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Joe Marconi

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Everything posted by Joe Marconi

  1. Frank; thoughts and prayers go out to you and your employees. You are right, this is no joke, let's not get complacent at this point! Speedy recovery my friend!
  2. First, I would be the last person to tell anyone that car counts is not a measurable and important KPI. Every shop needs to know their needed car count and what their sweet spot is. And then use that KPI to understand other important KPI's - ARO, Labor margin, part margins, etc. Now, with that said, the industry in general, has and will see, a decline in the amount of times your customers will visit your shop. It was not that long ago when we had customers bring their cars in 4 to 5 times per year. That has changed. Plus with COVID and many people not using their cars as they used to, we cannot rely on trying increasing car counts. We should, rather, making sure that we make every vehicle visit...COUNT. Here is my strategy to drive up sales per visit, while promoting the right culture with your customers: Ensure that the customer experience is the best on the planet! - Give every customer a reason to return back to you. Perform a complete MPI on each vehicle, but find out the particular needs of customers. What is their car used for? Get your entire staff to understand that the customer is everything and their safety and their car care needs are most important. Promote your Culture of taking care of people, not sales - Believe me, sales will come and so will the profits. Promote vehicle maintenance, safety, and reducing the overall cost of owning their car. NOW HERE'S THE TOUGH ONE: PLEASE BOOK THE NEXT APPOINTMENT AT CAR DELIVERY! Doctors do it, dentists do it, boiler service companies do it, hair dressers do it, nail salons do it, ..even chimney cleaning companies do it! It's not hard, just do it. Hope this helps. Thoughts???
  3. The choice is yours, of course. But don't make age an issue. I did a major expansion at the age of 55, and then opened up two more stores by age 60. I am now 65 and working on my exit strategy. I am down to one store at this time, my main location I started with 40 years ago. What I can tell you is that you will need the RIGHT people around you. The wrong people will drive you to drink. Trust me on this!!! The right people will lift you to another level that will allow you to reap the benefits down the road. One last thing, and this is NOT due to your age...Create an exit strategy, or succession plan. Everyone reading this, no matter how old or how long in business, needs to think about life after owning a business. No one can predict the future, but to work to help create the future is key. BEST OF LUCK!
  4. I know what you mean, and I get it. Shop owners, techs and other auto-related employees in our industry have always been on the front lines. We come to work in the middle of a snow storm, go to work when we feel sick, and try to drum up work when it seems impossible during an economic downturn. We work in conditions that makes us cold in the winter and hot in the summer. For once, it would be nice to hide and get paid for it. It's just not us. But, I get it.
  5. It's hard to believe that it's almost a year since COVID-19 hit. And for many businesses, and repair shops, it's been a challenge. While many areas around the country have not seen a downturn, there are other areas that have been harshly impacted. Areas such as mine have seen a decline in miles driven per customer of up to 50% or more. Just consider working from home, the drastic decline of going out to dine and other activities, a decrease in after-school activities, a decease in youth sports, buying online and every other action that has become the norm, and it adds up to a negative impact for so many shops. NOW, you know ME. I always put a positive spin on everything. At this too shall pass. COVID-19 will be behind us and we need to prepare for great times ahead. I urge everyone to focus on people: Your family, your employees, your customers, and the community. With regard to your customers, they will remember you and their experience long after the water pump or mass air filter you replaced in their car. If you are having a decline in sales, here a few tips: Establish your new goals, look at your expenses, reevaluate your breakeven, make sure your labor and part margins are in line. BUT, never forget that your most important strategy is the culture of your business. Lastly, cherish every minute with family. This Crisis has brought Clarity. And let's never forget the things that money cannot buy.
  6. Above all, Frank, the health and welfare of everyone is number one. I hope that you and your tech recovers fast, with no continuing issues. When I hear stories like this, it really opens my eyes once again as to the seriousness of this virus. As a small business that relies on a constant input of customers, this virus will no doubt take a toll on many repair shops. Keep us updated and best of luck.
  7. A lot has happened since last Winter. In some ways it's seems like years have past. Tough times reveals how tough people really are. My hope is that everyone learns from the events of COVID and takes those lessons to continue to push forward in business and in life. And of course, take the time to celebrate the things that money cannot buy. Life, health and family.
  8. Happy New Year everyone! Maintain the right attitude. Be positive and keep moving forward. 2021 will be a great year!
  9. We are still down about 20% from normal for this time of the year. It's not that we have lost customers, they are just not putting on the miles that they used to. 2021 will be a better year. I think we will see a surge by late spring and it will carry through the end of the year.
  10. I agree, the new COVID relief bill is massive and will take a lot to digest. Let's keep informed and make sure that we follow how this bill, and meet with our advisors on how this bill can benefit us.
  11. Henry, there are many different ways to create a pay plan. Are they any trade organizations in your area. The reason I ask is that there are many labor laws you need to be compliant with. For example, in my state, Flat Rate is not legal. I hate to be vague, but I just want to make sure you get the right information. Pay plans can be complicated. However, the right pay plans can incentivize the right people.
  12. Let's face it, all of us were affected by COVID-19. Some more than others. One of the biggest issue is the feeling of uncertainty....what we call the unknown. But, humans are no strangers to tough times. Tough times brings clarity and opportunity. It forces us to create new strategies in an effort to improve both our business and personal life. We cannot turn back the hands of time. 2020 will be behind us in a few days. Work hard now to make 2021 a banner year. There has never been a time so important as now. Learn from the events of 2020. Create your new goals. Work on your people skills. Work on the numbers of the business. I am sure all of us learned many lessons this past year, and one of them was to be financially prepared for a crisis. While COVID was different, the financially-stronger shops did do better. Lastly, have a positive mindset at all times. And set the right tone as the leader of your shop. Your positive attitude will create the right culture and a pathway to better times. What lessons have you learned and would like to share?
  13. Got your attention? Good. That's the power of advertising and marketing. I know many of you are affected by COVID and experiencing a downturn economically. Studies have shown that the businesses that maintain advertising during downturns do better with market share and sales when the economy returns to normal. Maintaining your marketing presence is a lot easier and less expensive than playing catch up when things get better. I know the reality of tough times. Do your best to maintain your advertising during tough times. You will get back what you invest.
  14. Business is steady for us, but not like it should be. Customers are understanding about their car care needs, but many are reluctant to spend. Probably due to the uncertainty of COVID and the impact is had on the local economy and life in general. I am cautiously optimistic about 2021, but we will need to work hard to do all we can to maintain and improve business.
  15. Merry Christmas to all! 2020 was a challenging year. Looking forward to 2021 and beyond!
  16. Today is Veterans Day. An important day when Americans honor and show appreciation for all who have served in the United States military—in wartime or peacetime, living, or deceased. Thank you to all the Veteran for your duty, service, and commitment to preserving our nation’s liberties and freedoms.
  17. What Your Customers Want to Tell You…But Don’t Auto shop owners and managers: Join us for a free webinar series and learn firsthand what actual customers think about the auto repair experience. To learn more about the online event and to register, click the link below: https://mitchell1.com/micro/elite-event/
  18. The governor of California last week proposed a ban on all internal combustion vehicles by the year 2035. A very aggressive move that the EPA is questioning if this is even legal. We all know that the electric vehicle will make an impact in the future, but with the overwhelming of cars being build and sold in the next decade, how practical is the proposed ban? Your thoughts on this? Here's a article from Motor Trend: https://www.motortrend.com/news/california-ban-gas-diesel-executive-order-newsom/
  19. I want to clarify something. I stated in the above post that many shops are getting $135 to $150 per hour. I am not implying in any way that this is too high or unreasonable. In fact, as an industry we need to raise the average labor rate across the board in this nation. What I am saying is that you need to sit down and do the math. Find out what your labor rate should be by determining your overall cost of labor and your expenses; and then adding your desired net profit. Also, I recommend you have multi-tier rates. So, a C-level tech performing oil changes and general service is billed at your standard labor rate and an A-level Master Tech performing complex driveability and other onboard diagnostics is billed at a much higher labor rate. If you are not sure how to do this, you need to get help from a professional, such as a coach.
  20. I am not accountant and I do not know the tax laws in every state, but it is important that you meet with your accountant way before the end of the year if you received and used an SBA or PPP Loan. Loans used to pay bills may not be used as a deduction on your tax return, and may result in increased taxes. Again, DO NOT TAKE MY ADVISE as an accountant. I plan on meeting my accountant in October to review all the tax implications for my 2020 Tax return. AND, the SBA may change rulings, so stay informed and seek professional guidance.
  21. With so many uncertainties these days, there is one strategy that we can all do that will help to smooth out our overall sales and customer visits throughout the year. Make sure the experience is always amazing during the entire customer visit. And perform the car delivery that gives the customer a reason to return. Here's the key part before any customer leaves your shop: Make sure you discuss their next service appointment and any other future recommendation. Let them know that they will get a reminder by either post card, email or text. BUT, there is one more thing you can do to boost your customer retention, get permission from your customer to call them a week prior to their next appointment. Yes, give them a phone call. Try it, and give it time to work. Oh....won't work, you're thinking??? Well, here's list of businesses that do it: Dentists, doctors, nail salons, hair dressers, chimney cleaners, boiler service companies and Successful Auto Repair shops.
  22. From as far back as I can remember, labor has always been an issue. As and industry, we have struggled to get paid properly for the work we do. And those shops that understand how critical labor is, are the shops that have done quite well. In today's auto repair shop world; Getting the right labor dollars is no longer a buzz topic or debate- Labor dollars will be the salvation of your business. Labor translates into profit, and will also allow you to build for the future and to attract the quality people we need in our industry. If you don't know what your labor should be, you need to find out. Don't call ABC Auto, down the street to ask him. The odds are he did not do the math. Plus his expenses are not the same as yours. Depending on what you pay your techs, your overhead, and knowing your numbers will determine your labor rate. I can tell you that there are shops that are paying techs a very good wage and those shops are getting $135 to $150 per hour, and more. That is not a typo. And there are shops that have multi-tier rates. So, for Diag and labor jobs that have no parts associated with the repair, their labor is much higher than their standard labor. It's fair, it's honest and it's time we all raise the bar. Please, do the math, get help and make sure your labor is right for your shop.
  23. Most of you probably already know what I am about to say: The Service Advisor position is the most crucial position in the shop. I know, I know, what about the mechanical work done by the techs? Well, that's important too, of course. For the most part, customers spend their hard-earned money and most of time don't really know or see what was done to their car. Let's face it, the customer can't see the water pump or T-belt. And most of the time, the customer does not feel any difference with the car as they drive out of your parking lot. What the customer does see (or experience) is how she was treated. And that makes all the difference in the world. Plus, great service advisors also motivate the technicians, because great advisors are also great leaders of people. Think about this...Six months from now, your customer will not remember the fuel injection relay or the mass air sensor that was replaced....but she WILL remember how she was treated. And trust me, that OE-quality fuel injection relay install by a certified A-level Master tech using Snap On tools and a Launch Scanner IS NOT the reason WHY your customers return to you....She returns because of the level of service your provide.

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