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bantar

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bantar last won the day on March 29

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About bantar

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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".
  4. 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.
  5. 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?
  6. 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).
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. bantar

    Finally opening the shop

    They have a demo version that you can play with. Before I do anything complex, I test it in their demo database, then do it live. And, you can always call me. I'd be happy to help if I can. The little things tripping me up have solutions as they explained today. Now, I need to go test, then fix my inventory snafu's. Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
  12. After years of work to get to this point, we are finally opening the doors to my new shop on Monday. I did a small friends and family test on Friday. We stubbed our toes on all procedures but the actual shop work. It was horrible, but a great learning experience. Most issues were procedural in nature, so this weekend was procedure repair. We really weren't ready to open, but it needed to happen. Still not ready on all fronts. My website is built, but awaiting my detailed review to go online. It'll happen in the next day or so. We're still buying shop tools. Many are in, but I wanted to let my staff be part of the tool choices. (Yes, we're going to have to pare back some of their big wish list). Hiring is still ongoing. I had my 3 critical positions covered for a while now, but I still have more left to hire. I chose Protractor as my SMS. I'm mostly happy with this decision. My biggest gripe is that the software is unforgiving of mistakes and new users make many mistakes. I now need to learn how to undo my mistakes so that the accounting part remains accurate. Today, my entire computer network went down and it took us over 2 hours to get it back online. Next on the list is to practice recovery procedures. One of my major marketing spend items was to be on a busy corner. It appears that this may indeed work out for us. We serviced about 9 cars on Friday and turned away about 15 drive-up customers. Have 1 appointment booked for tomorrow. Wish me luck!
  13. Probably because RO Writer corporate hated them. They bad-mouthed AMS when I spoke with them, making me think less of themselves as a result. AMS has a great online reputation for helping folks with RO Writer issues. I think that they were the last remaining RO Writer distributor. I'd imagine that AMS will offer great service for Protractor folks. I spoke with AMS, but they couldn't sell to me and handed me off to corporate. Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
  14. Who wouldn't want a better cruise control? But that's a far cry from giving up your car altogether. Unless you live in an area where a car is not required for daily living, I don't see this ever happening. Why don't we all car-pool? Where do I keep my toolbox (currently in my trunk) after I exit that taxi? Where do I keep the kid's favorite DVDs? How many taxis would you need for rush hour? If not enough, what's my average wait time? How can others see my ego, when I'm in an unremarkable taxi? "I bought that new Corvette to cruise low and slow, not cause it goes fast". (Not me, I don't have a slow gear). Speaking of that, I have to get to the airport in a hurry. "Go fast taxi!" Its programmed to obey the speed limit and thus goes slower than the prevailing traffic. Here's the best analogy that explains this. If you own a boat or have ever owned a boat, you know damn well that renting said boat would have likely been waaay cheaper than owning it. However, if you had to rent it every time, it might not get used as much. Personally, I would value each trip and ask if it was a reasonable expense for my budget on this day, week, month. It's why I quit flying - today's 1.5 hour leisure trip is just $150 (30 years ago). What's the value of this trip? This resulted in few trips, making me less safe due to less practice. It's far easier to spend 1000's upfront while it's shiny and exciting, but harder to do after a few nicks. Once you own it, you tell yourself that you must use it because you spent so much on it already. When's the next boat show? I'm ready (again). I have a friend with 7 different cars and just him and his wife. None of these cars are special (overly expensive, very fast or very pretty/sporty). But he got a "deal" on each one. He bought a truck, because... it's a truck. He'd never go rent a truck, and is paying more for insurance than it would cost him to rent it for the few times it will get used. But it's always there, always ready to be used, just like his airplane. Nuff said. We have cars for convenience. Sometimes, a taxi, bus or train is better, but not always.
  15. You're concern is fairness. How better to be fair than to use a 3rd party? You could pay for an appraisal, which will cover both the business and the real estate. I have a few samples, both over 95 pages. They are pricey - mine was $4K. It looks at the business in multiple ways, such as would the real estate be more valuable with a different business use. It compares all combinations of business and RE and creates a value. Probably pricey, but it is an arms-length transaction so it's fair. Another way to get a value is to go visit your local SBDC (Small Business Development Center) office and ask them for sales comps. They can provide sales multiples for actual sales that help you with the 3X multiple you suggested. This won't help with the real estate valuation likely, but it gives you a number. The SBDC is an arm of the SBA and will help you with these basic queries for free. Risk taking: There's no way to say this without putting my foot in my mouth, because nothing is ever black and white. This is a statement on perspective. If it was black and white, I'd say this: If you are currently giving your family members fair wages for their work, then they are contributing nothing to the startup of the organization. If they are taking less wages to help start the business, or similar, then they are contributing in some direct manner. Assuming no: They are not taking on specific risk, so they would not be entitled to anything (ignoring the many family nuances that might exist). They may be the best employees in the world and are helping you greatly succeed, but they are employees - not the risk takers. Therefore, you build a great business and sell a working / proven business to your family members. Buying a known quantity with a good reputation is immensely valuable to them. They will appreciate being the ones to continue the business. Don't feel guilty, feel proud! It seems like you are looking for an early exit or maybe family members expectations have been set wrongly. Why is this troubling you today? Hopefully, they know your timing on sale (e.g. 3-5 or 10-20 years from now). By then, with 3X, you'll be walking away with Donald Trump type of money!


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