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bantar last won the day on June 16

bantar had the most liked content!

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About bantar

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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. 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)
  2. 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)
  3. 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.
  4. 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).
  5. 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!
  6. EOL of Windows 7 means that you won't be getting any further updates from the Microsoft. This should only impact you on security, meaning that you device is subject to being hacked as new loopholes are found on Windows 7. I don't know this platform, but likely it is just a hardened tablet computer with a custom keypad (buttons) maybe. If your system gets hacked, Snapon should be able to wipe it clean and reinstall. You'll be down, but not dead. In a closed environment (i.e. this is not a generic PC with other applications running), then SnapOn can likely work around any (non-security) issues that occur over time. There is an advantage to SnapOn having a frozen version of the OS. Every Windows update introduces new bugs that sometimes affects SnapOn. With no more OS updates coming, it actually removes a pain point for them. IMO, I would not worry about this. SnapOn is an application developer. They depend on the OS, but they are not needing W10 features if they are staying put. If Windows 7 ever becomes a hindrance to SnapOn, they can always bite the bullet and move on. It's easily solved with time and money (and knowing SnapOn, they extract said money from you). (Source: My previous career was Software Development including Embedded Systems (custom hardware). Of course, this is all conjecture, but it should be on point). Let me drive the point home. My lovely Opus / ESP inspection machines are running Windows XP. We have interesting problems such as the floppy disk getting full, requiring a maintenance call to resolve. It only uses printers that have a physical Centronics Parallel Port connection on them. I'd be happy with an upgrade that let me run a USB printer at least, but that's not coming. These guys do 100's of transactions monthly and are getting the job done. They are attached to the network, so they suffer the same security measures that you would with an old version of Windows 7.
  7. Definitely agree on using a payroll service. I've used ADP from day 1 and have missed their deadlines for getting direct deposit to go thru twice! To be clear, everyone was paid on time, but not thru direct deposit. It would be double the nightmare if I had to do both recover from issuing a manual payroll and then dealing with the tax side. I've also paid ex-employees instead of current employees with names that are very close (Kevin This and Kevin That) thru carelessness on my part. Then you have to reverse the direct deposit and reissue the payroll and of course, using manual checks. ADP has a manual paycheck calculator, so I just fill it in and tell them that I did it manually and they handle the rest. The first time you mess up, you have to figure this out while under duress. Stress is compounded!
  8. Interesting trivia.... Canada has laws that mandate cloud data ownership back to you. USA does not, so you are left to what your contract says - this applies to both ownership and privacy. Many companies will adopt user-friendly data policies and some prey on those that don't read the fine print. In general, the minute someone else owns my data, it's a no-go for me. Further, (wearing my software development hat), I'm especially opposed to two different software systems both having data and "working together", such as overlay programs that change work-flow. Since I know not to trust computers, in addition to the backups being done by my software provider, I archive all of my data monthly in clear text (not DB backups). They are responsible for the daily backups. I also have a safety net. One challenge with the cloud is that you can't run over, kick the server out of spite, then reboot it and bring it back online. You are dependent on the cloud provider to do the needful. It can be trying when you are down. You will want to ask about their support and response times. (IMO, this is why you want to pay for your software. You need tech support to be available all of the time. I'm not saying anything about CAR as I don't know them. At some point, it would be reasonable for them to charge for technical support and you would be wise to want to pay for it).
  9. Well, I finally have a day off, so I now have time to respond to your inquiry. I've been working 7 days a week since we opened 1.5 years ago. Now, truth be told, I don't need to be there everyday, but I'm building the business and more importantly, relationships... which is an in-person exercise. In general, I feel good about our progress. I'm on a first name basis with quite a few repeat customers. Note, my business is a combo quick lube and repair, so I see customers way more often than repair alone. I've shunned the typical QL mentality of shoddy repair work by having unqualified laborers attempt repair. We have very talented technicians on the repair side. QL is a convenience / local business, while repair is a trust / destination business. In other words, one would not drive miles out of the way for convenience, but would for quality / trustworthy repair. The QL part came up quick and it is a feeder for repair, but the repair is a sloooowww grind, climbing monthly. My techs are on Flat Rate or Wall Time, whichever is higher (in other words, they are paid whether or not we are making money. I'm in an investment period. It is my job to get clients in the door. Their pay should not be less on account of my lack of cars). On marketing.... While I'm very visible on a street with 21,000 cars driving by daily (and 45,000 on the cross street), my biggest problem is getting people to KNOW that I'm there. They come in daily and ask if I just opened? I purchased a lot in a shopping center to be anchored by a small Walmart Neighborhood Market store, and as of today, they've not even started and may never build. This was a big hit to my visibility plans. My driveway is the driveway to the grocery store. I send out ads to 45,000 households every 3 weeks, among other things, and still it takes time to build. On personal morale... I'll tell you that the most depressing moments of starting is when things are slow. You have such little direct control of "making it happen". You can only focus on doing your best while waiting for the seeds to sprout and eventually a crop to ripen. I can deal with the stress of struggling to keep up when things are busy, but the stress of being idle is rough. On admin work... For the 1st 3-5 months after opening, I would pick up a piece of paper and not know what to do with it, then the next 3 months, I would at least know where to start, but doing was still a struggle. I started with the mentality that I would deal with the complex issues when they appeared much later. Much to my chagrin, the all appeared almost immediately. Some were so bad, that it took me many weeks to formulate a solution. About 1 year in, there are only a few gotchas that still cause me struggles. You definitely need a CPA that knows the business to get you setup and organized. Accounting mistakes just get worse and harder when ignored. On Employees... don't hire them. They will just cause you trouble. Well, partially kidding. You need them, but choose wisely. I have some great guys, but have had my share of challenges. On Cash Flow... This is a business killer. A startup is a cash-sump. It goes fast. You have to make investments and spend cash to make money, yet you can't buy everything you need right away. I'm still managing cash closely and starting to spend on nice-to-haves slowly. My business still needs to grow another 40% to crawl out of the risk danger zone. On calamity... I've had cars set on fire in my lot (employee cars). I've had employees drive a customer car into the building. I've had an employee break her nose and need a $40,000 surgery (thank goodness for worker's comp insurance). I've had equipment break down while under warranty and also, the day after the warranty expired. On most holiday's, my burglar alarm goes off and thus I go in (it went off just a few hours ago). I've had employees get thrown in jail. Employees end up in the hospital. Employees cause me bad reviews and ex-employees give me 1 star reviews (and thankfully employees earning us good reviews too). I've missed payroll deadlines twice. Since most employees like being paid, the stress of doing this manually and figuring out how to do the accounting has made me very sensitive to these deadlines. One month ago, we were hit by a huge hail storm that wiped out every car in the area not under cover. The next day all of the cars disappeared, either totaled, or in the body shop. Our car count dropped immediately. We are just now starting to recover from this. So, in summary, I'm both doing well (operations and sales) and poorly (sales vs expectations). I'm starting to see a good growth on repair and measured growth on the QL. In spite of it all, I'm enjoying the business and continuing to fight for success. A startup is very hard... anchored by a need to build up enough clientele to pay the bills and then eventually a profit. Because I'm clinically insane, I'm enjoying this.
  10. I had a customer claim that we damaged his car in multiple spots on the driver side rocker panel during an oil change. We don't lift vehicles for oil changes, so at best, the closest we come to touching the rocker panels is entering the vehicle. One of our shoes might get caught when entering. This is an elderly gentleman and I do think he's being honest, but also think he is confused. He saw some of our guys milling about near his car (actually working on computer in the bay) and thought they were looking at some damage on his car. So, when he got home, he inspected it thoroughly. This guy waxes / polishes his car daily, but has problems bending over anyway, so I don't think he's paid strict attention to the rocker panel. In fact, he blamed us for some road tar that we were able to scrape off. Not sure that his vision is great either. But he loves his car. In our observation, it looks like a scuff mark maybe from hitting rubber debris on the road, but at the same time, it appears to be under the clear coat as it won't rub off. See the attached pictures. I'm hoping someone that knows paint might be able shed some light on what I'm seeing. We've only taken pictures and tried to rub it off with fingers and fingernails. We have not tried any solvents or cleaners. I'm sure he would bring the car back for another inspection.
  11. bantar


  12. I use Protractor and do NOT have integrated CC processing. As a result, I pay an additional fee of $0 for this level of integration! You'll likely be better off without bundling as you can pick your CC vendor independent of the software. In turn, you lose software integration. If paperless is your goal, integration is better. When I post an invoice, I must manually enter the amount into the CC machine. Because they are separate, Protractor cannot store any return data from the machine. We use a signature capture pad on our computer to capture, in Protractor, signatures on our repair invoices, when required. It also captures Work Order Authorization signatures when required. If the CC slip needs to be signed, this is a separate step for the customer. Debits don't require any signature. I'm content with this lack of integration. Personally, I would like to have CC integration, but I value this at $1/month. Anything more than $15/year and I'm not interested. We make a very small number of mistakes manually entering the numbers. For CC provider costing comparisons, you can use a site such as: https://www.cardfellow.com/ If this helps you, for 2018, my transaction breakdown was: Debit: 40%, CC: 53%, Cash 7% by counts. By % of sales they were: Debit: 35%, CC: 59%, Cash: 6%. Fees for 2018 ended up at 1.7% of combined CC & Debit transactions. NOTE: My CC machine prompts for debit pin numbers by default, so it encourages more debit transactions. One more thing about integration. If your software is connected to the CC machine, then you will have a bit more difficult set of requirements for PCI Compliance. I have my CC machine on a VLAN (different IP subnet) all by itself. So, I do not need to certify my PC's as PCI compliant. PCI compliance is all about placing blame when something goes wrong. Lowest guy that's not PCI compliant gets blamed! Ask them about how the integration impacts your PCI compliance audit. They might still be able to be on separate networks, but it depends on implementation. (We're off topic re: Mitchell X-Charge)... May need to start a new thread to continue.
  13. Ever have one of those days??? That really odd problem that you don't know how to solve. There is a site that you can turn to for help.... https://www.reddit.com/r/AskAShittyMechanic/ Check it out and profit!
  14. Indeed, the corporate Goodyear stores are changing brand to JustTires. I've attached a recent picture of a local store. I think it should be opening pretty soon. @tyrguythought JustTires might be a retail sales front only, but it's a full-fledged tire store. The stores are being completely remodeled and are getting new tire equipment and will keep their alignment racks. Google maps shows the Goodyear locations as permanently closed. It appears that they've not rolled out their online presence just yet and no advertising yet either. https://www.justtires.com/ shows to be a Goodyear business, but there is only one store and it's in Waco. This store is selling more than just tires, so it's a bit confusing given their branding. I hear (rumors as I have no real info) that the Dallas stores will only be selling tires and performing alignments. They will not install adjustment parts on an alignment nor will they replace wear items such as control arms, struts, etc. The alignment will only adjust what is adjustable or they will refer them away. And a bit of a rant, a "customer" added one location to Google Maps and gave it a 1 star review! Likely this was for not being open when she tried to visit the old Goodyear location.

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