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Joe Marconi

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Posts posted by Joe Marconi

  1. We all know the expression, "The Customer is always right." But is that really true?

    The other day a customer walked over to my tech and starting to scream at him for failing the NY State annual inspection. 

    I intervened and told the customer to stop and get away from my employee. I also told him that I would not tolerate anyone yelling and screaming at one of my employees. 

    Should I have been more "reserved" and try to defuse the situation?  Should I have "politely" listened to the customer's issue?

    Have you been in this position and what would you do? 



  2. I know none of us wants to hear this, but there will be a next crisis of some sort.  I have lived through many downturns in my 40 years in business, the COVID-19 was the worst.  But, out of every crisis comes lessons to be learned. So create your Crisis Plan today. 

    Start by understanding your numbers and knowing your breakeven.  Then add to your breakeven a percentage of profit you want to earn. Equally important is creating a cash reserve in a dedicated bank account that will be used only in a severe emergency.  Set your financial goals and stick to them! 

    Often overlook is your staff. Assemble the best team around you.  This is a crucial part to ensure your future business sucess.

    Lower your debt, get your credit rating up and maintain a good standing with all vendors.  Lastly, talk to your bank about a line of credit that can remain inactive until you need to use it.

    What other key things can we all share to help us through the next crisis?  

  3. For R134 we charge a flat fee of $189.00 (includes the R134) for passenger cars and small SUV's.  For Pickups, large SUV's and dual air, we charge $229.00. 

    We also inform every customer with a recharge that there is a leak, and they must return at least twice for us to check for leaks, which is included in the intitial price.  

    R1234 is a different ball game. Shops in my area (New York) are getting up to $550 for a recharge with the R1234


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  4. As part of our debt reduction, I revamped all of our usual marketing and advertising and put those dollars into customer service and social media. For example, we ramped up our shuttle pickup and delivery service, extended our hours of service, made sure we spend a lot of time with each customer and made sure we called as many customers as possible.  We also stepped up our meet and greet process and made sure will followed up with customer after the repair. Lastly, we increased our social media posts and increases ads and boosting. This has made a huge impact on our customer and already starting to pay dividends.

    What changes have you made to your marketing strategy since the Virus Crisis hit?

  5. I wonder what the long term effects will be wtih some businesses.  Many resturants are still not operating at full customer capacity and many other businesses are taking a hit. While there are many positive economic signs, will those businesses that are still impacted by the virus have an effect on the entire economy?

    I suggest a very conserative strategy at this point, build a cash reserve, pay down debt as best you can and do not incurr new debt.  If nothing bad happens, you will still be in a better economic position. 

    Your thoughts? 


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  6. With the COVID-19 situation, many shop owners of retirement age may be putting thier retirement plans on hold. I get this.  It makes sense in many cases. But, please think about you and your family.  Many shop owners have a 30, 40, even 50-year plus history in the auto business, with most of those years owning and running a shop.

    If it's possible, perhaps succession plan with the right person, or hiring a general manager to run your shop is a possibility.  Perhaps a family member?  The key thing is to have a secure business that, if you do plan on holding on to it, will bring you an income with stress-free time away from the shop, and back to your family. 

    Your plans, thoughts, opinions?


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  7. No, I have not lost my mind.  I just wanted your attention.

    We all know that we have competitors.  However, what we have just witnessed the past few months, due to COVID-19, gives me great hope that the independent auto repair shop is not just alive and well, but is sitting on the opportunity of a lifetime!

    While many dealers and big-box franchise either scaled down or temporarily closed, the majority of auto repair shop across this great nation remained open, adjusted their expenses and payroll, and are now experiencing a surge in business. Proof positive that the reasons we will thrive is because we are still, and will always be, the preferred choice of the motoring public.

    We are not a transactional, discount-driven business. We don’t hang Corporate logos above our bays. We are successful because we are part of the community. And we build relationships.

    Want to really thrive past this pandemic?  Become even stronger in your community. Get involved in fund raisers, and all other local events.

    Great days are coming. Be part of it!


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  8. That is a real tough question. Although we are all auto repair shops, we don't all have the same business model.  There are specialty shops, heavy trucks, large shops with quick lanes, on and on.  

    For my shop, we are a general repair shop working on just about all makes a models. We have 11 bays and 6 techs.  This gives each tech a spare bay for jobs that need time to complete. We do a lot of diagnostic work, but try to limit to a few per day as not to overload the techs with higly-complicated jobs. 

    We also schedule a lot of service work, which brings on much-needed profit dollars.

    Lasty, we try to balance the wait customer to drop offs. Too may waits can get stressful.  

    Boy, I hope this helps...tough question to answer. 


  9. Today is the first day of summer, and we are still dealing with the dreaded COVID-19.  However, there are positive indicators that business will be better than expected this summer.  People will be taking more road trips, will avoid airplanes, trains and Ubers and will take to the roads in record numbers.

    Gear up for a great summer and look for opportunity with each vehicle visit.  Perform those multipoints as if your business depends on it….why?....Because it does!

    We have a lot to be thankful for. Keep positive, be a leader and thrive!


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  10. A ride to the Mall with my wife today (yes, I went to the Mall, got a problem?) gave me assurance that things are really getting back to normal. The stores were full, the roads were packed and expect for the masks people are wearing, you would think it's just another ordinary summer weekend! 


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  11. For many of us, it's been a wild ride the past few months. We had to take care of everything, making tough decisions, dealing with banks and the SBA and running the shop from the trenches. But, with things looking better each day, it’s time that we get back into the role of building and operating the company. 

    For many, the COVID-19 crisis is far from over.  However, the sooner we begin to adjust and build for the future, the better off we will be.

    Shop Owners are among the hardest working people on the planet. We find ways to get through the most difficult situations. I have no doubt that the lesson’s learned from this crisis will make us stronger and more successful.

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  12. 2 minutes ago, jfuhrmad said:

    Wow!  So you guys are actually down more than a week ago when you were 40% down (compared to 45% last week).  People in NY must be much more reluctant to head out.

    Yes, with one clarification.  I am comparing it to my average numbers for this time of the year.  My usual sales in Feb, March and early April are not the same as late April and May when business usually is booming.  

    But, I can't focus on what was...only on what is and what I can do to create new goals moving forward.  I hope this makes sense.


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  13. As the weeks pass, we are seeing different trends around the nation.  Many shops have little to no impact from COVID-19, some are down 40 to 60% and some are nearly out of business.  New York is rebouding slowly.  Traffic is up and many businesses are gearing up to opening soon.  Only time will tell the full impact of the crisis.  

    For my business, I have made the economic adjustments, I will "wisely" use the PPP money and I look forward to the future success of my business.  While there will be many lessons learned from this crisis; the most important lesson is to never forget that the shop owner's mind-set will dictate the shop's future.  Stay positive, boost morale and be a strong leader. 

  14. Things "appear" to be getting better.  Business is still down about 40%, but the phone is ringing more and traffic is increasing also. I don't want to get too optimistic, but I truly believe that we are heading in a positive direction.  In addition, as the weather gets nicer, people will want to get and that means using their cars.

    In our area, we rely economically on NYC. The city will take time to recover, so we need to be careful and make the needed adjustments to our breakeven and other KPI's. 

    Another positive note: Morale is up in the shop!  Crisis times have a way of bringing people together. 


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  15. New York just pushed the stay at home order to May 15th.  Business is still down, along with all other businesses. Our sales are still off by better than 50%.  Traffic is at an all time low.  People are not going anyway.  It' s my suspension that things in my area will not loosen up until late May. 

    For now, we have made the economic adjustments and will build for the future.  I am working on my recovery plan to come out of this stronger.  What that looks like, I don't fully know yet .  But remaining positive is number 1



  16. I know that for many of us, these are tough times.  But, as the saying goes, "This too shall pass."

    The reality is that no matter how bad things get, we will get through this.  The question now should be, "What did we learn from this and how can we make ourselves and our businesses stronger."

    Out of every crisis there is triumph.  You cannot have a rainbow without a storm.  Learn from this crisis.  Make decisions that have long-term affects.  I know many of you are in crisis-mode, and rightly so. But the more you plan for the future, the better and stronger you will be.

    Get your numbers in order. Re-calculate your break-even, trim the fat off the expenses, get payroll in line with sales, negotiate your rent or mortgage and other loan terms, build a larger cash reserve. Don't sit on your hands.

    You are a shop owner....You wrote the book on Being Tough. Now, in the time of Crisis, prove it! 

  17. 12 hours ago, tomkatv10 said:

    2109FA3B-25D3-4133-9534-A0960CEAEB43.thumb.jpeg.17f3f5a910359e5a9393868aa2733d29.jpegThis post is getting us a decent amount of cars. Obviously the price is right, but this has been shared 42 times and over 10k have seen it. We've gotten a lot of five star reviews from it including one from the township fire department. NAPA is providing the oil and filter. I’m providing the labor. We haven’t tried to sell anything else on the customers car, just informed them. About 50% got other work done and the others have said they’ll definitely be back

    I like it.  This type of community involvement goes a long way, and people will remember it for a long time. 

  18. I think that many people are paying attention to local businesses now more than ever. But, they are not reacting. So many are hunkered down. And we understand that.  

    I would encourage every shop to continue to send "Feel Good" promotions and message to your local community. Down play any hard sales, increase your exposure through all the media you use to tell everyone Your Story - "We are here to help. Auto-related or not.  We are part of the community!"

    People will remember WHO you and your culture long after the crisis is over. 

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