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Marksas

Free Member
  • Content Count

    77
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  • Days Won

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Marksas last won the day on November 18 2017

Marksas had the most liked content!

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About Marksas

  • Rank
    Posting Member

Business Information

  • Business Address
    1000 FM 3009, Schertz, Texas, 78154
  • Type of Business
    Auto Repair
  • Your Current Position
    Shop Owner
  • Automotive Franchise
    None
  • Website
  • Banner Program
    Napa Car Care
  • Certifications
    ASE, ICAR

Recent Profile Visitors

2,184 profile views
  1. Marksas

    Opening on Saturdays

    Anderson Auto thanks for the explanation. I like the way you have done the scheduling and it's something we will revisit in the future. I know we are missing out on sales opportunities on Saturdays.
  2. Marksas

    Opening on Saturdays

    We tried opening on Saturday's and it didn't work for us at the time. We had 4 techs at the time and two service writers. We would rotate the techs on Saturday and as an incentive we would give them the previous Monday off. This gave them a 3 day weekend. What I found is that we had difficulty in obtaining parts and really did noting more than state inspections, oil changes and brake jobs. While that was ok, the cost was high because we would have an expensive tech doing these services due to the rotation of the techs. We also did not have enough staff in the office and it was easy to get overwhelmed. I'm not saying it doesn't or will not work, we just did not have enough staff to support it and do it well. If we couldn't do it well and provide the level of service that we were accustomed to providing then I felt like we needed to kill it for now. I also always felt guys need two days off. One to get all the stuff they can't get done during the week done and one day to spend with family and friends. None of the shops in my area are open on the weekends other than a few dealers. We will probably revisit at some time and our next shop will be open 6 days a week.
  3. I actually think that is a simple formula and is fair. The 3X earnings might be on the low side if the business is growing fairly rapidly. I'm not sure I would go through the hassle and expense of getting a proper valuation and I know others might disagree. I always look at it as "What I am willing to sell for and what would I be willing to pay?". If the employees were going to buy me out then what would I accept and would I be willing to pay the same to them. I am somewhat in the same boat as I am preparing an exit plan and am working on the agreements. The difference is I own all the buildings, land, and equipment in a separate entity and lease it to the operating company. I will keep that intact for a longer period. Best thing I did was allowing my manager and lead tech to buy into the operation company at 20% each and financing the deal. They do a great job and manage all the resources well. I really just provide some oversight and coaching and don't get involved in day to day operations. We are currently grooming the next set of owners for the next location. I just sold another repair (collision) business and sold the equipment on an appraisal and I kept the real estate and am leasing to the buyer. I actually sold it on 2X earnings as I really wanted out and we were able to close the transaction rather quickly. No doubt I could have held out for more money, I was in negotiations on some other holdings as well as opening up a new repair shop so I was ready to be done with the business. I also negotiated a better lease which is where I will make my money over the long term. Although I will make less money per year, the money is far easier and the funds are electronically transferred each month like clockwork. Best advice I received from a friend was to journal all the reasons why I want to sell and every time I had sellers remorse, refer back to the document because the buyer is going to expand and do more business and make even more money. He likened it to my stock trading and selling something early only to see it continue a run up after I sold. Once I started journaling my wife had reminded that I had not been happy with that business and it's been 5 years that I have been wanting to sell while providing me specific instances of things I had forgotten about. I had to write all those things in my journal as well as other things that those prompted me to remember. i felt like the collision business and the time commitments was hampering my ability to grow my general repair shop as I have plans to build additional facilities. Good luck with your endeavor.
  4. Marksas

    Customer Financing

    We use Synchrony and have for years. We don't get significant request, maybe 1-4 a month. It about the same if not just a tad higher than our normal credit card transaction fee which averages about 1.9%. It does allows us to do some larger repairs all at once. The application process is simple and straight forward and we do occasionally have a customer that gets declined credit.
  5. Marksas

    Hello from sunny Southern California!

    That's a pretty short time frame to approach someone to sell the business to. Lot's of items to sort out. Is he selling the real estate also? What are the terms? What is the shop revenue, net, equipment value? owner financed? Is it an asset sale? How is he going to value the business? Are you in a position to acquire financing? Do you have funds for a down payment? I'm sure there are a bunch more questions to ask but those come to mind off the top of my head.
  6. Marksas

    Short staffed

    I have tried career builder, indeed, craigslist, facebook and a few others. Craigslist and facebook are the best for leads. We are active with our facebook page so that helps and we do buy some advertising on Facebook. One of the things we were doing is as soon as we got a response from someone (mostly Craigslist) we would request they go to our website to fill out an online application. Rarely would someone do this. Since we don't hire a great deal of people, I really don't have much experience even though I have been in business over 15 years. I noticed my local Chick-fil-A was having open interviews one day so I called up the owner who is a friend and prefaced my question with "No is an acceptable answer". I then asked him if I could sit through an interview for some tips. He said he would do one better, he would come down, pick me up, provide me with lunch, give me a back end tour, and sit through as many interviews that I wanted. He then said he needed to make an appointment for service so I one upped him and told him bring your vehicle, drop it off and we will go in mine while they service yours. Anyway they don't require an application for an interview. he has 2 other staff people pre interview to weed out a number of the applicants and then he gets the ones that are pre-screened. He begins by telling them the process of the interview. 1. Introduces himself and me to the applicant. 2. Talks about himself and his background as the owner operator. 3. Talks about he organization 4. His style of management. 5. He then tells them to take about 5 minutes to tell him their story and asks them if its ok if he makes some notes on his phone while they talk. And lets them know he is not texting or answering emails but merely making notes about the interview. He also tells them that he or I might interrupt their story to ask them a few questions. 6. If he feels compelled he then tells the that he has a position he thinks would be a great fit and tells them about the position. He makes them an offered with the stipulation that they must fill out an online application and screening and if that is ok then they have a job. He asks them if they can go online that day to complete the application process. If they can't do it that day he then asks if they can complete the next day. They all agree. If they don't complete the online part when they said they would then they don't hire them. After viewing the operations I could pretty much place each of the interview candidates in various positions and it was actually uplifting because he had some great young people. One of the other things he does is to put a couple of napkins on the floor by the table to see if anyone picks them up. A couple of things i learned is that they make it a very informal process and get the applicant comfortable. They build some excitement about the organization by telling their story so that the applicants want to come there. I have changed our process and don't even mention the application now. We go ahead and schedule an interview. We get them to commit to a time and if they are late we will talk to them for a bit to find out what happened and give them a 5 minute shop tour but not much after that. If they're late for an interview then my experience is they lack discipline and are also late for work. Once we give them a tour we tell them about our organization and vision. We try and get them excited and want to come work with us. We ask them to tell their story, ask them about their hopes and dreams. If we aren't really hiring we let them know we take our time in the hiring process and we are slow to hire. We have also shared our growth plans with them so sometimes is a matter of obtaining potential hires to have in the stable. Once we complete the initial interview we direct them to our website and tell them that our application is a little lengthy but we want to know as much about them as we can because we have an exceptional team and don't want to damage that by a bad hire. We also do 2-3 interviews. The manager, the lead tech, and myself occasionally. A couple of points. Make sure your shop and your office is clean and well lite. nobody really can get excited about working in a messy dungeon. Treat everyone of them with respect. We also tell the applicants that they can also talk to any of the employees if they like. We treat all the parts delivery guys and all of our vendors with the highest regard. We offer delivery guys cold bottled water and sodas and create good repore with them as they can be advocates for your business. Our last great hire was a service writer referred to us by a major vendor. One of the last top techs we hired came to us from a combination of parts house and tool truck recommendations. Guy was new to the area and talked to parts houses and tool truck guys and asked if they were looking for a job where are three places they would go. We were at the top of the list. I thought that was a smart and unique way for someone to find a place to work. This was an exceptional tech and we he came to us he was upfront and stated he would only be with us 2-3 yrs max as his wife was a DOD worker and would be transferred after this assignment so he wanted us to know that before hiring him. Even doing all this you will still make bad hires as we have also. We terminate those quickly. This hasn't always been the case as I am too nice and give 2nd, 3rd.... chances. My manager is much better at this than me. I have improved greatly over the years because this is extremely costly to morale and culture. Anyway I hope this helps and always be looking and interviewing.
  7. To answer your question regarding benchmarks. Just run your detailed expense reports for the last year or two and you can get a good feel for what your spending in each category on average. I like to break mine down by the month. Since we pay bi-weeklly we always have two months out of the year where we have 3 pay periods so we have to adjust for that. We actual have it built into our spreadsheet so we know which months have 3 pay periods. We also project our workers comp costs as well as all of our benefits based upon number of employees. One thing to remember is it's really spending plan as Dave Ramsey would say and you won't always hit it exactly. It's a target, and if you don't have one then it's the easiest way to waste money or have leakage. It brings a level of accountability for yourself. You should also share it with someone who will question you on it and help keep you on track. I don't currently have a business coach but the budget is shared with the manager and lead tech. The right coach can be very beneficial to you and they need to bring more value than they cost. I will say I have used Elite in the past for some service writer training and have been very pleased with them. I am probably going to hire a coach (most likely from Elite) for my manager to grow him and get a prospective outside of my own.
  8. I have a pretty detailed budget and budget everything from advertising, donations, employee relations (birthdays, dinners, lunches), inks, toners, janitorial, and even toilet paper. I have been doing this for years. It also looks at projected sales, tech efficiency, door rates, tech rates, training, certification test, dues, subscriptions, planned raises, effective labor rate, as well as allows me to see if we have the right amount of staff based upon tech efficiency and projected sales. I built a spreadsheet years ago and make upgrades to it yearly. I actually have my manager complete it now and I just review. We begin the process in October for the next year. We can get it completed rather quickly. We use it also to run "if, then" scenarios. Gives me the daily sales required to meet plan. It makes it much easier to sleep when you know what you need to do. Interesting aspect of it is we don't "win" every day but we typically win the year. We know we will have bad days, bad weeks and sometimes bad months. On a daily basis we win a little less than 50% of the days. The service writers see where we are everyday and weather we are on plan. It makes a difference. Start simple and grow it. As Joe says it would be hard to explain or even go through in a forum and really takes a full day at best to really understand all the variables. If you're using Quickbooks you can do a basic one in there. It's not my favorite but it could be a place to start. Another benefit is when someone is requesting donations, advertising or any other expense, you can honestly say "it's not in the budget this year, or it''s not a financial priority at this time". Start now as it will be the best thing you can do for your business. As the famed Peter Drucker wrote "What gets measured, gets managed"
  9. While looking at designs I always look at all the places I might use it on various background colors. When you look at embroidery and the size you just don't want a lot of intricate detail which gets lost as the logo shrinks. We went through a brand creation excercise a couple years ago which encompassed all ad copy, brochures, trinkets, apparel, car wraps and everything you can think of. Our current brand is city specific and as we expand to neighboring cities I wanted one platform and brand to promote. I have not done the actual name change yet but we have a leaked the name on our business cards and a few other places. It's all timing and we have been delayed due to construction of a new facility. Its interesting because we have somewhat of a similar color scheme as your new logo. Good luck with the logo as it's tough to choose as everybody likes something different. I just did informal meetings with a bunch of women as well as some brand specialists to help choose our name and brand colors. I spent about 8 months on the process from start to finish.
  10. Marksas

    Shop Equipment Resources

    I've used NAPA for most of my purchases the last few years. We are our particular stores largest customer and they get the pricing right right. I usually shop a little and the tell them what I am looking for and they come back with great pricing. They offer me no interest financing which I don't necessarily need since I just pay for stufff when I need it, but I use it because I can. Pretty much purchased all my equipment from them for my new shop.
  11. Marksas

    He died. Now what?

    I've tried one or two programs in the past and didn't particularly care for them. That was the reason for the secure document. Looks like I will need to revisit. Thanks for the detailed post.
  12. I like the poison pill aspect and had not thought of that. We are working on a separate "License" agreement for use of the shop name. Should we get sued then we could possibly lose the assets of the operating company which may be a few small tools and maybe a desktop computer but the name as well as the web domain is owned by the holding company. If an owner has an SBA loan then it changes how you can charge because the SBA only allows you to charge a very minimal amount above the actual loan repayment schedule (or so I am told). They individual I spoke with stated that you then just charge a separate management fee which in my opinion defeats the purpose and pretty much co-mingles the operating company and the holding company. I do get concerned because I don't want my holding company to own vehicles because it then puts everything at risk. So we leave the shop vehicles as well as the rentals in the operating company. It's not the best solution but I don't want to create another company. If you think all this is confusing and overwhelming try and follow this. I was researching some companies that I invest in and this is from an SEC filing. "The Reporting Person may be deemed to beneficially own such shares as he is the manager of Bluescape Resources GP Holdings LLC, which is acting as the manager of Bluescape Energy Partners III GP LLC, which is acting as the general partner of Bluescape Energy Recapitalization and Restructuring Fund III LP ("Main Fund"), and Main Fund is acting as a managing member of BEP Special Situations 2 LLC." You think there is some asset protection as well as tax strategies going on there? I'm having a difficult time even following this one. Reminds me of "who's on 1st". Another thing to remember if you create all this stuff then you need to have great notes for your spouse so they can follow it should you get hit by a truck tonight. I keep and encrypted document that is updated pretty much daily of every web log on, every account, company information, points of contacts and any important information. She has a hard copy which also has the information of where the live document is stored with the most up to date information. My daughter has a copy also and pretty much is a signer on all bank accounts. Part of the struggle of being a business owner is that everyone tells you how to make money and then when you do it gets a little more complicated in trying to figure how to keep it.
  13. Marksas

    Headlight Restoration

    Use a small 3" DA, it's easier to handle than the 5 or 6". We've used Krylon, or Rust Oleum. Doesn't really matter. It's whatever the hardware store had. Usually 2 coats. Just don't use "frosted" clear...lol We're not particular fond of doing them either.
  14. Jay, Owning the real estate is where you will make easy money. In my opinion there are two basic schools of thought when it comes to owning or leasing the real estate. They are both applicable in various situations and I could see using a combination of both strategies to your advantage. 1. It is a drag on your balance because of the capital required to purchase The asset is appreciating over time so it's a longer term investment with a stable return. 2. Leasing allows you to expand rapidly with less cash. In many cases you can lease a building and get 1-3 months discounted or even at no charge to ease cash flow on start ups. I prefer to own the properties in a separate company and lease to buildings and equipment to the operating companies. Part of that strategy is then I can set a reasonable (high cap rate) lease rate for the store which the manager can see and make them responsible for the entire P&L of the company. I don't run any type of personal expenses to his store, I do it through the property company. That way we have clean books in the operating companies and the managers don't feel like I am "stealing" profits from their company that they are responsible for operating. Any type of rebates, gift cards, or cash that is given to me for the store, gets handed to the center manager. This is so that they understand I am not taking anything from their company and I expect the same level of integrity from them. A couple of items to note is a number of owners run a great deal of personal expenses through their company and then wonder why they are not making any money. When you go to sell or think about selling you have dirty financials and the sales price will be discounted. All those personal expenses that you ran through the company ends up costing you much more than the actual benefit. I try to run financials as if I was going to sell the business today. Some of it is also physiological as I hear owner talk about how hard they work and that they are not making money yet the business is paying for all their toys, vacations and entertainment. They then cry to employees about how they are not making any money which hurts morale. By setting a higher lease rate then you can run your expenses through the property company which typically have very few expenses and it makes it much easier to value the operating company because you can make an easy adjustment to what you "overcharged" on the lease. My disclaimer is that I am not a CPA, Tax Attorney, Financial Advisory or anything of the sort, and you should consult with professionals before making any decisions affecting your future.
  15. Marksas

    Paying Flag Rate

    I think if you review some of the lawsuits pending in CA regarding Flat rate techs you start to think a little differently. That crap out there tends to make it's way East. That's why I have always set an hourly rate and have everyone punch a clock to track overtime. Even my manager punches a clock. I also get a weekly newsletter update on various labor lawsuits and it's pretty interesting to see some of the suits and fines that companies are paying. It's actually a little scary and keeps us on our toes about employee documentation.


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