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Everything posted by rpllib

  1. Your Welcome. It is a tough concept to get your head around. I can only imagine what took place in the past, that caused these complications to become law.
  2. That is exactly correct. The inverse of that, is being sure you know what the effect of those "overtime makeup wages" are when you establish the bonus amount. The way we calculate the bonus is completely up to us. We make sure that when we put a bonus plan is place, the total amount bonused is the what we would have bonused anyway, if we did not understand the process necessary to make non-discretionary bonus's legal. We label the "overtime makeup wage" as "premium overtime" and it is listed as such on all pay reports, checks, and ADP data entry forms. Where we get in trouble is when we create bonus plans that deliver all the dollars we intended to give, and then find out we owe additional dollars for overtime consideration, on the bonused amount.
  3. This entire reply is generally applicable if you have employees that work more than 40 hours per week. Most, if not all, of the trouble owners get into is caused by calculating overtime incorrectly. If your folks work more than 40 hours and you pay some form of pay based on "do this, get that", then their is a high likelihood you will owe additional "premium overtime" on your employees wages. If your folks always work less than 40 hours(actually "clocked" in, assuming you meet the FLSA definition for calculating actual hours worked), there are still other considerations. Contact your local wage and hour division or labor law attorney. We had our awakening in 2016. We have been a "productivity/profit based pay" company for the last few decades, and did it wrong for most of those years. Once we were awakened(without the expense of fines/ DOL audit, Thank You), my head was spinning and it hurt for the better part of a year. I was unwilling to move away from productivity/profit based pay, so instead we made some changes to our tech flat rate pay plan(went to modified flat rate), and implemented a "regular rate/premium overtime" calculation for all employees. Our hourly techs get a monthly bonus with overtime, based on labor dollars produced. Our entire staff receives monthly bonus based on a percentage of "new gross profit dollars generated" above same month, previous year. Our entire staff receives yearly bonus, based on a percentage of "new gross profit dollars generated" above the previous year. The key to all of this, Imo, is understanding the effect(the "load") that meeting the FLSA requirements places on labor margins. Once you have that worked out, and the the plan(s) are delivering the desired margin, the overall results have been very positive in our store. Sales, gross and net profit have been coming into line with what our coaches have been telling us is possible for decades. And I always thought they were nuts! I will admit that this is not for the faint of heart. There is a fair amount of setup, and in our case, a fair amount of Excel worksheets. Monthly and yearly bonus plan overtime are calculated using the weighted average method. Managers, Service advisors and service techs all have "daily trackers" to complete, which they should probably be doing regardless of pay plan. A few of the most important points I have learned: (1) If you have a payroll company, they accept the data you input. They do not keep you out of trouble with the DOL and most of their EULA'a speak directly to this. They are not responsible for correctly calculating overtime on bonus pay plans. Almost every pay period in my store involves a "overtime" field be filled in and a "premium o/t" field be filled in. (2) We still run under the presumption quoted from above: "Per W&H, Flat Rate still requires OT pay if more than 40 hours are worked." (3) Always, always always know exactly what your total wage cost is per billable hour. If you want to know how much you pay "flat rate" or "per billed hour", regardless of how you actually pay, take all the wages (all "paid in cash" wages including regular pay, o/t pay, flat rate pay, vacation pay, holiday pay, bonus, spiffs, ect, not including benefits) that you pay them for a specific period, and divide by the number of billable hours they produced. My service techs cost $33-$38 per billable hour and my tire/lube techs cost an average of $92.16 per billable hour. We have a staff of 10, not including owners, and all of them are on a pay program that rewards for productivity/profit and provides for FLSA compliance. Not impossible, and the value of the "buy in" from staff is what lets us work at the shop 8 hours a week( one day), with no phone calls in between. Just one, of many ways to skin the cat
  4. I was fortunate to be introduced to Bob Ward several years ago. What a difference that day has made in my life. Bob has a knack for structuring exit plans for a perpetual outcome. In my case it involved having a young key employee with the time and energy to make this kind of arrangement work. Young, time and energy are the key words, Imo. There would be no wasted moments in a conversation with Bob. https://www.perpetualbusiness.co/
  5. I agree with the 7% rent factor. I know owners that have 13-15% rent factors and it is a lot of activity and generally not much return. I punched the ARCO location address into a demographic tool that I have been using for a couple decades. I then took that data and pasted it into the attached spreadsheet (column GV). When compared to many other locations shown in the sheet, I would call the mile high view of this location "average good". If you want to see exceptional, look for the Virginia Tire entries. Again, "the mile high view" would suggest that this could be a successful location, but maybe not exceptional and maybe not a place I would risk a 15-20% rent factor. The "raw automotive retail market potential" is based on the idea that the 20k households surrounding your shop will likely be a good indicator of retail potential. It then assumes that household education followed by household income are the most important factors in determining the DIFM (do it for me) potential. The same formula has been applied to every location in the sheet. May be helpful. Definitely does not include other important factors like traffic patterns Caution would be advisable, Imo, if this is the area you are interested in. misc2.xlsx
  6. The right people performing consistently has certainly been a key to my ability to have a life, while owning my business. Some of that, I have to attribute to a healthy dose of good fortune, throughout my career, but especially early on(first 10 years). It was securing a single A tech (started as a C tech) and a service advisor , both with the right attitudes and right work ethic, and keeping them for 25 years plus, that has made the biggest difference for me. Others have come and gone, but having a core team through it all, made an immeasurable difference for me. This is especially noticeable when I compare myself to other owners, who were never able to establish that long term "core team", that still work in their business's every day, and face difficult transition options to the next generation of ownership for their store. Some may call "good fortune", hard work and smart work, which fits in their somewhere, but that has little to do with having healthy key employees that wish to remain living in the area of my store, for their entire career. For owners early in their career, I would suggest finding the right attitudes and grow together. Then start your transition planning a minimum of 10 years in advance of your intended transition time frame. This will give you time to find the next gen team for your business, and grow together with them to a successful future for all.
  7. Automotive Oil Change Association https://www.aoca.org/default.aspx
  8. Don't underestimate the differences between coastal California and very small town rural norther Michigan. The attached report may hurt more than help your understanding of what is possible in your market. It is a 2020 sale s by category report for our two fast lube lanes, which are attached to our 8 service bays. Some of what you listed would be performed in our service bays and not listed in the attached report. I would suggest you join the AOCA, and tap them for all their member resources. If you could find an AOCA member outside of your market(put somewhere in coastal Ca.), that would be willing to let you visit, that's where I would start fast lube by category.pdf
  9. Drive thru lane or lanes(with pits), staffed as a fast lube, for some of the quick services?
  10. I relay this out of appreciation for our good fortune. I would also not want their to be a false impression that the industry was down everywhere. We were up again in 2020 after several years of increases, with only one blip in 2017. Of the 1200 or so stores that I can see increase/decrease numbers for, over 50% were flat or up in 2020. We were down in January 2021 by 20%, over 2020, but only down in Jan 2021 3% over 2018/2019. Things definitely felt tighter this last 30 days.
  11. This is where I started (as stated by others) "Create an exit strategy, or succession plan". I would take that a step further and say "make a personal plan" for your next 20 years. For me, I would by the property, let the rental income be the return on my money, for the time being(assumes no banks or mortgages involved). I would not feel pressured to decide today, what ultimately would be the plan. I would be comfortable in the knowledge, that I just improved my real estate position substantially. But that's just me. My plan is to be no more than a landlord within three years, and that plan is well in place. Here's a good guy to talk to" https://www.perpetualbusiness.co/ You would not have a wasted minute, in a conversation with Bob
  12. I believe he just called us "old guys"! (and rightfully so!) Welcome and congrats on your new shop opening. You truly are from a small town, which does come with a certain uniqueness, as it applies to operating an automotive service facility. I recently shared the following with a group of shop owners. I believe you can find value here if you chose. They require an email address to download the resource listed, but it seems well worth it, and no one has contacted me or solicited me as a result. I have no connection to any of the firms or individuals listed, but I am a fan of good content and simple brilliance. I would concentrate on the book to start. It is filled with core information you will need. Imo, the portion on scaling your new business may be especially useful. Here was my message published elsewhere: "As we look to transition our business to the next generation, I have been assembling resources that I believe might be helpful in ensuring their success. Occasionally one of these resources jumps towards the top of the stack as it applies to core foundational reminders. This book is one of those. https://paarmelis.com/your-perfect-shop-book-download/ It is more of a targeted short story written in large font on a small page format, and an evening read. . The author is a veteran CPA from a firm that specializes in automotive repair shops. They claim 450 auto repair clients, and they do have some impressive stores listed as clients. I like this organization. I have reviewed a few of their podcasts and webinars and they speaks/articulate well. Many of us can find some value here, if we chose. The link below is to a webinar I came across that was put out by one of this firms young CPA's, interviewing an industry coach on a cash flow system that I had not previously heard of nor ever given much consideration. As the concept took hold, I immediately thought "simple brilliance". I have now done what I do, which is to dig into the digital footprint of this "Profit First" concept and underlying for-profit industry. It is essentially the commercial version of the "consumer side industry" built around the teachings of Dave Ramsey. None the less, even after many hours of scrutinizing, I would still call the core foundation of this concept "simple brilliance". Typically, as most stores transition to the next generation of ownership, there can be a substantial change in the reserve cash a business has to operate on. This is one of the places this concept would make a real difference. The other is situations where a business has been in place for many years, but mostly has underperformed from a profit/cash perspective. For those that are not aware, overall we have a profit problem in this industry. Not everywhere, not with everyone, but I would suggest it is more common than not. The webinar is based on a cash flow process that has been lacking in my business for my entire career. It's an hour long and they really don't give you a good picture of it until you are almost an hour in. It is based on this concept: SALES MINUS EXPENSES=PROFIT---WRONG! SALES MINUS PROFIT=EXPENSES---CORRECT!!! I actually burst out laughing when this slide came up. It seems so simple and made sense to me immediately(because I had watched the webinar up to that point) My goal is to make my successor better at running a service facility then I am, and more successful then I am. I have spoken to two of my banks and have appointments with both to discuss further. I meet with Chris Cotton (the coach in the webinar) and we may use him for implementation. He no longer participates in the "for-profit based" company that Profit First is built around, but like me, he believes in the underlying core concept. Early warning. NO ONE likes the part about the bank accounts, but i would contend that it is indeed our bank account balances, we pay the most attention to. " https://paarmelis.com/webinar-the-profit-first-method-for-automotive-shops/ " Randy Lucyk
  13. I really believe the new flexibility act passage will negate most concerns with being able to use the funds correctly, and/or using all the funds. The best advice i have heard today, is to use all the funds for payroll over the new 24 week period(or as long as it lasts), to make the forgiveness end of this a no brainer for the lending institution. The actual quote is: "We recommend trying to spend 100% of the loan amount on payroll over the 24 weeks. That will make the application process much easier since you will only need to provide payroll reports to support your forgiveness application. " and "Although utilities, health insurance, SUTA, and other small costs are still eligible, they become less important. Rather than worry about tracking small receipts, focus on big items that are easy to provide to the lender—payroll primarily, and rent. This should make the forgiveness application process quick and easy." It sounds like we won't even be applying for forgiveness until 2021 since they extended the "rehire clause" to 12/31, and the no interest clause from 6 months to 10 months after the end of the end of the covered period. This quote is worth watching and strongly considering for your 2020 tax planing. I suspect in many cases, profitable shops will have a tax bill in the 20-30% of the PPP funded amount against year end taxes: "At this time items paid with PPP funds are not deductible expenses. There was previously talk that Congress would revise it so the items would be deductible. However, given the favorable changes to the program passed here, there may be less motivation to do so." Every way I look at it, this is one hell of a GIFT.
  14. I also saw using the funds as a challenge, and worried about getting to the end and being surprised by the results. I created a whatif spreadsheet that compares the current week to their average hourly wage for 2019(all the dollars earned in 2019 divided by all the hours worked, and then then that 2019 "hourly average" times current week hours worked. ex: $60,000 earned in 2019 2234 hours worked in 2019 $26.85 paid for every hour worked in 2019 If my guy worked 45 hours in week one of the eight week expense period, and earned 1042.50(using his standard pay and/or productivity based pay plan), but would have been paid $1208.25 using his last year average (26.85 x 45), then we are paying a bonus to make up the difference. In this example, an additional 165.75. The spreadsheet then projects that out over the eight week period and gives us a total to compare against our total funded amount, to met the 75% requirement, so we can make adjustments along the way. We just completed week 3 and are on track to use most of the funded amount. It has really helped us see the end result. We used 2019 wages to determine the amount of the ppp loan, it makes sense to me, to pay them based on no less then their 2019 average, regardless of what their typical pay plan would net them, under the current less then ideal circumstances. You might consider using the 2019 numbers to check current earnings against. Randy
  15. I have begun to plan the next 30-60 days from a staffing perspective, making the assumption that we will receive a PPP loan that will cover 60 days worth of payroll and some expenses. I wanted to find a way to do some "what if's" as it applies to staffing levels during the 8 week "expense period", that any PPP Loan forgiveness, will be based. I suspect we will be be funding our PPP loan by the end of this month, since the time between receiving a loan number and funding of the loan has been set at 10 days maximum. I expect the banks will use up 5 or more days of the 10, just getting loan documents together. It will probably happen pretty fast. I tried all the calculators below and attached. Each has some strong points. I suggest starting with the Inuit (quickbooks) link directly below. I suspect they are the most likely to keep this tool up to date. Might help with planning, as your PPP loans start to get funded If you are looking for forms, notices and/or policy documents, the link at the bottom has a good assortment It does not sound like forgiveness is going to be a "gimme", and will require above average record keeping. The professionals I listen to daily are telling the same message as we heard on the IMDA webinar. Keep the funds segregated and make transfers or transactions in such a way as to make them easily match to qualified expenses. My guys are telling me that the funds from the PPP Loan should have their own bank account or at least sub account, to transfer funds out of. It is the banks we borrow from that will be setting bar, and it sounds like they will be setting it hi to cover their ass, and make sure they get paid. Does not sound like the banks are going to stick their necks out at all, if we haven't done our part. It is sticky enough that CPA's are being warned against acting as "agents" on PPP loans on behalf of their clients. Getting a PPP loan may be a "no-brainer", getting forgiveness, likely not. Intuit® Aid Assist: Navigate Government Relief Programs Intuit® Aid Assist: Navigate Government Relief Programs A free tool that helps small business owners navigate the complexity of federal relief to get access to help whe... Other calculators and lender list below. Fairly well done, excel based calculator attached https://growthzilla.com/covid-ppp-loan-forgiveness-calculator https://www.calconic.com/calculator-widgets/sba-loan-calculator/5e8069a85d2cd70029057ecb https://smartasset.com/insights/ppp-loan-lenders Forms, Notices, Policies https://sescomgt.com/services/covid-19 Accounting Tips https://evergreensmallbusiness.com/ppp-loan-accounting/ Randy Lucyk Midas Kalkaska 231-258-2889 PPP-Loan-Forgiveness-Calculator w example.xlsx
  16. John Nicely done! Many take away's from your success. If can happen for many more shop owners. Plan often and plan early. I have been know to say "if I had concentrated more on how I wanted to leave my business, i might have taken better care of it along the way" That said, we are also closing an LOI with our manager this year, and fully expect that to culminate in a sale. Between proceeds and ongoing lease, the funds will provide for us nicely for the rest of our lives. We accomplished this in a 500 square mile county with two traffic stop lights in the county. I truly believe this can happen for more auto repair shop owners. We did it by following a formula similar to what you lay out above. Thank You for your willingness to share your experience over the years, and best possible wishes for your next stage in life. . . Randy
  17. Yesterday I had a conversation with an investigator for the sales tax division in my state. I ask her the following questions: If I stop charging a mark up on parts and roll all the charges into my labor rate, would I be flagged for an audit by the sale tax division, because my overall sales would remain the same but the sales tax that I report would be cut in half. She did not think so and she had been asked the question before by other owners. Labor is not taxable in Michigan. I then asked her "what if" I stopped charging markup on parts and started charging a "shop rate" (in lieu of a markup on parts), and that "shop rate" was a variable of (and based on) the cost of the parts used on the invoice. She wasn't so sure how that would be received by sales tax division, by she would ask a compliance officer and report back to me. Personally, I would rather just have a shop rate that covers all controllable costs to the customer. Unfortunately in Michigan we are mandated to have parts & labor charges, plus billed hours, clearly called out on our estimates. It is unlikely, in my opinion, that the BAR would allow a "shop rate" other than as an additional charge on top of parts and labor, which is no less confusing to the consumer than our current scenario of marking up parts. I am currently in the middle of a friendly audit by the BAR and I will ask the compliance officer his thoughts on this. Maybe the first thing we need to agree on is that our true charge to any and every customer(consumer), by every and any automotive service facility, is typically: "Our normal charge for the job minus our cost on the parts " We control all other charges on the job, except parts cost. Regardless of what quality of part we use, there will be a parts charge and we did not set that cost. This whole mess became much clearer to me, when I figured out that the price we charge a customer that wants to supply their own parts, is as follows: Our charge when a customer wants to supply their own parts is whatever our normal everyday charge for the job is, less our cost on the parts required. Once we agree that is exactly what we charge our very best customers, in every shop model, we will be one step closer to a solution, Imo.
  18. I started looking at exit plans almost a decade ago. I approached my 15 year manager with a 15/20 year "manage to own" plan. It was better structured then some, but still woefully lacking in key ingredients. It did not speak to his needs, only mine. After all, if i am going to give him the "business" (no real estate), why should i have to worry about his needs? Right? Not right... He declined and made it clear that he was not interested in ownership. I did not give up and brought a much stronger plan back, a few years later, designed to use with potential candidates from outside my organization. That offer culminated in a 10 year plan that allowed a candidate the ability to own the business and the real estate with a 10 year commitment. It basically involved paying the rent(we own the real estate outright), minimal salaries for myself/my wife, and health insurance for myself and my wife. It also involved strict guidelines for financial viability of the business and a 30% "bank letter of credit" as collateral. That one peaked some interest, but in the end, we could find no one with enough confidence in the location and/or their ability. Unlike Larry, we have 2000 cars a day driving by our shop. The main highway one block away(which we do not face) has 10,000 cars a day. The county has 2 traffic stop lights and several caution lights. We have a 10k sq ft building which includes 8 service bays, a two bay quicklube and two tire bays. We are general generalists. We work on most things that don't eat us. We have done 1.3-1.4 million in sales for the last several years. We have generated an average of 180k in discretionary cash flow a year, for the last 4 years. A few years ago I had multiple good fortune opportunities. First i hired a 30 year old as a quick lube manager, who is hungry and anxious to be a business owner. Second, I meet a gentleman whose passion is assisting small business owners in transitioning their business to the next generation, usually by working with individuals from within the organization. We will be signing a legal Letter of Intent" on a several year plan shortly after the new year, 2020. I am seldom impressed. I am exceptionally impressed by the process and the documentation that Bob Ward from Perpetual Business ( https://www.wardden.com/#/home ). The letter of intent is exceptionally well done, his preparation of the mindsets of the buyer and the seller has been key to the success of this transaction, and he is sincerely consumed by the success of the transactions he works on, for the life of the agreement. This post is not about being a testimonial for Bob. It is a testimonial for the possibility of exit opportunities for profitable automotive service shop owners. Like everything with our business's, it doesn't happen by itself . It starts with you.
  19. Well said on all points Traffic patterns are woefully underestimated in their importance, Imo. They become glaringly clear once you spend 50k (and more) on direct mail and then do a "sales by carrier route" evaluation. Once you overlay "carrier route spends" on a radius map, a lot of what is obvious is common sense. Are there geographical or road/highway barriers between your location and those "high value" neighborhoods? Is work, shopping, medical, ect. primarily in a different direction from those neighborhoods, that puts your store outside their normal travel routes? If they don't have another reason to stop in your area, then you will likely be a second choice. Only time and consistently delivering a higher value service overcomes this to any degree, but normal traffic patterns is still more important, Imo. I do not believe we can buy any report that demonstrates the likelihood of traffic passing your store actually being inclined to pull in. If there was, I would love to hear about it. I believe our original poster for this thread has gotten a clearer picture of our industry. As I have seen time and time again, their old job starts to look a whole lot easier then what we do everyday Thank You
  20. This is still great advice. I am not planning on telling my techs that we have discovered that we get zero free calls a month. Can you tell me what program you are affiliated with that gets you 2 free calls and $37 after that. We are at 155 a month, no free calls and 39 per call. Thank You Randy
  21. Might be worth reviewing this two resources: https://www.industryessentials.net/copy-of-results best $30 bucks i have spent in a while https://www.dol.gov/whd/overtime2019/index.htm more to consider, if you believe your staff can meet the "Duties Test" for "exempt from overtime" salary positions
  22. ABS My world is somewhat different then others in this industry and on this forum. What you are describing is a very common event in the franchise automotive service world. The typical new automotive service franchisee has spent most of their career in the corporate world, in some capacity. They, much like you seem, are highly intelligent and analytical and believe they are strong leaders in their perspective fields, and likely so, in what ever that world was. I get to work with these folks(new franchisee's) a few times a year. A few beliefs/lessons (my beliefs) come immediately to mind: About a third of new franchisee's are out of business or sold at a substantial loss, in the first three-five years. This come from the SBA numbers combined with my experience. The next third wonder what the hell they got their selves into, but fight on, in sometimes very difficult circumstances. Personal fortitude and courage, along with how many "wins" they get (mostly stuff only minimally within their control, i.e. "Good Fortune") verses losses , will likely determine their ultimate fate. A third do quite well, mostly because the did their due diligence early on, made the right choices from a business/market perspective and had the right skill set to be successful. Others here have made mention of the difficulty of finding qualified staff. I suggest you consider this from a different angle. I suggest you consider that you simply WILL NOT be able to find qualified staff in any timely fashion(especially as a new "untested" business). This is your Due Diligence #1 step. I realize that their may be time constraints on a purchase, so I would not delay this step. Post ads, use head hunters, job boards, ect and see what kind of response you receive for the area you are in. Blind ads are out their all the time, so you don't actually have to be in business to run ads. I suggest actually scheduling and performing interviews. Even with established business's, no shows for interviews and for "day 1" are increasing greatly. In the franchise side of this industry(probably most of the industry), finding and retaining qualified staff is single greatest threat to growth and CAGR. I am personally aware of shops performing at 1/2 their "simple" potential, primarily because they can't find staff to do the work and the franchisee's are not qualified or desire to do the work of "auto repair". On average, specialty shops are much more profitable then generalists. Some specialty services, like diesel, come with monster companies as competitors, with very deep pockets and extensive resources to sweep the cream of the crop right off the top of the new candidate pool, before you ever get a chance to seek them out. Less than a third of all service shops are actually profitable, with less then 10-20% (10% or less?) actually having annual adjusted cash flow in the 20-30% range. Suggestions: Actually try to find qualified help and seek out someone that can assist you in determining "qualified". Do not underestimate how much you will depend on others, for the success of your automotive service business. Review Carm Capriotto's Remarkable Results podcast episode list and start listening. You will find qualified help there. I have also attached an excel sheet I use to evaluate the raw market potential of automotive service markets. There are a couple hundred markets evaluated in their. Many are shops that have been written up in industry journals for one reason or another. Others are their because they became of interest to me for any number of reasons. The store in the very last column is "New Shop NJ". It looked like a market similar to what you described, but of course it is not the parcel you are considering, but maybe similar. I populate the sheet from data pulled from a website called Easi Demographics, using their Easi Site Analysis feature. This is strictly a hobby, so please don't use it to make business decisions. The raw market score is based on primarily, housing density, household income and household education levels. The formulas are all their to assist in dissecting the score. You have also received many great thoughts from experienced industry professionals. I would advise giving some weight to those suggestions/advice. shopdemographicsmisc2.xlsx
  23. 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
  24. 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
  25. rpllib


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