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TheTrustedMechanic

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TheTrustedMechanic last won the day on April 15

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About TheTrustedMechanic

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Business Information

  • Business Name
    MOORE Automotive
  • Business Address
    123 Fourth St, Anytown, Alabama, 12345
  • Type of Business
    Auto Repair
  • Your Current Position
    Shop Owner
  • Automotive Franchise
    None
  • Website
  • Banner Program
    Napa Car Care
  • Participate in Training
    Yes
  • Certifications
    Master ASE
    Master State of Michigan
    ASE Certified Service Adviser
    Certified Undercar Specialist

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  1. I am the only employee and own my own embroidered uniforms. The only drawback I can think of with a small operation owning their own uniforms is the size/name issues if you don't have loyal long term employees. But if you have a washer and dryer on site, the time required is pretty minimal since once you load the washer it's pretty much on its own until it's done. If you don't pull the uniforms out and throw them in the dryer until the next morning, who cares? The biggest time suck I find is pretreating the stains. I am NOT recommending nor not recommending, but I have the Red Kap Downshifter shirts, both long and short sleeve. But now they call them "Motorsports" shirts. Mine are red and black. I find that the red portion of the sleeves will get stains and if not pretreated they will look dirty and grungy in a short period of time. But a high quality detergent, a stain fighter in the wash and a pretreatment stain fighter and they come out nice and bright. The seller's website gave care instructions to HANG DRY, do NOT tumble dry or any stain will be set and can't be rewashed with more attention to the stain. So that's a pain the butt. However, even as a small shop it's possible and economical to have your own uniforms and wash them yourself. I happen to do mine at home but again, I'm the only employee. I have heard of shops making their employees wash their own uniforms at home but giving them a stipend. The only problem I see with that is if they don't use a high quality detergent or pretreat them, you will be replacing them more frequently than necessary simply to keep your image clean and professional.
  2. If I understand you right, you are asking IF high school auto shop classes are still important because of the advances and innovations in the automotive industries. IF the classes are teaching students the skills and knowledge that the auto repair industry needs. Estoy usando un servicio de traducción, no hablo o Leo español muy bien. Si te entiendo correctamente, estás preguntando si las clases de taller de auto de la escuela secundaria siguen siendo importantes debido a los avances e innovaciones en las industrias automotrices. Si las clases están enseñando a los estudiantes las habilidades y conocimientos que la industria de reparación de automóviles necesita. I believe the value and quality of high school education classes for automotive techs is and will be directly connected to how involved we as an industry are with the curriculum and how well the classes are funded. In years past, at least into the 1980's auto shop classes were where the "dumb" kids were dumped. I mean how hard is it to pull bolts and change an alternator, right? Well today, it can be a major project and the electrical testing to verify it's the alternator and not the PCM is not simple, it only seems that way to experienced techs. But a professional grade scanner is required for proper diagnosis. And those scanners are not cheap. The auto shop class MUST have the resources (money) to invest in modern equipment and updates in order to properly train the students and render value and relevance to our industry. That requires tax money and we know how people "think" we are taxed enough already. (that is another discussion for another time) If we continue with OUR ignorance of thinking our taxes are too high and expecting the government to do all of these things for us with less and less revenue (relative to the actual increasing costs of everything) we will never see the value that the government COULD provide much less have auto shop classes that are properly equipped to teach and train our future employees. How valuable is a student leaving an auto shop class that only had a red brick scanner? Incapable of teaching bidirectional controls on a late model car? Any capable, competent full function scanner-only tool will cost around $3000 (or more) plus periodic updates, that is $3000 TAXPAYER dollars. If we as an industry get involved, have a voice, are paid attention to and PAY for the value we expect then high school auto shop classes can have great value. The students almost certainly will NOT come out fully capable to start work unsupervised, but at least we won't have to teach them to push a wrench with an open hand instead of wrapped around the tool to smash their fingers when it breaks loose or to start all bolts before tightening the first one. When we ask them to install a vacuum gauge or a cooling system pressure tester they will know how to do it. When we teach them, as we would even with a technical school (college) graduate the high school auto shop graduate will at least have an understanding and know what they are looking at when they learn something new. For instance, when we teach them voltage drop they will know and understand how the meter works and what we are testing, maybe not WHY we are testing this way. If we think that high school auto shop classes have no value or are "for the dumb kids" then we are selling ourselves short too. Just as we sell our customers, VALUE is not a cheap price, it is the benefit you get from the money you spend. To get true value out of our schools, not just auto shop class, we MUST spend money, we MUST invest resources including our time. If we put into it what we want to get out of it, we will see value in high school auto shop classes. But if we ignore the teacher, the curriculum, the students and the school, we will see and realize only failure. Now don't get me wrong, I don't mean give the school a blank check or quit your job and become a teacher or spend every day bugging the teacher, but be available to offer guidance, to give unsolicited suggestions and yes, to pay taxes to support the school that you and I and all Auto Shop Owners members benefit from the students that are educated there. What I mean is like in your business, you invest in tools and equipment that you think will grow your business, increase your revenue (and hopefully profits) and the same goes for the school, INVEST in the students so they can be of value to your business, even if it's only as an educated, income earning customer. If you don't see a value or benefit from the high school auto shop classes, if you haven't been involved, then you are part of the problem and could be part of the solution. If you don't see a value or benefit from the high school auto shop classes and you have been involved, then maybe it's time to ask for advice from fellow colleagues on how to try and change the curriculum, approach the board or change the board so they are responsive to the needs of the industry their classes are supposed to be benefiting. And of course coach the board how to spend the money they have for auto shop class tools and equipment more efficiently to gain the most value from it, just like you do in your own business. The underlying theme, if you haven't guessed, is industry involvement, as a resource for not only knowledge, guidance, finances and emerging trends/needs. I know I touched the third rail here so if anyone disagrees with me, please make your replies IN CONTEXT and well explained so we can understand your viewpoint and its foundation and maybe engage in more than a "witty one liner" discussion. Thank you.
  3. When I first opened I was willing to spend the time to research parts, labor and work required and call back with a price. I spent a lot of time for very little return. But there was some return. Then I read advice that a shop should never give a price over the phone but instead encourage the caller to bring the vehicle in for an inspection. So I stopped giving prices over the phone, even for the exact job I had just completed for a different customer. I booked exactly ZERO appointments/inspections. Then I decided to take a new approach, to research the required work, the parts and labor and then call the potential customer and talk with them. In the first call I would almost always ask them if they had had the vehicle inspected already. I know that I can trust the diagnosis of most of the shops in my area. We really don't have any incompetent or dishonest shops anymore. But by talking to and LISTENING then EDUCATING them about what the repair, the PROPER repair I have closed many jobs. What I do is answer Joe's complaint and example of the timing belt, explaining to them the difference between doing the job and doing the complete job and why it is in their best interest to do the complete job instead of the minimum job. And then like newport5 wrote about the customer multiplying their costs with inspection charge on top of inspection charge. I have very often heard from people that called for prices that I treated in this way that I was NOT the cheapest but because I took the time to explain to them the process and why they should do what they should do, I made them feel like I cared and at that point price didn't really matter. What mattered is I built trust with them by actually doing what they asked, see beyond the question they asked, "How much" and answering, "What needs to be done, why does it need to be done, what does it cost, why does it cost that and what are my options?" The customer who calls and asks for a price is RARELY just asking for a price. They just don't really know how to ask what they really want to know. By refusing to engage with them and giving them a price, we are dismissing them and disrespecting them. Why should they trust us then? And like in original post, the dentist would likely not give you a price over the phone, but they wouldn't just say, "Come in, pay us for an office visit and some x-rays and then we will tell you hos much it will cost you." What they will probably do is ask a few questions, talk to you and have a better idea what they need to plan for when they offer to set an appointment for you. You educate them, they educate you and then you both can work together to meet your, the customer's needs.
  4. There is no excuse for any repair shop in Michigan to operate without licensed mechanics. Sure some of the certification areas require retesting but the mechanic certification is only $20 per year. There is no reason that a mechanic can't maintain their certification if they are competent and worth being employed. The shops were willfully not in compliance. I am glad they were shut down.
  5. It has been a couple decades since I have had any experience with Cintas. I have had my business for 14 years and the previous three employers that had used Cintas all dropped them for the same reason, service failures, poor quality and even worse customer service. They solicited my business to use them and when they told me it was a minimum 5 year contract I told them that was all I needed to hear and we were finished talking. They of course wouldn't take "No," for an answer and tried to "give" me stuff but it really wasn't truly free. I currently own and launder my own uniforms but should I decide to go back to a laundry service I can guarantee you, based on my previous experience, I would NEVER consider Cintas, especially not under a long term contract.
  6. Hello Matthew, You do know that in order for any business to survive that they MUST attract new customers, right? No matter what business you are in you will lose customers to attrition, whether it's by death, or moving or they become mad at you for some reason. So the appearance that we should avoid marketing to new customers is ludicrous. We MUST attract new customers whether it is when we are first starting and growing or to maintain our customer base to remain in business.
  7. I think the problem Robert was asking about and everyone else is having in maybe a breakdown in translation. Could you please give us more information about what you are asking about? No matter the language barrier we will try to help you if we can. We just can't with the posts so far.
  8. I will tell you a couple stories about working “for” or “with” dealerships so hopefully you can avoid the hits to your reputation. A friend of mine worked for a shop that did pre-purchase inspections for a local buy-here pay-here car lot. The car lot would arrange the “inspection” for the customer. The reason why they did this was that way the car lot was the customer, not the car buyer and could dictate what kind of inspection was performed. The techs and shop could NOT find, report or write up anything that was not on the car lot’s inspection sheet. Water pump dripping coolant? That’s not on the sheet so the buyer wasn’t told about it. When the buyer owns the car and finds the coolant puddle in their driveway, “But you just inspected the van before I bought it. How couldn’t you see that leaking water pump?” And then the shop is bad mouthed to all of their friends about how they were too incompetent to properly inspect the vehicle. I have had numerous car lots, including this one contact me about being their “referred shop” for customer pre-purchase inspections. Every single one is told, “That’s great, I’d be happy to do it. I’ll be happy to buy you lunch for each referral. But MY customer is going to be the buyer. I will be working for them.” Not a single car lot has referred any buyers to me. They know from my “elevator speech” that I won’t cover for them, I won’t ignore a problem and not tell the buyer. And a different angle, I used to work for a shop that did all of the used car inspections and repairs for a huge local car dealer. I only did those inspections for a few weeks because I got so frustrated with doing an inspection, reporting the results and having the SAFETY items ignored because, “It won’t kill the sale from the driver seat.” The boss stopped giving me the inspections because he didn't want to deal with my protests. Another famous line when I would recommend quality parts was, “It only has to last 30 days.” The shop was willing to be the patsy for the car dealer. A customer bought a car, thinking it was fully inspected and repaired, inevitably a problem arose and the customer returned to the dealer. The dealer sent them to us and were told that they bought the car as is or the favorite was the customer bought the extended warranty but were told the warranty didn’t start for 30 days. So they would leave their car until the 31st day so they could get the warranty to pay for the transmission or the head gaskets ot whatever expensive repair was required on this "fully inspected" vehicle. This shop got a very bad reputation as sleaze balls because they supported and defended and played along with the dealership’s games. Used parts, economy parts, corners cut, even SES lights broken instead of the cause diagnosed and fixed. It’s all stuff even “The good” dealers will sometimes ask you to do. So be careful relying on dealerships. Make them aware that you will not lower your standards and do shoddy work. Economy grade parts are one thing, but deceptive practices and actual illegal (breaking the SES bulb) steps can be requested. Another instance from this very same dealership, a customer of mine called me, his girlfriend had just bought a used Durango with the Service 4WD light on. Most of us know what the cause was but I digress. He said he didn’t trust the dealership when they said they would “Take care of the light” so he wanted me to check it out and tell him what was wrong. “I know I will have to pay you for what they are going to do for free. But I want to know what is wrong, not what they want to tell me is wrong, so it’s worth it.” I had it confirmed and an estimate written in less than 45 minutes. It needed a T-case control module. The dealership didn’t like the $900 estimate so they sent it to “Their shop.” THREE Weeks later “their shop” had it diagnosed. Seriously, it was three weeks. The dealership “fixed” the light by cutting the bulb off of the IPC circuit board. That is the kind of stuff you can run into when you work for the dealership. Good luck and take care. Your reputation, long term isn’t worth the hits it will take now if you start down that path of unscrupulous, incomplete, low quality repairs that most dealerships want because, “It only has to last 30 days” or whatever the return period might be.
  9. I am a customer of Matthew's and I agree with what he wrote. But i don't think it is what you're looking for. You need/want more immediate action. When I first opened I sought marketing help from my local SCORE group and got the same advice, "Market to your customer base." But what they don't consider or pay attention to is, WHAT CUSTOMER BASE? At that time, I have a whole 50 names. A great way to waste a bunch of money. Unfortunately for you, right now you are basically going to be marketing to "cold lists" as in the people do not know you, they have no reason to like you and they certainly don't trust you. Not because they shouldn't but because you're just another one of those businesses that are sending them junk mail or droning on the radio. You have to break through the noise. I am NOT advocating radio, but if you ever plan to advertise on the radio I suggest you record what station your customers have playing on their radio. If you want more customers like them, chances are the new customers will like those stations too. Be VERY careful of mass mailings such as Mudlick Mail, (or promos like Groupon) because if they get you the response they promise, you can get overwhelmed before you can get spooled up. For example, if you can handle 5 cars a day and you have 6 people calling, by the end of the week, you will have turned away 20% of your potential customers. Those are leads you paid to get and then lost. All that potential business is great until you figure how turning those people away is costing. Eventually it will be your existing customers you are turning away. I can't exactly offer you suggestions of WHAT to do, but I can tell you what I have found did NOT work. Never do those "new mover" programs. In my experience the people they attract are NOT truly new residents, they are most often just moving around town and I had several give the certificates to friends or family. Others came in just for the oil change, you know, it's free. And they "know a guy" or they are a "mechanic" too. I tried two different new mover schemes and got nothing in return, except a bunch of free oil change giveaways. There are many different ideas regarding heavily discounted oil changes, but like with most other "menu" items, you need volume. Advertise a super cheap oil change and you will get super cheap customers. Now if you are like one member who commented alot on "$18.98 oil changes," IF, and that's a BIG if, you can do enough volume like with a full staff of line techs and one lube tech, then all those cheap customers will be offset by the good jobs that you will get. Say, if you have the 80/20 rule and you "lose" $15 on each oil change, okay. Because out of, let's say 50 oil changes a week, 40 will be oil changes only, but you have "lost" $750 on those oil changes. But for the 10 good jobs you got from them, at say an average $350 R.O. that means you have $3500 in gross revenue. If you can't pull more than $750 in gross profit from $3500, then you need to close up shop and find work elsewhere. But if you are like me, the only tech in the shop, you aren't going to be doing 50 oil changes a week and still have time for extra work. For some reason, the lower the volume of something like the cheap oil change the lower the return becomes, more like 95/5 or 99/1. And as Matthew, as well as most marketing coaches will tell you, TRACK EVERYTHING. That way you can prove what works and what doesn't work. Matthew cajoled me into tracking and I can tell you, what I thought wasn't working because of the feeling I had, was actually working. I also proved to Matthew that the coupon book I was advertising in when I started with him was actually returning a good ROI. And then when it wasn't, I was able to show the coupon book publisher the cold hard facts. I had advertised in the coupon book from my 3rd month in business and felt a loyalty to it. But when my ROI dropped in half one year from the previous and then dropped in half again and then went negative, it was a no brainer, the coupon book had to go. TRACK EVERYTHING. I found that when I advertise in multiple forms, if I alter the offer (I use a standard $$ amount over a certain minimum RO) I can look back at my shop management report and see what offer was from where based on the offer. For example, if you do ValPak (are they still around? I would NOT recommend it) and you send an offer to your customer base. Make the two offers slightly different. That way you can look back later at an aggregate report instead of having to track each RO individually. Like for me, I look at my report and sort it by the discount total. If the discount is $25 I know it's from one offer, if it's $25.18 I know it's from a different offer. If you want to do a specific offer, like A/C Recharge, discount from regular price. That way you build a value that they are getting a discount off of instead of building a sense in your customer's mind that your work is worth less. So, say your regular price is $149 and your offer is $119, that's $30. To be able to track it from say the radio, your customer database and an "Every Door Direct" mailing, make your customer only offer $119, the radio $119.50 and the EDD mailer $119.75. At a glance of your aggregate RO report you can see how many $30 discounts you have (your customers), how many $29.50 discounts (radio response) and $29.25 (EDD mailers). If your invoicing program will export to Excel you can set up multiple spreadsheets to track and compare a lot of different aspects. I'm sorry I can't offer you advice on what to do to build your customer base quickly, but I hope I have given you good advice on what NOT to do, to avoid wasting your money. One last thing, NEVER underestimate the value and power of doughnuts. Or pizza. Or lunch. I have a couple oil change places that are great referral sources. Just make sure you don't undercut them on the work they do. Like, if they charge $34 for a base oil change, don't advertise yours at $32. You are not trying to take business away from them. Determine which ones are closest to you, research the ones that are most likely to refer customers, chain places owned by large corporations may not be good sources. Take them lunch a couple times and ask if you can leave business cards. You would be amazed at how the promise of pizza will keep you on the tip of their tongues. Just make sure they follow one simple rule, DO NOT push your shop to every customer who needs repairs. Ask them to offer your cards to any customer who asks for a referral. You would not want them recommending your competitor to your customers who get their oil changed at the drive thru oil change place. But if the customer does not have a regular mechanic, BINGO, they're golden for the referral. I used to send pizza, but that can upset the managers or the employees who aren't working that day. Hot pizza shows up, everybody wants to stop and grab a slice, or compete for the best toppings. That means either some employees get stuck with just pepperoni instead of the ham and mushroom they wanted or they have to eat cold pizza later. It's more expensive but I give gift cards to nearby eateries. That way everyone gets a reward and they can use it when it's convenient to them. Or if there are specialty shops nearby, like I had a brake and front end shop, talk to them. Then NEVER ever try to poach their customer. Do NOT ask the referred customer for work that the other shop would do. It's called respect. If you want more air conditioning work, try talking to body shops. Most will have the A/C RRR machines, but you never know until you ask. Good luck.
  10. That's interesting that you discern that there is a difference between the two. I have always thought that there are 3 distinct types of people that we deal with in business, consumers, customers and clients. Yeah, yeah, they are all nice and some are warm and fuzzy terms but I define them as follows Consumer - In auto repair the consumer is the person with the broken car. They will never see the value in what we do or think that our prices are fair. They barely even trust us, if they do at all. Remember, they have a broken car and it has to be fixed. They think that it could have been fixed for less money and less work that what we say. They pay what they have to, nothing more and always want the price to be less but not the quality they demand. They are called the consumer because they will consume you if you let them. They will consume your time, your talent, your goodwill and your coffee. They will never truly be happy and never be loyal, if a cheaper alternative comes along, they will go there. If you did something wrong or made a mistake, they will tell everyone. If you did everything right, they will tell no one. Customer - Our customers are like consumers, they have a broken car and need it fixed. But where they differ is they are willing to pay what they have to in order to have their car fixed. They are happy that the money they spent got them a car that is safe and reliable again. They will probably let you correct any mistake that was made and give you credit for "making it right." They likely won't bad mouth you for the mistake. They are the majority of the people who buy our services. They have a need, we serve that need, they are willing to pay us a fair price, they believe they got a good value for that price, but that's as far as our relationship with the customer will ever go. Their trust, if it exists at all is very tenuous and fleeting. Not low enough to go away based on that alone but not enough to be steadfastly loyal. They will come back if it's convenient and we did nothing wrong. But if they think they know what they need and a flashy coupon or jazzy radio ad pops up for another shop, they are tempted to try the other shop. Client - Or also Advocate. This is the customer who knows you, likes you, trusts you. If you make a mistake the client believes it was an accident and will let you make it right and still extol your virtues to anyone who will listen. The client is the one who drops off the keys and says, "Just fix it." And you know you can do whatever you need to do and they will pay the bill without question. The Client, or "Advocate" will tell others and sometimes even cajole friends and co-workers to get them to use you because the client believes that you are the most honest and trustworthy shop in town and that none other should exist. They don't care if you aren't the cheapest because they know that value is not a cheap price. It is peace of mind, reliability, honesty and yes a properly repaired automobile. They are happy to pay your prices because they believe that they got more than they paid for, peace of mind. This is probably the rarest person we serve but the one who makes it all worthwhile. And a little scared sometimes. Because we know the value of that trust and we are terrified of doing something wrong and losing it. We are afraid of disappointing this person more than any other. They know that, that is why they trust us. At least that is how I categorize and clumsily define those who utilize our services. Consumers you treat right because that's the proper and ethical thing to do. Customers you take care of because they deserve it and appreciate what you did for them. Clients you treasure and pamper with perks and "little things" like that license plate bulb that was out but you replaced it for free.
  11. I found that funny too. Here we just expect that will be the case. Maybe not in Mumbai? I especially liked the "FLOWERY CHECK' The FLOWERY Check acts as an early warning system, and if done correctly, will point out any faults with your car which can lead to it breaking down, or which can put you in danger. Perform the check at least once a week, and before any long journey. Fuel - check that you have enough fuel for your journey, or at least to get you to a petrol station. Lights - check all lights, indicators and brake lights are working. Water - check the levels of your engine coolant and windscreen washer fluid. Electrics - check all electrical features: horn, wipers etc Rubber - check the tyres are fit for purpose, and that they are at the correct pressure. Check the wipers blades too. Yourself - make sure you are fit to drive, that you aren't tired or under the influence of drink, drugs or medicines.
  12. I think this is a case of understanding your market. If this is the type of customer you have and know this is their normal cultural behavior then you have to embrace it if you want to have them as customers. If you were operating a grocery store, would you not stock items that your customers wanted from their culture or would you make them buy what you wanted to sell? Let's not put them down or call names or demean them, not that anyone has so far, but if this is the way your customers have grown up interacting with merchants then perhaps this is the way you will have to do business with them. I am hesitant to "jack up the price" and then discount it less than the increase because this feels dishonest to me. The “handling fee” is just a polite way of labeling overcharging the customer. I would be uncomfortable with negotiating individually and granting different amounts. If Rakesh gets a brake job and you discount him 10% and then Anoop gets a similar brake job and you discount him 18% and they talk, do you think you will be the good guy? Will Rakesh regard Anoop as the better negotiator and think, “Oh, well, I’ll have to try harder next time?” I see your four options and the disparate application two ways, You are being flexible and using whichever "tool" is right for the job. But who is the arbiter of which is the “right tool,” and when? or You don't have any guidelines and your front office staff has little direction or guidance which can make the situation worse. Even if are the owner and the front office staff, you still have to have rules for you to have to follow. Otherwise it’s just chaos. The way I would handle this is to determine what the customer demographic is. If your customer base is predominantly from India then perhaps just raise your parts markup and labor rate and then "negotiate" down from there. You can have a target range that works for your customers, say 10-15%. If you start at 10% and Nikita balks you can be the “good guy” and offer her 15%. Then the question comes in, what do you charge your non-Indian customers, the same higher rate? Do you “automatically” give them a discount to return them to the prior pricing level? Where I see this as fraught, not just wrong, but WRONG is that you treat different customers differently for no other reason than their ethnicity. I understand that you are only reacting to their cultural ideas and behaviors so that is something that you will have to reconcile yourself. But I think, if this is the way your customer base is and no amount of “standing firm” will change that, so then you will have to decide what rules you are going to implement, stand by them hard and explain them to your front office staff. Do not discuss your negotiating with other customers, that helps sow division, but establish a framework and guidelines and stick to them. I have a customer who always wants to dicker. Just one, but I created a customer profile in my shop management program and apply it to him. It has a higher labor rate and that gives me room to “negotiate” with him and still keep my margins. I watch carefully and make sure he isn’t overpaying too much. What I mean by too much is more than a few dollars. He always wants to knock the price down to a “round number.” Like an estimate that’s $435, “We can do that for $400, right?” Or a $289 job, “That’s $250, right?” Well, under normal pricing that $435 job would be around $395-$410, so sure. That $289 would be say, $265-$280 so I will tell him no, I’ll do it for $275 or $270, depending. Sometimes the “negotiated” price is a couple bucks more, sometimes it’s $5-$6 less. But he’s a good customer otherwise so I’m happy. He’s happy because he thinks he’s getting a deal. So what if he pays $650 instead of $653.37 like a “normal” customer would? Same with your customers. Determine what they ultimately want in pricing, develop hard and fast guidelines and stick to them. And of course, do all of your negotiating like you are now, in private away from other customers. You will avoid resentment that way. Of course you might have to evolve if your first set of guidelines aren't working. Maybe instead of saying you'd give them 10% you tell them a dollar figure that is basically 10% off. Like the undiscovered price is $387.51 and you offer them $350. They won't see the 10% and try to get a higher discount %, they will see almost $40 off and see the deal. In any regard, I would know the numbers before you start your negotiations, know what you have to charge to make your margins, know 10%, 15% or whatever your numbers are. They will feel good, they negotiated, you will know you are still making your margins and everyone will be happy. Maybe, maybe not. Good luck, I really would not want to be in your shoes.
  13. Where do you do your marketing to? New customers or existing customers" If to new customers, do you do newspaper, billboards, bus wraps, coupon mailers, or ??? How old is your shop? What is your market demographic? - size, age, income How many other shops are there? I do nothing that I don't expect to run at least 3 times. Different offers perhaps but the same action at least 3 times before I consider any judgment of whether it worked or not. I agree that a large shop can run a smaller % and get the same reach which really makes it hard on the little shop to grow, but that is the way it is. You mention radio, do you advertise on radio? If it was $5 a spot, even a 15 second spot I would be all over that. But in my area it hasn't worked, not in my experience. Granted the radio I tried didn't have a good administration staff so the consistency wasn't really there, but I never got a single person mention my radio ads. Not even existing customers. So I refuse when radio stations call now. My experience aside, one bit of advice I was told years ago was to record what stations your customers' radios were tuned to. Maybe check a few presets but pay attention to which station they were listening too. That way you knew what station to advertise with to get the kind of customers you wanted. I mean, if you have a customer and you want more of them, if you have 5 and 3 listen to the same radio station, then that appears to be the station that kind of customer is most likely to listen to. Of course I don't do that because radio in my area hasn't worked for my shop, but if it works for you, great and here's a little something to consider.
  14. Okay, and like so many others with those fancy buzzwords, the one thing that no one seems to be able to do, except maybe Matthew, is tell us "How." You tell us what you think we need to do, but you provide no specifics of how or even better yet, why. Long on vague concepts, SHORT on specific ideas or even explanations.


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