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Joe Marconi

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Everything posted by Joe Marconi

  1. 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/
  2. 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?
  3. Always enjoy that article. Thank you for posting it!
  4. 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.
  5. 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
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

    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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. How many fuel pumps were condemned due to empty fuel tanks? Back to basics.
  14. Wow....so relevant to our business...any business for that matter!
  15. This is a reminder that I will be at the Ratchet and Wrench Conference. This Monday, I will be making two presentations; "Beating Shop Owner Burnout" and "The True Cost of Comeback" If anyone is going, please stop by and say hello....and of course, please attend my presentations! Thank you. Joe https://rwconference.com/
  16. Great article on a very important topic. If shops don't embrace the change in the automotive world, they will fall victims the same as the blacksmiths did in the early 1900's. You make many key points, but two things really stick out for me. The ability and desire for shops to maintain their technological edge, which means they need to think differently. And, if we don't communicate the right message to the consumer, how in the world can they comprehend the costs associated with repairing and servicing their hi-tech vehicles? We can train the techs, and we can invest....but without a ROI we are doomed. And we won't attract the quality people to our industry until we change how we think and understand the true cost of being in business. You speak of training....I want to include Shop Owner Business Training too. I have seen too many shop owners with great techs, all the right equipment and make it mandatory for all their techs to attend training; only to give it all away because the shop owner does not understand how to properly charge the customer.
  17. Employees

    Great insight!
  18. Great perspective! No app can replace good-old fashion mechanical know-how (I hope anyway) The other day I opened my tool box to look for something, and one of the younger techs said to the other techs, "Hey, look at Joe, it's like going through a museum." Well, I didn't need Google or an app to do my job years ago.

    Wow! Amazing!
  20. Employees

    About 6 months ago, The Wall Street Journal ran an article that featured all the trades: welders, electricians, plumbers, auto mechanics, etc. They found that there is a shortage among all the trades, nationwide. At the same time, we are seeing more and more automotive graduates from schools like Universal Technical Institute and Lincoln Tech. So where are they? It's time we start a movement to become involved in our community, schools, and technical schools. If we can't find them, we need to grow them. Xrac is right about the money. Unfortunately, until shops make enough profit, they cannot always pay what a tech deserves. Basically, the shop owners too need to earn the wage THEY deserve. I know I may hit a nerve here, but here it goes: I find that too many shop owners do not earn enough profits, so how can they attract quality people and pay them. As an industry we need to raise the image and the average income of shop owners first. Automotive shop owners are the hardest working people on the planet. They owe it to themselves and their families to earn the income they deserve. When this happens, they will be able to offer their employees a better pay package. It's not all about money, but everyone needs to earn a decent wage and feel good about themselves.
  21. I hear this frustration too often. I think it's time for Mitchell to step up to the plate and have a dialogue with shop owners. Mitchell is in the driver's seat to be the number one Business Management Company, but they do fall short in many areas. I would like to hear from other Mitchell users, perhaps we can gain some traction and collectively voice our concerns to Mitchell.
  22. Source: Got a bad apple in your Repair Shop? Remove it!
  23. This is not new topic for me, but I need to revisit it again. And I will keep revisiting this topic for the sake of our industry. For independent repair shops to "thrive" today, you must take a proactive approach with regard to business. If you only want to "survive" you can stop reading now. Waiting for the phone to ring, or for cars to breakdown, or for a customer to drive into your shop asking for a repair or service is business suicide. The days of broken cars lining up in front of your bays are over. Sure, cars still breakdown, but you cannot thrive with a wait-and-see strategy. Make sure you perform multipoint inspections on all cars in for any type of service. Yes, any type of service or repair. Look up vehicle history on all vehicles. Let the customer know of needed services, missed services and services due. And lastly, book the next appointment. Yes, I know....Joe's been preaching this over and over and it does not work in your shop. Fine, then let me focus on those shops that do book the next appointment. Because those are the shops that are adopting a proactive approach...and I will see those shops in the future.
  24. Let me give you a prime example of what we are going through as a result of the Advance Marketing strategy: Last week a customer came to us with a steering pull and requested a wheel alignment. After our routine inspection, we informed the customer that the ball joints were worn and they would need to be replaced before the alignment was done. The customer thanked us and said he would let us know what he decides. The customer came back yesterday and told us, "I decided to go to Advance, bought the ball joints from them and they even LOANED ME THE TOOLS TO DO THE JOB!" But, he is the real story: The truck now has clunks and noises and the steering wanders all over the road. His attempt to do his own ball joints, has now left his truck unsafe to drive due to his lack of expertise to perform the job properly. This is what I have been battling with Advance and no one will listen. Why? They made the sale and that's what's important to Advance. Not the safety of the consumer, and certainly not the shop that lost the sale and is now stuck trying to figure out what went wrong. The Advance marketing strategy will hurt the independents and send the wrong message to the consumer. Free testing, free battery installation, reading codes in the parking lot,loaner tools sets; will all do more harm than good to the relationship between Advance and the repair shops. How can Advance expect me to buy from them when they want to compete with me? That makes no sense. And please don't tell me, "That's not your customer." I am so tired of hearing that. It is my customer! The entire motoring public hears and sees the advertising. This is why I have serious issues with Advance, and cannot support them. And nothing will change as long as Advance listens to Wall Street and not Main Street.
  25. Employee agreements

    I do agree that we need to pay our employees a decent wage. It's a main factor in attracting quality people to our industry. The only thing I would recommend is to carefully look at your overhead, cost of sales and make sure your generating enough profit. This may take some time, but it's worth it. In other words, it's one thing to want to pay someone a certain amount, but you need to make sure the company earns a profit and that the technician is generating enough labor production hours. I pay techs a base wage, which is above average in my area, and also pay production bonus on top. One more thing, money is not the only motivator for production. A healthy work environment, with a strong leader, and recognition of your employees will do wonders for your production.