one software vendor to contact when I need help and this simplifies my life. Instead, I'm critizing the POS vendors and/or recommending selection of a modern POS system. The system that I use has customizable DVI, but no ability to store pictures. They integrate with a 3rd party overlay system(s), but, IMO, the fees are insane compared to the value provided. Our system makes it really easy to capture needed work and present it to the customer.
  28. 2 points
    I agree with everything said above. Tech wages are too low and will need to rise, but in order to do this, labor rates and parts margins will need to rise also. The money needs to come from some where and the cost of living isn't shrinking, so this is the wakeup call that most shops are faced with. This has to do with the criticism / wake up call that I received recently. I was told that my shop wasn't clean and orderly, which could have cost me an opportunity that I was in pursuit of. Attracting techs and customers alike begins with your shop's appearance. Clean and safe work place sets your shop ( in some cases) apart from the competition, which in turn allows you to raise rates and hopefully be more profitable. This is only a piece of the puzzle and stepping back and analyzing your operation should be done regularly to optimize profitability. Attracting quality techs is and will always be an ongoing challenge, so I'll be watching out for any advice that I can get.
  29. 2 points
    I've always felt like it's an absolute travesty what I pay my techs compared to what they're worth, the unfortunate thing is as an industry we come nowhere close to getting paid what we're worth. When I look at (and I mean ZERO disrepect here) what local Plumbers, Electricians and HVAC guys are making with a fraction of the tools an Auto tech has, I ask myself 'if I were to start over again, which trade would I pick...?' and I figure most young soon to be tradesmen ask themselves the same question. I've always felt the lack of licensing in our trade has been part of the issue as to why the trade as a whole is underpaid. Just my $.02
  30. 2 points
    We Uber them to and from. We have one loaner vehicle if necessary but with the high cost of insurance, we let Uber take all the liability. Customers honestly love it
  31. 2 points
    We do. Customers love it. We are only coming up on our first year in business in February, I believe it sets apart from other local shops.
  32. 2 points
    Set a limit for requiring a deposit on jobs. A $3,000 job should MOST certainly have had a deposit on it. Most states require you have clearly posted signage in order to charge storage fees. Make a nice looking notice, frame it and mount it on the wall in your office that is clearly seen when a customer comes in. Check with your state on the rules you may need to follow. Asking your customer to pick their vehicle up within 72 hours is well within reason. Remember you are not being a jerk, you're trying to run a successful business.
  33. 2 points
    The practice of ending safety inspections in NJ completely changed the business. We saw glass guys fold within 30 days. Because once the state ended safety inspections, they ended as part of the inspection process. Meaning you no longer failed for a cracked windshield. I would do a little digging on what exactly that means for you and your state, because for us it was a license to drive anything that could pass emissions. It was more of a political move, used to trim the DMV budget and move money around. It is the worst thing any state can do for public safety. We see some insanely unsafe vehicles driving and there is nothing anyone can do. As long as the check engine light isn't on, the state doesn't care.
  34. 2 points
    I don't think all of auto repair is a commodity, even though I agree with your assessment that customers treat it as a commodity. To be really clear, here are the commodities that I see within what we do, that translates into price shopping: Tires - There are a plethora of competitors in the space, what advantage can the small shop have? You have to actually install them regardless of where they are purchased. Smaller players have an insanely difficult if not impossible time trying to compete here. Brakes - Long been a safety item that was commoditized by cheap materials providers and the marketing companies that operate in our space. Nearly impossible to compete here as there is no telling how low anyone is willing to go. We have a car wash that advertises pads and rotors for $225 down the street from us. Oil Changes - Another item that was commoditized by quick service facilities. Although, if you do some homework these days, you will find the quick lubes are the most expensive game in town and their entire game is upselling. Customers are starting to notice this. Exhaust - Used to be a serious commodity where a lot of small shops would lose out on the sale to a Meineke or Midas with pipe bending equipment... but better materials like stainless steel, hit these businesses with abrupt changes in market dynamics and many of them found it difficult to initially find their new position in a post exhaust service world. This is happening to the Quick Service routine and that is why you are seeing the Quick Service facilities become the one stop shop for all commodities within our industry; Tires, Brakes, Oil Changes and now even filters (cabin & engine). Everything else, although treated like a commodity, it really isn't much of a commodity. It's more a service calculation, or lack there of. What makes them a commodity in the customer view is that a large portion of the industry is in the business of undercutting everyone for the quick sale instead of trying to build long term value. This is a pain point that will likely never stop happening in our lifetime. Especially as the cream work starts to dry up and shops begin to suffer from not staying current with tools and procedures. For example, the A/C work you did... A/C is far from a commodity, especially when vehicles have a smaller version of a house system, wrapped up between the front and rear bumpers. You wisely made a choice, likely based on local competition and your local market to address it in a manner that would bolster your credibility. Your choice may also have been a result of having the right equipment and experience. But each market is different, even though customer behavior is not. We get plenty of calls for "water pump" or "radiator" or "hose" quotes. We're just not interested in competing in an arena where we are blind bidding based on what one person may have indicated is wrong with the car. We also don't subscribe to the logic of, "Give them a cheap number to get them in the door and then we can adjust." We think that is the most deceitful of practices and participating in it, makes you complicit in what ruins this trade. We are also seeing interesting shifts in consumer behavior where customers want to fix older vehicles that we advise them not to. Not only do they want to, they are insistent that you help them get this sorted, because we're the local expert they rely on. We've had to get really crafty in how we procure parts and negotiate the price for said parts and then the selling angle to the customer. We had to get crafty, because we knew if we weren't... we would lose a customer for life. Personally I think that customers have too much of a choice in parts these days as there are too many combinations of good, better, best... and they aren't all interchangeable and even worse... we're seeing even the better and best parts have poor quality which is leading to higher failure rates. But customers don't see your side of the headaches, they just want their car fixed for the least possible price and if you don't help them fulfill their needs... someone else will. It's also hard to explain to all customers that they maybe making a poor choice trying to save $200 on materials, only the ones that really trust you understand. Sometimes, even the ones who really trust you... are going to learn the hard way. When that happens, you may have lost that customer for good... even if you end up being right. The worse is, when they get lucky and their gamble pays off... you will always be the one who tried to rip them off. It's not easy and the only advice I have is... talk to your customers, educate your customers, and treat them how you would expect to be treated if you were in their position. Second, be very thorough in everything you do. We've gone to great lengths to make sure customers are satisfied. Up to and including, making appointments at the dealer for recalls and getting them done for the customer while the vehicle was in our possession. "I know a shop owner who basically locks himself in his office and let's the service advisor handle customers - even when they ASK ABOUT HIM!" With regards to this... A shop owners time is the most critical element in his entire business. The entire point of the service advisor is to act as a buffer, while it may be overdone at times... I can only tell you that it is immensely difficult to focus on a task at hand when you are stopping to treat every customer personally. A good team helps you carry this burden and as they successfully do so... they become the face of service alleviating the pressure on the owner to still be at the forefront of operation. No business in this industry can grow to a million in sales annually with the owner trying to grow the business and personally attending more than 30% of workflow and depending on the goals... even 30% might be a lofty number. With regards to standing out, there are a myriad of ways to do so. From thank you cards to follow up phone calls to holiday appreciation. Standing out helps you stay on your customers mind... but it does not do much to mitigate the price wars we are all facing. This industry is shifting from a high parts margin business to a full rate for service business, where parts are going to be a nice supplement but labor prices must pay for everything and have a net profit built in. Customers are wiser and even when they aren't... they have access to parts cheaper than you do all too often. All of which is designed to sell product and ruin your reputation if you are working on becoming the lowest bidder vs the place that fixes it right the first time and prevents come backs. I have dozens of examples of jobs that we were able to sell, because I would rather make money on labor than parts.
  35. 2 points
    Our experience with ADAS has been a truly amazing learning journey. Our learning journey is making us wonder what the direction of the industry is with ADAS and more importantly... how service center goals for growth and profit align with maintaining customer satisfaction while performing precise services with a skilled workforce that is in decline. If you're thinking about ADAS... you should read this first. Another acronym being thrown around is ADAS, short for Advanced Driver Assist Systems. I think everyone is stuck staring at those four letters without understanding the liability that those 4 letters represent for the future of the automotive industry, regardless of how much safer they make vehicles on the road. As one of the first facilities in NJ to purchase and utilize the ADAS calibration system from Autel, we have some really unique experience with it and want to pass on some information you should be aware of when considering whether or not you want to jump in. Facility Is Too Small - Size matters, A LOT with ADAS calibrations and if you have less than 2500 sf of space with a booming business... chances are you don't have the room to perform calibrations. Your exact business configuration will help determine this, but you ideally need a location where you can pick up 10 feet of open space all around a vehicle for most calibrations, but some calibrations may require 20 feet or more. Floor Isn't Level - If your floor is uneven, you can't perform ADAS calibrations, period. Can't Program? - If you are not experienced with programming modules or updating vehicle modules, you will not be able to perform a fair amount ADAS calibrations. Can't Diagnose? - If you don't have a team that can efficiently and accurately troubleshoot the vehicles already coming into your shop, ADAS isn't going to be any easier, it's going to be significantly harder. Who Needs OE Information, I have "X"! - Replace X with All Data or Mitchell or even the instructions in your scan tool. What happens when the manufacturer updated the information on the procedures yesterday and they didn't share that information with anyone yet? We've already encountered steps missing from the Autel scan tool... Minimum Insurance Policy Is More Than Enough - We have more than double the minimum and we are worried it's not enough. With lawsuits that settle into the tens of millions of dollars, we're not sure what enough is anymore. Don't Document Your Process? - This is where a lot of people will scoff. Who has the time? Save pictures and files, where am I supposed to do that? Who's gonna pay for this? We've figured this out and more importantly... we get paid for documenting. Do you? Mobile Calibrations? - Besides the fact that you're trying to transport $20,000 of equipment needed for calibrations in a van, this one is so serious... we couldn't give you a 2 sentence paragraph, read below. How are mobile glass services, like Safelite, performing calibrations on the go? We don't know, but we have A LOT of questions surrounding this. A recent calibration of a 2019 Toyota C-HR, after a windshield replacement, has some really interesting requirements. Requirements which we are used to, but we want to know... how is a mobile tech handling this? These are the requirements that must be met prior to starting a calibration: It is our experience that once a windshield has been replaced, the vehicle should not be moved for a period of at least 2 hours (weather dependent) in order to allow the glue to harden properly. So, what's going on? Is the mobile glass tech filling up the vehicle prior to replacing the windshield? How many of you had a windshield replaced and a vehicle calibrated with a fuel tank that was not full? We don't know how many corners are being cut and where they are being cut... but what we do know is that the above requirements have been there in every vehicle we have calibrated at this facility thus far. Lastly, pay particular attention to this requirement in this photo... *Calibration should be performed in a window-less environment with no bright lights or reflective materials. Ensure no other black and white patterns similar to the calibration pattern should be behind the calibration pattern. In a world where reducing liability is at the forefront of most public discussions, there are sure a lot of companies undermining their insurance policy in the field.
  36. 2 points
    Shop owners, you have a little less than two months before the end of the year. And that means it's time to start thinkning about your Tax Planning for 2019. Don't procrastinate on this. Meet with accountant. Review the year, review profit. Consider things such as major equipmenet purchases and other major investments you made in 2019. Look at bottom line profit and determine if you set aside enough cash to pay your taxes come April 15, 2020. One thing, Cash is King, So, before you purhase any major equipment before the end of the year, listen to your accoutant, not the Tool Sales-person. In many cases, it's better to pay some tax and hold on to cash for a rainy day. A little planning now will save you big time in 2020, and also help you sleep better!
  37. 2 points
    It's been 20 years since I did mine. It was beautiful for several years. Slowly over time wear and tear do get to the paint. It was a 2 part epoxy I believe made by Devcon. I recommend staying away from the water base stuff. I did my waiting room with it a few years ago and it didn't last very long, and the clear coat bubbled up. Here is what I can tell you. If you do any welding or cutting with a torch, it will burn holes. It will chip if heavy things are dropped on it. If you drag things across it, it will scratch, and it will yellow, and stain over time. For some reason washer solvent causes it to dry up and crack. Mine is looking pretty rough now, but it was great for many years. Scott
  38. 2 points
    I worked as a tech on flat rate. I worked as a tech on hourly. And I worked as a tech on salary. For me, I always preferred flat rate. On hourly, as soon as I hit 40 my employer wanted me out of there. In order to earn more I would have to find another job. Of course I am a work-a-holic and see 80 hour weeks as a part time job. On Salary, it would have been fair pay for a 40 hour week, but my employers were never satisfied with me only putting in 40 hours. It was 60, 70 and sometimes 84 hours a week. On Flat Rate, if I wanted or needed to earn more, my employer was thrilled if I worked around the clock. Currently I have a mechanic that's been with me 3 years tell me he would Never go back to hourly. He comes in at 8:30 when we open, and is usually out of here by 3:30 or 4 every day. He busts his butt the entire time he's here, but at 7 hours, he really is done. Even if he stayed another hour, it would NOT be a productive hour. I work with that and hold no grudges because he's flat rate. Of course I also pay significantly higher than even dealers per hour for my techs. I don't have health insurance, 401k's or paid vacation. I'd love to provide all that, but then I'd have to cut his pay. He doesn't want that. I think just as every shop owner has different needs and reasons to operate however they do, every tech has different preferences. Recently I had to let a tech go. He only worked for me a little over a month. He'd get 2 days in good in the week. Show up 3 hours late 2 days a week and hardly get anything done while he was here those days. Then complain about his paycheck on payday. If I have a tech short on hours for a week (usually from a job running over the weekend), I often pull hours from the following week so he still has a livable wage. After doing that week after week and having overpaid this particular tech close to 50 hours in a month and a half, we had to have a separation of ways. He'll never make it in the flat rate world and that's ok. I'd never make it paying him straight hourly or salary with performance like that.
  39. 2 points
    Well said on all points Traffic patterns are woefully underestimated in their importance, Imo. They become glaringly clear once you spend 50k (and more) on direct mail and then do a "sales by carrier route" evaluation. Once you overlay "carrier route spends" on a radius map, a lot of what is obvious is common sense. Are there geographical or road/highway barriers between your location and those "high value" neighborhoods? Is work, shopping, medical, ect. primarily in a different direction from those neighborhoods, that puts your store outside their normal travel routes? If they don't have another reason to stop in your area, then you will likely be a second choice. Only time and consistently delivering a higher value service overcomes this to any degree, but normal traffic patterns is still more important, Imo. I do not believe we can buy any report that demonstrates the likelihood of traffic passing your store actually being inclined to pull in. If there was, I would love to hear about it. I believe our original poster for this thread has gotten a clearer picture of our industry. As I have seen time and time again, their old job starts to look a whole lot easier then what we do everyday Thank You
  40. 2 points
    Here is a little insight from a franchise owner who was never involved in auto repair before purchasing and opening a new business. Location, location, location is the most critical factor. The number of cars passing the location is not as critical as do they have a reason to stop where you are at. CarX looks for locations in a destination location i.e. retail center. Recently a Meinke opened in a high traffic area with a very nice building in our city. They only lasted about a year. All that was near them on either side is industrial type properties. Thousands of cars were passing by but no one was stopping. It was outside of their travel pattern. It was only a pass through corridor. I new they were doomed the minute they opened in that location. Be sure there is reasons for people to stop where you are at beside s you. If it is just you it will take an established following or huge advertising dollars and you may still not succeed. The other advice is do not underestimate how difficult it is to hire qualified help. I have been in business twenty years and went through a time this spring where I thought I might have to close for lack of help. I survived by overpaying and hiring a couple of problem techs that I survived with until I got very lucky and hired better people. When you talk about working on your own stuff you sound like every guy I interview looking for a job. Most of them are woefully under skilled and way too confident. The learning curve is very steep if you come into this business from the outside. I have survived but it hasn't been an easy journey.
  41. 2 points
    Advertising is one of the biggest heartaches for many automotive shops. Their are many questions that swirl around the idea about advertising. How much money do we need to spend? Who is our target? How do we know if the advertising going to work? Their is no right answer to the advertising question, but the answer does lay with your customers. Simply put, there is three generation of customers; past, present and future. The past customers already know you and know the customer service that you provide, in return they send word a mouth to other friends that need repairs. These customers don't go un-noticed, they are your behind the scene advertisers. They are the ones that you send special support to, such as, gift cards, thank you cards, free oil changes and so on. They will continue to feed your business. The present customers are your referral customers. They require a little more attention and communication so they know they can trust you as a reliable automotive shop. Making sure that you spend the time explaining what is wrong with there vehicle and what the recommend repair is and the options they have. With these customers you add a key chain to there rings, you give them a oil change sticker on the windshield, you give them a cool looking decal. Something that they can walk away and say I went to THIS SHOP to have my truck repaired. The future customers, is our future customers. We rely on past and present customer to continue to feed our shops with work. Most important thing that many people forget is that you are AIMING for the FUTURE CUSTOMERS "Gen Z, iGen or Centennials" these are the social media, internet advertising customers. They don't deal with direct mail or hassle with emails, they scroll through social media and look at pop ups, they google business and look at reviews. To answer your question, invest in SEO if you want to continue to build your business. Conclusion, I took over a 40 year old transmission shop 12 years ago. It is still family owned and operated and houses excellent talent and knowledge in the field of transmission. I noticed that we were loosing customers and things needed to change. They were still advertising with phone books and newspapers. But we were in the middle of change in society with social media picking up speed. I saw it coming. I quickly changed direction and started focusing on the "Future customers". We started to focus and research the SEO world. What did it have to deal with me. The more I learned the more I realized that we all do the same thing. You go on vacation and you have a breakdown, where do you turn to? The internet. When you have problems with your car and who do you take it to? You look on the internet. Currently 60% of our new cliental come from the internet and reviews, 30% from word a mouth and 10% all others. There is not a right way or wrong way to advertise, you just have to look into your community and see where your greatest strength are. Hope this post helps someone. Have a great day.
  42. 2 points
    We use Uber all time. $5 or $10 is a whole lot better than an extra employee, car, insurance, gas.....
  43. 2 points
    @Joe Marconi here's a pretty good article from last year in tire review that lays out some points and things to think about: Setting Your Auto Shop Up for Your Retirement
  44. 2 points
    Roughly a month ago, two events happened on the same day that reminded me that there are things that are so precious, you cannot put a price on them. Those events also reminded me that some of the things we stress over, really aren’t as important as we think. And in the end, it all comes down to the importance of life itself. I got a call that day from Paul, the person who picks up our scrap metal. He asked if he could speak to me in private. Now, being a seasoned business owner, that’s usually not a good sign. But, this had nothing to do with business. I met Paul in my office a few hours later. He appeared very uncomfortable and upset. After exchanging a few words about business and the weather, he told me that his brother died last year. He was one of three other brothers that died within the past five years. He went on to tell me that none of his brothers had any savings or insurance, so it was up to him to take care of all the burial expenses for all the brothers. As Paul spoke, I could see that he was emotionally drained. Then he said to me, “Joe, I really hate to ask you this. I am tapped out. I cannot support all my financial obligations at this time. Would it be possible to lend me the money to purchase the gravestone for my brother? You can make the check out directly to the gravestone company, not to me.” I have known Paul a long time. He’s one of those hard-working, tough-talking guys that you would never imagine asking for a handout. I didn’t hesitate and wrote out the check and handed it to him. He held back the tears as he shook my hand and told me, “Joe, I will never forget this, and I will pay you back.” About an hour later, the owner of a local tow company walked into my office manager’s office to pick up a check we owed him for last month’s tows. I wasn’t paying much attention until I overheard my office manager say, “Oh, my God, I am sorry, Dave. I didn’t even know you were sick.” Dave is 42 years old, married with kids, and has brain cancer that is not responding to treatment. Dave has a great attitude, but understands the reality of his illness. He’s doing his best while on the treatment, but admitted that, some days, he finds it hard to function. He told us how he started his tow company right out of high school and has worked hard his entire life. As he was leaving, I told him to reach out to us if he needs anything. He told me prayer might help. I told him I would do that. Before the two events that day, I was dealing with a few business problems. And I need to be honest: I was not in the best of moods. After speaking to Paul and Dave, those issues that seemed so daunting before, didn’t seem all that important anymore. I sat back in my chair, looked over at a photo of my grandkids on my desk, and told myself that I need to do a better job at arranging life’s priorities. As shop owners, we get caught up in the day-to-day struggles of running a business—sometimes at a cost to our families, friends and ourselves. We anguish over bad online reviews, disgruntled employees, slow days and declining car counts. We sometimes find it hard to sleep at night, reflecting over and over again in our minds, the problems of the day. And we repeat this cycle over and over, year after year. Let me tell you, no business issue is ever all that serious that it cannot be overcome. But, when life throws you a curveball, as in the case with Paul and Dave, those problems are not so easily overcome. There are many reasons why each of us go into business. For many of us, it’s the passion for the work we do. For others, it’s the burning desire to improve the automotive industry. While I cannot say that we are in perfect alignment in every area of business, I do know one thing with certainty: We all need to stop and reflect from time to time on all the things that have nothing to do with business, but everything to do with life itself. Those are the things that no amount of money can ever buy. Those are the things that are priceless. This story was originally published by Joe Marconi in Ratchet+Wrench on June 1st, 2019
  45. 2 points
    I joined the NAPA AutoCare Center program as soon after opening my shop as I could. There is an annual membership cost but the quarterly volume rebates usually more than pays it back. Add to that the Nationwide Peace of Mind warranty that is recognized as the gold standard and you have real value for your customers. The local shop reimbursement program pays 75% of the labor guide at your current shop labor rate up to $250.00. It's not great, but it's better than nothing. Meanwhile I refuse to utilize anything from Advance Auto Parts because of their "Warranty" reimbursement, which was a joke at best. Meanwhile, my experience with the labor warranty reimbursement from my local independent parts suppliers is like yours. Wait for months, then get denied because it's "never" the part's fault. Or like the last name brand fuel pump installed in a P30 van there was only one labor guide time and then it was for a van with an access panel in the floor. The labor time to remove the tank was more than to replace the fuel tank. And guess what the parts manufacturer wanted to pay? With NAPA it's no problem. Well, almost. I have had only one, a clutch and the labor time was something like 4.5 hours. My first call was answered by someone who was either new or didn't want to be bothered. He flat out denied the claim because the labor amount was above their limit. I called back and asked for a supervisor. He wanted to find a solution. He told me that they had the $250 limit, that 75% of the labor rate I was requesting was something like $272. If I was willing to accept the $250 he'd approve it without a problem but that was all he could do. Well $250 was a lot better than $0 so I agreed and thanked him for trying to find a solution instead of simply saying "no" like the first guy. Add to that, Sonsio, the company that administers the NAPA Peace of Mind Warranty also administers the CarQuest warranty as well as Federated and other warranties. Since none of those brands have a presence in my area, when they have a nationwide warranty claim, Sonsio calls my shop to ask if I will help, which I always say yes to. But like Joe said, make sure your profit margins are sufficient to absorb the costs of the inevitable warranty claims. No matter what supplier, no matter how skilled your technicians are, mistakes happen, defects slip through, that is why there is warranty.
  46. 2 points
    I hear you. Problem today is that they (the dealers) understand where the money is - and they're going after it. As far as I'm concerned, most should be really happy that they haven't figured a way to service cars at Amazon. Don't want to be a smart a**, but really. I can't tell you how many shop owners I speak with weekly... and when I ask them when the last time they contacted their customers (through email campaign, direct mail, newsletter, etc.) and I get the proverbial "deer in the headlights" stare. It's not just that the dealers are coming - but the shop owners are holding the door open for them! Matthew "The Car Count Fixer' Follow Car Count Hackers on YouTube - Follow Car Count Hackers on Facebook
  47. 2 points
    Do it right with quality parts but mainly if something is going to go wrong it will happen a lot sooner than 2 or 3 years after the repair but it's good peace of mind for the customer
  48. 2 points
    I remember being at a meeting with my staff where I voiced my opinion on an important issue. When I was finished, I asked if everyone was in agreement. Everyone nodded their heads yes. After the meeting, one of my service advisors told me that half of the employees did not agree with me. When I asked why did they agree, he replied. “You’re the boss, you intimidate others.” This made me think about my leadership style. Being unapproachable will prevent you from hearing other opinions; which is important to the success of the company. When speaking with your employees, ask a lot of questions. Avoid giving your opinion until you have heard from others. Praise suggestions and the opinions of others, and thank others for speaking up. The most successful teams are those that build strategies through a collective effort.
  49. 2 points
    Cintas that will nickle and dime you to death. You'll have a 5 year contract that only benefits them plus the drivers get incentives to get you to sign a new contract so theyll tell you that you need a new 5 year contract every year or 2. I bought a washer and drier, order very nice embroidered shirts and dickies pants, ordered red rags that cost less to use once than Cintas charged for their smelly, oily rags with holes in them. You only need to order 5 set of clothes since you just wash them at the shop, everyone looks and feels more professional and I'm saving 400 to 500 a month.
  50. 2 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)


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