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[Brand Choice] Automotive Oil Filters
Oil filters are one of those important parts categories that every shop usually stocks, to turn bays faster and offer an oil change service as a way to capture needed maintenance and repairs. 

What is your preferred brand of oil filters and why?

Are you stocking oil filters in your shop? How do you keep your inventory stocked and updated if you do?

Who is your oil filter supplier and why?

Are you using a standard or premium oil filter on average?

If you service trucks, are you using Heavy Duty filters; Baldwin, Fleetguard, Luberfiner, etc.?
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Building a Marketing Plan Around Your Customers
Roughly a month ago, I went to lunch with a good friend of mine. He works for the YMCA, so we discussed what the YMCA does to attract new members. A few years ago, my friend and his team realized that while they were good at attracting new members each year, they had little to no retention. It was a constant battle to bring in new members to fill the void of lost members.

The YMCA realized that it’s easier and less expensive to keep existing members, than to go out and find new ones. They created a new marketing strategy with a focus on keeping existing members. The plan was simple: create an amazing experience for their members and offer new programs to these existing members. The plan worked. Member retention improved. What worked for the YMCA will also work for your business.

Before you spend a dime on advertising, you need to understand one crucial component of your business; the customer experience. Without a great customer experience that gives your existing customers a compelling reason to return, you’re simply wasting your money on advertising.
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Poke It With A Sharp Stick - car repair is so simple...even a cave man can do it (NOT!)
There was a comedian some years ago who told a story about his ancestors from the Stone Age.  He commented on how some people felt it necessary to leave the safety of the cave to take on some huge beast with nothing more than a sharpened stick, only to be trampled to death by the same prehistoric behemoth.  He went on to say, “My relatives were the ones who stayed in the cave... how else can explain my being here?!  If my ancestors were the ones who got killed off, how would it be possible for me to be standing here telling you all about them? My relatives had the good sense to stay out of harm’s way.  Were my ancestors brave? Sure they’re brave, they’re just not stupid.”
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Defining Your Ideal Customer
We all have our favorite customers. You know who there are. They’re the ones that throw their keys on the service counter in the morning and say, “Do what you need to do and I’ll see you at 5 p.m.” They never question your price, they trust you and they keep coming back. But does that person define your true profile customer? The answer is probably yes. But it’s not the only criteria. It’s a little more complicated than that.

Defining your true profile customer starts with you. It starts with who you are, why you are in business and the culture of your company. By the way, determining your true profile customer has nothing to do with excluding certain people due to their income level. The young 23-year-old college graduate who sets aside part of her paycheck to shop at Whole Foods does so because she believes in the company and for what they stand. It’s not about what she “supposedly” can or cannot afford. She is Whole Foods’ profile customer because she aligns herself with that brand. And Whole Foods welcomes her with open arms.
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It's Doing The Same Thing --- Is it really???
Being on the mechanic's side of the counter, I've  often wondered what does "the same thing" really mean? Nearly every time a customer comes up to the service  counter, who has no background in automotive repair, or  any idea at all on how repairs are made and what's all  involved, but tells me, “It’s doing the same thing”,  I have  to ask myself… “How do they know?”  Is it really doing exactly  the same thing?  Funny, how it turns out (99.9% of the time),  that it’s NOT doing the same thing. I hear this rhetoric from customers now and then, but when my wife starts in on me with the good ol' 'It's doing the same thing', now I'm more than a little curious.  Here's an example. We were about to head on our vacation when the bulb warning light on the dash came on indicating one of the rear lights was out.  It was a side marker light on the driver’s side of the car. Easily changed and taken care of, and with all the commotion and last minute preparations, the warning light problem became a distant memory. So off we went on our little adventure.
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The Power of Rose-Colored Glasses
As a young tech, there wasn’t anything I couldn’t do. I diagnosed every car with the accuracy and skill of a Greek god. My efficiency week after week was over 150 percent, and with no comebacks. As a shop owner, I sold every job, and at a profit. Each new day was better than the day before. Boy, when I look back, I was amazing. Those were days.

OK, OK, perhaps I am stretching the truth a bit. The fact is my past was not a smoothly paved road to success, but rather an obstacle course riddled with emotional and financial potholes, with more ups and downs than the biggest rollercoaster. Was it amazing? Oh, yes. Amazing because of all the mistakes I made along the way.

As the years have piled up in my life, I often find myself thinking back to the “old days” and judge people by how “perfect” I thought I was back then. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I was a good technician and somehow evolved into an accomplished businessman. But was I really as good as I remember?
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Auto Care Association Supports Supreme Court Decision Allowing States to Collect Online Sales Tax
The Auto Care Association applauds today’s decision by the Supreme Court to permit states to collect sales tax on purchases of products made over the Internet. The 5-4 decision means that online sellers will now be on a level playing field with brick and mortar retailers regarding charging sales tax. The Auto Care Association had filed an amicus brief with other retail groups urging the Supreme Court to hear the case based on the price advantage that the current system provided on-line sellers. The decision overturns a previous Supreme Court decision that required companies to have a physical presence in the state where the purchaser resided in order to charge sales tax. 

“This is an important decision for many of Auto Care’s retail members and we are pleased that the Supreme Court saw the unfairness in the current system and determined to make everyone play by the same rules,” said Aaron Lowe, senior vice president, regulatory and government affairs, Auto Care Association. “We hope that implementation of the sales tax will be done uniformly across state lines to ensure a fair and efficient system of tax collection.
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A Gift Steve Jobs Left for Shop Owners
According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, some CEO’s are starting to understand the price they have to pay for quick profits, and many of them are now taking a different approach. Although all companies should consider their long-term growth and financial stability, there has been an ongoing challenge that today’s CEO’s face; the relentless demand for immediate profits that is put on them by their stockholders.

Look at it like this. Publicly traded companies (i.e., Delta Airlines, General Motors, etc.) are owned by stockholders just like you and me. Although small investors like us don’t have a voice with such large companies, there are Wall Street fund managers that do have their ear. These are the people that buy and sell stock in staggering lump sums, and in order to entice those fund managers to invest in their companies, and to then keep that money invested in their companies, the CEO’s need to show strong profits not just for the year, but for quarter after quarter. The CEO’s know that if they miss their earnings (profit) mark, then there is a strong probability the fund manager will consider pulling their investment, and investing their money elsewhere.

00-204-3548."
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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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The Ghost Mechanic - those mechanics that seem to leave evidence of their bad work that you find... or was it a mechanic after all?
The Ghost Mechanic

         Creepier things have happened, but rarely do things go without an explanation.  This time around it’s the mystery mechanic who seems to have been working on this guy’s car, or maybe not.  Maybe it’s that ghostly mechanic who haunts people’s cars on quiet neighborhood streets in the middle of the night. You know, that guy who leaves nothing but telltale greasy finger prints or unattached wire harnesses, or even loose bolts where loose bolts shouldn’t be. This job was no exception to the antics of the invisible mechanic’s handy work. It’s a mystery worth solving.

         A Chevy HHR was towed in for a no start condition.  It wasn’t exactly a no start; it was more like a poor starting/running condition. When it would run, the poor thing sounded like it was on its last trip to the garage and its first trip to the salvage yard.  Trying to beat it to its last ride on the tow truck, I hooked up the scanner to see what inner mysteries were present.  Code P1682 (Ignition 1 switch circuit 2), but I wasn’t done yet. Time to do a complete health check on all the modules.  Sure enough, the ‘U’ codes were off the charts.  Seems we have a lot of low voltage codes causing a problem. 

        re.
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