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rpllib last won the day on December 10 2018

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About rpllib

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    Occasional Poster

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
  • Website
  • Banner Program
  • Participate in Training
  • 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. This is truly great advice!!! Thank You for sharing. We have wasted our free calls for far to long, which means we have wasted hundreds of training opportunities. We are introducing a new practice in our store where we will be using our free calls every month and encourging techs and service writers to use the paid service whenever they feel it prudent. $37 is incredibly cheap for technical assistance. Thank you for the insight. This should be a post under it's own heading. Randy
  2. I suspect there is no less than 100 different automotive service coaching organizations in existence today. Only a handful are referenced in the following information. You will probably have more than one during your time in this industry. A good start to learn specific information would be any industry or trade groups in your area. This link may help with that: https://www.automotivemanagementnetwork.com/automotive-service-association/ Below are a couple resources designed to help you make a good decision when it comes to hiring a "good fit", that may be helpful: https://www.ratchetandwrench.com/articles/3211-coach
  3. rpllib


  4. 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.
  5. 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
  6. 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.
  7. Going on thirty eight years and still learning everyday. Thanks Joe, great tip
  8. 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
  9. 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....
  10. 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
  11. 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.
  12. Use and modify as you please. Glad it will help
  13. 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.
  14. 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

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