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bantar last won the day on January 7

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About bantar

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    Experienced Poster

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  • Business Name
    Kwik Kar at Craig Ranch
  • Business Address
    8990 Stacy Road, McKinney, Texas, 75070
  • Type of Business
    Auto Repair
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    Shop Owner
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  1. Hi Mark, Texas was under the gun to cancel our inspection program and before doing so, they commissioned UT to perform a study. Their results are public. We had on state representative in particular, who was pushing to get rid of it, living in my district, and we voted him out. Still had more. There were a total of 5 bills in this legislative session that were killed by our lobbying group. I can provide a bit of data that might let you see how Texas handled it and provide contact information of our lobbying group. Hope this helps. Some background on our Safety inspections. We are not that tough. Brakes, tires, lugnuts if visible, wipers, lights, horns, power steering, 1 mirror and exhaust leaks. No inspection of front windshield unless it is really bad. No disassembly is allowed, which implies no racking of cars, which means that we won't generally spot and eliminate rust bucket cars. So, braking test, then visual inspections of all other systems while on the ground. Tires are 2/32" (we've only heard rumors of snow elsewhere). Brakes must stop the car and no obvious safety issue noted. Much discretion allowed to the inspector, so if something is bad, it can be called out and the car blocked from passing. It could be over-ridden by a regional State Inspector Supervisor if protested, but they tend to do the right thing. All of this is done for a whopping $7. If you live in a SMOG county, then $18.50 more to get an ODB readout and a gas cap leak check. Annual cost here $25.50. News link: Study Results: And you may already know our lobbying group: Texas Vehicle Inspection Association 6101 Long Prairie Rd Ste. 744-240 Flower Mound, 75028 --brian
  2. Integrated ordering within your POS is the way to go. Check availability and pricing online. Get online ordering rebates. When we order online, my PO is automatically filled out for me, so that when I receive the parts, there's no additional typing to do. If I have to pick up the phone to order, we have to manually type the description, part numbers, pricing, core, etc in. Very error prone. Frankly, I order less from WorldPac because of it's poor integration with my POS. It takes longer to use WorldPac, so it is shunned. Now, it is technically integrated, but it pops up their SpeedDial interface. I make my selections and they are sent back to the POS, and ordered online from the POS, but this is clunky. Moral of the story: Best Integration, with the parts that I NEED, gets the most business. However, NEED trumps speed. I rarely price-shop even though I can as I take a more relationship-based approach with my suppliers.
  3. When I said: I intended to say.... I've not tried "doing nothing", so I have no way to compare "nothing" with what I'm doing. I believe that doing nothing would be bad and therefore don't have plans to test it.
  4. As a consumer, this is a non-starter for me. As a business owner, I would not be charging my customers 3.5%, but would absorb this cost as we do today. Now, my credit card costs have just risen. I don't see this as a positive.
  5. I have 4 main campaigns going and some other things. One hits 45K homes every 3 weeks, one hits about 10K homes every 5 weeks (overlaps), one is direct mail to people that have never visited my shop and then other reminder marketing. What I did was to align myself with a small business marketing company that specializes in automotive. I get lower pricing thru him than I would going direct to the mailing companies because of his total volume. Actually, the direct mail and the reminder marketing are done thru two other companies that specialize in those types of marketing. I track all of these very carefully to monitor success rate. In spite of that, frankly, I couldn't tell you for sure that it works versus doing nothing, but I do believe it helps get the word out that we exist, which IMO is my biggest barrier being relatively new. I'm still doing it and have no plans to stop. I'd be happy to share contacts if useful. This is costing me about $2500 monthly. They say that you need to be seen 7 times with advertising to be "known". I had significant heart-burn deciding to do this and didn't want to do what I'm doing. I'm mailing much wider than I want to because of how the postal / advertiser routes are structured. If I want to mail across the street, I have to accept that whole area. Kind of frustrating, but I'm hitting my target areas.
  6. Well, I'm not having a problem today. I see a post box there now and I expect that it would work. I didn't see one previously, but I can't promise that I wasn't blind on that day. Indeed this was a response to that article and belongs there.
  7. Hey, thank you for the guidance. We did try to remove it with fingernails, but this blemish was under the clear coat it seemed. Body shop told him it needed to be repainted. I told him that it wasn't our doing and was subsurface. He left (back in April), was a reasonable guy all things considered, and I've not seen him back nor heard from him. Hopefully this is over at this point. Just yesterday, we received a threat to call the police for damage to a car while in my care. We reviewed the security camera footage and I had video of her driving away with no damage. She did have real damage - a glancing blow to the rear bumper... just not by us. Explained this to her, gently and calmly and I think this one is done too, but video is archived just in case. And a few weeks ago, one of my guys "stole" some paper plates out of a car. These plates were on a different car later that day on the tollway and photographed. After some digging, he called me back and said that the last digit was garbled and he was charged by accident... we didn't take the plates. Again, he was really just giving me a heads up of possible shenanigans, but it's nerve wracking. On the flip side, if we had been responsible, I would want to know about it. Sadly, I can keep going.
  8. Some of the large business campuses here have concierge services for: 1) Car Washes, 2) Gasoline Fillups. I think they might even offer oil changes. With as many broke people that I meet daily, I'm surprised that these services are a hit. But it probably explains some of the broke problems. Some of my less well-off employees don't think twice about ordering takeout from DoorDash or the like. So, there is a market for convenience. I also meet DIY-ers that would DIY, but their apartment won't let them do it onsite. Now, how do you reach your customer base? Who knows that you exist? I would expect that you will meet even broker people on Craigslist that I usually meet. If you can sign on with a business that will do concierge, that would be good as they advertise internally to their tenants. I would guess that the drive time between jobs and the back and forth to the parts store will kill any efficiency that you might have. And what if the part won't be here until tomorrow? Florida isn't much cooler than Texas and I would not want to be working out in the elements. This sounds like a tough way to start. But, there are folks doing (trying) it. Good luck.
  9. @CAR_AutoReports created an article about ADAS, but I can't reply there. It was a good article. Thank you. Starting a new topic to discuss this in more detail since it won't let me respond there. I've started asking around to see if the Mobile Diagnostics guys are adding ADAS to their mobile services and so far, I've found no one, but also haven't looked very hard either. At a minimum, we all need to be able to recognize when ADAS is impacted and know whether to proceed with a service or not, if we are unequipped to tackle the next step. I do have a few questions / observations / : With the complexity of these procedures, does anyone have a feel for how the dealers are pricing / handling ADAS reprograms? In looking at this as a service offering, assuming one has room, I wonder about the following: What prices would the market bear for such services? You mention that you are getting paid for documentation. Sounds like the ADAS services are time and materials charging. Your car didn't program in the typical 45 minute drive cycle, so you are charged extra. I think I remember reading about some complex procedures that were in the 10 hour range? Any comment on typical job sizes? Lastly on charging, I can see people throwing fits on such "frivolity" (anything you don't fully understand must not be important). "If it's that much, time to get rid of the car!!!!" Looks like this could be a single specialty shop offering - B2B only. Are there generic tool kits that work with multiple car lines or is it one tool kit per line? Any idea of the types of such kits and their costs? You mentioned $20K toolkit. If access to OE Information is mandatory this may also impact which car lines are selected (as one may not want many subscriptions, even if temporary) Can we perform an ADAS impactful repair, but then sublet to the dealer for the ADAS reprogram (or other local shop)? Is this a good strategy or not? As of today, I've seen a number of cars with these systems, but have not performed any services which would impact them.
  10. Hey, you and me both. That's why I shared. I was being overcharged and possibly lied to ("we can probably lower your rates as you build more volume"). Frankly, it's difficult to read those statements. I'm just starting to better understand them. The layout that I presented above is a good way to compare apples to apples. Maybe have your bank help you create your fee structure and then you can compare. Be aware that your mix of debit vs credit card vs reward card vs fleet card will really change up the Interchange fees. So, I could be 1.5% with mostly debit and you can be 2.0% with mostly AMEX and we can have the same fee structure. This table is just looking at fees, knowing that interchange is the same for all of us. My CC mix for 2019 YTD is: Debit Count: 39.9% CC Count: 54.0% Cash Count: 6.1% Debit Volume: 35.7% CC Volume: 60.5% Cash Volume: 3.8% All Fees for 2019 YTD: 1.8% (up from 1.7% for last year)
  11. My old processor was First Data. This new one is Capital Bankcard as an agent to Paysafe. Most of these processors appear to be "little guys" reselling for the big guys and they do markups & fees to make their money. I had to sign a PaySafe Mechant Services agreement. I just signed up this week, so we'll see if they live up to their promises. They claim that I can trust them because we have no term contract and the cancellation fee is $0. Last month I was about 1.8% in fees and if I was at the new fee structure, about 1.5%. These percentages are Interchange and Fees. I paid $180 for the keypad and they are loaning me an FD-130 terminal. My existing keypad cannot be reused due to encryption. So, I now have 2 FD-130's and 1 remote keypad. Next, I have to pay the $495 cancellation fee to First Data. As an addendum to my first post: The annual PCI audit fee is $149 (so this one went up)
  12. I get the daily calls of wanting me to switch CC processors and with MUCH (misplaced) confidence, I refused to have a discussion with any of these guys, because I already had great rates. Then, I had a persistent one call me back and ask why I didn't want to talk. She said enough right things that I let the salesman come visit me. My rates were and supposedly were going to get better over time as I built up history. Original Quote: Credit Card Rate - 0.05% + Interchange (AMEX 0.055%) Debit Card Rate - 0.05% + Interchange Credit Transaction fee - 0.05 cents per transaction Debit Transaction Fee - 0.05 cents per transaction PCI Compliance-$9.95/monthly Chargeback fee-$10.00 (VISA, MC, Discover) $30.00 (AMEX) Paper Statement-$5.95 monthly (online statements free) The other guy comes in and tells me that my current processor increased my rates and added numerous junk fees. The rate raised to 0.25% for most cards and .75% for AMEX and now have a $34.95 platform fee and numerous other fees. At this point, I stand to save $250/month minimum by switching CC vendors. I did confirm that on day 1, my bills had way fewer fees. The bills also stated that they were raising rates along the way, so they were disclosed and allowed by contract. I'm halfway thru a 3 year contract with a $495 cancellation fee. This is what I'm paying now with the same processor: Credit Card Rate - 0.25% + Interchange (AMEX 0.75%) Debit Card Rate - 0.05% + Interchange Credit Transaction fee - 0.05 cents per transaction Debit Transaction Fee - 0.05 cents per transaction PCI Compliance-$9.95/monthly Annual PCI Audit Fee - $99 Chargeback fee-$10.00 (VISA, MC, Discover) $30.00 (AMEX) Paper Statement-$5.95 monthly (online statements free) New Junk Fees - $41 To be clear, the interchange fees don't change on either deal. We are only dealing with CC processor markup fees and junk fees. The 0.05% is a markup fee over interchange. The new deal is: Credit Card Rate - 0.05% + Interchange (all cards including AMEX) Debit Card Rate - 0.00% + Interchange Credit Transaction fee - 0.05 cents per transaction Debit Transaction Fee - 0.05 cents per transaction PCI Compliance - $0 (with a successful audit and $9.95/month penalty without one) Annual PCI audit fee - ?? Chargeback fees - $25.00 (VISA, MC, Discover, AMEX) - refundable if you win Monthly Charge - $10.00 As best I can tell, it looks legitimate. I'll be carefully reading the new contract tomorrow. So, the real question is whether or not I'm switching from one liar to another liar? This second one is telling me that my contract will have the rates guaranteed and locked in. If I see the right things in writing, I'll be switching. Will recoup my cancellation / startup costs in 3 months. I guess the moral is get an annual checkup from a competitor. Supposedly these rates are available as a result of being low-risk from my transaction history (or it's just marketing-speak). I don't know. My original deal was reasonable, but it isn't any longer. My plans were to wait for the 3 year contract to end before shopping around.
  13. Well, this is a car count question. Opening the doors does not mean car count is there to feed multiple technicians. You might have significant pent up demand because of your great reputation or you might not have any demand. The only certainty you have in front of you is uncertainty. So, I'd start by managing that. You have to be fully staffed for all hours / days. That's the minimum. Start there, then ramp up. Startups should have a focus on managing cash flow. You'll never have to worry about the cash drain getting clogged, they only ever wear wider! My approach is to wait for the pain to be there consistently before hiring relief. Some pain is handled by hustling a bit more and some is handled with overtime and of course, some pain is handled with an upgrade (hiring a better replacement). Hire techs 2 weeks before opening for training? I'd hire them the day you open and use the idle time of wondering where all of the broken cars are to train them.... unless you have that pent up demand, then you hire them day before. I doubt they need training... they need to setup their work area, scout out the bathroom and coffee pot, then they need cars and work orders. I have 21,000 cars drive by my shop daily and another 45,000 on the cross street and I'm very visible. Yet 20,990 / 44,990 daily haven't visited me yet. It takes a while for folks to "know" that you are there. Everyday it gets a little better. For my business, the startup period seems to be about 3 years to achieve "tribal knowledge" that you exist and with continued growth thru year 5, then it starts leveling off. (I'm friends with quite a few other owners that have been thru it and are guiding me and know some that have newer businesses than mine). With any advertising, you need to be noticed shortly after the customer develops a need. Until then, you're just another business on the roadside. The Car Wash next to me is a startup as well and he's mentally struggling with the typical initial low car counts. It's a very stressful climb. I've personally moved from Stressed to Anxious, seeking the ever magical Relaxed state. I have a competitor that opened up and was *way* overstaffed. Their car counts are abysmal right now. I'm not sure how the extra staff benefited the business, but maybe it did. They are in the process of opening 30 shops in our area. Only one shop out of 5 that I know about is somewhat performing. (And two of my guys quit to go work "for corporate" and they are both wanting to return. Buyer's remorse. I take that as a sign that I'm too nice and need to grow - probably meaner).
  14. What we did to start was to hire one, and have a 2nd one ready to come aboard when the business was there. We pushed it out until the time was right. It helped that I had general labor available to assist the technician with mundane tasks vs leaving him to fend for himself. Further, he worked overtime and was paid Flag or Wall Time whichever is greater. It is not fair to expect your (hopefully) best technician to lose money (with no flag hours) while you build car count. Your pay structure may be different on day 1 than it is once you have a busy shop. You have to weather the storm as the startup process is a major money-losing period of time. Good luck!

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