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Robert Summers

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  • Business Name
    Kindred Automotive
  • Business Address
    10940 East Independence Boulevard, Ste B, Matthews, North Carolina, 28105
  • Type of Business
    Auto Repair
  • Your Current Position
    Shop Owner
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  1. Robert Summers

    Robert Summers

  2. Does anyone have thoughts on how to handle the squeeze we are seeing in our industry over the next 5-10 years. Wages for technicians need to increase however consumer earning has stayed relatively flat lately, making people more price sensitive. It seems to me that our industry needs to become more efficient in order to be able to attract skilled labor, stay on top of new technology and still remain profitable without a massive increase in prices for our customers. A sharp 18 year old can study IT for a couple years and make $40,000 in an office. Within 5 years a skilled IT technician is earning $60-70k+. As an industry we need to be able to offer a similar career path that doesn't involve our employees working 6 days a week and spending $100,000 on tools...
  3. Do you recommend the tow companies to your customers? Business goes both ways. The way I handled this at my shop was to start by asking around. If other shops are recommending certain tow companies it means they have a working relationship and/or they are good companies. In my area I only have one consistently reliable company so that's who I recommend because I want my customers to have a great experience. They don't bring me a ton of business but that's OK, that's not as important as taking care of my good customers. I can trust that they won't talk a customer into going to another shop and they show up when they promise. If you're wanting a quid-pro-quo arrangement, start by finding a company that has a similar set of core values and principles as you do. Bonus points if that's a company no other shop recommended yet. Now, offer to make them your exclusive tow company provided they communicate and prioritize your customers and check in with them on a regular basis. People still do business with people they like. Get to know the drivers! Chat with them for a minute or two when they drop off a car. Help them unload it. When a customer asks for a recommendation, they are asking the drivers, not the owners. Buy them lunch or invite them to a cook-out when you have a customer appreciation day at your shop or stop by their place one morning and bring breakfast from some place. I have heard food is a strong motivator in our industry! 🙂
  4. Not sure I understand the question. Are you asking about software?
  5. The uniform/rag industry is an interesting and very competitive one. Cintas is a well known player in most markets. As a general rule, you're region will determine your experience. I have heard owners have wonderful experiences and horrible ones with all the major companies. It seems to vary based on region and your local driver. I'd suggest you ask a few shops near you who they use and what their experience is like. I will also suggest you keep a log of your prices and check your bill regularly. Every company I have ever used starts at a decent rate and by year three I'm paying a good bit more. You need to keep your drivers honest on the price as they get paid bonuses for increasing your cost year after year.
  6. Lyft and Uber are both facing core business challenges. Specifically, attracting drivers and cash burn (hence both going public this quarter). They currently are subsidizing customer rates while drivers are still earning low wages when you factor wear and tear on the vehicles and maintenance costs. They are doing this to increase users and get more people familiar to the concept of asking a stranger to show up so you can hop in their car. Lyft specifically has identified attracting drivers as a core challenge in their IPO documentation. https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1759509/000119312519059849/d633517ds1.htm#toc633517_4 While this is an interesting concept I don't see the immediate threat to our industry. Neither have the budget or desire to expand this concept nationally at this time and if you're "Uber" customer's are like mine, they aren't typically spending very much at your store anyway. This is really an attempt to attract drivers in certain key markets. So far, companies like Amazon have had serious resistance breaking into "Service" businesses. I doubt Uber and Lyft will cause us too much headache until autonomous vehicles start to become an option, then we are all going to be in for an awakening!

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