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IntegrityAutoCare

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IntegrityAutoCare last won the day on April 19 2013

IntegrityAutoCare had the most liked content!

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About IntegrityAutoCare

  • Rank
    Experienced Poster

Business Information

  • Business Name
    Integrity Auto Care
  • Type of Business
    Auto Repair
  • Your Current Position
    Shop Owner
  • Automotive Franchise
    None
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  • Certifications
    ASE
  1. ok, thanks for the responses guys! My business is in Arkansas so I will look on my quarterly filing form and see if there is a place to report tax exempt invoice totals.
  2. Hey I have a non-profit business that is wanting me to do work for them and is sales tax exempt. How do I handle that? I mean, I can easily erase the sales tax from the invoice, but what else do I need to do and keep record of to make sure everything is legal on my end?
  3. Ok, before you all begin assaulting and attacking me for being a half ass mechanic...let me explain: I AM NOT posting this because I make a practice of replacing only one brake rotor or because I want to argue a case in favor of such practice. I, like most of you I imagine, have always been taught and trained to replace/refinish brake rotors ONLY in pairs. NO EXCEPTIONS. Or else the world will explode! haha...ok, well, maybe not the world I guess. But presumably something really bad will happen. But do any of you ever get asked by the customer WHY you had to replace both rotors when only one was "bad"? What do you tell them? Do you just make something up, spout off the same generic response that your old boss/instructor/teacher/mentor, etc. told to you about how you need rotors of the same thickness for equal stopping force blah blah blah or do you actually KNOW the concrete scientific reasoning behind this "universal truth"? I myself am a little fuzzy on the details. It seems like I am constantly having to explain to customers that I had to replace BOTH brake rotors, but when they ask me why, I don't really know exactly. I'm hoping you guys can help me out with either a detailed explanation or a link to some technical artical that will explain it. I will also accept personal experience as evidence such as "I tried replacing only one rotor one time and the customer was back the very next week in a full body cast with his lawyer pushing the wheel chair." Ready: GO
  4. I wanted to get you guys' opinion/recommendation on transmission fluid additives? Are there any good ones out there? I am generally not an additive kind of guy as I have seen all too many times the horrific issues "stop leak in a bottle" type additives cause. I have heard, though, when it comes to transmissions that some non-stop leak type additives can actually help free up valves and such in an old transmission. Some of the names I have heard good things about specifically are Trans-X and SeaFoam Trans. additive. I really have a very limited experience with automatic transmission and to be honest don't understand them that well, I was hoping some of you transmission re-builders/gurus could help me out on this one. Is there any that you would wholeheartedly recommend or am I better off not adding anything at all? Thanks in advance, Joe
  5. Fair enough. I know the type you're referring to: beer in one hand, wrench in the other..."cash only please". That's not me, though. I try to operate my business with a degree of professionalism that lets the customers know that I am NOT just another backyard mechanic. I have never known a backyard mechanic to purchase liability insurance. I have never known a backyard mechanic to set daily and weekly hours of business and stick to them rigidly....professional uniform, shirt tucked in, coffee in hand, ready to go to work at 8am. I have never known a backyard mechanic to buy subscriptions to professional auto resources such as Mitchell ProDemand and IATN. I have never known a backyard mechanic to remit sales tax to the state government. And I have never known a backyard mechanic to join a business owner specific forum in an effort to IMPROVE the quality of service and professionalism that he has to offer his customers. I can understand your frustration and your reservations about back yard mechanics, but I just want you to know that you have pegged me all wrong. It's true that you and I disagree on the parts markup issue (as do many other shop owners on this thread) which is fine with me. To be fair I wasn't really even arguing that EVERY shop should sell parts at cost or that it's all around better business practice. I only stated my case that I don't mark up parts and that it is a decision I feel very good about. It is working out well for MY business. At this point we will just have to agree to disagree, and perhaps some time in the future when I see the error of my ways I will come back to this thread and give credit where credit is due to all of you who have told me explicitly that not marking up parts is a BAD IDEA. As far as warranties go, I do warranty my work. I value my good name above making an extra dollar. A lot of my customers are actually social acquaintances or past co-workers as well and as such they KNOW ME and they know the degree of integrity that is an integral part of my entire life, not just my business. None of them have to worry that I won't warranty work or won't be here tomorrow. Even if I went out of business tomorrow, if a mistake that I made caused a problem for one of my customers I would endeavor to still make it right; NOT for the sake of my defunct business, but for the sake of my GOOD NAME. Almost all of my daily business is from repeat customers who have been doing business with me from the beginning....some of which recognized the quality of repair work which I have to offer from the five years that I worked at a (now closed) independent repair shop previously and have followed me over and become loyal customers of my current repair business. I extend to you the olive branch of peace. I harbor no ill will toward you. I am open to any and all advice and criticism about my business decisions and practices as long as it remains devoid of personal insults. I have worked very hard to build my business into what it is now, and as others have said: Everybody has to start somewhere.
  6. I am at the other end of this spectrum. In many ways I am that boy riding the scooter just starting out in business for himself doing what he loves. I suspect that the sooner I learn these lessons you long timers share on this forum the better off I will be!
  7. I agree. At the end of the day I have no one to answer to except God, myself, and my customers. ALL the responsibility, ALL the blame, but also ALL the reward falls on me for the quality and amount of work that I put into my business. It can be stressful, but also can be fun and exciting. I wouldn't trade it for any regular "job" in the world, no matter how much the pay was!
  8. I apologize, on my part, for any perceived disrespect I have shown towards fellow shop owners on this forum...I can assure you ALL it was not my intention. I have the utmost respect for the multi-bay shop owner and am quite aware of the fact that most of you guys are operating businesses that are on a whole different caliber than mine is at this point. I know I have a LOT to learn (that's why I'm here) and I hope that I can continue to do so through these discussions and the constructive criticism that you guys have for me, but also please keep in mind that in the same way that you don't want your business to be like mine, I may not want a business just like yours either. I am very happy with my business model as it is right now, it suits my needs perfectly. Maybe some day I will be ready to expand my business into a multi-bay brick and mortar shop with employees and the like, but for now that is not my aspiration. My goal is simply to be able to pay my own bills while doing something that I enjoy and providing a needed service to my customers. I say "simply" because that is my whole theme in life right now, I am looking to keep things as simple as possible (if I had my way everyone would go back to ZERO emission horse and buggy transportation! *lol*). I can see that running a multi-bay shop and keeping up with employees (as I am certain all of YOU are aware) is a much more complex and complicated endeavor than my little "one man show" and for that reason I am purposefully avoiding it at this stage in the game. I also want to commend the ASO staff for stepping in and refocusing this conversation away from the direction of non-constructive criticism and personal insults that it was migrating toward. I admire you guy's commitment to excellence in the upkeep and moderation of your forum! Keep up the good work!
  9. I've taken a lot of insults on this thread, man...but seriously? I don't owe you a damn thing. It's called free enterprise. You act like me and all the other shops and your customers OWE YOU a living and you should just be able to charge whatever price you want and they should be GLAD to pay it because you DESERVE to make money. Nothing comes for free. Offer the customers a service they need at a price they can afford and they will keep coming back. Nobody likes a bully. Next thing I know you are going to be coming to my house at night slashing my tires trying to strong-arm anyone who "undersells" you. To my knowledge I have not mocked or insulted a single person on this forum. If you disagree with me that's fine, I'm not asking you to like it, but the way you (and maybe a couple others on this thread) are acting is not beneficial to ANYONE.
  10. My rule of thumb for marking up parts is that if I can get the part cheaper than what the customer can get it themselves then I have good reason to mark it up. Most discounts on parts and supplies are based on a bulk purchases that the customer could not possibly have access to. I guess in my mind for it to make sense to the customer you have to be actually offering them something to charge them for it. If you offer them the exact same part and the exact same availability as somewhere else down the road except you charge them MORE for it then why would they choose to get it from you instead of the other place? And then, in their minds, we exacerbate the issue by getting angry with them or charging them an EXTRA fee to install a part that they got at that other place down the road. The customer is just trying to save money, they don't care that you have high overhead and a CSA to pay. To THEM it looks like you are just trying to price gouge them by charging more for a part they could just as easily get themselves to save some money.
  11. Not sure if these questions are designed to be or leading into a jab at me personally or at Mobile Auto Mechanics in general or both or neither, but let me just preface my answers by saying that I am very well aware that a lot of the rules that apply to a 10 bay shop do not apply to me, or at least do not affect me nearly as much. The implications of a 10 bay shop not marking up parts is likely to be quite a bit different than a 1 man mobile mechanic not marking up parts. I am not necessarily even recommending that EVERYONE immediately stop marking up their parts on ethical or any other grounds. Being a Mobile Auto Repair business, I have overall much less overhead than a regular shop and therefore I can afford to charge a lower labor rate than everyone else. I can also afford to NOT mark up parts. I am my own receptionist, janitor, supervisor, CSA, accountant, maintenance man, etc etc etc...so I don't have all the costs associated with paying individual people for each one of those positions. This is the way I have chosen to structure my business and I am very pleased with the way it is working out. Let me also say for the record, perhaps because of my personality or maybe because of my religious or social background I am NOT in this business to make money (at least not lots of it...*lol*). I started my business because I wanted to do something that I felt was meaningful and helpful to people and that I could do QUALITY work and be satisfied in my Job. I have worked factories and I have worked Corporate Retail jobs and I have worked in the food industry and NONE of those jobs could give me what I seek in that regard. The bottom line FOR ME is, the less overhead I require, the less I have to charge my customers in order to make enough profit to keep my business going. The less I have to charge my customers, the MORE satisfied they will be with me and more likely they will come back. I can then be picky about my customers (weeding out the good ones from the bad) which improves my overall personal satisfaction in life not having to deal with the stress. I am not sure that I completely understand the exact reason for your first question or even what you mean by it. The relationship between a shop's labor rate and a shop's overhead is only associated by the fact that the labor rate drives revenue and the revenue is what pays the overhead costs. So in that sense, yes, the labor rate is somewhat dependent on the shop's overhead. But in the sense that I think you may be asking my answer would probably be "not necessarily." I DO NOT think that a shop's labor rate should be dependent on overhead in the sense that the bigger the shop is the higher their labor rate should be. The labor rate should be dependent on the quality of service provided....this is what the customer is ACTUALLY paying us for.
  12. This is probably true, but is the REAL problem the stores that sell the low quality parts or the customers who are ignorant enough to buy them? Stores will always sell what the customers want. It is just unfortunate how negatively this impacts our trade. This is the whole point of this thread though, "A good name is more to be desired than great riches". Its a companies NAME is all we have to go by at this point. We need to put our heads together and find companies that are putting out quality parts so we don't all end up cursing under our breath as we install that 3rd defective alternator.
  13. Yes, sorry, I didn't mean to insinuate that NAPA's premium parts weren't still good and probably much better than whatever AZ or Advanced calls "premium", but my only problem is not knowing who the actual manufacturer of the parts is due to the NAPA stamp on everything. Things like brake pads are a pretty easy comparison between parts stores (they each seem to carry their own "house brands") but when it comes to things like power steering pumps or reman axles I like to know who the manufacturer/remanufacturer is as I doubt NAPA actually has their own line of EVERY part. Electrical parts are the same way, I bought an HVAC mode door actuator motor from NAPA a while back and it ended up being junk. Something about the specs when they made it were off, because the armature was clocked wrong and didn't line up with the hole when the motor was at rest position so it caused strain on the motor and kept stripping the little plastic gears inside the motor. I replaced it 4 times over the course of about 8 months (each time under warranty) until finally I told them I just wanted a refund so I could buy an actuator motor from the dealer. They told me they could not refund, only replace under warranty. Then they said I would have to have the original box (from 8 months ago????). I told them I understood why they couldn't just hand out refunds to every tom dick and harry that installed an electrical part and then brought it back 2 months later as "defective", but that I was losing time and money every time I installed another one of their parts and if I had known that it was cheap piece of junk when I bought it I never would have bought it from them in the first place! The part just said NAPA on it, which is a name I THOUGHT I could trust and that would stand behind their "quality" parts. I told them that if they didn't stand behind their parts then it would make it very difficult for me to do business with them in the future. This whole thing was over a $50 part! You would think a commercial customer would be worth more to them than that. Just for the record, after I refused to leave the store without a refund (yup, I had to become one of THOSE customers) they finally shelled it out and I bought one from the dealer which had ZERO tension when I installed it and has been working flawlessly ever since. My point is there is probably only ONE aftermarket company that manufactures those specific replacement motors (Dorman I think) and all the part stores sell the same thing. While everyone else sells DORMAN parts, NAPA sells the same part and slaps the NAPA name on it as if it is theirs, but it's the same (in this case) defective part. To give you a comparison, I do most of my business through Advance Auto. Four months ago I bought a BWD ignition module/coils assembly from them for a Cadillac at $267.00. I replaced the spark plugs on that car at the same time and last week I get the car back with a misfire. Turns out to be one of the ignition coils on that module I bought has already failed! Poor quality. I called and told them the situation and asked if I could get a refund because I wanted to get an OEM Delco coil assembly for this car so that I didn't have to deal with this again in another 4 months. They gave me a full refund with no fuss (even though just like NAPA the Warranty states only "Lifetime Free Replacement") and I continue to give them my business for just that reason.


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