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gandgautorepair

Premium Member
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gandgautorepair last won the day on July 30

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About gandgautorepair

  • Rank
    Posting Member

Business Information

  • Business Address
    3410 Fruitvale Avenue Ste B, Bakersfield, California, 93308
  • Type of Business
    Auto Repair
  • Your Current Position
    Shop Owner
  • Automotive Franchise
    None
  • Banner Program
    None

Recent Profile Visitors

657 profile views
  1. Good article, Joe. Unfortunately, good phone skills don't come naturally, it takes a little training. One of my pet peeves is long phone answering scripts, which sound way too impersonal and end up getting spoken so fast that the caller doesn't even know what was said, and even if they called the right place. Smile, speak slow, company name and your name, listen, connect.
  2. We are starting to work on a plan to start gradually transferring ownership to my operations manager. It will be a gradual buy in since I have no need to fully retire from the business, I don't work that much now and fully enjoy the process of owning and managing the shop overall. When the ownership transfer gets close to 50%, 10+ yrs or I croak before then, there are banks that will gladly finance the rest of the buyout at reasonable terms. I have a banker in my BNI group that would gladly make that loan. We are well on the way to having all of our processes and procedures written down, one of our goals for this year, and have already finished our employee handbook and our safety manual. Next is getting the buyout down on paper and a valuation formula determined.
  3. gandgautorepair

    Can a shop foreman help with Shop Production?

    I am currently thinking of doing this. My best go getter guy is late 40's and wearing down physically. My service advisers are busy, and work flow, parts tracking and productivity are hard to manage consistently. I want to grow and add another tech, but how to do it. Thinking of taking my guy and have him be shop foreman/lead tech but still expect 20-30 hours production from him. Would let me add another lower priced tech and help the SA's with all of those misc exception situations that get in the way of both the SA's and tech's productivity. Wonder what other people have had success with something like this.
  4. gandgautorepair

    Shop Warranty policy

    We have our warranty displayed on a large framed poster on the wall, and we have a delivery brochure that we put every final invoice into and give to the customer when they pick up the car. The brochure is hard copy, folded one time, has our branding on the outside, and inside explains our store warranty and our nationwide Certified Auto Care warranty. BTW, we give a Lifetime warranty on both parts and labor, excluding drivetrain, maintenance, and commercial vehicles. Also, because we do Lifetime, we have a Lifetime Warranty logo that fits our branding that we use in every marketing piece we do and is displayed in the waiting room.
  5. gandgautorepair

    Employee Theft

    So sorry to hear this happened to you. Thanks for talking about it, it is a good reminder for the rest of us. I have a very key employee that I trust. This is a good reminder to have certain communications with him to help avoid the possibility of a good person going bad, or just taking too much advantage of a good situation. Thankfully, my current setup he doesn't write checks or pay bills, and someone else does all the Quickbooks entries. Still, something important to be mindful of.
  6. gandgautorepair

    New shop start up.

    You can market to attract those brands, but I'd work on everything. I also found out from experience starting a new shop that when you position yourself as a specialty that becomes your image in more minds than you would ever think, and ends up limiting you later when you really do want to work on everything. Build with as much capacity as you can, you'll want to have it later. I would hope that longer term you don't want to be the main guy, and that means you will need more capacity. Your own business should be more than just a glorified job, at least you should be working for it to be more of a business than a job long term.
  7. gandgautorepair

    OVER PAYING HELP

    I put the word out to the tool truck drivers and parts reps and anyone who matters that I pay my techs the highest rate in town. I have no way to exactly verify that, but I do pay a high rate. The labor rate you charge is mostly in your own head, not your customers. There are ways to charge more, but that is another discussion. In my opinion, you have to pay a high pay rate to be successful long term, both to attract and retain good employees. Then charge accordingly to hit the numbers you need.
  8. gandgautorepair

    Need some advice

    Lot's of questions here. Have you talked to a person at the dealership who looked at the car? How far did the girl drive after seeing the temp was hot (might be hard to determine)? What is the car worth? What exactly on those cars could have caused this to happen? Are you part of network like Certified Auto Care or Technet? Gathering as much info as possible is the first step. We had one a few years ago where we had flushed the cooling system and done a couple things to resolve an overheating problem. We couldn't duplicate the symptom. A week later the girl drove over the mountains (I5 up the Grapevine, if anyone knows where that is) and it got hot and she hurt the motor. She admitted to her mother that she just kept driving and didn't stop until she got to the top and an off ramp. We didn't fix the car. It was 15 yr old car, they didn't want to spend more money on it, and we didn't think we owned the whole motor because she kept driving it. Last year we did some work on a customers Dodge 1500. A few weeks later a heater hose blew off while he was towing up a mountain. He admitted he didn't stop right away. We didn't work on the heater hose, tech swears he had no reason to remove the heater hose to do the job. We put a motor in the truck. Customer is a good customer, and has a large circle of influence, and we just didn't want to argue about it. We just smiled and replaced the motor. My point is that each decision is individual based on the facts, and what your brain and gut tell you is the right thing to do.
  9. gandgautorepair

    Profitability "sweet spot", is there such a thing?

    I understand the benefit of tracking efficiency. I'm just having a hard time figuring out how to accurately and consistently get the numbers. I'm talking about having the tech clock in and out on each job so you know how much time is actually spent working. For you who are doing this, how do you do it? Time clock to punch in and out? There is a time clock per RO function on the Bolt On tablet, but it seems like it could be very inaccurate so we haven't started using it yet. Is it just a matter of me forcing the issue and making it happen? The problem with that is that I don't work in the store, so I need serious buy in from my people or it will be inconsistent. I learned in 25 years of dealership management that inconsistent numbers cannot be used for managing. I would like to have the numbers, have had many conversations about it, but am not sold yet in implementing it. Also, I have a C tech lube guy who does our oil changes and alignments. My goal for him is 20 hrs week billed, and this month is the first time he's actually hit that average. He also cleans up around the shop some and helps the other techs some. When I add his time and numbers in it skews the overall numbers. I've been counting half of his time as available to try to get a comparably accurate number. How do you count a lube techs hours into the average? We do a lot of oil changes, but not nearly enough to keep him busy all day doing them, and he gets .4.
  10. gandgautorepair

    Let's talk advertising

    Google Adwords is probably our single most important advertising. We've also worked on our website and had a consistent Facebook presence to produce good organic search results. We also have increased our Yelp advertising, and as much as we're not favorable towards Yelp I have to admit that it works for us. Google and Yelp have worked hard to insert themselves into the market as important sources of info for people searching for a good place to do business. We have to face reality and go with the flow, in my opinion. It works for us. I did no direct mail since last year, minimal Facebook last month, but $2500 with Google and Yelp and we had 108 first time customers in April. Obviously, word of mouth and referrals play in to that, but digital marketing in this day and age is important if we want to stand out.
  11. gandgautorepair

    BBB

    In today's world we have reviews in multiple places. People search reviews on all sorts of products and services. It's a different world now. Before internet reviews were so readily available then AAA and BBB were more important. Today I think nobody cares, since good info about a business is so easy to get. I've refused to pay a subscription to BBB and AAA just so I could get recommended. Don't need it.
  12. gandgautorepair

    TIRE ROTATIONS

    We still do a tire rotation for 10 bucks with an oil change. Easier to do a good inspection, especially the brakes. No rust issues for us, if there was maybe it would be a different situation. Also, if the customer says they get tire rotation for free, then we just say we'll do it for free as well and go ahead and do the rotation.
  13. Just got back from a 3.5 week trip, here for 4 days then gone again for another 10. Yep, if the goal of business ownership isn't to have the free time that we need to do the things we like to do then we definitely have the wrong perspective. Granted, we have to pay our dues, and it doesn't happen overnight. Thankfully, I've paid my dues.
  14. gandgautorepair

    Price Negotiations

    I managed car dealerships for 30 years before opening my repair shop, and dealt with the habits of all ethnicities. The Indians were the hardest. With them it was mostly about building trust, which was very difficult. Interestingly, they would deal with an Indian salesperson very differently from a non-Indian. One thing is for sure, a good deal is totally a perception, not a reality. It does not matter what the real deal, or price comes out to, it's all about how the customer perceives it. Just like dealing with what our prices and labor rates are, the concept of fairness across the board is mostly in our heads, not our customers. We had an internal saying in the dealership sales departments that "customers who pay the most are the happiest" and that statement is 100% true. The guy who gets the lowest actual price thinks he left something on the table and the person who gets what they want at what they can afford (regardless of how "good" a deal it is) is the happiest. In you're situation, sounds like you have a handle on it. For the sake of your people it would most likely save time and build the trust of your repeat Indian customers if you had a consistent pricing model for those customers. Call it family plan, or preferred customer, or special customer, or something to justify a discount that you show on the RO. Then do the round off down a few bucks if they still say anything. At least you know that once you get the pricing worked out, you have very good and loyal customers who make lots of referrals.
  15. gandgautorepair

    Negative review while serving vehicle

    We had this happen last year. Said we broke their cruise control and we had noted on the RO that there was a symptom related to the cruise control when we did our inspection. Customer argued, but left with a smile on their face, and then plastered negative reviews on every possible site. Oh well. I answered them all with the facts, which is all you can do. People see through that stuff. People also see that all of our great reviews aren't fake. Do what you say you'll do and let it go. If you haven't started on the repairs, then maybe stop now and don't do it. The purpose of the bad reviews is to manipulate you do drop your price when the customer picks up the car in exchange for revising or removing the reviews. You choose if you want to live with the reviews or pay the guy to remove them.


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