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rpllib last won the day on December 10 2018

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About rpllib

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Business Information

  • Business Name
    Midas of Kalkaska
  • Business Address
    202 Elm Street, Kalkaska, Michigan, 49646
  • Type of Business
    Auto Repair
  • Your Current Position
    Shop Owner
  • Automotive Franchise
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  • Your Mission Statement
    Our purpose at Midas of Kalkaska is to build trust and create lifelong partnerships with our customers, our community , our employees and our vendor partners. Through these positive relationships built on the core values of trust, fairness and honesty, we will provide value and safety to our customers, support to our communities, security for our employees and vendors, and a reasonable profit for our efforts.

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  1. rpllib


  2. We also spent our share of years chasing money, and really sucking at collecting. We do not have a tow truck, although if i would have thought of it, I would have been more than willing to threaten a tow. It did eventually sink in that i am not a bank, so i should let the professionals handle deciding who to give out credit to. We started with Synchrony a couple decades or more ago with 90 days same as cash and now 6 months same as cash. I decided that the extra .5% for the discount rate was worth it and if they couldn't get approved, there was a good chance that I shouldn't approve them either. Historically we see a about a 50% approval rate with more being approved then not in the last year or so. We get access to the program as part of our certified service center program with Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper. We also have available the CFNA program through another program we are part of. The backend advantage besides getting paid, is that it makes future transactions much easier with the same customer. Today I have a call with a representative from West Creek Financial for a program that will approve 20-30% of those that Synchrony or CFNA won't approve. We are big believers in having financing programs available. We are also in a small rural community, not necessarily smaller than yours by population, but our percentage of households with 75k or more in household income is about 1/2 of yours and our percentage of households with at least one 4 year degree in the household is about 1/2 of yours as well( Holton). In any case, we are both in small rural communities. I find the visual of "number of traffic stoplights in the COUNTY" helps folks understand what my definition of rural is. We have two traffic stoplights in the county and three blinking caution lights. I suspect yours is similar(Jackson). I relate this information for the benefit of other readers. For some subjects relating to automotive service, it can be somewhat different, doing business in communities our size. I would encourage looking into having the ability of offering at least one of these type programs available in your store. I clearly remember the transition from in house financing to Synchrony and how much easier it was to let folks know that although we do not have in house financing, we do have an option for them. I am equally looking forward to having an option for those that tell you right up front that they won't get approved. I am hopeful that Westcreek is an answer for those folks.
  3. Today, I came across the following screencast that I made earlier this year for my staff and my suppliers. It seems like it fits into this conversation somewhere. Click on link to view https://1drv.ms/u/s!Ap7ibKYluQae7VhVMw958evEYhzW Randy
  4. I hope others learn to look forward to paying taxes before they spend an entire career wishing they had enough profits to worry about having to pay taxes. How many times have i heard "it's a write off". Most of those times I had no need for any more "write off's" "Cash reserve", what an incredible feeling. "75% of profits in the bank", Good. 25% to Uncle Sam, well that's good too. Pretty cheap for everything we have to be thankful for. None of it is possible without profit.
  5. Going on thirty eight years and still learning everyday. Thanks Joe, great tip
  6. Your experience has obviously been different then mine. We are not an econo line shop in any way shape or form and it would be a fair statement that we never use the cheapest part available. We also don't tend to use the very most expensive part available. We have used this methodology for many years with success. . It is my contention that far too many parts that you might labeled as "premium" (which are the majority of parts we use) are nothing of the sort and that it is our suppliers that make the determination of what quality of parts we have available. Many premium lines have far too many instances of early failures. If you are a European or import specialists, you may not be seeing the level of issues we see as general repair shops. My whole point is that we (shop owners)need to demand better quality from our suppliers and stop being most concerned with price. I suspect most experienced shop owners would tell you that it costs you gross profit dollars to use cheap parts. That is just the nature of matrix's. In the meantime, while we wait for quality to reverse direction, this new warranty program seemed like a suitable stop gap. Thanks for the reply and another opportunity to clarify my intentions
  7. I believe one of the challenges we have in this industry is that there is a metric/kpi that we do not embrace. If we spent some time tracking gross profit dollars per hour of tech/shop/equipment time, we might figure out quickly that we simply can't afford to install customer supplied parts at any of the old/average methods we have used in the past. In my shop we need to produce $140 in gross profit dollars for every hour the shop/tech/equipment is in production. That's to just start being happy/profitable. Even a tire tech in my store will produce $140 in gross profit dollars an hour of tech/shop/equipment time, mounting and balancing a new set of tires. Yet, in many cases when this subject come up, we are talking about tying up a seasoned technician on much higher skilled work, for substantially less gross profit dollars per hour. Same amount of tech/shop/equipment time is necessary, regardless of who supplies the parts or tires. All we really have ever sold is shop/tech/equipment time. Parts margin as a contribution towards the total shop charge, was decided on long, long ago. Likely because shop owners did not have the courage to charge enough "labor". It's yet to be seen, what if any factor of labor, will produce the same gross profit dollars. I haven't figured it out. The variables of sales mix and individual productivity make it a moving target for sure. We may find that taking two minutes educating customers on the "why" of customer supplied parts, will help us as an industry, in the long run. We educate them to the fact that it saves very little (very little if any!) as shifts to a "shop rate", which is substantially higher than the labor rate by itself. We frequently see a glimmer of understanding, when we explain that what we ultimately charge for, is the amount of time that our shop/techs and equipment are tied up. This industry has always been a test of our courage and educational skills....
  8. Bob Lots of good advice in these reply's. I have attended 3 of their one day work shops and they are always worth while in my opinion, as long as you apply some of the filters outlined in the other reply's. Your store would not be a typical ATI client, yet everything they (as well as most management training organizations) work with you on, will show you benefit to the degree your market and your engagement will allow. Just to be clear, I did not say it wouldn't work in your market, i said it would work to the degree your market and level of engagement with the process, will allow. Having a connection to most management trainers, will make you a better shop. You just may not see the kinda of benefit, others in stronger markets might see. The reply from Smart Automotive demonstrates that to a point. I have seen other cases where shops in low potential markets take a hit when first signing up with a management training organization. That hit, is kind of a right of passage, in my opinion. Attached is an informal market analysis of your market, plus both the old and the new Smart Automotive locations, as well as various other market locations throughout the country. About 100 or so. Your automotive retail market potential score puts you in the very low end of the markets compared there. That does not mean you can't be successful. It may mean that you don't have the luxury of making a lot of mistakes when it comes to how and where you spend your training dollars. Randy misc2.xlsx
  9. Just as a quick update. I was not looking for another AVC27 but came across the one pictured on ebay, while looking for an image to include in my original post. After thinking about it, I bought the tool pictured above for $400 the next day. We did not necessarily need another one, but the fact that image showed that this unit had a new "barrel" convinced me it would be a good purchase, as that is essentially the only wear item on the tool. Works like a charm. Good purchase.
  10. Use and modify as you please. Glad it will help
  11. We have embraced technology in our shop at perhaps a higher degree than many, not as much as some. Technology (including the www and all of the digital platforms and resources) that we have had widely available for the last 20 years, is the number one tool in our store and it has given us a definite competitive advantage, especially in the earlier days. So, technology is our number one tool but it is not what I want to call attention to in regards to your question. The tool that stands out, hands down above most others is our usage of the Ingersoll Rand AVC series of air hammers. Some might think, Whatttt??? (hack?, get a bigger hammer?, beat the hell of of it?) But you don't have to beat the hell out of it or damage parts, if you are using the right tool in experienced hands. We are in northern Michigan and we believe in heavy doses of salt on our roads 6 months of the year. The byproduct of that is "things that don't move". The Ingersoll Rand AVC series hammers have been second to none, from my first experience with an AVC13 40 years ago, to our current tool of choice the AVC27, at getting things to move. This is a highly controllable tool with a trigger that allows experienced hands to run it from 60 hard hits per minute (that's minute, not second) to more than enough to move most things that you might need to, where vibration and force is the appropriate choice. I am convinced that we have no other tool in the shop that has delivered a higher ROI, other than technology. Image attached. The large flat mushroom bits are the most used.
  12. We recently switched to the attached. The explanation to my staff is also attached. As it says somewhere, this is not a good thing. The real eye opener for me was when i looked at the cost of paying a technician to perform warranty work (minimal) compared to the lost gross profit dollars per billable hour`(substantial), while they are tied up on parts failure related warranty labor. We are not the "economy" parts kind of shop, and most in our little town would tell you that their is nothing economy about the service we provide. We will no longer be fooling ourselves into believing that a part line is acceptable just because it is the best that any of my suppliers stock. I believe is offering my customers choices, but it is time we share the risks as well. We will still be taking care of customers like we always have, but sure hope to minimize the number of third warranties in a 24 month period. Service and Parts Warranty July 2018 dist.docx New warranty terms as of july 1 2018.docx
  13. Great story, thanks for sharing. i have had a few aha moments in my career. Never regretted any of them.
  14. The following are posts I made on the AOCA website outlining an issue(potential nightmare) we had on 2017 Chevrolet Colorado: Randy_Lucyk Joined: Dec 21, 2011 Total Posts: 83 Feb 8, 2018 3:03 PM Unfortunately, I believe this is exactly what this may turn into for shops and consumers. We recently had a report of an oil filter failure on a 2017 Chevrolet Colorado with 13304 miles on the truck and the issue occurred 400 miles after our oil change. Customer had a check engine light come on so he headed right off to the dealer to have it checked under warranty. It had a VVT code stored and the dealer started looking into the issue. They found the filter failure and sent a picture of the image off to the customer. We used a Performax P0171 filter. The customer sent me the attached image of the obviously failed filter. I am immediately highly concerned, but the dealer is being unusually understanding of the failure. We spend some time with the service manager and find out that their appears to be an issue starting to show up on these vehicles, where the stand pipe in the filter housing is coming off with the old filter and being disposed of without the techs knowledge. We had great video of the oil change and their was nothing visible with the old filter as it was removed. The premises is that without the standpipes restricting/diverting functionality in place, full oil flow is blowing out the filter and the everything flows right down the filter housing port into the cylinder heads and remainder of the motor and plugs up components and passages. We asked for a picture of the filter housing and received image 2 attached. This appears that it may be a problem starting in 17 model year, but i can't be sure of that yet. I am digging for additional info now and will update as more information becomes available. Randy_Lucyk Joined: Dec 21, 2011 Total Posts: 83 Feb 9, 2018 7:59 AM This appears to be both a GM issue and a in-shop issue. Now that I see the notification GM released last week, i believe this issue occurred at the original oil change prior to the one we did. As I said, we had great video of the open end of the old filter as we removed it from the vehicle and I don't believe this stand pipe could have possibly been inside. Their is also no evidence of the tech struggling with anything "down in there" other then the normal A/C line interference issue. . Looking at the design and the A/C line interference, I suspect that the stand pipe is being knocked loose as the filter is being "angled" around the A/C lines to get the old one out. I suspect the oring on the stand pipe is the only thing holding it in the oil filter housing. Once the standpipe is disposed of, the housing has to be replaced, as the stand pipe is not available separately. The housings are in short supply with only three left in the country on dealers shelves and none in Gm distribution centers. Their is a new part number for the housing and those are not available yet. Original pt# 12675707 and new pt# 12682014. Looking at the attached illustrations and notice, it would not be easy to completely miss the fact that a problem was evident. The stand pipe looks too big to me to be easily missed. I suspect it is plastic and the words "housing cracked" was mentioned in the conversation with the service manager. I wonder if the stand pipe is actually cracking during removal of the filter, making it difficult/impossible to reinstall. If we did not do it, then why the old filter had not failed yet ours did, comes into question. Cold weather "full oil flow" was also mentioned in the conversation with the service manager, and those were the conditions at the time of the failure. The images also create some questions for me. The new housing does not appear to be identical to the OE installed housing, so is it an already redesigned housing? The filter bulletin in the Napa/Wix box talks about an update to the filter to include a check valve in the top of the filter. Our old filter does not appear to have this check valve, the Napa/Wix does and our new stock P0171 filters also have it. Looking at the design of the stand pipe in the new housing, it would almost appear that the small nipple on the end of the stand pipe might make more sense if it fit into the open hole of the old filter. The stand pipe design almost seems wrong for the filter with the check valve, unless it is shorter than it looks and never reaches the upper end of the filter. Would be great if the next shop to have one of these off would post some additional pics to try and help reduce confusion. Based on the notice from Gm, this does indeed look like it could get ugly. Although, this dealer covered all the extensive engine repairs under warranty(heads pulled, all new timing components, cleaning passages), i am not convinced all dealers will take that approach. In my case, it was nice(incredible?) to see GM step up and take responsibility. It helped that my customer (owner of the Colorado) retired from a GM primary supplier dealing with issues exactly like this for the later half of his career. He knew the right people to call to get the info needed to drill down to the root cause. Randy Lucyk Midas Kalkaska

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