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bantar last won the day on March 25

bantar had the most liked content!

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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
  • Your Current Position
    Shop Owner
  • Automotive Franchise
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  1. Agreed. We'll come back strong. Here's another angle on Corona Virus impact.... I needed to send out an (Westcreek) finance application for a customer's large repair bill today. Tried to do it and found that they are not accepting new applications. Finally read their notes and they are saying two things (my reading in-between the lines): 1) Your credit score today is NOT an indication of your ability to pay. We can no longer reliably judge/predict your creditworthiness. Maybe you were laid off yesterday, etc. and 2) We might soon have a cash flow problem on our already outstanding loans and need to keep a hold of our cash until we understand the impact. I would guess if these guys are pulling back on credit, others might be doing the same. New car loans?
  2. Our March was super strong thru about March 13. Then I noticed about a 20% drop for 2 days. Then on Monday March 16, we dropped 80%. This kept up until Friday, then only down about 20%, then down 90% for 2 days, and on Monday, back to just a 20%-30% drop. We have a local radio show Wheels with Ed Wallace. He always has dealers on and they were discussing their repair business and it was pretty much mirroring what we saw. The drop-off seems to coincide with the Shelter in Place order issued by Dallas County (our local news source), as it was announced many days before taking effect. Our county, north of Dallas, is acting more sanely and issued a "Work Safe" order... aka social distancing. Regardless, auto repair and parts sellers are considered an essential businesses. I was contemplating shutting down Tue (today), Wed and Thur, but given yesterday, I'm open today. Not sure what comes next.
  3. The link is private to you. Can't click on it. Wow, $20 for 40 minutes is terrible. We're $25.50 for 15 minutes. Add extra 5 minutes for failures and an extra 5 minutes if they are first time visitors (and an extra 20 minutes if I'm flapping my gums). Our association is working on trying to get a small fee increase, but it'll be tough. For sure, we meet many people as a result of this program. Some become customers and some are consumers passing thru. For as many as we fail, it's refreshingly surprising that most folks are chill about it. But, it recently garnered me a 1 star review because "we turned his check engine light on" during the inspection. We declined to start the inspection upon seeing it and he left owing no money, yet were graced with a review. As a low end service, we somewhat dislike this offering, but from a marketing perspective, it's a gold mine.
  4. Phew.... Till next year. Our legislature only meets every 2 years, so we get a longer break. How tough is your inspection process and what does it cost?
  5. We're at $130 and on our invoices, I don't print the rate or hours (not required to). We simply quote a labor charge for the job. I have a shop near me with a labor rate of $99, but job for job, his labor charges are same or higher than mine - using additional labor hours. We pad for our persistent negotiators to have room for them "to win". If asked, we share the labor rate. We start with a base diagnostic of $99.95 for the 1st hour. While working on this, we fail to always charge for longer diags. Sometimes it's lost and sometimes we factor it into the rest of the job when building the quote. Even when we're asked the labor rate, we haven't received any negative feedback on it. We build value / trust which helps on approvals. If we don't close a deal, it is usually related to cost-of-job vs value-of-the-car OR cost-of-job vs down-payment on a new car. I get more vitriol for having the audacity to charge for diag. If I get a pure price shopper, I quickly dismiss them saying we won't be the cheapest.
  6. Right on CAR!!! This is the way to do it! The POS industry should be enhancing their core platform rather than abdicating the creation of these features to others. I abhor overlay software systems. When you use a 3rd party software package, they have to store data in a separate database, while at the same time communicate with your POS system. Now you have twice the chances for something to go wrong as either can have a bug that breaks the system. If you terminate the service of an overlay program and keep your POS, the historical data in the other database is now gone. Please note: I'm not critiquing any of these overlay software products. They add value for some shops. I only have one software vendor to contact when I need help and this simplifies my life. Instead, I'm critizing the POS vendors and/or recommending selection of a modern POS system. The system that I use has customizable DVI, but no ability to store pictures. They integrate with a 3rd party overlay system(s), but, IMO, the fees are insane compared to the value provided. Our system makes it really easy to capture needed work and present it to the customer.
  7. 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
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.

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