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CAR_AutoReports

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CAR_AutoReports last won the day on December 17 2019

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About CAR_AutoReports

  • Rank
    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
    None
  • Website
  • Logo
  • Banner Program
    None
  • Participate in Training
    Yes
  • Your Mission Statement
    To provide the auto repair facilities with a simple and mobile way to work.

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  1. The complete study is available here: https://citainsp.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/safteyInspectFullStudy-TX.pdf A lot of good stats in there, like the attached:
  2. We usually double the capacity from the start, of whatever the system came with. Most NVR's have room for one more hard drive in the enclosure. We try to get as close to 30 days as possible. Working on backup solutions for 90 days, had some scenario's that warranted the use case. Not a rush, but will be nice to figure that out as well.
  3. I would not recommend wireless camera for security purposes. Hardwired should always be the choice if possible. But Arlo does make decent wireless cameras. We have used hard wired Lorex setups from Costco, with amazing success. https://www.costco.com/lorex-8-channel-uhd-4k-network-video-recorder-with-2tb-hdd-4-uhd-4k-active-deterrence-bullet-cameras-security-system.product.100469040.html That is the actual kit we have. One camera is out, connector needs to be waterproofed a little better. App Print Screens available on my phone:
  4. The practice of ending safety inspections in NJ completely changed the business. We saw glass guys fold within 30 days. Because once the state ended safety inspections, they ended as part of the inspection process. Meaning you no longer failed for a cracked windshield. I would do a little digging on what exactly that means for you and your state, because for us it was a license to drive anything that could pass emissions. It was more of a political move, used to trim the DMV budget and move money around. It is the worst thing any state can do for public safety. We see some insanely unsafe vehicles driving and there is nothing anyone can do. As long as the check engine light isn't on, the state doesn't care.
  5. Just a quick update for this month: We have now had three solid months of ARO exceeding $750 (credit card transactions). Which usually means, this wasn't an accident. Our business is reacting to the changes we built into it. As for CAR, we had some minor program fixes and recently added a feature to help you get your customer back in the door. Our system has always allowed you to input Registration and Insurance expiration dates. This system would send the customers reminders to renew their documents and it would notify you, upon check-in, if they were expired. With the recent addition of Inspection Expiration, we have a feature built in that will allow you to search for expiration coming up and connect with that customer to just say "Hi ABC Customer, friendly reminder about your insurance and/or registration" or if your state warrants... "Hi, ABC customer. We noticed your inspection is coming up. Would you like to schedule your state or DOT inspection today?" As our product closely resembles a fully formed management system at this point, we are working with subscribers to build features to help them each tackle specific problems they are facing. We have some interesting surprises planned for the first half of 2020, where we were given exclusive access to certain systems in addition to problem solving features you just won't find anywhere else. We look forward to continually building within the community and even expanding across other areas of this industry. As this may be our last update for the calendar year, we thank everyone who gave us an opportunity and the forum for allowing us to have open conversations about what we are doing to transform businesses and customer relationships. We are excited about what 2020 will bring and look forward to sharing it with you. Hope everyone has a happy and healthy holiday season.
  6. Pretty sure they spoke about 2020 releases on their new line, but don't recall what quarter.
  7. Did you get the LDW2 package as well? We ended up getting it as well. Also, for anyone considering buying a scanner from them, they have an entirely new lineup that they discussed at AAPEX this year, along with new price points for them all. They are now pegging their product against the Snap-On scanner line up in terms of price. Hope everyone has a seat for the new prices they are launching with. As well as an all in one box that does scanning, programming and scoping capabilities.
  8. I don't think all of auto repair is a commodity, even though I agree with your assessment that customers treat it as a commodity. To be really clear, here are the commodities that I see within what we do, that translates into price shopping: Tires - There are a plethora of competitors in the space, what advantage can the small shop have? You have to actually install them regardless of where they are purchased. Smaller players have an insanely difficult if not impossible time trying to compete here. Brakes - Long been a safety item that was commoditized by cheap materials providers and the marketing companies that operate in our space. Nearly impossible to compete here as there is no telling how low anyone is willing to go. We have a car wash that advertises pads and rotors for $225 down the street from us. Oil Changes - Another item that was commoditized by quick service facilities. Although, if you do some homework these days, you will find the quick lubes are the most expensive game in town and their entire game is upselling. Customers are starting to notice this. Exhaust - Used to be a serious commodity where a lot of small shops would lose out on the sale to a Meineke or Midas with pipe bending equipment... but better materials like stainless steel, hit these businesses with abrupt changes in market dynamics and many of them found it difficult to initially find their new position in a post exhaust service world. This is happening to the Quick Service routine and that is why you are seeing the Quick Service facilities become the one stop shop for all commodities within our industry; Tires, Brakes, Oil Changes and now even filters (cabin & engine). Everything else, although treated like a commodity, it really isn't much of a commodity. It's more a service calculation, or lack there of. What makes them a commodity in the customer view is that a large portion of the industry is in the business of undercutting everyone for the quick sale instead of trying to build long term value. This is a pain point that will likely never stop happening in our lifetime. Especially as the cream work starts to dry up and shops begin to suffer from not staying current with tools and procedures. For example, the A/C work you did... A/C is far from a commodity, especially when vehicles have a smaller version of a house system, wrapped up between the front and rear bumpers. You wisely made a choice, likely based on local competition and your local market to address it in a manner that would bolster your credibility. Your choice may also have been a result of having the right equipment and experience. But each market is different, even though customer behavior is not. We get plenty of calls for "water pump" or "radiator" or "hose" quotes. We're just not interested in competing in an arena where we are blind bidding based on what one person may have indicated is wrong with the car. We also don't subscribe to the logic of, "Give them a cheap number to get them in the door and then we can adjust." We think that is the most deceitful of practices and participating in it, makes you complicit in what ruins this trade. We are also seeing interesting shifts in consumer behavior where customers want to fix older vehicles that we advise them not to. Not only do they want to, they are insistent that you help them get this sorted, because we're the local expert they rely on. We've had to get really crafty in how we procure parts and negotiate the price for said parts and then the selling angle to the customer. We had to get crafty, because we knew if we weren't... we would lose a customer for life. Personally I think that customers have too much of a choice in parts these days as there are too many combinations of good, better, best... and they aren't all interchangeable and even worse... we're seeing even the better and best parts have poor quality which is leading to higher failure rates. But customers don't see your side of the headaches, they just want their car fixed for the least possible price and if you don't help them fulfill their needs... someone else will. It's also hard to explain to all customers that they maybe making a poor choice trying to save $200 on materials, only the ones that really trust you understand. Sometimes, even the ones who really trust you... are going to learn the hard way. When that happens, you may have lost that customer for good... even if you end up being right. The worse is, when they get lucky and their gamble pays off... you will always be the one who tried to rip them off. It's not easy and the only advice I have is... talk to your customers, educate your customers, and treat them how you would expect to be treated if you were in their position. Second, be very thorough in everything you do. We've gone to great lengths to make sure customers are satisfied. Up to and including, making appointments at the dealer for recalls and getting them done for the customer while the vehicle was in our possession. "I know a shop owner who basically locks himself in his office and let's the service advisor handle customers - even when they ASK ABOUT HIM!" With regards to this... A shop owners time is the most critical element in his entire business. The entire point of the service advisor is to act as a buffer, while it may be overdone at times... I can only tell you that it is immensely difficult to focus on a task at hand when you are stopping to treat every customer personally. A good team helps you carry this burden and as they successfully do so... they become the face of service alleviating the pressure on the owner to still be at the forefront of operation. No business in this industry can grow to a million in sales annually with the owner trying to grow the business and personally attending more than 30% of workflow and depending on the goals... even 30% might be a lofty number. With regards to standing out, there are a myriad of ways to do so. From thank you cards to follow up phone calls to holiday appreciation. Standing out helps you stay on your customers mind... but it does not do much to mitigate the price wars we are all facing. This industry is shifting from a high parts margin business to a full rate for service business, where parts are going to be a nice supplement but labor prices must pay for everything and have a net profit built in. Customers are wiser and even when they aren't... they have access to parts cheaper than you do all too often. All of which is designed to sell product and ruin your reputation if you are working on becoming the lowest bidder vs the place that fixes it right the first time and prevents come backs. I have dozens of examples of jobs that we were able to sell, because I would rather make money on labor than parts.
  9. This is just the scanner and no actual calibration equipment. They have several packages but I am not sure anything is available under $10,000 at the moment. Most of their packages don't include that scanner/tablet. I can tell you without the scanner, our ADAS investment is over $20,000 at the moment.
  10. I highly recommend Federated Insurance as they have policies that are really fine tuned to the challenges we are seeing in our day to day operations.
  11. How I went from an average credit card transaction of $360 in November of 2013 to $805 in October of 2019... Everyone wants change to be easy. Everyone wants to kill it in their craft. How many of you are ready to put in the work? Take an inside look at the lessons we learned while transforming our business over the last 7 years. We're going to discover how we evaluated Joman in 2013 and how we designed CAR to streamline service, period. I sat in several classes at AAPEX where I felt like everyone was talking about the things we spent the last 7 years building, so now I'm going to tell you how we did it and why our platform is the integral internal process that can replicate this machine anywhere on the planet where service is performed. If Amazon were a store, how could it possibly look or operate. Walk in, what level would you like to go on? Tech? Oh you just need an 'iPhone cable 6ft'? Got you, here's the one we recommend, along with a few others on the shelf. Want to see which is best rated? Lowest price? Manufacturer? How fast can you get it? Let me see this one; check some reviews, some comments... Ok, here's the one I need and it'll be at my house tomorrow? Awesome, thanks! Oh what's that, you need 2... your cord in your car looks the same? No worries! Still want it tomorrow? See you then! Now, with that frame of reference... look at your own business. What you must remember is that even though you are not Amazon, customers have been conditioned to have a frictionless approach to transactions. That's why your largest competitor is yourself and your ability to adapt to this evolved phase of business consistency... that you are also a part of. When a customer walks in your door, what do they see? Must Have | HARD: Smile, let everything go that may be happening in life and get ready to deal with someone else's problem. Must Have: Counter/Desk clean and organized? Must Have: Computer ready to go? Unless you use CAR, then you can just take out your phone or the tablet we provide to every employee. Almost Must Have: A clean waiting room with available chairs? If not available for good reasons, that's a plus here. Like, there are other customers filling their space. Almost Must Have: Do you look like a disaster? *PS I did for years, still do sometimes. We all have off days.* Nice To Have:Water bottles handy? Maybe a coffee machine, if you have the space. The Hardest Goal: How clean is your shop? The internet doesn't need a smile or a clean office/shop, the internet is a place where business is done based on price or features and sometimes... both. You're in the business of service, competing against everyone from the other local guy to the large marketing firms with endless budgets. And it's evolving, faster than you've ever imagined. If you're standing still, you're going to lose out on a great opportunity to evolve as a business and as a person, and possibly make the most money ever by providing good and honest service. Phase 1 is to get you to think about your position in the market place. Compare yourself to the impossible, because doing so will open your mind to potential solutions to frictions that exist in your business today, by just thinking about them. When Jeff Bezos evolved Amazon, he wasn't trying to provide the lowest price on products. He was and is trying to fulfill what his customers want, cheaper pricing on goods and near instant delivery. He's delivered on both. Your customers expectations are different, and if your service level is built on trust, price becomes much less of a barrier. Tune in next week, where we continue this series of... How to evolve my auto repair business. I had a really great title for this series, but it was stolen and trademarked. View full article
  12. How I went from an average credit card transaction of $360 in November of 2013 to $805 in October of 2019... Everyone wants change to be easy. Everyone wants to kill it in their craft. How many of you are ready to put in the work? Take an inside look at the lessons we learned while transforming our business over the last 7 years. We're going to discover how we evaluated Joman in 2013 and how we designed CAR to streamline service, period. I sat in several classes at AAPEX where I felt like everyone was talking about the things we spent the last 7 years building, so now I'm going to tell you how we did it and why our platform is the integral internal process that can replicate this machine anywhere on the planet where service is performed. If Amazon were a store, how could it possibly look or operate. Walk in, what level would you like to go on? Tech? Oh you just need an 'iPhone cable 6ft'? Got you, here's the one we recommend, along with a few others on the shelf. Want to see which is best rated? Lowest price? Manufacturer? How fast can you get it? Let me see this one; check some reviews, some comments... Ok, here's the one I need and it'll be at my house tomorrow? Awesome, thanks! Oh what's that, you need 2... your cord in your car looks the same? No worries! Still want it tomorrow? See you then! Now, with that frame of reference... look at your own business. What you must remember is that even though you are not Amazon, customers have been conditioned to have a frictionless approach to transactions. That's why your largest competitor is yourself and your ability to adapt to this evolved phase of business consistency... that you are also a part of. When a customer walks in your door, what do they see? Must Have | HARD: Smile, let everything go that may be happening in life and get ready to deal with someone else's problem. Must Have: Counter/Desk clean and organized? Must Have: Computer ready to go? Unless you use CAR, then you can just take out your phone or the tablet we provide to every employee. Almost Must Have: A clean waiting room with available chairs? If not available for good reasons, that's a plus here. Like, there are other customers filling their space. Almost Must Have: Do you look like a disaster? *PS I did for years, still do sometimes. We all have off days.* Nice To Have:Water bottles handy? Maybe a coffee machine, if you have the space. The Hardest Goal: How clean is your shop? The internet doesn't need a smile or a clean office/shop, the internet is a place where business is done based on price or features and sometimes... both. You're in the business of service, competing against everyone from the other local guy to the large marketing firms with endless budgets. And it's evolving, faster than you've ever imagined. If you're standing still, you're going to lose out on a great opportunity to evolve as a business and as a person, and possibly make the most money ever by providing good and honest service. Phase 1 is to get you to think about your position in the market place. Compare yourself to the impossible, because doing so will open your mind to potential solutions to frictions that exist in your business today, by just thinking about them. When Jeff Bezos evolved Amazon, he wasn't trying to provide the lowest price on products. He was and is trying to fulfill what his customers want, cheaper pricing on goods and near instant delivery. He's delivered on both. Your customers expectations are different, and if your service level is built on trust, price becomes much less of a barrier. Tune in next week, where we continue this series of... How to evolve my auto repair business. I had a really great title for this series, but it was stolen and trademarked.
  13. I think price matching a commodity like tires... is way less risky than price matching services like the water pump mentioned above. If done correctly, price matching tires is a cheap way to get that person in the door and dazzle them with the rest of what you do and why your value proposition far exceeds whoever they are trying to compare you to. Large marketing firms have completely commoditized the very services we all rely on to survive and profit from, forcing all of us to change our landscape in ways we couldn't ever imagine 10 years ago. This is our opinion of the present landscape: Large firms in our industry are putting more money into marketing and sales tactics These tactics are driving customers to their doors on lower margin items While they are there, they are deploying a wealth of sales tactics to raise the ticket sale Often times selling customers things they don't necessarily need If you doubt this, go visit a local national chain with one of your vehicles. Experience what they are providing and how they manage while you are there and their follow up after you have left. Why is this important? The longer they can keep this game up with all of us divided, the more of our customer base they can pull from us. Eventually putting us in a bind if we aren't paying attention. I think a lot of us are underestimating the steamroller making its way through the industry and if we all stand still... we're gonna be in a lot of trouble in 5 short years. We've seen consumers get a lot smarter about this. We've actually had consumers give us complete estimate from other dealers or service facilities, with the price hidden, and ask us to quote them out. Which leaves us in an interesting predicament, one that is mentioned above by Joe. We can easily present our value vs a dealer quote, but a quote versus a competitor shop... becomes exponentially harder. I think once you start competing with price, you enter an arena that small competitors can't manage against the large marketing arms competing directly with us in our space. Each scenario is also clearly very different, but I can say this... we have found tires to start becoming more profitable than I've ever seen them. We've increased our average profit per tire sale significantly over the last 18 months, and we're going to attempt to stretch that as far as possible with some aggressive marketing and advertising starting next year. For those of you who doubt it, we monitor tire prices insanely closely and we can compete with the large online retailers in brand tire pricing today. Something we couldn't dream of doing just 5 years ago. In short, we don't price match actual repairs over the phone. We ask the customer for the opportunity to actually look at the vehicle and assess it ourselves. We then explain why this is important with the old water pump trick mentioned above. We explain that while the water pump may be leaking, what do the other hoses look like? Has the thermostat ever been changed? Changing these items together, will actually lower the cost of repairs long term and if the other shop hasn't properly inspected the vehicle... they aren't doing anyone a favor but themselves. If they actually do make their way in, which we have a good statistic on... they are usually impressed with us and how we operate with CAR and open them up to the process. We usually earn a customer for life with this tactic. Quick Quote, a recent feature, was purpose built for the price match or quote callers. Initial tests are showing some promise even though it's still in it's first stage. This is a work in progress, like everything in our business these days and we are tweaking constantly as we fight for survival like everyone here.
  14. Hello everyone, We've been really crunching hard on our platform and haven't had time to share many updates, even though we've had a lot of progress recently. One of our latest additions is a module called Quick Quote. Quick Quote is in it's infancy, but is a system that is designed to help you capture a tire kicker and turn them into a customer. Although in it's infancy, we have seen some interesting capabilities with it at our facility. Converting one customer the first few days we used it in a test environment. If a facility would be interested in using Quick Quote, we would work out how to best extract value from this unique feature, together. New Request Categories: We added several items to our main listing page as well as specialized categories for ADAS services. Additional: Powertrain Management -> Computers & Control Systems -> FICM Fuel Injector Control Module Powertrain Management -> Fuel Delivery & Air Induction -> Turbo Engine, Cooling & Exhaust -> Engine -> Oil Pump Engine, Cooling & Exhaust -> Engine -> Oil Cooler Vehicle Profile Fields: We have enhanced the vehicle profile with fields you actually need. In addition we also have the ability to allow any facility to make custom fields for vehicles they service. Fields Added: Inspection Expiration Date Transmission Brake Driveline GVWR Wheel Base Tire Size Wheel Lock Location California Emissions Other Labels - Photos for other labels such as Engine Label, RPO label, etc... For instance, if you need to track a specific Asset number for a vehicle, you can now do that with CAR. Employee Permissions Header Sticky: Small, but nice when setting up permissions. Making it slightly easier and faster. Reporting Enhancement: We are working on enhancing our statistical overview of your business. We have started with a Parts section and have plenty more slated for the near future. For anyone really interested in changing their business for the better, we welcome you to explore a real alternative to business consistency. One that automates customer service as a part of it's process and helps increase accountability and reduce liability with every transaction. As for transactions, we recently found that prior to using CAR, we were at $360 ARO (credit card transaction), the last two months we have seen our numbers push beyond the $800 mark in ARO (credit card transaction). We did this with small doses of advertising till recently and most importantly.... we stopped selling.
  15. We have an automated CRM system built into our platform that also allows you to export your customer data to MailChimp and run your own CRM campaign through that. In 2020 we have initiatives planned that will give our business users more flexibility and more custom CRM functions. For now: It keeps your customers up to date with everything related to their scheduled service. It keeps your customers in the loop while it in your hands for service. Including sending them the estimate for their service so they can review it. It allows your customers to authorize it through our customer app or through our web portal. It notifies your customers of any changes as well as when the service is completed. You can communicate with your customer through the platform. Sending them messages that are delivered right to the app and/or email. It automatically follows up with customers 3 days later to ask them to rate the service and provide you with feedback. This is included in our shop management system and is the standard in what we offer in our most basic of plans.


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