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JimO last won the day on April 21

JimO had the most liked content!

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About JimO

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    Experienced Poster

Business Information

  • Business Name
    D&J Valero
  • Business Address
    375 Chestnut Ridge Road, Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey, 07677
  • Type of Business
    Auto Repair
  • Your Current Position
    Shop Owner
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  1. I have three bays and three techs. For years we have scheduled using a desk blotter that has vertical columns for each day of the week. I write down the customers name and brief description or acronyms of the work needed such as OFL, ROTI for oil/filter/lube and rotate tires. If the job requires known parts to be ordered in before arrival then I write up the job using my shop management system, order the parts, print a work order, record the customer’s name on the blotter in the appropriate column and write “TIR” indicated a worker order or “ticket” is started already and in the rack. Other than that it is all gut feeling, experience and the ability to say “No” when your instinct tells you that taking on a prospective job that was not scheduled is a “bridge too far” based on current work load. Good communication with the customer concerning delays is a must. When the crap hits the fan and you know the vehicle won’t be finished call the owner right away and keep them informed. Waiting until the end of the day never helps that type of situation. Since Covid I have been sending canned text reminders for scheduled work the day before or the morning of using my shop management program which has helped to eliminate “no shows”. The canned reminder also contains instructions for a safe, minimal exposure drop off during Covid so it serves two purposes.
  2. We have been trailing NY by 1-2 weeks with everything concerning the pandemic and our indoor malls still remain closed at this time. Stores that are accessible from the street have recently reopened which does make me feel like we are getting back to normal as Joe indicated. My location is surrounded by corporate offices which also remain closed. I have been told that when they do get a green light to open that most will only allow 10% of employees to return per month. Most or all have also announced that it is ok to not return to the office and continue working from home. We may not see 50% occupancy at the corporate offices until December or later which is a concern.
  3. I think the responses to your post will mainly be predicated on the location of the shop. Areas not hit as hard as others will naturally have more relaxed standards. I am in NJ and the entire state is still shut down except for essential businesses. Every business that is allowed to be open has signs posted indicating face mask required. I have to agree with bantar’s post that most customers wear the masks incorrectly and they will partially or fully remove the masks when talking. Odd how people nationwide feel the need to remove the mask during the time when it is really required. I need to constantly remind people to “mask up” so in most cases I just ask them to step outside. I removed all waiting room chairs back in March and I have no place for customers to wait. Nobody wants to wait, everyone is still scared and on heightened alert. Occasionally during quick jobs some customers take a walk over to a strip mall behind us but every store is closed and they get depressed looking at shuttered stores.
  4. I have sent out three mass text messages using BayMaster which is my shop management system. Worked great, targeted all my customers and kept them informed that I am open and willing to help. Definite positive results and the cost is negligible. I am in New Jersey and it seems everyone has a friend or relative that Covid has taken. For that reason I do not send a marketing message since I have no way of knowing what the recipient is going through during these difficult times. Instead I send out messages indicating that we are available to help our customers even for non-automotive needs.
  5. Again - The topic was “What kind of alignment equipment do you own?” I am interested in remaining in the alignment business but I am not interested in becoming an ADAS specialist since I do not have the required space to accomplish that. I have read that Autel and Hunter have forged an alliance so I would expect Hunter’s ADAS coverage to only improve in the future when this alliance becomes productive. I have always respected Hunter and their new relationship with Autel certainly improves my perception of Autel. I am sure this is something that Snap-On must be paying attention to. You mention your ADAS experience which is commendable, to stay within the topic and out of curiosity what kind of alignment equipment do you own?
  6. “One really has nothing to do with the other”? I must disagree, the ability to calibrate ADAS after performing an alignment on most new vehicles is a requirement, they go hand in hand. The topic of discussion is “What kind of alignment equipment do you have”. I answered that question in my post explaining that what I currently have is old and needs replacement and I included my reasoning for delaying the upgrade. If I do an alignment and the vehicle requires an ADAS calibration post alignment and I purchased equipment with no ADAS capability then shame on me for poor investigation before purchase. Two years ago Hunter offered new equipment with limited ADAS capability and since then their coverage has improved considerably. I am trying my best to prepare my ship and upgrade to a platform that gives me acceptable coverage to minimize my potential inability to perform an alignment due to poor ADAS coverage. I fully understand that if I want to specialize in ADAS calibration that I would require much more equipment than an alignment machine but again, that was not the topic, I just want to be able to perform an accurate alignment on most vehicles.
  7. I have a gas station with repairs and we are normally open 6am - 10pm Monday thru Saturday and 8am-8pm Sunday so we very rarely need to accommodate a customer for a pick up earlier or later than our operational hours. We have, on occasion, locked the vehicle and left the key in a hidden spot that was reviewed and approved by the owner and that has always worked out fine.
  8. I have basically operated as newport5 illustrated and it has worked very well for me. I happen to be in a busy, affluent area which helps quite a bit. High pressure sales turn me off so I have never been a proponent and fortunately have never had to go that route. All jobs take longer since Covid-19 so I can’t say that I have any extra time. Business is off 50% but I am non-stop 12 hours a day with no time to spare. Reduced staff, additional Covid protocols such as: disinfect shop, office and bathrooms numerous times during the day, install disposable seat and steering wheel covers on every vehicle, sanitize keys and common touch points, accepting credit card payments by phone, emailing invoices plus leaving hard copies in vehicle, washing my hands constantly and the list goes on and on and chews up all of my time. Great tips newport5.
  9. Repairs are down 50-55% but techs coming to work are down 50% so that has been self regulating and to a greater degree acceptable and appreciated considering the circumstances. Gas volume is down 70% due to reduced traffic and reduced operating hours. My gas island staff is reduced down to one full time and two part time workers so trying to remain open 16 hours every day is impossible. If I had enough staffing to be open normal hours I would expect our gas volume to increase about 15-20 points. I am in Bergen County, New Jersey and the death toll for my county exceeds statewide rates for 38 states in the country. I can certainly understand why states like Wyoming, North Dakota, Montana and so many other states want to get back to work but that does not seem to be the case here. My customers tell me that they are tired of sheltering in place but fear overpowers boredom. I expect to see New York and New Jersey both lag behind the rest of the country concerning bouncing back. Every day is a precious gift and every week that passes brings improvements which renews our faith along with new challenges that continue to test us. We will succeed, maybe not on the same time table as the rest of the country but we will get there.
  10. Main Street Auto - What a great outreach to the community and at the same time a fitting reward for those who have done so much. Good job!
  11. I am in NJ and close to New York City. Our area was hit hard and although nothing is definite I assume we will be following NY and stay restricted until the middle of May. I have a gas station with gas, diesel and repair work. The gas/diesel volume has been terrible with just a slight rise this past week. Everyone is getting stir crazy and the great American pastime of taking a drive is all we have. With the weather warming all of the landscapers are out in force needing gas and diesel. Other than that we have seen very little change.
  12. Your ad looks great Frank, I hope it brings in some customers and as a bonus it shines some much needed light on the gratitude that is due to all the workers who have kept the country going. I agree with Joe that now is not the time for hard sales. I send mass text messages using my SMS but I try to choose my wording carefully. “Cheer up, things will improve” is the wrong message considering the loss of life we are experiencing here in Bergen County, New Jersey. Unfortunately Covid-19 has taken several of my customers and many customers have lost extended family members. A local nursing home had 33 deaths last week and a veterans home a few towns away lost 37 hero's. Besides the severe loss of life there are also many people dealing with the permanent loss of their jobs. This is surely a terrible time and as Joe said I think a great message is just informing the public that we are here to help.
  13. Great news Frank! I hope that it arrived early enough to see you through this very difficult time.
  14. To Frank - I feel so bad that you and so many other people are being faced with such difficult decisions. This is certainly not a good time in our country and I hope that you receive your much needed stimulus money as soon as possible. To Joe - Your comments to Frank are written from your heart and in a way that is surely helping us all. We all need encouragement, we all need to hear that what is happening is beyond our control and we all need to know that if we need to let go that it is OK. I applaud your efforts and ability to communicate your thoughts in a way that is so helpful to everyone. Thank you.
  15. Although we are not out of this yet it does seem that there is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel which I am very thankful for. Hopefully repair work will pick up as our country starts to come back on line and recover. Unfortunately that may take longer than we think and already I am hearing radio spots from large dealers in my area informing the public (possibly my customers) that their service department is open for business. Radio spots aren’t cheap and unless you blanket the air waves your regular customers may never hear your message. Our shop management system, BayMaster, recently released an update which allows me to send mass text messages and the timing for this new feature could not have been better. It took me less than five minutes to compose and send out a short text message to over 500 of my customers indicating that we are open for gas, open for service work and our revised business hours. Almost everyone in our area has reduced hours so I feel including that information is very important. Most of our country is shut down and our customers do need to be reminded that we are open. The response was almost immediate with inquiries about state inspections, oil changes and various other service work along with many customers expressing their gratitude for us being open and available if needed. If your shop management system is capable of sending out mass text messages I strongly suggest using it.

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