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Shop Owners! It's Time to Cash in on Opportunity around us!
We, automotive shop owners of America,  must take the opportunity of a lifetime and turn it into a bunch of success stories. What opportunity?  Look around you. The world is in turmoil. COVID-19, social unrest, uncertainty about the presidential election, the economy, how are we going to get out kids back to school, on and on and on.

While the world is spiraling out of control, we have the power to make big changes to our auto repair shops.  And it can all be positive! The Opportunity...

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If You Can't Retire - What's your next step?
With the COVID-19 situation, many shop owners of retirement age may be putting thier retirement plans on hold. I get this.  It makes sense in many cases. But, please think about you and your family.  Many shop owners have a 30, 40, even 50-year plus history in the auto business, with most of those years owning and running a shop.

If it's possible, perhaps succession plan with the right person, or hiring a general manager to run your shop is a possibility.  Perhaps a family member?  The key thing is to have a secure business that, if you do plan on holding on to it, will bring you an income with stress-free time away from the shop, and back to your family. 

Your plans, thoughts, opinions?

 
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Get Back to Business as Usual
Today is the first day of summer, and we are still dealing with the dreaded COVID-19.  However, there are positive indicators that business will be better than expected this summer.  People will be taking more road trips, will avoid airplanes, trains and Ubers and will take to the roads in record numbers.

Gear up for a great summer and look for opportunity with each vehicle visit.  Perform those multipoints as if your business depends on it….why?....Because it does!

We have a lot to be thankful for. Keep positive, be a leader and thrive! 
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COVID-19 Making Tough Management Decisions
New York Governor announced yesterday that the stay-home order will remain in effect until May 15th.  With so many consumers not driving and so many businesses closed; sales will be a struggle for the next  4 weeks or more.  Many Auto Shops across the country will be in the same boat.

Ok, that's the bad news.  The good news is that you are a shop owner, and no stranger to making tough decisions and finding solutions to the most complex problems. I know this is different, but truth is we are all learning together, and we will beat this.

With that said, you will be called upon to remove the emotions from the situation and make the decisions that are best for your employees, family and for the business. 
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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Shop Business Impact
Has the Coronavirus (COVID-19) impacted your auto shop business? If it hasn't yet, it has the potential to do so soon. If your shop business is currently impacted, how are you managing? Do you have a plan in place should you or one of your employees become ill? With school, event, and business closures, how will this affect your shop?

In the media: The coronavirus and its growing tally of sick and dead victims around the world have been roiling financial markets, prompting countless hand-washing reminders and ruining more than a few vacations, and that’s before anyone knows exactly how widespread the effect will be on the automotive industry, including your local repair shop.
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Are Part Margins getting too hard to achieve?
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?
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Why Don't My Employees Do What I Ask?
What’s wrong with my employees? Why don’t they do what I ask of them? It’s the same thing every day.  I say one thing, they do another. It seems as if I am the only person who knows what to do around here.  

Does any of this sound familiar? Have you said these words, or a variation of these words, from time to time? If so, you’re not alone. Getting people to follow policy or a new marketing strategy sometimes feels as if you are trying to move the earth off its axis.  

People in high levels of authority are well-aware of the need to get things done. Each member of their team plays an integral part in the success or failure of the organization. In your shop, you are the authority: you are the shop owner. You know that the responsibility of attaining success directly rests on your shoulders. This is a weight you carry around with you each day. 
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Customer's buying their own parts
I own a brake shop in Austin, TX. We do anywhere from 10-20 brake jobs a day. We only do brakes so I don't know how much full service auto shops deal with this problem but... Customers are constantly calling in claiming they've bought the best parts or they want to provide their own parts because they've done research and know what is best. This drives me crazy. First of all they don't know whats best. Then after being told no they get offended and act like tons of shops allow this. What is the best way to handle these customers? Just send them away? I'll quote them a price using our parts and they act as though its a rip off. What shops are doing this for their customers? I feel like I'm letting jobs get away from me. Any experience with this?
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Should there be a standard Diagnostic charge
This is an article I wrote several years ago for a trade magazine.... I think it's still true today... Love to hear your comments. Diagnostics fee or not. This has been an issue since day one. Should we charge to diagnose the car or should the estimate be free. Let’s define an estimate first.

Now I’m not in favor of a free diagnostics (if you couldn’t tell already) and I’m not too fond of the free estimate. If there is any “man hours” that are part of any job a “man” wants paid. If that “man” is working on a commission basis, I can assure you that he is going to rush through the “estimate” in order to get to the real money end of the job.
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Shop Owners: Do you have an exit plan?
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?

Join the conversation, its never too late to start planning!
 
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Shop Labor Rate Map
We now have a nice tool available to all premium and platinum members under the tools menu, where you can view labor rates entered by our members on an easy to use map, similar to our member map. This is designed to give you an idea of where you are vs the market in your area. As you zoom in, the circle averages open up to more specific areas.
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Post your shop's website!
We've created this section here for you to post your shop website. This is a great way to get some feedback and suggestions from your peers. Please post relevant automotive shop websites only. Any posts including non automotive shop websites will be moderated and removed.

Join this topic and post your website to get feedback from other shop owners.
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What Auto Repair Management Software are you Using?
The way I see it, I don't know how any shop owner can run an auto business today without a computer management system. What systems are you using and what advantages or disadvantages do you see?
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