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Joe Marconi

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Everything posted by Joe Marconi

  1. I am writing this on my last day of vacation in California, spending time with family. It took me a few days to totally relax, but made it a point to not look at emails or call the office. We all need downtime. I know there will be a ton of work to be done when I return, but I also know that the time away has recharged my batteries and I will be more productive. Being away from business and spending time with family puts things into proper perspective. You realize that a lot of the things you stress over, are really not as important as you think. Take time to enjoy life. We all know how quickly time passes us by. And remember, no one on their death bed ever said they wished they spent more time at work.
  2. The day to day operations of running a business can take its toll on anyone. To be a business owner means to address problem after problem and finding the right solutions. Sometimes the decisions we make will be the right ones, sometimes not. If we are not careful, this emotional roller coaster we call being in business, can make us focus too much on the negative, and not the positive things that happen in our lives. With nearly 4 decades as a business owner, I can say with certainty that one of the basic building blocks of being successful in business is having the right team of people around you and getting yourself in the right frame of mind. You need to find and hire great people. But once you have them, you need to do all you can to take care of them, train them and make them successful in order for you to be successful. Is it easy? No. But it is essential. Most important; you need to treat each day as if it were a gift from the heavens and base your entire perspective from a position of strength and remaining positive. I know it’s not easy, but I can tell you, it works.
  3. @Joe Marconi Buying lunch on Saturdays, and coffee and donuts during the week does show appreciation for your employees. It also set the right tone and improves morale. I can tell you that the greatest thing I learned about being in business is that your success is found through the success of others. The job of the leader is to ensure the success of others.
  4. Automotive mechanics is perhaps the most challenging career. What we need to know and to keep pace is monumental. It's rewarding too, but tough at the same time. You bring up great points Gonzo!
  5. Has anyone spoken to their insurance agents in regard to health insurance. I briefly saw my insurance agent at the last Chamber of Commerce meeting and he told me he wants to meet with me way before November, when it will time to renew, to discuss all the changes in the new health laws. From what I see in New York, rates are going up and coverages will not be the same.
  6. I recently made a call to my Internet provider to discuss and issue I was having. After multiple attempts at trying to explain my problem, the customer service rep on the other end of the phone had no clue how to solve my problem. She was nice, extremely polite, and had the voice of an angel. She was well-trained, but not in the art of problem solving. Great customer service is not about being nice to people, it’s all about understanding the customer’s needs and coming up with solutions to their problems. Train your service personnel in the art of proper etiquette, but also in the art of problem solving. Empower your people to also make decisions. Set limits, but give them the authority to solve issues without every problem reaching your desk.
  7. Wow, so true! I never thought about it, but you are right! Too funny!
  8. So true. I can say from first hand experience that I was a tech that owned a job, not a business. It took me years to figure it out, but when I did, my world changed. Having a background as a tech is not a bad thing, but it does properly prepare you for the world of business.
  9. At this very special time of the year, I would like to wish all the very best life has to offer. My gift from all of you are the amazing posts and contributions each of you have made to help each other and help the industry. It makes me proud to be among such an elite group of shop owners! Thank you all! Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! Joe Marconi

    Thank you Dan! The very best to you nd your family!
  11. An amazing Gonzo Classic! Thank you and Merry Christmas
  12. National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, also referred to as Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day or Pearl Harbor Day, is observed annually in the United States on December 7, to remember and honor the 2,403 citizens of the United States who were killed in the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on December 7, 1941. Let us never forget!
  13. There has been a lot of controversy recently with flat rate pay plans. Below is a link to an article about a technician's strike that was held in Chicago. Although the strike and issues in the article centered around dealerships, the article brought up good points about flat rate pay, and the low hourly pay many techs receive. It points to reasons why many techs are unhappy, leaving the industry and why we have issues attracting quality people to our industry. I don't want to start a firestorm, and there are many forms of flat rate pay...but, is it time to rethink flat rate pay plans? And also, we really need to compensate our employees at a standard that is in line with the training, the tools that are required and skills needed these days. I think it is worth your while to read the article and start a conversation on this topic. http://www.autonews.com/article/20171023/RETAIL05/171029996/
  14. I want to take this time at Thanksgiving to say thank you to all AutoShopOwner members. We have a lot to be thankful for and ASO would not be the great sucess if it were not for all the amazing members and the contributions you make to the forums. From the very start of the ASO, the goal was to raise the level of the auto repair industry and to help each other through the day today operations of running a repair shop. We have done that a more! And there is more to come in the future! From my family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving! Joe Marconi
  15. I got a text message the other from my eye doctor reminding me about my appointment. I thought it was a nice touch. I don’t think it’s for everyone, but I have been reading that more and more business are experimenting with text messaging. Is anyone using this form of communication/marketing?
  16. Always enjoy that article. Thank you for posting it!
  17. Let us always remember and honor those that served in the military to protect the greatest nation on Earth - The United States of America Veterans Day is an official United States public holiday, observed annually on November 11, that honors military veterans; that is, persons who served in the United States Armed Forces. It coincides with other holidays, including Armistice Day and Remembrance Day, celebrated in other countries that mark the anniversary of the end of World War I; major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect. The United States previously observed Armistice Day. The U.S. holiday was renamed Veterans Day in 1954.
  18. Each year at this time I advise shop owners to set aside time to look back at the current year and start planning for the year ahead. The more due diligence you perform, the more successful you will be. Below is a short list of things you need to do. Remember, the time you spend now, will pay off next year. Review all your numbers, year to date - Did you hit your goals? Arrange a meeting with your accountant and review your projected sales and determine any tax implications Speak to your accountant about investing in any end-of-year equipment purchases or any other large purchases in order to save on taxes. Please do not listen to your tool truck guy or equipment reps. Sometimes having cash reserve is much more important that reducing taxes Have a meeting with your key employees; determine what you will need in the coming year and begin to create a budget Set your new goals for 2018 and beyond, both personal and business Create a Wish List, those things your would like to accomplish, both in business and personal - This will help keep you focused Consider needed future training for all employees Review all insurances: Life insurance, liability, etc. Perform a facility inspection: Identify any needed work, upgrades, OSHA concerns, etc Create an emergency crisis plan in case something happens to you or a key employee; and make sure your loved ones and family have a copy of the plan
  19. Hi Y'all...from the Volunteer State!

    First of welcome and the best of luck to you and your husband! ASO is a great resource for you, so please spend time going through all the amazing information from all the amazing members we have. And of course, don't be a stranger and post questions and comments. We all learn from each other.

    We have and it's powerful. We have done women's clinics, teen clinics and general seminars for customers, and we will do them again. It's a great way to have customers see you in a different way. It builds trust and relationships. Just don't sell, and not too technical. Give the tips on how to save money, preventive maintenance, and the importance routine maintenance. Don't make the event long, perhaps an hour or so. And have coffee, water and small snacks available.
  21. While it's true that we are in a shortage of techs, it's also true that all the trades are having a hard time finding good people. It's a hard question to answer. I think you are right with your comment about decades of pushing people to college. Even today, it's blasted on the media and by politicians that getting an education is a must for all. But "education" is defined by a career other than a trade. We have it backwards. One other thing I want to point out. When I started my business in 1980 there were a lot of people that called themselves mechanics. And you could put these people to work doing mechanical work that they learned working with their father or uncle growing up. Complicated diagnostic work did not exist. And the boss, the shop owner, back then, checked the car out, did the diag and then dispatched the work to the mechanic. A lot simpler process. Today, we look for a seasoned pro with diagnostic skills. Plus cars are light-years ahead of what they were back then. It's always been about attracting the best people to our industry. We still have a long way to go as an industry and a nation to make the trades attractive to young people and increase the profits for the shops so they can pay people really good wages.
  22. Don’t be judged by the smudge!

    The fact that she came back, is actually a good thing. It gives us a chance to know how we dropped the ball. The worst scenario is when the customer is upset, and does not return, and we never know what happened. That's unless they post a negative review.
  23. I’ll never forget the day when Mrs. Obrien brought her car back for me to look at. She was furious. I stayed late the night before, well into the night, to finish her car so she could have it for work the next day. I even did a few little things on the house because I felt she may be a little inconvenienced picking the car up so late. Why did she bring the car back? A comeback? Well, not in the conventional way. It was the greasy smudge on her seat that she was angry about. But what about me staying late? Or giving away a few minor services? Doesn’t that count? She is upset about a grease smudge? Oh yes, and she has every right to be. The fact is, you can do the best repair, using the best parts, performed by the best technician on the planet. But what the customer sees is not necessarily your hard work, it’s that little greasy smudge that you are judged by. Unfortunate and unfair? Yes. But it’s a reality. Perform the best repairs and provide world-class customer service; and never forget; it’s the little things the customer sees. And that’s what important to them.
  24. SOOOO TRUE! My guys are stuck on a misfire, # 3 cylinder was the code. Can't figure the problem out. I walked over and said, put the scanner away and diagnose the car from the basics. Verify what cylinder, not what the scanner says. Turned out it was #4 cylinder, not # 3 misfire - the harness chewed thru by a mouse. Back to basics.
  25. How many fuel pumps were condemned due to empty fuel tanks? Back to basics.