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Everything posted by stvstbsvc

  1. THIS would be such a cool thing to have for ALL OF US! I would LOVE to post my Labor Rate and be able to see those all over the country but PREMIUM or PLATINUM only leads me to believe that this site is more interested in my money than raising the boats (a rising tide lifts all boats!). Sorry, guess I am done here...
  2. We have been seeing pretty good results with a generous dose of Permatex Ceramic Brake Lube. We are in Michigan. Here's a link. NAPA, O'reilly, seems like everyone has it - but prices are all over! https://www.permatex.com/products/lubricants/specialty-lubricants-brakes/permatex-ceramic-extreme-brake-parts-lubricant-2/
  3. YEP. I've always attributed it to the COLD weather around here (MI) and Holiday Bills. Thank God tax refunds start coming in early March! Always seems like a good time for employees who can to use some vacation time and go somewhere warm!
  4. stvstbsvc


  5. For the umpteenth year in a row I will be delivering about 15 dozen donuts from a really good local bakery to parts stores and machine shops and other vendors my shop uses this Wednesday. YES, I have been told that this is backwards - they should be bringing US treats. But rather like the Original Post, I have learned that this comes back to help my business through much of next year! AMAZING how much fun it is to go out and deliver these boxes and bags of donuts with a card and a bow on them and get to talk to other business owners / managers about the holidays, the weather, families and maybe even business. GREAT TIP!!!
  6. We had "issues" with Interstate about 5 years ago and said Goodby. After handling Interstate for 10 years they switched servicing centers on us about the same time they went into Costco stores. I felt that "cheapened" the product in my customer's minds. And funny, about that same time the service went to pot and we started noticing quite a few more warranties. We are a NAPA AutoCare and an AC Delco TSC so it was in my best interest to put in a rack of batteries (also on consignment) from both vendors. Still very happy with both brands after 5 years - good product, good warranties (not that I have needed much!) and pricing I can work with.
  7. Congratulations, Mark. I dare say you have earned it. I might have to drive down and buy lunch and talk someday...
  8. SORRY - I stand corrected. Checked my invoicing software this morning and the formula is 9% of the LABOR up to $41.10 and includes tire repairs and oil changes. It is automatic on every estimate. I don't worry about quality or quantity of Shop Supplies anymore. I had enough of THOSE BOSSES when I was a Tech. 😀
  9. If I remember correctly - we are at 6% of Labor with a cap of $38.93. It is a money maker for us as we charge it on EVERY JOB and still charge for brakleen, battery terminal lugs, throttle body cleaner and ALL FLUIDS. I suggest you grab a couple of of typical invoices and play with formulas to suit your business and your profit goals.
  10. HAHAHA! That's only funny if you knew how many weeks of Time shares I own (Platinum!). You are correct - ATI does have a hard time with NO for an answer... Maybe I better skip their next visit to a venue near me!
  11. Think of a FUTURE with Autonomous cars and Dorman Proximity Sensors! 🙂 We are a NAPA Autocare and an AC /Delco PSC. As much OE ignition and sensors / electronics as possible. Minimal Dorman / NAPA "OE". NAPA Adaptive One pads or we seem to have noise issues. As for Wagner pads - we call them Thermo-Squealers! I agree - parts are becoming a BIG ISSUE for any mechanical shop in 2018!
  12. I LOVE watching other shop owners when I am at a weekday class of any sort. Most of them can't wait for a break so they can check-in. Sorry, but that just PROVES how much they need that class. I have a crew that I TRUST! I very seldom check-in with my crew. If you do not trust your crew - hey, who hired them? Train them, ENABLE them, and enjoy your life! But lock my Cell in my room safe? WOW! I'm not sure I'm THAT brave! 🙂
  13. IF you can say NO, and IF you have the time to spare, and IF you want to maybe pick-up a trick or two, and IF you are willing to network with a few other Shop Owners (I think that describes my last ATI experience!) - this can be a good experience. There is a class close to me soon and YES, as mentioned, I got a phone call and an e-mail, but I don't have a free day so I blew it off. I have learned a few ticks - and I was told five years ago that I wouldn't last 6 months if I didn't sign up. I'm still here...
  14. Funny question, that. I find it amazing that I have had an issue my whole life losing / misplacing my own keys but now that I own a shop - I am responsible for all those keys! Tags go on Immediately. There is a nice big key rack with enough spaces for car awaiting service, cars awaiting parts, and cars on stand-by. Keys for completed cars live in a bin with the invoice awaiting pick-up and payment. Keys for cars in the building live in the ignition, with a window open. I think the most important thing is to have an organization plan, a system in place and have EVERYONE buy in and keep it going. CONSISTENCY IS THE KEY!
  15. YEP! I would definitely get my insurance company involved - takes YOU out of the middle of it and puts it in the hands of an independent 3rd party. It is also easier for them to look at a car 3 hours away and help you figure out your options. Good luck - I've only had this happen once but I didn't loose the customer (at first)... 🙂
  16. The last negative review we received was from a customer like that that put up a number of red flags. We soldiered through and paid the price. I think you need to uphold your end of the agreement and LEARN from it. We did! You may be lucky enough to talk with the customer while you are getting paid (I might be thinking CASH!) and have them adjust the reviews...
  17. I'm also here in Michigan and my Insurance Company really balked at my shop having two "In-Transit Repair Plates" a few years ago (wanted over $1000.00 to cover the second one) so I just have one now. It is more or less included in my Shop Liability / Garage-keepers Coverage. Every now and then (5 or 6 times a year) someone will tow in a car that hasn't run in a year or two for us to revive. This plate allows me to legally Road Test that vehicle before the customer renews the plates... My guess would be that since I see some of my peers driving around with one of these plates on their daily driver (not really LEGAL!) some Insurance companies have figured it out.
  18. Don't know what is more interesting - the discussion on PRICING or the discussion on BOATS! Thanks!
  19. I switched away from Interstate a few years ago when they affiliated with Costco. It really was no longer a "Premium Product" and I noticed our warranty rate increasing. Interstate also switched us to a different servicing warehouse and their "service" was horrible. Just based on what I was seeing, I thought Interstate might have cheapened their product and so I moved on. Now stocking NAPA (Autocare Center) and Delco (also a PSC) batteries. Warranted one of each company's battery in the last three years; probably eight Interstates in old customer's cars. Getting 25% mark-up and .3 - .5 labor depending on how much stuff is in the way. Plus a .5 Electrical System Test. Sold a lot of these the last two or three weeks. Three cars in the shop on slow chargers over the weekend!
  20. I AM a Tech. (sometimes) but sometimes my crew works on my cars to fill time. When that happens I flag their time but no labor cost (so they get paid the commissionable hours) and parts at 2% over my cost (to cover credit card fees). Thus I have a record of the job and parts (for warranty) in my software and the sales tax is taken care of. I keep an eye on it but so far I haven't cost myself a bump in the profit sharing plan yet. That plan is based on gross sales (I know, I know - but I have my reasons!) and too much of this type of activity could hurt...
  21. Thank-you all so much for this thread. I just switched vendors as well and am finding the new company (Continental) to be no better than the old one (Cintas). I never thought of just buying rags - I have been paying A LOT for the white, virgin ones so I didn't have to deal with metal shavings. Now you all have me thinking of buying uniforms at the end of this contract as well!
  22. Yes, as was stated above, believe it or not - it depends on the price of crude oil. When crude prices are down, your waste oil is not a valuable asset and you have to supplement the cost of processing it. And when crude oil prices are up, you get paid! Usually has nothing to do with "how long you have been with the recycler". I recommend shopping it - I'm happy with our vendor that we have used for 15 - 20 years but I still make phone calls every couple of years...
  23. And just to put a fork in my part of this story; Thank-you for the look-up on my customer's Subaru. There is no reflash for a P0420 on her car and I sat in class getting all excited for nothing!!! And now I (and my shop) are back to square one.
  24. I took a class on this at Automechanika and came home all excited and ready to get a RAP Machine and get going and be able to fix a few more cars. Sitting in class listening to Mr. Truglia I had a certain Subaru Forester in mind to reflash for a P0420 (she is ready to pay us to replace the cat). Apparently there is often a flash for P0420's BUT there doesn't appear to be a flash available for this car. And so now I am back on the fence wondering again if the module we need flashed very 4 months or so is enough to make it worthwhile. We have a mobile flash person and it has been working fine that way. THANKS for the thread = plan on watching...
  25. And just reading through this thread echoes what I seem to be hearing in conversations with my peers in the area - a lot of us that have been around for awhile and have tried different things are realizing that maybe business is just streaky now and it will be hard to attribute a good month to an advertising program or promotion since business doesn't seem to follow any pattern at all anymore. Still good to advertise and try new things but I wouldn't necessarily count on the observed results being what you might expect, either way!

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