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ADealerTech

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ADealerTech last won the day on April 27 2015

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About ADealerTech

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    Occasional Poster

Business Information

  • Business Name
    SK Automotive
  • Business Address
    15A East Greenwich Avenue, West Warwick, Rhode Island, 02893
  • Type of Business
    Auto Repair
  • Your Current Position
    Shop Owner
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    None
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  • Participate in Training
    Yes

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  1. Hey Joe thanks for the response. I should have clarified I am looking into the various Tech Net like services each offer to find the most shop friendly one since they all require you be in either or and use them as your first call with a specific volume requirement per month to wave additional service fees.
  2. Hey Everyone! I have recently (about two years ago) gone into business for myself (no longer a dealer tech) and have actually not had to file any labor claims until this past month and it was quite a bit of a hassle. I was wondering what your experience has been with what auto parts store has been the most user friendly and reasonable reimbursement process? The places I have access to are: Advance Auto AutoZone O'Reilly Auto Napa Action Auto Parts Federated WorldPac I don't want to say which of those I am frustrated with after this go round, because I am more interested in hearing your experiences rather than any defenses of a preferred brand. I am told that Advance and Napa supposedly offer full labor rate reimbursement, but I am not sure I believe this, there must be a catch. I don't expect a full labor rate reimbursement, I understand they are paying us for the costs of replacing the part and not to profit a second time, but I also believe it needs to be a fair valuation. Thanks for any feedback!
  3. ADealerTech

    ADealerTech

  4. I'd like to offer you some inside perspective, because I honestly can see that you guys sort of have the blinders on when it comes to dealership service shops today and the techs employed. 1. On pricing, for a good number of things we match your prices or beat them, and we don't do it at a loss most times. The industry has become expensive for all of us involved, independent and dealership. The difference is the independent shops are more or less having to move their prices north to keep up with the costs, equipment, training, etc. On the other hand, the manufacturers basically have forced dealerships into buying this equipment by essentially sending it to them and adding it to their credit account with the brand. Therefore, the dealerships are not really incurring higher costs in this regard and can stay steady on labor rates with room to play to get the job. Regardless, concentrating on pricing and price wars is the completely wrong way either of you should go about it. All you have done is made customers think that this is a cheap business to be in and we all make money hand over fist. All you have done is created the very price shoppers and unreasonable customers you and the dealers all complain about together. 2. On training. Are dealer techs better trained? Yes. And no. Good independent shops have well trained technicians that can handle many, close to all the repairs a dealership can. The difference is in the fact that us dealer techs are sent to only one kind of training, the training from the manufacturer developed directly around their brand and their brand only. We do in fact know our brand better than the independent techs. Not that we are better techs, we just have specific brand oriented training and resources, and that in fact makes us better trained...on our brand. This is what the customer is thinking but not accurately stating in the comments Joe highlighted above. The question is how do independent shops overcome this? I honestly don't know at this time, but look forward to finding the answer alongside of you for the day I make the decision to go from tech to owner. My thoughts on it are that maybe independent shops have to pay for dealership training on brands that they service most in their area? Being able to put on your wall or website that you have techs trained in Brand X, Y and Z as well as a compliment of ASE certifications and independent trainings would probably be really attractive. 3. Salesmen do say whatever it takes to sell a car. It screws us in the dealership service department too. So I don't doubt that some salesmen have said that the customer HAS to take it back to us. However, I don't believe it is rampant and I think most of the customers making that statement are just pulling it out of their collective you know what. They read some sentence somewhere on the internet that might have implied that and they just ran with it. On the other hand, servicing your car with the dealership does offer unique benefits in the removal of hassle further down the line if a problem arises. The documentation is readily available and warranty claims get pushed through much faster. It's not purposefully against independents when we demand documentation or doubt documentation and delay a warranty claim on that. The problem is there are a lot of people who come in with an engine that is done for and some very obviously fake or falsified consecutive documents saying they did get the oil changes from Some Guys Shop and that the engine didn't fail because of lack of maintenance as the 200 pounds of sludge in the valve train implies. So, I think a selling point that you have to convey and spread to the masses is that you have a good documentation system. That if they need it, because they lost their copy, they can easily get copies from you whether it be e-mail, fax or in person to provide in the event that a dealership needs it. That these documents must be accepted as proof of service by the dealer and that the customer does not forfeit any of their benefits or protections by going to you. This needs to be disseminated not just by your shop, but this information needs to bleed out to the masses through popular news and information networks as a general FYI. Also, if you are one of those shops who did a favor by printing out 5 fake repair orders stating they got an oil change from you so they can screw the manufacturer warranty for their neglect, you need to stop. Do not stoop to illegitimate practices just because you THINK you are going to get a customer out of it. Let the customer deal with their failures and don't bail them out. Keeping yourself legitimate removes the scrutiny your documents will get on the dealer side for warranty claims which makes your entire premise of you can come to us and we do keep proper records that must be honored at the dealer an actual one. 4. In some ways you need to stop perpetuating the dealer versus independent war. You need to focus on that you CAN do this service, you DO have the proper equipment and they WILL be satisfied with you. Don't engage in the usual crap I see between indy and dealer techs on my automotive tech group, where each other is calling the other incompetent, monkeys, goobers, hacks, etc. Stay away from putting one down and raising the other, for the sake of our industry and to bring customer expectations on price and service in line, not make them wonder who is more of a shady hack. Focus on what your shop can offer them and that the level of work is on par or better than the dealer. There's nothing wrong with using the dealer service department, just like there is nothing wrong with using any of your shops. We all strive for the same thing, customer service and satisfaction along with quality repairs. In this day and age, with the internet especially, neither of us can afford negativity, nor can the industry, which is all we create with a versus mentality. Oh, one more thing, a lot of us dealer techs also have a strong customer service background. I will be specifically brought out to talk to a customer, answer their questions or do something minor like reset a maintenance light another shop didn't do. The reason they use me is I have a smile on my face and in my voice, I have a personable conversation with them and I know how to compliment them, such as admiring the color of their car, telling them they have a real nice, reliable vehicle that will provide them with many years of reliable use. I know how to speak on their level and in terms they understand and I ensure when we are done I bid them a nice farewell and they have no other questions or things they aren't 100% about. You need to get your techs to be like this in this day and age. The dealers are getting it, make sure you are too. If the customer feels good about the tech as a person, they believe the tech is honest, the shop is honest and they will come back because they want that nice and honest tech to work on their car. I can guarantee this, because I have a whole array of customers who drop off asking for me specifically. This will get you more customers over the dealers than anything else I mentioned.
  5. I don't understand the logic of telling someone to leave and not get their business and money to prevent someone else from leaving and not getting their money. You are just trading one person's money for another, nothing gained and nothing lost. Also I find it very hard to believe that, unless they are smoking in the chair, they are leaving the scent behind when they left, and if they are, I am even more hard up to believe that it is so strong that a little air freshener doesn't resolve it. Sounds like you are just taking personal issue with marijuana, and that sounds like a bad idea to apply to your business, because their money is green too.
  6. Yes, helps immensely. I also asked this in Facebook group I mentioned. We have finalized the first three sections of the document. I will post them here just so you guys can see what we are aiming to do:
  7. Hi Guys, I love to read here and educate myself on the other side of the shop. Often I see posts about not being able to find techs or all the new techs do not possess the skill and ability to survive in the field or to be compatible with the position you need to fill. I happen to run the Facebook group Automotive Technicians, a 12,000+ member strong community of technicians from around the country. We get a lot of aspiring technicians rolling through and they all have the same concerns, questions and difficulties getting into this field, and many more leave shortly after for a new career direction. I think we can both agree that this directly affects both us techs needing quality co-workers as it does you, the shop owners. I want to put together a document that can address much of what they need to know and answer their questions and more importantly assure them through their insecurities. New techs have a lot of apprehension and insecurity and I feel if we can control this, we can increase the quality of job seeking candidates are out there. I am going to type out some questions that will help me in this. I would really love a lot of different people to respond. If this is not agreeable with the administration here, I understand, and will understand if this gets deleted. Our group is open for shop owners and managers to join, though admittedly some conversations may not sit well with owners and managers, I feel it is best we open the lines of communication and better this industry as a whole. Thanks for your time in reading this and thanks to anyone who answers the questions. I will be checking often, so if you need any clarification on a question, just PM me. --- Questions --- 1. How important is it that a new technician looking for employment with your shop has previously attended a dedicated automotive technician program? Do you prefer that the individual had gone to a nationally recognized school or a local community school? Are there any schools you are more inclined to hire from? Are there any schools your are less inclined to hire from? 2. What sort of tools do you expect a new technician entering the field have on day one of work in your shop? (Detailed lists welcome, but not expected.) 3. What level of pay do you expect to pay new technicians fresh out of school? (A range is best here, it's just to give them expectations.) 4. With this job being all about experience, how do you intend to handle technicians growth? Will you start them with oil changes and then keep feeling them out with more and more difficult jobs until they have the experience needed? Do you like to let them work alongside your more advanced techs to learn? (I find most technicians learn best from observing and then doing, rather than book instruction.) 5. What sort of information do you look for on an application and/or resume? Do you want a detailed tool inventory? Should they provide pictures of their tools? What sort of contacts do you prefer (remember this is for new technicians) to have listed? 6. What is your expectation for the amount of mistakes they will make? What sort of mistakes do you expect? What sort of mistakes do you expect to not see? 7. How can a new technician identify if they have what it takes or not? What level of learning is too slow? 8. How much time over book do you expect and allow for them to complete jobs when they are new? Will you speak with them when they are not meeting your expectation, if so, will you work with them or let them go? 9. What indicates to you that a tech is hungry to learn and how much are you willing to do to advance him beyond oil changes and other basic tasks if he shows aptitude/interest? 10. What are some bad habits that you would like new techs to be aware of and avoid? 11. (Final question.) In your opinion what is the best way for a new technician to develop diagnostic and electrical skills that are in short demand in this industry.
  8. I think the simple solution is that if some input is wrong, not just an opinion that you disagree with, it can be politely corrected. I have been here a year now and read most topics. I very rarely see a tech post on things that a tech could not have sufficient experience or knowledge of. I am not trying to downplay the management role at all, I have been in that role and know it's stresses and situations that call for decisions that seem odd to employees because they don't have all the facts laid out. I also know some things are pretty darn transparent and most people can understand them and give useful advice. I think the OP should quote these specific threads and explain logically how a tech in that thread would not have valuable insight. Otherwise don't rock the boat. Sometimes people outside the box can point out observations that find real solutions that were previously unseen. I run a Facebook group for techs and we allow shop owners, advisors, DIYers and Joe Public. It has allowed many of us to clear up misconceptions and adapt outside the box ideas to positively affect our day to day. We are also in the process of completing a forum. So if any tech wants something more focused to them inbox me. Otherwise, I am educated, I have management experience and plan to open a shop. If I see something that I know I can provide an alternative view on or provide a factual analysis from my experience than I will add it thoughtfully.
  9. I think it is silly to just assume a tech has no business sense, or experience in another field at management. To state the techs here are 19 year old quick lube guys is reaching at best. A lot of techs are vested more in the business than just "I fix the cars." If the business suddenly closed tomorrow the tech is out of a job and an income. Techs are also on the front lines, all the business decisions made affect them and they personally witness the fruition or futility of certain decisions. A lot of large corporations include methods for their employees on all levels to make recommendations or suggestions on things that should change in how the business is run. I personally received the World Class Service award for one of my suggestions at Bank of America for increasing customer satisfaction with some suggested policy changes, it also came with a very nice financial reward. There is a difference between a tech telling you how to handle your insurance obligations and choices versus whether or not a brake lathe is a worthwhile investment. The techs know how much business comes in because of the turned rotors option, they know how often they are over there using the machine, how many hours they get paid off it (which directly correlates to how many hours the customer pays to the shop). Techs are held responsible for their comebacks in the flat rate world. We have to do it again for free if it came out bad, and therefore, we can accurately state how many issues arise due to comebacks for a specific type of job. My job posts our comeback rates per tech, per issue and cumulative for the shop along with many other statistics for us all to review in the break room. Heck, I know my shops average gross is around 200,000.00 a month between parts and service. I know our average overhead is around 40,000.00 per month. I know that overhead includes the paychecks of all hourly and flat rate techs. I know the advisors and parts guys get paid off the net of 160,000.00 and that their paycheck is determined by the previous month. They get 0.6% of that net per week the following month. I know my manager is paid off the gross. I know the parts manager gets 0.7 on the net. So to think that all techs do not have a clue about all things business is foolish. If I post something, it is because I have direct knowledge or experience about what I am posting about and can offer an alternative point of view. Not because I am a tech, but because I am a highly educated and motivated person who is here to learn from others of the same type.
  10. Those times are per axle, so 2.0 for just the fronts and 2.0 for just the rear.
  11. Since you haven't provided anything relevant other than assumptions of what I do and don't know about what goes on in the place of business I work at. I will just say this: I hold an automotive service degree, which I obtained after I was laid off from my previous job, which was an investment advisor for Bank of America. I also hold a finance degree, which was required to hold the job I had. So, I have a little idea of how business works, and by a little, since I helped advise owners of companies multiple 100s of times larger than yours, I mean a lot. I also am currently working on my business management degree, so that when I do finally pull the trigger on my own shop, I will have an excellent shot at staying solvent and viable. Notice how I said shop? That is because I already am an actual business owner, I am registered with the state of RI and carry a personal liability rider and report all my side work as income to keep legitimate and build a client base for my future endeavors. So I do know a little something about running a business of my own as well. Furthermore, I happen to be the one living in Rhode Island, seeing the prices of dealers and independents in my specific area and it qualifies me a whole lot more than you to know what is a deal for the area. Lastly, anyone can open a business, it does not mean they have good business sense, or any sort of authority over knowledge on how to run one. Your contempt for techs tells me a lot about you.
  12. I have worked at Subaru and now Hyundai. We turn rotors if we can, which is more often than not. For warranty work we have to use the on-car, if not we can use either-or. We get a lot of brake jobs. Even though our labor rate is high at 105.00, our brake jobs costs are generally lower than the independent shops who (in my opinion, foolishly) only go the new rotors route. We have flat pricing for our brands. 249.95 includes new OEM pads and hardware, turned rotors, serviced calipers for the rear, 299.95 for the same in the front. If it is an off brand pricing varies, but it usually all falls between 199.95 and 299.95. Our brake jobs with turned rotors still take an hour or less for any of our techs to do, I usually get them out in 50 minutes time. Our comeback rate on them is low as well. We charge 0.5 for the turning of rotors per axle. So if they need new rotors it now becomes 199.95 + cost of rotors for the rear, or 249.95 + cost of rotors for the front. This is OEM of course. The average cost of rotors is around 69.95, so we are talking about 339.95 rear or 389.95 front. It's a substantial savings in the customer's eyes. Average brake job with rotors at an indy shop around here is about 299.95 to 399.95, and I couldn't tell you in good conscious what brand parts that includes. Most of them refuse to turn rotors, which helps us stay busy with gravy brakes. Our techs get paid 2.0 with a resurface or 1.5 with replacements.
  13. As a technician, I spend a lot of time with these ROs, doing these cheap oil changes. I have taken the time to peruse the vehicle service history and notice that it is all oil changes and all coincides around the date of our mailings. I see previous recommendations, including the gravy stuff like brakes. You will see when they come back at the next coupon mailing that the brakes are nice and new, but your shop didn't do them, but you are stuck with the 19.95 loss leader oil change time and time again. I have always said to myself, when it comes time to open my shop, that I will not bother with these. The type of people not willing to pay a fair price for an oil change (29.95 to 49.95 depending on vehicle capacity, filter and oil type) are not the customers you want. They almost always never end up doing any upsells which was the point of getting them through the door with the coupon in the first place. Let Jiffy Lube have them with their horrid service from unqualified techs. http://www.jiffylubeproblems.info -- it exists for a reason. A friend of mine has a better system in place. I don't remember all the details, but if you bring in a vehicle for an oil change with-in +/- 50 miles of the recommended interval from their last sticker, you get 2 points. +/- 100 miles and you get 1 point. Every 5 points you can get a discounted oil change or save up to 10 points and get an oil change with a free tire rotation. I figure this can be customized to offer many different bonuses at multiple point levels. It will have the same desired affect of building customer loyalty and getting them through the door for upsells, but it will not affect your bottom line as negatively, if at all.
  14. I will post from a tech's perspective, but first I want to say, our tool truck comes the same day, the same time, each and every week. Perhaps the shop owner/manager should not be scheduling directly at that time, or schedule lighter? Expecting them to finish an oil change and then do their business is one thing, expect them to finish that brake job they just got the wheels off for is another. When the tool truck arrives, we need to get our tool purchases taken care of, our bills paid, our questions answered and our warranties fulfilled. Those tools are what are making us money and in direct relation making you money. There are some battles you should avoid and this is one of them. If I had a manager who got upset at that 15-20 minutes, if that, that isn't even every week as we do not make the kind of money required to be purchasing these tools every week, I would secretly be looking for a new job to push my box into. Maybe that doesn't resonate with you, because I am some random tech on the internet, but how do you know your A guy isn't feeling the exact same way? Can you afford to lose a quality tech over this? On top of that, Snap-On and Matco and Mac and Cornwell, and whoever else comes by your shop, do not have store fronts. We cannot go around chasing them on their routes, because we need to be at work too, most of them are cautious about meeting up with you after work because if they are caught selling on an area that is covered by someone else's route, even if it is your house, they get in a lot of trouble. Nor do I feel I should have to do this. No shop is helping me with the 40,000.00 of tools that I have acquired, so please do not make my infrequent and short visits on the truck difficult. I also only get a 30 minute lunch, at my manager's discretion, for a 10+ hour day, no other breaks, so call it my one 15 minute break for the week.


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