Free Member
  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Wheelingauto last won the day on June 16

Wheelingauto had the most liked content!

Community Reputation

73 Excellent

1 Follower

About Wheelingauto

  • Rank
    Posting Member
  • Birthday

Company Information

  • Business Name
    Wheeling Auto Center
  • Type of Auto Shop
    Auto Repair
  • Business Phone Number
  • Your Current Position
    Shop Owner
  • Address
    2430 E. Hintz Rd
  • City
    Arlington Heights
  • State
  • Zip Code/Country Code
  • Country
  • Automotive Franchise
  • Website
  • Banner Program
  • Participate in Training

Profile Information

  • Gender
  1. Great answer. Yes, this is a place to discuss ideas and such and a great resource for management ideas. i am one of those 30 year guys and have been regarded as a "numbers" guy. While I have been thru many many hours of training I cannot find much of a use for ELR. Really, if you wish to improve bottom line you can charge 2 for 1' that will impact elr. You can also start stepping on the labor guid. If it calls for one hour and you bump it from 1to 1.2 ( in dollars not hours) and correct the hours back down you will really impact elr. You stated above this was shorting the techs. I could argue it isn't but it's one metric over another. I would focus on gross profit and expenses. Efficiency and productivity. If you still think there a % or 2 on the table raise the targets. Don, t change the measuring bowl.
  2. You've pretty much answered your own question. 2 for one diagnostics will increase EFL and maintenance (packaged) items such as a flush you charge more than 1/2 hours labor but credit the tech for 1/2 hour. My question back to add to the discussion is why are you looking at ELR? I used to belong to a 20 group and they had us looking at a lot of different metrics. While it is important to know the metrics and what affects them in reality there are only a few you really need to get a hold of and monitor. You just have to chose the ones that mean the most to you. Example..... hours per ro or dollars per ro? Which one would you rather track and focus on? I can certainly manipulate one for the other.
  3. Simply put, I and others may split our retail commodity purchases between different stores for whatever reasons, I do not split up my "purchases" from service providers such as my landscaper, painter, dentist, contractors etc. We are in the automotive SERVICE business. We need to realize this is the position we are capable of being in (USP, Unique selling point) and should focus on this position rather than attempt to compete on commodity.
  4. .5
  5. I have always argued there is more than one successful business model and thats why I chirp about mine as much as you do yours. We both run successful operations and large ones. I just dont want someone who runs a smaller operation who might be struggling to think the only way out is discounting and maximizing car count. Too many shops think car count is the answer and most of the time it is not. But its the easiest thing to fix.
  6. I feel compelled to chime in as well....... There are a lot of different people out there. You state GET THE CUSTOMER THRU THE DOOR......how do you keep the consumer out? As the self proclaimed car count fixer getting car count as you have learned is fairly easy. Getting quality car count not so much. While you appear to be an advisor, I have run a repair shop for the last 30 years. In my early days I spent a lot of time and energy sorting thru consumers with unreasonable expectations. While easy for you to say get cars thru the door, when you spend a lot of time and energy for someone who does not appreciate it or value it it reduces GREATLY the time and energy needed to deal with customers properly. So imagine if you will a batting cage. Each ball represents a customer/car. a large % of them are off target but if you dont swing you can "hit" them. So you spend all day swinging at balls and occasionally one crosses the plate. It catches you off guard and you cant focus on it quickly enough or completely enough and you foul it off. Sure, you may occasionally hit a single or double but I would bet more than not you foul it off because you were trained by all the ones that did not cross the plate, but you swung at them anyhow. If you were to slow things down, dial in the machine to only pitch over the plate how many home runs would you hit? Now, understand the example you use above states we are all large retail corporations whos value lies in pricing (walmart, costco, and Target) and the reality is we are mostly small, individually owned automotive SERVICE centers. Our true value is in TRUST, EXPERTISE and CONVENIENCE. Price is not a primary concern for our CUSTOMERS, yes we need to be competitive but we should focus on value, not price. We dont need a ton of opportunity, just enough over the plate to hit home runs. All the other things you've suggested are retention items that do not get cars in the door the first time. Each suggestion you have made is critical in keeping in touch with you customer and showing them you care about THEM. Once you have made this connection you can stop trying to get them in with price...it no longer matters. They will then chirp loudly about how wonderful you are and the friends they send in are coming in for the same treatment, not a cheap oil change. This approach vs the suggested one is much easier to manage and far less stressful IMO. Just another viewpoint of the game.
  7. But that's not what gets the customer thru the front door the first time or what gets them to try coffee in the first place. Discounting IMO is a fairly unimaginative way to attract new customers. It is easy, it is effective but comes with baggage that I dont wish to deal with. That being said, I would ask the following: What are your shops unique competitive advantages? If you were in Anderson's market, what would you claim to do or do that would make you a better choice? ( I pick on Anderson because he states cheap oil changes is the way to bring in new customers) If It were me, a first class web site with customer reviews is a must. People need to look you up and "see" you online. What they see online needs to directly correlate with what they get in person. For me, we have all ASE certified Master Technicians, we use factory scan tools and factory information systems to service your car. We are the experts who can fix what others cant. We have a fleet of 26 loaner cars we freely offer for any type of service. We back all of that up with a nationwide 36 month 36,000 mile warranty. We have a sparkling clean waiting room for your convenience (if waiting). We take care of factory warranty and recalls for our customers. We do whatever we can to make it convenient to do business with us. Now, how to get the message out? Website #1. Optimize it and set up a pay per click campaign but dont compete for the common searches (oil change, alignment and tires come to mind). Join the local chamber and get out there and kiss babies and shake hands. Get involved in community events, donate time and effort, it will get the best results. Direct mail is quickly loosing it's effect here in the city but I would try it in the smaller markets. In everything you do talk about quality, convenience and expertise. In all polls those are the things that matter to people. When you make price the most compelling thing it becomes the most important which tends to commodify what we do. (oil changes). We wash every car we service, makes people feel good about their car. Put all the focus on what you do well, better than anyone else (then do it!) Hope this at least gives you somewhere to start.
  8. Best May in the 30 year history of the company by 12%. Everything was up.
  9. Just keep in mind one day down the line they could shut you down. I have a good friend who is in the same situation, he rented a building from the competition, the lease finally ran out and as it did they declined extending it since they wanted to expand to that location. Luckily he negotiated a buy out per say and since he is near retirement it is his way out. Not the best scenario but it worked out for him. I would suggest if you proceed you go with this knowledge and structure a lease that favors the tenant with possible purchase terms spelled out down the road.
  10. And you can e mail me for a pay plan if you'd like Dave@wheelingautocenter.com
  11. I would be happy to share my program but it is similar to yours in the fact we pay hourly and an efficiency bonus on top. I have 2 lead techs and they are paid hourly only. Bigger question is what do you wish to accomplish by changing pay plans? The first thing that stood out about your post is the question about non billable tasks. Imagine your tech as a tool for a moment. Your company is not making money if the tool is not working. I would bet the average tech bills out $180 an hour in parts and labor. That's $3 a minute. They say when you take a tech off a job is takes a minimum of .2 to get his mind back to the task at hand. Thats 12 MINUTES. 12 x $3 = $36 of unrealized billable time. That would pay a helper 3 1/2 hours to unload a truck, empty garbages, clean floors and or anything else that needs doing. This frees up the techs to MAKE money for the company. I would take a day and sit out in the shop, analyze everything the techs do that is not billable and figure out how to have helpers/porters anyone else but the techs do. The fastest way to true profitability is through tech efficiency and productivity. If you focus on this you will crush the numbers AND have very happy techs because they will finally be making what they should as techs, not garbagemen....truck unloaders, floor sweepers, shuttle drivers, etc. Dont pay a $30 broom to sweep the floor when a $10 one will do the job just as well....
  12. As said above. No one really questions dollar per hour charges. When we went up I can't remember a single comment about it.
  13. That is a difficult question to answer on a national message board. I would suggest first figuring out what your labor rate needs to be so you are profitable to the level you desire. Then I would call local dealers and indys and do a labor rate survey. Be honest, tell them who you are and why your calling. We are trained not to answer the labor rate question but when someone calls and tells me who they are and why they are asking I am usually more than happy to give them the number they are asking for. We are in Chicago and I suspect overall costs are similar and we are at $120 and looking to go up. I can tell you when we were at $99 I was afraid of the xxx figure so when we decided to do it we went to $114. If your going to do it you might as do it right
  14. I guess the point I am making is I think it is our best interest to fully understand the technology we are faced with. Generic tools only allow partial understanding like using a snap on scanner VS that witech. Huge difference. I know ROI is weak if not non existent, but I have always believed in having the knowledge within my business. I would think it would benefit you to have one or two techs take the time (paid of course) to maintain the tools and passwords, understand the technology and be leaders in the shop when it comes to this. I could be wrong but I feel there is a difference in using the generic tool vs the oe. And I want that for the top car lines I serve. Not every tech needs to be proficient at BMW but if you're going to work on them at least one must be familiar with them.
  15. We used Demandforce many years ago in their infancy. They are a customer retention management company. They send out automated reminders, customer e mails as an example newsletters, lost customer cards and recommended service cards. They cultivate reviews and post to the web. They were responsive and did a good job for us but I used them when the posted reviews to Google. When Google changed the rules we stopped using them because we did not use any of the other features. Mitchell CRM, customer link (if they still exist) and several other companies do the same thing. If you are doing no follow up it will improve things. If you already use one of these companies they will probably not do any better. It is all what I call mid shelf marketing. All automated, no personality and average stuff. Like I said, not bad if you're doing nothing.