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dfrisby

Premium Member
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dfrisby last won the day on July 17

dfrisby had the most liked content!

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About dfrisby

  • Rank
    Experienced Poster

Business Information

  • Business Name
    All Seasons Services
  • Business Address
    31152 Minnesota 65, Pengilly, Minnesota, 55775
  • Type of Business
    Auto Repair
  • Your Current Position
    Shop Owner

Recent Profile Visitors

3,192 profile views
  1. No. Not gonna happen in my place. It's just another surface to clean. Before doing that, I'd set up a service writing kiosk on my sidewalk and conduct my business outside. But I'm in northern Minnesota in an area where we already did social distancing even before it was cool.
  2. Two years ago I cut out Saturdays and reduced our open hours from 8-6 to 8:30-5. I live on site and am still often working till midnight or later, and almost always work Saturdays and some Sundays. But I let the answering machine get the phones and I keep the doors locked when I'm not open. Those are my most productive hours. Every once in awhile I think I should reopen on Saturdays, but I don't think it will ever actually happen. It either was so busy I couldn't get anything done without more staff, or so dead I was paying for staff that didn't need to be there. Either way it wasn't worth it.
  3. We are holding steady and scheculed about 8 days out right now. The surge of new jobs may have dropped a little, but the ARO on the jobs coming in seems higher than normal. Hoping it holds out long enough to save up for a long dead winter, just in case.
  4. In northern minnesota I'm about 10% higher than this week last year. Our shop does almost everything land based that fits in the door, so ATV service has been huge since it's a socially distancing activity available to my customers. Auto is also slightly above last year for the last 2 weeks in dollars, but not car count. my average repair order is higher also I think partly due to the stimulus and bloated unemployment checks. Since the mines in our area are shutting down, I'm not sure how long it will last, but we had to hire another tech for now and that makes me feel alot better than I did 3 weeks ago.
  5. Yes, at the customers request as well as their risk, although the risk is fairly low in my area. I live in the other end of the building and seldom go away. I'd be less likely to do that in a metro area. I've thought of welding together a key drop box and having a separate compartment for customers to pickup keys at and just use a combination style lock. Could give them the combination to retrieve their keys from it as needed.
  6. This last week in northern Minnesota surely picked up for our shop. Not to levels of last year same time, but way better than last week. Now trying to hire another tech, but that's proving difficult even with the high unemployment rate.
  7. From Minnesota, that looks pretty solid still.
  8. I've been using "My Shop Manager" and it's been great for our business. It also has digital vehicle inspections that seem to work well. Also, with the slowdown from COVID 19 and me having to let my two employees take time off, I contacted them to suspend service for a month or two. They were quick to get back to me and allow us to keep service in order to contact customers and whatnot, but not charge me for this coming month. They are in the fight to help get through this crisis right along with the shops. I really appreciated that from them.
  9. I'm sending my two employees home today, and will do my best to keep them paid. My family and I live in the same building the shop is in, and so in order to keep them and us safe, we have decided to take a couple weeks off kinda. I'll still work and try to keep enough cash flow to not close my doors permanently. I to am concerned for my customers vehicles and their needs, but for time being, I'll have to do what I'm able to do without my help.
  10. I'm in Minnesota which has no safety inspection program. We also are in a state that is very generous in their usage of salt for road maintenance. We get a few cars in here every year that NEED to be crushed. I've had to inform owners that their car is NOT safe to drive, only to have them drive away after I refused to do the repairs. My wife and kids are on these roads as well, and I still feel guilt about not having some way to get those cars off the road. While a big part of me doesn't believe in expanding our government control, I do believe there needs to be some standards. I also deal with commercial vehicles, and they all have to go through an annual inspection. A few years ago I had a car in here in the middle of summer that was unsafe to drive. I had to decline working on that vehicle as the left rear lateral link was rusted away from the body. I could push the tire forward and back in the wheel well almost to the point of hitting the wheel well. The customer claimed it was the only thing he had to drive and until the 1st of the month he couldn't replace it, but he would. I had no legal recourse to keep him from driving his car. 6 month later in the middle of winter he came into my shop with his arm in a sling because the same car went out of control on icy roads and he rolled it multiple times. He wanted me to get his other vehicle repaired. A very rusted out truck. I stood my ground and said absolutely not, and then helped him figure out a way to buy a better car within his means. He is now a loyal customer in a safe vehicle. I now don't have to worry that the next time he loses control of his unsafe vehicle my wife and kids could be on the road with him. There has to be some legal recourse us as shops have to put an unsafe car out of it's misery.
  11. Currently customers gauge the cost of one shop vs. another entirely on labor rates. I wouldn't mark up any parts if I could charge the labor rate required to accomplish that. In Minnesota only the parts are taxable. The labor is exempt as long as it's repair work. The customer would pay less sales tax if I charged cost on my parts, but I'd have to just about double my shop labor rate. The total cost to the customer would be close to the same either way, but I'd have to have customers that had as much schooling on economics as they did algebra in order to get them to understand. The other benefit would be that I just wouldn't care if the customer supplied their own parts anymore. Wouldn't affect me or my bottom line.
  12. I believe tech pay will be going up rapidly, but so will shop labor rates. With the low unemployment currently, wages are going up in every industry. With the average tech pay of $41,000, if a tech was at work 40 hours a week all year he's only making $19.71 an hour. While that's a decent wage for many, most techs have to invest in a lot of costly tools. I was in a McDonalds a few months ago and saw signs all over the store advertising for employees with starting wage of $14 an hour. Of course my breakfast there gave me sticker shock also. The same will have to happen to the automotive repair industry or there will be no more techs. I see shops all around going out of business. It's not because of it being a profitable business. It's because the shop labor rates throughout the area are to low to be able to pay techs well enough to attract them and keep them while most customers gauge the cost of one shop vs. another entirely on the shops labor rate. Hands On says we have to have the same knowledge base of a doctor. Considering they only work on one make and two models, I'd say we may have to have a larger knowledge base in our profession. If we operated as doctors, we would also have a specialist for heater blower motors, and a different specialist for hood release cables and yet another specialist for brakes. The same tech that replaces the spark plugs wouldn't even consider working on the exhaust system. If we are going to keep techs coming to our industry, it will not be long before it will have to be an 80K or better per year profession. That will be achieved as shops either raise the average shop labor rate significantly or go out of business placing more demand on the shops that survive.
  13. I am certainly in a different situation of many shops. My shop is 1 of 3 businesses in our metro area. We are an extremely small town. The two larger towns in our area are 20 miles east or 20 miles west of here. I couldn't survive on just my local market area so customer retention has always been my highest priority. I have customers from 150 miles away (the twin cities) that are now loyal customers returning for work on a regular basis. EVERY customer should be treated as the MOST important customer. We try hard to provide that as without them we couldn't be here. Because of our loyal customers we have been able to expand our services year after year. I agree with you. I believe I do understand and expect in most areas where there is a large pool of NEW customers, many shop owners don't do everything possible for retention. Even here every month shops are folding because they aren't profitable. They probably would be profitable with better customer retention. My question would be where is that 27% number coming from? Customers that were here a year ago that came again within 12 months? New customers from last week that haven't been back yet? I just watched the video referring to the 27%, and I agree with the theory of what you are saying. I know alot of the customers I get tell me horror stories of shops they have been to. I am thinking that my business doesn't fit the statistics just because I already put so much emphasis into building a long standing relationship with EVERY customer that comes through my door.
  14. Or did we just fix their car to well? Most cars don't need repairs every month. Other than routine maintenance it's not uncommon for cars to go years without the need of any major repairs. I believe at least in our area, alot of customers perform their basic maintenance themselves, and even basic repairs like brake jobs. We end up with the more difficult jobs and the jobs requiring expensive diagnostic equipment. I'm not concerned when I don't see a customer for several months. I'm confident our service and reputation has made them a customer for life. I'd be more concerned about a customer that has the same vehicle visiting us multiple times in one month with different concerns we hadn't spotted and discussed prior. If they have to bring the same car in week after week or even every month for yet another repair, eventually they are going to shop elsewhere hoping for a better result. Our customer retention is good, but because they don't need service every week, new customers are necessary every day. Of course customer retention is important. But I know my percentage of new customers becoming loyal returning customers is also important, and I'm pretty sure it's alot higher than 27%. We try to build a relationship with every customer that comes through our door.
  15. We hit last years January total revenue on the 15th of this January. Pushing double last year if all keeps up. It seems customers are more willing to spend the money on repairs as the confidence in the economy is better, at least in our area. Hoping this trend continues! Good luck everyone!


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