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JimO last won the day on March 25

JimO had the most liked content!

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About JimO

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    Experienced Poster

Business Information

  • Business Name
    Don's Sunoco
  • Business Address
    375 Chestnut Ridge Road, Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey, 07677
  • Type of Business
    Auto Repair
  • Your Current Position
    Shop Owner
  • Automotive Franchise
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  1. We have a multi line phone system with extensions in the shop that also has an intercom feature. Using the intercom is quick and easy. All phones also have a PA feature by tapping the PA button you send your amplified voice to 3 bull horns located in the shop and two locations outside, everybody can here the message and respond as needed. This has worked great for us.
  2. We were primarily using a Smart Sensor Pro tool by 31 Inc along with their Smart Sensor One multi frequency sensors which was working out well. They have an excellent support team but the tools screen is small and I had some Sensor issues with RAV4’s and some other Toyota vehicles. The tool and individual sensors are available on Amazon for under my cost so that did it for me, it is no longer my primary. They recently released an updated tool with a larger screen that looks like an Ateq tool but I am unable to confirm, either way it arrived too late for me. I already had an Autel MaxiTPMS TS508 and their MX multi frequency sensors as my secondary. It seems like you need more than one tool today in order to have complete coverage. Autel’s support surprised me, very attentive, they follow up to questions quickly and the on-line updating is very easy. The coverage is very good and so far I have not had any issues with Toyota vehicles like I had with the Smart Sensors. So this became my primary until I noticed that the tool and individual sensors were being sold on Amazon for under my cost. I have been using Tech Tire for years and my rep offered a great promo for a new tool they recently released - buy a dozen sensors and get the tool for free so I added that to our ever growing arsenal. I believe the tool is made by Ateq and works well but you need to re-identify the vehicle when navigating to other functions for the same vehicle which is annoying. They also have a large gap in coverage for Honda/Acura so we have been using both the Autel and the Tech Tire equally. The sensors are only available from a Tech Tire distributor which protects us from customers checking Amazon pricing. My Tech Tire rep is very good, always available, always willing to come over with supplies on a moments notice so I also like to give him business when possible.
  3. At the conclusion of a recent fire inspection I was written up for having a folding chair stored in front of my main electric service panel. This is a safety infraction because the chair could prevent quick access to the panel if needed during an emergency. Do mobile techs know where the service panel is? Am I mad that I was written up for the folding chair? Not happy but not mad, I was wrong, I unknowingly caused a possible safety issue and it is now corrected. Am I mad that there is a mobile repair tech performing auto repairs at a residential home garage with no access to the service panel which is locked in the basement? Yes, that annoys me because the mobile tech will never have to deal with a fire inspector. That safety hazard goes undetected. We no longer have an even playing field. Concerning your comparison of this not being too different than working on an airplane on a ramp. Although I have never worked on airplanes I would imagine that even on the ramp you would have airport safety specialists, possibly OSHA and an airport fire department at you disposal in a moments notice. You working on the ramp instead of the hangar is more comparable to me working on a vehicle in my parking lot as opposed to inside one of my bays. We would both be performing repair work on our property just not in our building. Transport that same plane to a residential driveway in a remote neighborhood with no supervision, no OSHA, no in-house fire department and then you have a better comparison. Is the mobile tech familiar with the topography in the event of a spill? Does he know where storm drains are? Is he prepared with an adequate spill kit? Does he have the phone numbers to alert local, county and state officials in the event of a spill? Or is he a ghost that flits in and out of neighborhoods, homes and office buildings making repairs and leaving no way to trace any of his actions or mistakes? If I cause a spill I own it and the authorities will look no further than my front door. If the mobile tech causes a spill he is gone like a fart in a wind storm. If I have a commercial office building that is zoned for office research and I rent out the office space to appropriate tenants I would be within my rights. If I allowed a chef to set-up gas grilles and sell hot dogs and hamburgers in a tent in the backyard it would be a zoning violation. If I allowed a “mobile tech” to operate an auto repair business in the garage of my building it is also a zoning violation. If a tech responds to a road call for a dead battery it would be normal to jump the car, bring it back to the shop and replace the battery. If on the other hand he brings a new battery to the vehicle and installs it on site I have to question his efficiency but I am ok with it. When he proceeds to complete an oil change, air filter, cabin filter and wiper blades then I get upset. He is now no longer performing unexpected road service to get the vehicle mobile but instead he is completing routine maintenance.
  4. I put in an oversized central A/C unit about 15 to 20 years ago and it was one of the best improvements to date. Our entire shop, office and bathrooms are taken care of. The thermostat is set to 68F day and night during the week and then raised to 72 for weekends when the shop is closed (but I am there doing paperwork and maintenance inside the building). I find that if I get the temp down as low as possible at night the floors and masonry walls get a chance to also cool down which helps maintain cooler temps as the day progresses with bay doors opening/closing and hot vehicles being pulled in and out. This past week the outdoor temps here in North East Jersey peaked at 95-100F with high humidity. Opening at 6am the shop was usually 68F and slowly climbed to upper 70’s by 1 or 2pm then gradually fell back down to 68F by early evening. My employees all appreciate and respect the A/C and try to economize by performing small, quick tasks outside so as to not open and close huge overhead doors. When needed the techs assists each other by raising and lowering overhead doors while another tech quickly pulls in or out of the shop. This is obviously costly but summer was bad enough when I was younger, the A/C now allows me to walk out to my truck at the end of the day instead of crawling out to my truck. My techs are more comfortable so in turn they are more productive.
  5. There are many corporate offices in my area and many have huge multi-level parking decks. I recently found out that someone is performing repairs in one of the corporate office parking decks. Oil change, light bulb, belt, hose, wiper blades etc... No lift, no heat, no a/c but they are out of the rain and sun. They started doing wash, wax, detailing but they apparently have now expanded their operation to include repairs. Local zoning should hopefully put an end to it. I don’t appreciate having a mobile tech operating in my area with no “brick & mortar” overhead but they are crossing the line when they set up a quasi shop in a corporate office building that is zoned office research. This can’t be the only place operating like this so everyone should be aware of the possibility.
  6. JimO


  7. Up until about two to three years ago I exclusively used OEM pads for all vehicles because of past noise issues when using aftermarket pads years ago. OEM pads were trouble free, perfect fit and never a problem with noise. The one problem I did encounter using OEM pads is that dealers in our area rarely carried shims and hardware which we always replace when equipped. older comments in this thread made me consider aftermarket pads then my CarQuest sales rep convinced me to try his pads and they have worked out great for domestic and Asian. They are more convenient and in most cases priced more attractively for the customer and more profitable for me. The shims and hardware are included with the platinum line so that problem was also eliminated. I still offer OEM for domestic, Asian and European and some customers opt to go that route but about 85-90% of our brake jobs are now completed with aftermarket. For domestic and Asian vehicles I use CarQuest Platinum pads. Metallic for vehicles that were “born” with metallic and ceramic for those that were “born” with ceramic. We resurface rotors when possible but when new are required I use CarQuest Premium coated rotors. For European I use Textar pads and Zimmerman or Textar rotors all sourced from WorldPac. They have been trouble free, convenient and profitable. We never resurface European rotors, only replace.
  8. I am also a longtime BayMaster user and I think you should give them a call since they already offer digital inspections. I copy and pasted the information below from their web site. Digital Inspection Forms (FREE WITH CUSTOM JOBS!) Completely Customizable inspections for your shops individual needs Full Tablet and mobile device support Prints alongside jobs on invoices Show recommended inspection and repair alongside a quote for the repair Save with the ticket in history to be able to reference in the future Can be as short or as long as needed with no limits USE WITH A TABLET TO SPEED UP INSPECTIONS AND SHOW CUSTOMERS!
  9. Am I understanding your post correctly? You indicate that you ordered “the same style of sensors that were in the OEM rims/tires”. Does this mean that you ordered and received OEM sensors from Subaru? Are you trying to clone OEM sensors using your Autel tool? OEM will not clone. Are you trying to initialize with four new OEM sensors in place? Is your Autel Tool updated with latest software and does it have the ability to communicate with a 2018 Subaru? Is there a reason why you did not use Autel sensors and clone the OEM sensors? If I misunderstood your post and you cloned Autel sensors with original sensors where are the other four tires, rims and sensors while you are trying to reset system?
  10. JimO

    Hi all

    Welcome aboard and I wish you the best in your new venture as an owner.
  11. After sending invoices and calling fails to yield positive results I have been known to go to the customer’s house at 6:00 am with our tow truck and park in the street blocking their driveway. First you will notice curtains or shades are moved with quick glimpses of inhabitants trying to see what your plans are. Then the front or side door opens and they step out briefly, acknowledging your presence with a half hearted wave and then they return into the safety of their house. Eventually they sheepishly walk out to the truck and ask what you want. At that time you calmly say “I just want to get paid for the repairs that were performed on your vehicle and when that has been settled I need to go back to work”. Do I have a legal right to do this? I don’t know and so far I don’t care because it works. I have also taken local customers to small claims court with equally favorably results but more time is spent representing yourself in court than an hour or two in front of a dead beats driveway. Do not worry about what people of that class and caliber might say to other people because it is useless anxiety. Never feel embarrassed to demand payment for work that was completed properly and at a fair price. The people who owe you money should be the ones that are embarrassed and worried that everyone in your small town will view them as a dead beat. Unfortunately people like that have no pride and/or don’t care and that is why they ignored your previous attempts at obtaining payment. When they owe you money they will never come in so don’t worry about losing them as a customer, they are already lost. Once they pay up they may resurface in the future and request help, then it is up to you whether to forgive and forget. If you choose “forgive” just make sure you don’t “forget”. I have had to remind people (they needed no reminding but I do it as a formality to let them know where I stand) and I explain that I have no time or patience to chase them like the last time and full payment is expected at completion or the vehicle does not leave the property. Good luck.
  12. I allow the radio to be on but it has to be a music station. Music, when played at a respectable volume does not hinder productivity as far as I can tell. Talk radio on the other hand reduces productivity since a tech or worse yet multiple techs will pause and limit noisy activity to be able to hear the discussion on the talk show. Additional time is then wasted when the techs render their opinion on the subject at hand, all work stops for a verbal review, not good. Another problem is that some talk radio station topics or hosts can be rather questionable and often step over the line considering anyone could be listening. On nice days with all of the doors open this questionable content can be a problem since customers, in particular women and young children, are within ear shot. Everyone in the shop is similar in age so the music station selected is never an issue. My one tech started changing the station to classical music after all the jobs are done and the shop is shut down and quiet. I have never liked classical music but when played in the background at the end of a busy day it seems to have a subtle calming effect. I never thought I would say that.
  13. Maybe it is possible to succeed as you have planned. After 47 years in buisiness I am sure that I could not succeed if my time investment was 2-3 hours a week. Some people can possibly pull that off, I am not one of them.
  14. I agree with bstewart, unfortunate cost of doing business. Everyone makes a mistake occasionally hence erasers on pencils. Most people learn from their mistakes but some do not. If a tech is constantly making mistakes that is a sign of being careless. I would then be worried about the mistakes that go under the radar and are not noticed, sooner or later they will surface. I don’t know if requiring payment for something like this is legal so I would investigate that further if you choose to go that route. Documenting the mistakes, private meetings with the employee with eventual termination for chronic offenders would be my route.
  15. I agree with bantar, our Interstate warranties are handled the same way. I have been stocking Interstate on consignment for about ten years and we have never had issues with pro-rating defects. Failure rate is no better and no worse than other batteries and our cost price has always been very competitive. We sell quite a few batteries to people who are not customers but they found us on the Interstate web site. Odd how so many people responded with such negative comments. I do think Interstate is behind times in not having the ability to interface with any shop management program. Life is easier selling a NAPA or CarQuest battery for that reason. As bantar indicated, hot-shot delivery is poor so that is when I elect to go the CarQuest or NAPA route with a reduced profit margin.

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