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gandgautorepair last won the day on April 30

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About gandgautorepair

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Business Information

  • Business Address
    3410 Fruitvale Avenue Ste B, Bakersfield, California, 93308
  • Automotive Franchise
  • Banner Program

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.

    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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Tricky situation

    I'd refund to the customer the amount of the master cylinder replacement, and re-explain that the pads, rotors and calipers obviously needed to be replaced. If he's already filed in small claims court and won't drop the action after the refund, then it's a judgement call on your part if you'd rather refund the rest of the repair or go to small claims court and take your chances. I'd probably base the decision on the customers attitude after offering the refund and explanation. If you have pics of the metal to metal rotors, and reasonable evidence of sticky calipers, I wouldn't be afraid of the small claims court...but do you want to take the time to mess with it or just be done with the situation and move on. Hopefully, you compared the soft pedal to a like vehicle to make sure you actually had a problem or was it just customer perception. Did the vehicle lock up the brakes on a hard stop even though the pedal felt soft?
  8. Tricky situation

    My first thought...
  9. Profitability "sweet spot", is there such a thing?

    I imagine that could be a great setup for a working owner. I don't work in my shop, so I've grown it to 4 techs and 2 advisers, with an admin/CSR person and a porter. I felt this gave me a safety margin that I wouldn't have to go back to work if someone didn't show up or I lost an employee. My question came up in the context of setting goals and planning for the future. What are my goals? What size do I want to grow to? What does that mean for staffing and facility? We did 1.3 last year and it already looks like we'll hit 1.55-1.6 this year. Do I want to settle in with my current staffing and enjoy what we get or keep it growing and find room for more people? As a non-working owner, and looking at what other shops are doing, I consider a goal of 15% net as a good goal. Nothing wrong with 20% and I know that is an industry standard, but not that many are hitting it. We did over 20% for Jan and Feb, and will try to keep that going.
  10. Additional Services?

    Not sure what you're already doing, but the basics are a good inspection on every car or truck and consistently looking up the factory maintenance schedules every time...then do the work that you find. We have signs around the customer area all about the benefits and savings of proper maintenance, so we stress maintenance over repair. Then we present that we inspect the car every time so they are safe and the car is reliable. We'd rather find a problem while they're car is in the shop then them finding it out on the road. I have signs with sayings like these so customers read them and the advisers have consistent word tracts. You could look up a variety of factory maintenance schedules to get ideas of services you would need at add.
  11. How to charge for on-line help

    A good question that I've thought about but haven't done anything about. In CA we can't charge shop supplies. I don't think it would work to add a specific separate charge, which would be hard to explain. About the only way I see to do it is to add a little more test labor that the tech doesn't get flagged for.
  12. I've been approached by one of the local card processing vendors about a similar program. They had all sorts of misleading calculations, what I called pencil whipping, to show a good benefit to the business owner. In the end, it's a fancy, misleading way to charge more credit card fees and make the customer pay for it. I told them, and friends who were seriously considering it, just raise your prices 1.6-2% and keep paying your current fees and you're better off. They insisted I was wrong and their crazy calculations were right. They claimed they had a CPA look at it and liked the program. I told them tell me which CPA it was so I would never use that guy. I'm not against gradually moving credit card charges to the customer, but going from 1.6 to 3% to do it is a scam.
  13. Employee Discount/Sales

    Make them feel special and keep them happy. The few dollars you'll make on employee markup is totally insignificant to your bottom line. How the employee feels about you is WAY more valuable.
  14. Radio Advertising

    We have stayed away from radio because in our market it's too broad a reach, we market to an area closer to the shop. However, we have started a small budget with a popular radio show on a Christian radio station where both of the DJ's are our customers, and we are getting a good response. In you're smaller market area, I would think it could be effective and worth doing.
  15. Profitability "sweet spot", is there such a thing?

    Well, that's a lofty goal. There is such a thing as stress and burn out, and I would be concerned with employee turnover. With a small staff turn over can kill you. I don't work in my shop, so I need happy, well trained people who will stay a long time. Turn over means I might have to go back to work. I finally feel safe with 2 full time service advisors, and an admin person who was a CSR and can back up service write if needed, and a porter who has also been crossed trained to be able to write a ticket and handle some parts processes. My goal is for me to be safe not working there, and that means the right combination of people, and enough business to support that level. I don't know if there is an answer to my question. I respect the experience of the people on this forum so I thought I'd throw it out there and see what can be learned. I'm dealing with goals about where I want this business to go, what to grow or not to grow too.