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CAR_AutoReports last won the day on March 9

CAR_AutoReports had the most liked content!

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About CAR_AutoReports

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    Experienced Poster

Business Information

  • Business Name
    Complete Auto Reports, LLC
  • Business Address
    701 North Stiles Street, Linden, New Jersey, 07036
  • Type of Business
    Auto Repair
  • Your Current Position
    Shop Owner
  • Automotive Franchise
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  • Banner Program
  • Participate in Training
  • Your Mission Statement
    To provide the auto repair facilities with a simple and mobile way to work.

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  1. Just had one yesterday... Why are you charging me $230 just to look at my car? Well, the technician had your car on the lift for 1.5 hours identifying all types of problems or safety issues. The service advisor then spends at least 1 hour researching and putting together your estimate and communicating everything to you. So we have ~3 hours of work into your vehicle and have provided a comprehensive estimate with labor times, parts and part numbers. You can now take this information and make an educated decision on whether or not your vehicle is worth fixing. Information you didn't have when you dropped the car off for "low brake pedal". You were also charged for 2 hours when we spent much closer to 3. Do you show up at work and work 3 hours for free every day? **Silence falls over the room**
  2. I'm willing to work with you, if you're interested. No games, no gimmicks. Complete and holistic evaluation with a structured action plan. It won't be easy, changes recommended can be relatively cheap all things considered, but there will be work involved. There are a fair amount of shops in your area (2 mile radius) and A LOT more just over the river. I see nothing but potential. Just need someone willing to do some work and some improvements. The only money I envision you spending is upgrading your website, the rest of what you will need can be done mostly from a computer with some time, effort and follow through.
  3. We're far from that, I took 0 offense to what you said and just look to provide a medium for discussion. We all do what we need to do to survive, but I think more often than not we all do the same things at different times in our career and how it was executed... depends on the outcome. To your point, we're really upfront with new customers that we do not work for free and there will be a charge to look at their vehicle. We literally give them the keys and state "This is how long it takes us to do X, we need to do X first and then move onto Y, which requires Z time. It is impossible to predict if we will need more time at this stage, but we can only promise to be fair and forthcoming in everything we do. We understand this might not suit your needs, but we're always here should you need it." When you say that because you mean it and not because it's a sell line, people will open their minds to the idea of trusting you. Once you give them a reason to solidify that trust by doing exactly as you said... you change the conversion from 2 in 10 customers to 4 in 10 customer becoming life long customers. I really just want to reiterate to everyone that the basis for my success started when I treated every single customer as I would expect to be treated in that scenario. It doesn't mean I didn't lose my cool or make a mistake or I didn't perform a service for free to make it up to someone... It means I set my goal and I did everything in my power every single day to achieve it. Ultimately, years of free training provided by a local vendor.... made me open my eyes. But I still had to do the leg work. Just remember everyone: A thorough vehicle inspection takes no less than 45 minutes. Full code scan: 10 minutes on a $4000+ piece of equipment, with monthly updating costs. Test drive?:15 mins min, depending on customer concern Lift and wheels off: 15-20 mins Document findings: text, photo 10 mins Build estimate: 5 minutes to 3 hours. The fastest at their craft and process can do that in 45 minutes. It;s likely closer to an hour from start to finish depending on exact needs. Would you call your plumber and electrician, that pays you for your service at your shop, and expect them to do the equivalent for free? Why should you?
  4. I've learned a few things on my own, but this: Not because I think I can't but because I do not have the means, opportunities or privileges to do so. This is probably the most accurate phrase I've read in a while. But you know what I did have when I didn't have means, opportunities or privileges? I had time to pick a discipline and learn it. Then I enacted it. While I let that run it's course, I found the next thing I knew nothing about and couldn't afford an expert, I learned that to the best of my ability and enacted it. I've run this gauntlet for almost 12 years now over 3 locations and on the brink of watching it all vanish at least twice in those 12 years. Through those trials were and sometimes still are a sh*tload of tears, but tomorrow is always a new day and as long as I conducted myself with integrity today... I'll sleep just fine. Not to discount Genuine, location surely is a strong variable in success, but that doesn't mean you can't find a form of success in a sh*tty location. I've done it, with the most laughable budget known to man and in a miserable part of town all by making a plan and enacting it one day at a time. Plan has a fault? Something doesn't work? Adjust. Repeat. Some of the best advice I ever got was exactly this: Your shop is no different than a factory, a factory has to have X level of output to be sustainable. Your shop has to reach X level of output just like the factory does. I'm not going to tell you how to do it, but if you want to survive you have to have to figure out how to do it. I had never thought about shop output as related to factory output. That seed is what lead me to charging for diagnostic and thorough inspections. But I didn't wake up the next day and go full rate. I worked my way there. Finding my footing along the way and over delivering to my customers in every way possible.
  5. We have a fair amount of customers that are very budget conscious. We just treat them like people and help them make the best decisions based on whatever they can afford. Even if they can't afford anything. The ones who understand what you do for them, become your biggest advocates without you ever knowing. The ones who don't, never return and likely aren't a good customer base for you anyway. To make you feel better... I started here "So sometimes it's easier to play their game, agree to "include it in the cost of repair" and not have to deal with the jack legs getting in there first. "... and worked my way up slowly to where I am. We all have to start somewhere. One you built up the trust, where customers aren't wondering if you're taking advantage of them all the time... the pricing part gradually becomes easier. It's just never "easy".
  6. I don't "run the clock". Every circumstance is different. To help customers understand, I document everything I do from start to finish, just like we track our time. That means every test we perform, I attach its result and label what I did to test any given part and why. Since each circumstance is different, we try to make the most of our time. We request up to 2 hours and will work up to 3, assuming the third hour is on us. If we need more than that... we send the customer the information and then call them to review it. Ask them if they want us to keep going or if they will figure things out differently. Strange thing happens. When you treat someone like a friend and respect their hard earned money, they have no problems paying for the service they are receiving. So, we work insanely hard at being accurate, fair, and professional at everything we do. Our customers notice and don't mind paying... because they feel what we provide, is worth paying for. It didn't happen overnight and it was a really long road here, but I'll never run any other service business in this lifetime with any other mindset.
  7. We charge full labor for diagnostics as we have seen full vehicle diagnosis with test drives and other in bay testing surpass the 4 hour mark for accurate assessments. We occasionally get a complaint or a "Can't you remove the charge", we hold the line. "We are sorry but the amount of tools and time it takes to properly inspect vehicles, does not allow us to perform this service free of charge." Our most recent full system diagnosis had 3 hours on the lift, followed by one minor repair to get the vehicle driving, followed by 1.25 hours of driving for all monitors to run. Then a reevaluation of codes that returned, what they are indicating, and another 1+ hour(s) of lift time diagnosing them. Throughout the diagnosis we used the scanner for 2 hours at minimum. We will use the volt meter at minimum and possibly the scope. All tools that cost us a lot of money and some of which require subscriptions to stay up to date. We'll be all into this particular example for 6 hours. If they get all the work done, we can and usually provide a fairer rate for diagnosis considering their support. If they get nothing, They pay full rate and have our entire process documented, and available to them digitally to take anywhere else and bargain on their time. I've had one person really cause a problem over the last 3 years over this practice. He was warned prior that we do not assess vehicles for free and there is no "standard" charge to do so. So I don't lose an ounce of sleep over it. I used to be the guy that allowed diagnostics to leave uncharged, not since I learned how much time we spend diagnosing and inspecting.
  8. We have 3 loaners and offer local rides to work, anything within 2-3 mile radius would generally qualify for a ride. We were a part of the RedCap Valet trial program and quite honestly, didn't find much use for it when we tried it. If a customer needs a ride and we can't provide one... we just call an Uber from the shop account. But we found that with extended repair times, customers don't want a ride to work or a ride home... they want alternate transportation while their mode of transport is down. Our loaner car insurance is really inexpensive considering what we are actually getting and able to offer. We have casually offered to pick up and drop off, but haven't had many people take us up on it or want it. Especially with the loaners available.
  9. I personally think you made a few mistakes here. a) You're trying to substitute parts for another line item, and that just looks shady when it comes to taxes. b) You're now trying to lump your parts margin into a new category and have that on the invoice c) Under no circumstances is a customer who provides a part to get a better deal than a customer where you are the one supplying the part. What we did here: a) Raised our labor rate to reflect the quality of service provided b) Maintain accurate records on the amount of time actually spent on vehicles. Many jobs go over at least an hour because of rust/corrosion and the after service check list. Like going over the service, cleaning up the mess made from the service, test driving the vehicle. From these accurate counts, we bill with a 90%+ accuracy now. c) Lowered prices on parts to a justifiable degree. Most of our real margin is on items $100 or less. Most stuff over $100 still has a margin, just nothing like you'd expect in most circumstances. Also, customers who buy their own parts aren't generally welcome here. Liability has become so large, that the instances where customer acquired parts are used, have been greatly reduced. We will figure it out and you can bring it somewhere that allows you to use your own parts or you can keep going around town till you find the guy willing to help you save money over his own needs to survive. We also didn't make our change overnight. So what I might suggest: Lower your parts margin and raise your labor rate. Like a $10 raise in rate coupled with an equal decline parts margin based on the hours you bill a month. Try that for 6-12 months and see where you land. Then readjust till you can reduce your margin. Our goal: To get all parts to a less than 50% margin. We're still a little bit away, but we are close enough to where online retailers don't make us look like we are just fleecing people. Consumables like brakes, air filters and oil/oil filters are the hardest to get down to reasonable levels.
  10. I've been able to sum it up to this: If it were someone you cared about, how would you handle this? This puts you in an advisor mentality, or maybe even friend. As those lines blur at times. As a friend, if you're just telling them what the facts are, you can't ever go wrong.
  11. As long as everyone keeps viewing it as a sell, the harder it is to break old habits and inspire new culture.
  12. Confirmed for the month of December, but rebounded in January.
  13. We don't have anything we can report yet.... but we are working on things this quarter. We do however, have this interesting graphic to share:

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