Jump to content


Free Member
  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


bantar last won the day on October 1

bantar had the most liked content!

Community Reputation

20 Excellent

About bantar

  • Rank
    Posting Member

Business Information

  • Business Address
    8900 Stacy Road, McKinney, Texas, 75070
  • Type of Business
    Auto Repair
  • Your Current Position
    Shop Owner
  • Automotive Franchise
  • Website
  • Banner Program

Recent Profile Visitors

2,662 profile views
  1. I'm selling Interstate right now, on consignment, and I've had no issues with warranty returns. I wonder if the warranty issues noted above are from Distributors instead of Interstate directly. Clearly, some of you have had warranty rejections whereas, I've had none. Our warranty process: We test the batteries and if they fail, the test results are attached, but many times they get destroyed by the acid and are unreadable. The route drivers do not read the test results, nor do they retest the batteries when they pick them up. They are placed on the truck in a compartment with all other battery cores from other retailers, so there's no distinguishing who's core is who's at the factory for later testing. The warranty claim is processed on site by the driver. Maybe they have different warranty solutions in different regions. Can anyone comment on how their Interstate warranties are being processed? My challenge with Interstate has been with stocking levels and their inability to hot-shot batteries in <24 hours. If I don't have it in stock, then we source an AC Delco from a different supplier. I've recently upped my inventory to solve my own shortages problem. Currently, AC Delco is significantly higher, about $20 each, than it's Interstate peer (similar or (mostly) less warranty levels) and NAPA is about $25 each higher. Yesterday, I invited both AC Delco (distributor) and NAPA to pitch their battery programs again.
  2. bantar


    I have a mobile tech that comes to the shop for some programming. We pay $104 for simple jobs and $130 for more complex ones and no monthly fees. I mark these up handsomely and charge for diagnosis too. Granted I have to have the car in the shop ready for him when he comes and have to schedule an appointment, but it seems not much different from RAP except maybe they can schedule it sooner. Also, my techs don't need to assist with the programming. They just need to be on standby to retest and confirm that the customer complaint is indeed solved afterwards.
  3. Aside from many of the Indians and random others not wanting to pay for diagnostics, I've seen quite a different and interesting reaction from the young very-pretty girls. "What do you mean I have to pay?" They have such a confused look on their face before they leave.
  4. I've been checking every once in a while to see when these batteries might show up in the local store. Checking today, I found this announcement saying that the deal fell apart: http://www.counterman.com/advance-auto-parts-interstate-batteries-deal-is-off/
  5. I'm using Protractor. They do frequent updates and have been quick to fix things that break which are serious in nature. You can't call tech support, but they do call me back if the issue is too complex to reply/resolve via email. I especially like their reporting system. It's pretty thorough and you can customize them as well. Most of the challenges that I have with it are in the accounting section and the inability to correct all the errors that I routinely make! (there are work arounds, but I'd prefer actual corrections) I got started by watching all of their training videos and practicing in their demo system. Anyway, let me know if I can help you answer any questions.
  6. bantar

    Employee Theft

    Wow. You see potential in people often that goes wasted and in this case destroyed. Can you elaborate on how he did it? I'm especially curious on how it went undetected and how you will be monitoring it going forward. It had to be big for the CPA to be the first to pick up on it.
  7. bantar

    Courtesy Inspection Technician Pay

    Wow. I can see that this would be very confusing to your customers. When I looked at it, I only see the XOXO brand. Your mark is much smaller by comparison and is a less prominent position. Who's the KING and who's the PAWN on this page? They are not helping you to brand your shop and service, but more focused on their own brand it would seem.
  8. bantar

    Price Negotiations

    Thank you for the feedback. We're largely on the same page. What got me worried about this initially is that we had someone that we expected to negotiate and he failed to play his part correctly. That left him paying too much. I didn't have a pre-made plan for this scenario. Next time, we might find better parts pricing at a different supplier and pass the savings on to him at checkout. Sometimes, for fun and with the right person, we negotiate to a number that they agree on, let's say $800 and end with "OK, $795 for you", but this is dicey as it could restart the negotiation. But if it works, they feel even better and we're all very happy! Unfortunately, the only way I see to handle negotiation is thru cultural screening practices. Most other folks don't negotiate and we don't need the dance to be complicated for the majority. But if non-negotiating folks are considering a big job, then we'll look for ways to help them commit to the work, such as if you do all of this today, we'll round it down to X. While we are doing this, I don't think it is WRONG as our goal is to charge them equally. But negotiations are messy, so there's a good chance that they end up paying more. We need our bottom offer to be our standard price or more. The hard part in this whole thing is discerning the "consumers" from the customers. I have no interest in being the lowest price merchant and let these folks leave. Conversely, you will be treated fairly, charged fairly and hopefully leave happy. There are crooks only a few miles away from me that will gladly start off for less. If negotiating captures a customer, good. If it captures a problem consumer.... Mr. Mackey says "That's baaaddd".
  9. I don't ask any questions at all. My CC terminal is my best friend. I'm using the FD130 terminal with a remote keypad. If the card does both Debit and Credit, then it will automatically prompt the customer for a PIN number. They have to ask me how to run it as credit (so that I can tell them to push the X button to skip Debit and run as credit). If they don't respond to the machine automatically, I simply say: It's waiting for your pin (secretly hoping that they will punch it in). Both January and February were 41% debit transactions by counts and about 40% by amount. Frankly, I'm surprised by the number of folks that use debit. It is very likely that the terminal can be programmed with different behaviors or if not, it might be time for an upgrade. The folks that I got my terminal from were super-helpful with the terminal and programming (they aren't the CC provider). Maybe you can ask if yours can be programmed with different behavior.
  10. After looking at the ICCU shop in Mumbai India, it made me wonder how the Indians deal with Indian negotiation tactics? I need a good strategy. My shop is among a large Indian population and it seems that they all want to negotiate pricing. So much so that if one doesn't try to negotiate, it throws us off our game! There are few ways to deal with this: 1) Stand firm, 2) Have a pre-made coupon that we can use to move the price a fixed amount, 3) Negotiate, 4) Prepare for the negotiation with inflated pricing, then negotiate and settle on a job price (that is often more than the non-negotiated price). We do #2 and #4 regularly, with a little #1 and no unprepared negotiations (#3). When we are negotiating, it's always out on the shop floor so that it can be a private conversation. They always seem to feel better when they "get a deal"! Any better methods or practices?
  11. bantar

    Car Repair and Services

    I was most intrigued by their steel toed flip flops. My shoes aren't nearly as comfortable. Their website is very clean and professional looking. I was sold. One of their USPs was intriguing: " Car returned with all possession intact." I missed the how-to-choose-a-shop section though. (This shop brings up another question, but I'll make a new thread for that).
  12. While this is not insurance, I recently learned of this healthcare insurance option. There is a company here called diamondphysicians.com that offers concierge medicine. I think it's under $100/month and then most medical issues are covered. Doctor visits are free, Lab work is about $7, xrays $30, etc. They have both GP's and some specialists on staff. I think an insurance agent can make a mint if they find a way to package major medical insurance with this type of medical care. One is not covered of they have a major medical issue or if you are in a car wreck. However, if there's a choice between no insurance and this only, it still has value. The person that told me about this has no insurance and a family with small children. He's a member of this network and at least he, his wife and kids are getting medical care. I had always associated concierge medicine with wealthy folks only. As you can see, this one doesn't break the bank. It looks like they might expand to other areas as it is a franchise as well.
  13. I think it's $350/month for 3 terminals and I know it's $399 for unlimited terminals. This one is quite mature - meaning many features and few bugs. For the (mostly behavioral) issues that I've found, they've added features to make it better, which both surprised and pleased me). They update every 1-3 weeks.
  14. Cloud software is typically safe, but I don't know anything about these guys. I'm using Protractor, which is cloud based. I'm sitting at home and accessing my system from my laptop. My software provider can see my data if they wanted to as they have a master password (but I trust them to play nice). Make sure that you use good passwords since it can be accessed from anywhere. And change them when anyone leaves. You will need a backup plan for when your internet dies. (This could be a Cradlepoint router or using your mobile phone to create a mobile hotspot). No internet and you are down.
  15. bantar

    Finally opening the shop

    We turned away cars for "their own good". Believe me, my heart sank with each one. Surprisingly, a fair number returned vs going somewhere else. The first day and a half was a planned soft opening to work out the bugs in the process. The bugs in the process caused large time delays. This would have made for unhappy customers. I'm running a combo quick lube and repair operation. We need the lube lanes moving quickly. With the holiday week, we were open about 5 days and serviced 63 cars with most being LOF and/or state inspection. We repaired 3 cars, wrote up repair estimates on about 10 cars and have a few repairs booked for this coming week. We could have easily handled much more repair, but the lube lanes were running almost at OUR capacity. This is due to new guys, new procedures and new software and new customers (all require data entry vs repeats). As well, we're not fully staffed yet. At the moment, the goal is slow and correct, with rechecks. We want fast and correct, but it needs to come naturally. Here's one thing that surprised me. I've already been mentioned on one of the neighborhood facebook pages. One lady came in with two young children in tow and she had already heard that I have a playroom for the kids. It has gotten more use than I really expected. (She suggested adding coloring books, but I like my walls uncolored). I've been personally greeting each person that arrives at some point in the process. I remember one guy looking real nervous as I approached. After greeting him and thanking him for coming, his eyes lit up and he seemed shocked to receive such a greeting. I think he'll be coming back. It's hard for me to get "office" work done and talk with everyone, but I can always borrow sleeping hours to catch up.