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About KBenline

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    Occasional Poster

Business Information

  • Business Name
    Robert's Auto Service
  • Business Address
    4630 Mission Bay Drive, San Diego, California, 92109
  • Type of Business
    Auto Repair
  • Your Current Position
    Shop Owner
  • Automotive Franchise
  • Website
  • Banner Program
  • Participate in Training

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  1. KBenline


  2. You guys need to think differently. When you come across stuff like this, take yourself out of your "automotive repair" world and you will see what is going on. It's a brilliant move by Home Depot. Who shops there? DIY home improvement people. People who like to do things themselves, mostly minor home improvement and small projects. What is changing oil? Adding fuel additives? Changing an air filter? To these people it is a "minor" improvement or "small" project. Home Depot gets to increase their average ticket, which could greatly offset the cost of added inventory. Will it affect us? Not
  3. That back premium thing can be horrible. I had it happen to me and Farmer's tried to say I owed $100,000 (which I didn't.) but after I went through everything I had it figured out at about $40,000 (although it was done slight of hand by the sales agent and should have been a lawsuit) but I got them to settle for $20,000. Hurt me bad. This was about three years after I took over ownership. You name it and I've been through it. I got everything I asked for and more buying this place. But, I wouldn't change it for the world. What hasn't killed me has made me sharper, better, meaner, leaner,
  4. Joe - that is the best assessment I've seen of the situation. We can't afford to have that along with the fact that cars are better built and don't need as much these days. That is a double whammy. Then along with what the parts companies and internet is doing makes it a daily battle. I hope I'm wrong as well about the last man standing. These times call for aggressive management/ownership skills, that's for sure.
  5. Been that way in California for a long time. We went through the ringer in California awhile back about this whole thing. It's a huge expense with very little control over it. It can kill a new business owner in no time. I went through a horrible issue with not paying enough premiums to Farmer's because of this. Service writers are in the office probably 70% of the day and only walking through the shop the other 30% but the insurance companies feel they should be written the same as a technician who is in the shop doing heavy work 100% of the time. Makes no sense.
  6. This problem has become bigger for us in San Diego. We get it regularly. The only real way I see to solve this issue is Labor rates have to increase to compensate for the loss of profit. My parts profit has gone down 5% over the past two - three years because of this (and with the parts companies increasing their costs.) I really feel like the parts companies aren't thinking ahead with their philosophy and if many auto repair shops go out of business they are going to take a hit, although their have been many parts companies that have gone out of business already. I think the smart shop o
  7. I saw this in 2008 and 2009, but then things started to improve. Now it seems it's back again. It feels eerily like it did in the last recession. I think I experience these things earlier and more often than most because of the cost of living in San Diego for most people. It's to the point where almost every customer battles us over price. I can't believe the amount of phone calls we get asking us for a price so they can compare to the price they got quoted elsewhere. I've also gotten more phone calls with customer's wanting to bring in their own parts then I ever have. I think our industry ha
  8. Hello Keith, nice article you hit the nail on the head!

  9. XRAC, Absolutely. Many of us shop owners get stuck in small details and miss the big picture sometimes. We feel proud of ourselves (and rightly so to a degree) and feel that we should charge for diagnosis and the customer should pay. That's fine, I don't have a problem with that. When economic/marketing changes occur your business plan should be strategic enough to adapt, change, and still give you the profit you need. In other words, what you want is profitable sales and happy customers. Period. If the economy/market environment changes to keep you from charging upfront then think bigger
  10. OK Joe, I made a new post to start off. Go check it out. - Keith
  11. I am going to post things I learned going, "BACKWARDS". For those of you who don't know, I spent 6 years working for an auto repair managment company that you all know fairly well. I then purchased my own shop in 2003 and purchased the land my business is on in 2005. I implemented all the things we "taught" in our management classes and found out the hard way what works, what doesn't, and what can really hurt you if you are not careful. There are many things to share but I will start with marketing since that seems to be a hot topic. I can't cover everything in one post so I will summarize a l
  12. Joe, I don't have a quick answer on this one. I have a marketing program that ties everything in together. If you go to my website you will see my specials that I run. We don't have state safety inspections in california, only emissions testing. When I get a minute I will outline what I have been doing the past two years now that is working VERY well! Keith
  13. Joe, Thanks for the kind words. I will "come out of hiding" and be more proactive with this website. I really like this website and feel it is the best thing I have seen out there in terms of education and training for our industry. I will respond to more posts using my background of training and my past seven years of business ownership. I hope all is well out there. Keith
  14. Joe, That's great that you are doing so well. You don't seem to have been impacted by the economy too much. In San Diego (where its only cloudy and overcast when Joe Marconi visits) we all took a huge hit starting in 2008 but especially 2009. I went overboard with specials and advertising to get as many people in the door as I could during that time. Although we ended 2009 down 5% in sales, we were actually up 5% in car counts. This tells you that you average repair order went down, which often happens when car counts are too excessive to handle. There is a positive to high car count and
  15. Joe, I have much to say about what I have learned after working for you know who and now owning my own shop. I can tell you first hand what has worked and what hasn't as I applied those things I taught in the seminars. I could keep the forums busy for several years hitting on the hot topics. I should do a seminar entilted "What I leared going backwards", which is a pun based on working with an auto repair management company as the Vice President to buying and operating my own shop and applying the information. I say "backwards" because it seems most shop owners graduate to become auto rep

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