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Grace Automotive

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  • Business Name
    Grace Automotive Repair
  • Business Address
    4443 W INA RD, TUCSON, Arizona, 85741
  • Type of Business
    Auto Repair
  • Your Current Position
    Shop Owner
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  1. I realize this is a pretty old thread, but was curious if there's any new information out there. With all due respect to tco, I'm not really interested in any solutions that have me pass the credit card fees onto my customers even if it does give them the choice to use debit and pay nothing. Just had someone come in here from a company called SpotOn that wants to pitch me on their service. They want me to gather some statements and they will compare costs for me at a follow up appointment next week. They say they charge 1.99% + 20 cents per transaction regardless of card type. Currently, I'm using my bank's (Chase) merchant services. (We also have our checking, Savings and Company Credit Cards through them as well) My reader (which does chips as well as NFC) is totally free, there's no long term contract and it allows me to accept all major cards including Discover and AMEX. The percentage I pay in fees each month of course varies depending on the mix between Debit and Credit and AMEX, Discover vs Visa/MC....but I typically pay between 2% and 2.3% each month total. I sat down and calculated the last 4 months. What I did pay, vs what would have paid with this new processor SpotOn...charging 1.99% + 20 cents per transaction. for June I paid 2.18% with Chase. I would have paid 2.38% with SpotOn. For July I paid 2.2% with Chase. I would have paid 2.21% with SpotOn. For August I paid 2.09% with Chase. I would have paid 2.27% with SpotOn. For September I paid 2.3% with Chase (had a lot more Discover and Amex than usual). I would have paid 2.14% with SpotOn. So only 1 out of the last 4 months would SpotOn have been cheaper for me. (And it was an unusual month because I rarely get that many AMEX and Discover) Figuring for the entire 4 month period (as opposed to breaking it down on a per month basis) I paid 2.21% with Chase and would have paid 2.22% with SpotOn. I don't think I'll be changing at this time. At least not to this vendor. However, in the process of digging into this, and looking through this thread and others in this forum I was curious if anyone else out there has a processor that is consistently getting them sub-2% rates overall on their monthly credit card fees (including AMEX and Discover)? Thanks in advance!
  2. Agreed. We do have punch clock for in and out for the day and for lunch, as well as job clock to track how long working on actual flat rate job. Our system pays a tech more than if they were simply getting hourly plus overtime. For example if a tech only works on one job a particular day. He's on the time clock for 8 hours. If he is on the job clock for that one job for 5 hours, then he only gets paid for 3 hours at his regular hourly pay. However, the incentive is if that job calls for 7 hours, he gets 7 hours at his flat rate pay in addition to his 3 hours of hourly pay....and the flat rate pay is always higher than the hourly pay. On the flip side of that, if that job only pays 2 hours, and he still spent 5 hours on the job clock then he only gets 2 hours at flat rate and 3 hours at regular hourly pay. That's an extreme example though. I don't have any techs that take 5 hours to do a job that calls for 2 hours (unless the labor manual is wrong, in which case I make adjustments...never want to rip of my techs or my customers) With that said... We are only open 8-5 Monday-Friday and everyone must take a 1 hour lunch break. So, there is no possibility of anyone running into an over-time situation at our shop whether we paid flat rate or not.
  3. Speaking of lucky. We have to pay $55 per pickup. It doesn't matter if they pick up 5 gallons or 500 gallons. (of course they only come when I call them and tell them we need them so I will NEVER pay for them to pick up 5 gallons)
  4. I took a different route with regard to Quick Lube pricing. I decided to "un-commoditize" it. When people ask me "how much for an oil change on my car", I tell them..."Hold on a second I'll work up a quote... we don't have one pricing fits all we only charge based on what your car actually needs" (Customers actually respond well to this even if it ends up being a dollar or two more than my competitor) Rather than have a flat X number of dollars for Synthetic Blend up to 5 quarts and X number of dollars for Full Synthetic up to 5 quarts, I charge $14 labor, and then charge for the oil and filter with a 30% markup above my cost. At my current costs for Synthetic Blend Oil, this still comes out to roughly $30 for the small car that only takes 4 quarts of Synthetic Blend which is competitive around here. However, on the cars that require Full Synthetic but only use 4-5 quarts at my current costs it comes out to a little over $40 which is better than the $69 many of my competitors are charging for Full Synthetic. Those customers REALLY appreciate this, because they know by looking at the shelves at Walmart and Costco that there isn't really THAT big a difference in the actual cost of Synthetic Blend and Full Synthetic like there once was. This gives me a competitive price advantage while I'm still making the same amount of profit as I do on my Synthetic Blend oil changes. (More importantly it sets me apart from my competition in a way that to most customers seems more fair) Of course those that need 8-15 quarts of expensive oil already understand their oil change will cost more and rarely complain. This also makes it much easier for my customers to understand why their oil change costs more this time than last time when they can see the increase is directly attributable to rises in the cost of oil....because they already know they are basically just paying $14 plus the Oil and Filter.
  5. We pay flat rate, and hourly rate for time not spent on an actual job. So, on a busy day where a tech spends his entire 8 hours working on billable jobs, he doesn't get any hourly pay, he gets his flat rate. However, on a slow day where he may only spend 4 hours on billable jobs, he gets his flat rate for those 4 hours, and his hourly pay for the remaining 4 hours. An example is a tech that gets $25/Hour Flat rate + $13/Hour hourly. During an 8 hour day, if he works 5 hours on billable stuff, but the actually hours billed to the customer were 8 hours, he gets paid 8 hours @ $25/hour and the remaining 3 hours of the day where he wasn't working on a billable job he gets paid 3 hours @ $13/Hour. This accomplishes several things: 1.) It gives him piece of mind that even if things get really slow, he's going to get paid for the time he's at the shop. 2.) It takes away the temptation to say: "I don't get paid for that" when asked to do a menial job like cleaning up or helping another less experienced tech with a diagnosis. (I've seen a lot of this at some shops. Where flat rate techs don't want to do an oil change or check tire pressures because it doesn't pay) 3.) It still incentivizes him to be more efficient when he is working a billable job. Of course our Shop Management system can track when a tech is working on a job and when he's just "on the clock". If your shop management system doesn't give you an easy way to track this stuff I can imagine it would be a nightmare.
  6. Small owner run shop here. (I'm owner, general manager, service consultant and I also help the techs when I can) We have a shelf for incoming parts, and another one for returned parts. The drivers for our various parts vendors know to drop them at the incoming parts shelf, and then come get me to sign their invoice. I personally verify the part is there (and what I ordered) before signing the invoice. We segregate the return parts by 1.) Which parts supplier it goes to, and 2.) What type of return it is (New Unused Part, Core, Warranty bad part) so when the driver is their dropping off parts they or I can quickly glance and see if we have anything going back to them.
  7. I've decided I want to join a banner program, but I'm having a difficult time deciding which one. My shop is in Tucson Arizona. We (Tucson) are kind of unique in that the parts supplier in town who is usually going to have the part available and reasonably priced is a locally owned franchise called Merles. (not a national chain) They've been around a long time and have market saturation locally that the big boys have always envied. They were recently (within last 2-3 years) purchased by the same conglomerate that owns NAPA, which extends their buying power even further. They give excellent service and pricing, and when our shop was brand new and had no established credit they gave us NET 10th credit terms immediately when everyone else (First Call, Factory Motor Parts, Autozone, Worldpac etc...) wanted us to either pay cash to get established, or guarantee it against mine and my business partner's personal credit. They have a program called Auto Service Experts (I'm not sure if this was a banner program they've always been affiliated with or if it came in with their affiliation with NAPA) However, Advanced Auto Parts recently moved into Tucson and they are wanting our business. They are very competitively priced. They (along with Carquest and Worldpac) are part of the Tech-Net program. The one advantage Tech-Net appears to have over Auto Service Experts is their labor claims. (Auto Service Experts limits you to 3 hours at $75/hour and a limited number of claims each calendar year) Tech-Net current labor reimbursement on labor claims is also $75/hour but they don't have limitations on how many hours per claim (based solely on labor manual flat rate time) or how many claims per year....which could be huge if you get a bad part on a high labor job like an oil pump. However, in order for my customers to be covered on the 36/36 warranty and for me to get the labor claims all parts would have to come from them (Advanced, CarQuest or Worldpac). Merles has been good to me and I value that business relationship. I'm not ready to stop buying from them. However, the tech-net program offered by Advanced Auto Parts appears to be a better overall program than what they offer. My local Advanced Auto Parts branch has given me excellent customer service so far, and is willing to price match. However, they don't always have the part available same day and rather than wait a day for them to bring it down from Phoenix I'd rather just purchase the part from Merles. I saw in a different thread someone talking about Certified Auto Repair banner program offered through First Call. It claimed that the nationwide warranty is good no matter where you buy your parts because it's offered through Certified Auto Repair, not by Firstcall. However, that is a very old post and I'm not sure that information is still valid. Everything I've read on the program that is current seems to suggest you are expected to buy your parts from FirstCall. One option is to join both banner programs and then continue buying my parts on a case by case basis from either Merles or Advanced whichever has the part available immediately at the best price (which is what I'm currently doing) However, I'm not sure I can justify the cost of both programs annually for the overall benefits. Another option is to go ahead and join Tech-Net because it's the better program, and roll the dice on Advance Auto Parts eventually being able to offer me the same level of service that Merles has offered me in the past. The final option is to join the Auto Service Experts program that Merles offers. I'm not really happy with the severe limitations on their labor claims, but in every other way the program is competitive with Tech-Net. Obviously, this is a decision my business partner and I will have to make, and I'm not asking anyone to tell me what I should do. However, if there are other options I'm not aware of (like a true banner program that covers you no matter where you buy your parts) or if anyone has any other input or information on the two programs I'm discussing that I may not be aware of, I'd deeply appreciate it. Thanks in advance.

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