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About Big_K

  • Rank
    Occasional Poster

Business Information

  • Business Name
    Adams Import
  • Business Address
    3166 Adams Avenue, San Diego, California, 92116
  • Type of Business
    Auto Repair
  • Your Current Position
    Shop Manager
  • Automotive Franchise
  • Website
  • Banner Program
  • Participate in Training
  • Your Mission Statement
    Expand business to better serve our customers.

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  1. Big_K


  2. My current software expires in April and I'm shopping a new management software. I am looking at ROwriter, I liked their ecat, eliminating inputting work order numbers seems nice. I've read some negative things as well... I am strongly considering gem car, newer software that has a lot of features I am looking for. Considering Mitchell1, as well, still waiting for a demo. Auto vitals is $750 a month? What the heck, for that much I will go to Eastern Europe and hire my own programmers Hoping to get some input and advice, a lot of these take some time to learn so there is only so much you can research
  3. So one of our technicians has been slacking off... he was never a hard worker, but we thought we'd give him a chance. He began to habitually come in late, we don't have in a "clock in" system nor a handbook, nor any kind of written procedures. (Something that needs to be worked on) Well, on Monday morning he comes in 20 minutes late, I tell him that he is yet again 20 minutes late and whether he takes his work seriously because I can find someone that will. He comes back with a big attitude about how he bumped his head, and he did it here and now his head hurts. So I had a choice "he can forget that he bumped his head" or "go to the doctor." I sent him to the doctor, this morning he comes in 7 minutes late, goes to the bathroom for 10 minutes. I tell him he's ready for work 17 minutes late. He walks away, I say he needs to show some respect. He says he doesn't since its not in his job description????? I want to just fire him, but workers comp put him on "Modified work" so he can't lift anything about 40 lbs. His diagnosing skills are wrong, how do I go about legally firing this guy...I wanted to throw him out after he started giving attitude but didn't want to get an unlawful termination case...seems as though he is baiting us to do it. I am dumbfounded how bad his attitude change as soon as he got verbally warned. Advice? I want to create a clock-in policy today and install software and have everyone do it. (no one else has trouble with this)
  4. I've had a few customers try to drive away... I've stopped them, a few I believed they have forgotten, a few I am pretty sure they were making a run for it! With getaways, you have to be careful both ways, we had a service writer release a car and forget to collect payment for a head job on a GTI ($2000+ worth of work) I called the customer and told him he forget to pay, he said sorry and gave the card info over the phone... lucky! I had a lady with a mercedes come in screaming the other day asking what we did to her car... (we changed the oil 4 months ago) She said that yesterday the car started making a noise, and it never had a problem before.... gotta love it!! I've had a repo guy come to pick up a car, and I said tough luck, pay the bill... he said that what I am doing is illegal and will call the police...he came back with Police for "stealing a car" Police didn't do anything, the repo guy was furious and I asked him to leave the property until he can pay the repo guy returned with a check the next day...
  5. Maybe it's the virtue of the fact that the people that needed it, didn't qualify. I had GE Capital, and had about 15 declines, and then stopped bothering... had the program for 6 months too, and kept paying the monthly fee. I was considering the check guarantee program, although the rates were a little bit high, and most also wanted to become the credit card processor, on top of leasing their $1500-$3000 check machine. So it didn't happen, although I even have good customers asking if we finance so they can just do all the work right now, so I am still on the lookout for good solutions.
  6. CustomerLink doesn't have the text message option. DemandForce does, I had it setup that I sent a preliminary text to acquire approval. I wouldn't ask for permission, sometimes I'd forget...I had one guy in particular throw a 3 minute tantrum on the phone about privacy and then ask me which service that is since he's a lawyer and his company could use something like that...great guy. Otherwise, the lack of contract was really easy to switch. If you're ever with DemandForce, prepare to get a call from a professional bully at the end that will try dissuade you by any means necessary to not cancel. I told him that I would consider coming back if CustomerLink wasn't working but by the nature of his phonecall, I won't be back. He didn't care, he lost his commission and was pissed...he also offered a lower monthly price.
  7. There has been discussion about renovating our current site for the past 15 years! I hope that 2014 is when it comes to fruition. My biggest goal would be workflow. So this is something I am always talking and thinking about.. I know of a shop with the exact setup you're talking about, although I haven't spoken to him about workflow...it seems to be working. Do you have a lot of separate parking? I could see it being an issue if you don't since the midas setup may have less of a foot print, but I assume you'd put the "Next cars" in the middle section, or constantly keep it clear? I would consider a similar style. We are always wasting time with backing cars out, while new customers are coming in...and then I get to run traffic control. I wanted to build a hybrid of your idea... basically an L shape. 4 bays midas style. and 2 bays that are purely drive-through for quick jobs.They would essentially be leaving through the alleyway.
  8. Hi everyone, I was wondering if anyone here does follow ups if so what is your success with them? What do you talk about, how long do you wait to follow up, are you mentioning recommended service? Also do you call to confirm appointments or just if they are not showing up? Thanks
  9. Hi Joe, I have been with DemandForce, MechanicNet, and now CustomerLink. I also considered the new Alldata offering. All are fairly similar, what I liked about CustomerLink is the fact that they only deal with Auto Repair. MechanicNet...when I needed things changed, it was impossible to get anything done. Everything was very quick to sign me up, but afterwards it was lagging. DemandForce was working fairly well, although CustomerLink was a little cheaper, and I really liked what they did with the mailers. I am not sure if our customers were ready with text messages, but I had a huge fallout with text messages through DemandForce and perhaps that's what made me change.
  10. Hello everyone, I am 28 years old. I have been around the industry since I can remember. I watched my dad run the business for the past 25 years. He is turning 65 and wants to retire. There is a lot that needs to be changed in this business. I am a little bit overwhelmed where to start...many of my suggestions have fallen on deaf ears since he would always say "you can do it." Well that opportunity is coming... I will be around here a lot, and also tapping on as many sources as I can as I transition... A few questions and concerns: Our Master Technician He ran the place for the majority of the time as the owner/operator, smog technician and lead diagnoser with two or three head technicians. In the past 8 years he hired a very capable head technician whose pay is flat rate and has steadily gone up. I have always said to put in a more robust payment plan in order to keep him involved in all aspects of the shop, rather than having him rake in hours on easy brake jobs. Well he always wants more pay, and recently one of our heavyline guys quit due to "bad chemistry" quoting him. Well our master technician was logging 45-50 hours because of it and now wants a 33% pay raise. I am not sure how that is realistic and said let him walk. While Dad is contemplating that he is "still worth it." He is an excellent diagnoser, probably one of the best in the city, always finds work...but I seriously doubt he will walk into another business and get what he is getting paid now, let alone after his raise. Finding a replacement will not be easy, since the craigslist prospects have been mediocre at best. Is paying a technician $100k take home unheard of, it seems preposterous to me. Procedures, lack thereof For the most part, he ran this place by sheer grit and a very agile mind, once he got too busy he couldn't keep it all under control. The place is chaos as soon as we get busy. Where do I start? The office is a mess, the lot is a mess, the curb appeal is minimal, the office is towards the very rear of the lot which I always thought was a bad thing. Customers park in the front, walk past most of the work areas...often times disrupting technicians. Where does one start? A full revamp, or chip away at everything slowly? I know I have a lot of work on my hands, but I think the tough part will be changing things. The place makes money, but I think there is a lot of room for improvement and also without going through the chaos. I understand hard work, but making things easier and more efficient is my goal.
  11. So I will give a very quick background. We have been in business for roughly 25 years. Over the past several years business has been slowing down, and I am trying to figure out why. The current location we are in, is on a fairly busy street in the area, next to a gas station. It is all mostly open air, with tarps over the lifts, concrete needs to be re-done. Office way in the back, with two seats next to the smog machine as a quasi-"waiting room/area." We specialize in Volvo, BMW, Audi, Mercedes but will also work on Japanese imports. I believe we are an eye sore as for as pure aesthetics and I think some customers are not returning or I see them pull in, and pull back out after taking a look around. Do I invest to make this place prettier? (We tried to build an 8 bay building on this location 10 years ago, but ran into so many permitting problems that we stopped trying.) We own a warehouse 3 blocks away, also a fairly busy street, but not as busy. Quick Freeway access. The building is basically the same size of the lot, except only 6 parking spots in front, and one door for cars. My gut instinct is to move into this place, epoxy flooring, very nice and large customer area and also 3 offices in the front. The only complaints about this place are parking and that moving cars would be a little tighter. We own both properties and I am wondering do I move to the other location, try to run both locations, split services between both locations (Engine Overhaul and Suspension @ one, and quick services at the other) add tire sales also? I considered asking the neighbor with an empty lot for a few spots if I could rent them. There are a lot of thoughts and "possibilities" in this post so I understand it might be hard to read. Anyone been in a situation like this, can give some advice, or point me in the right direction? We are a family business and I think we are reaching the limit of our knowledge and expertise and perhaps no one will really know? Regardless I am looking at as many channels of information to make the best informed decision. (which is why I am here)
  12. We usually have three "levels" of diagnostic charges, .6 hours, 1.3 hours, 2 hours. The first level includes alternator testing, starter, battery, overheating checks, fairly simple stuff. 80% falls into "level 2" which is check engine light, car is cranking but not turning over, intermittent issues. The charge for diagnosing can increase based on if additional work is needed. ie. tracing possible shorts in wiring harness, etc Level 3 is ABS and Airbags, this is to start, and does not necessarily mean there won't be additional charges... remove seat, dashboard, steering column, etc In my experience places that are under charging for troubleshooting are not 100% confident in their troubleshooting skills and perhaps may be "guessing" with parts swapping, trial and error, etc.

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