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Memphis Rob

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About Memphis Rob

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    autosport automotive imports
  • Type of Business
    Auto Repair
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    Shop Owner
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  1. This is good input...I wonder if our supplier, who is a regional supplier, primarily of import parts, will readily credit us with our labor cost in addition to the part...
  2. Guys- forgive me if there's already an existing thread somewhere re this topic...also, bear with my lack of general knowledge on running a shop...I'm new at this.... Anyway, I'm the primary investor in an independent shop specializing in import service, primarily BMW and Mercedes. We purchase most parts from non-chain suppliers like Worldpac or, in our case, small niche suppliers of import parts. Yesterday we had a car come back with a bad motor mount that we had installed last October. Installation was fine- the part was new but failed due to poor quality. The supplier will warranty the part but we essentially lost money by tying up a lift to replace it w/out being able to charge the labor. What do you do to keep this from happening?
  3. I suspect many of us recieve requests from customers to pay their bill over two or three months, particularly for large jobs. Practical business sense tells us not to engage in this practice for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the risk of not receiving any further payments. On the other hand, a longtime, trustworthy customer may represent a different circumstance. Any one care to comment on this?
  4. Midnighteuro- I purchased my list from a group called Pinnacle Lists. Just I be clear, I have no ownership or financial interest whatsoever in them and I found them on the web. My experience was good- they were professional and i got a good list at a legitimate price. Here's the contact: [email protected] He's very responsive. Good luck!
  5. Hi Mario- I wanted to chime in on the use of lists. Our shop is also new and focuses purely on Mercedes Benz and BMW. I acquired a list of MB and BMW owners from a legitimate company that included almost 3,000 records of owners. Each record included the names, addresses, car make, model and year, and other key info, and was emailed to me in Excel format. I was able to verify the list because I know a lot of the people shown in it. I also use VistaPrint, and design a monthly oversized postcard that i've been mailing to a selected group from my list. I say selected because I'm only spending what I can afford each month. Generally speaking, 300-400 cards a month runs less than $500 though, and this has proven to be successful in bringing in new customers. I've been pleased with this and plan to keep doing this on a regular basis. You have to manage your expectations, however. So far, each mailing has resulted in 5-10 customers. On an annual basis, this type of marketing may generate 60-120 customers. I view this as only one way to grow my business, however. The use of other techniques- I also hand out cards at shopping centers, etc.- may generate a like amount of customers. So I'm resolved to managing te marketing in this manner, ie, a consistent steady use of multiple techniques that have proven successful in generating business. Best of luck...it will happen for both of us!
  6. This is good advice. Upfront money for parts and progress payments along the way is good business and right in line with what I was thinking. Thanks for the input...
  7. I'm interested in your feedback on what I term 'project cars', ie, vehicles that are in need of significant overhaul involving multiple car systems. In other words, these jobs represent more than the daily bread-and-butter maintenance turn... For example, we have a client who has asked us to work on a '99 Mercedes owned by his mother, who is now too old to drive. It is not a bad car as such; however, it has a cracked head among other multiple issues that will require hours of diagnosis, an extensive outlay for parts and potentially weeks of work. I'd like to know if others have established a policy of handling these situations in a way that is fair to both us and the customer. Obviously, the total cost is not yet known. How would you handle the upfront diagnostic time required for assessing the total job? Once you assess the the scope of work, do we require an upfront deposit for the cost of parts? What about labor charges? Projects like this can take up plenty of time. I don't like the idea of being exposed to the parts cost. Obviously I prefer that our business gravitate to 'normal' service issues because it's more profitable. But this is a longtime client. I see multiple opportunities for mis-communication here because of the disconnect between the client's expectations, ie, a fully repaired vehicle, and the reality of the amount of work involved. How do you handle unforeseen issues that arise after the primary diagnosis?
  8. I'm new to the group and am also a new non-mechanic shop owner, although my partner has about 25 years as an import tech. We put about $100k into our shop, which is no small amount. However, it's actually about $50k short of where we should be. One of the things we have not been able to acquire is shop management software like Mitchell's or RO Writer. I think it's very important . But how badly are we hurt by not having it on the front end?
  9. That is a great question, and i frankly don't know the answer yet. The target market is primarily car collectors who are intent on storing their vehicles in a secure environment. Other prospects are owners of restored classics. In my research on this, I have been floored by the number of car fanatics who own 10 or more vehicles. I have also talked to several local collectors who own 20 to 40 cars, including a local guy who acquired the Mustang driven by James Earl Ray. These folks are not the target for me, however, because they generally have the wherewithal to acquire their own building. Our target is the guy whose eyes are bigger than his stomach, ie, he's bought 5 or six cars and they are either cluttering up his driveway or he's storing them in a self storage place. There is a certainty to the idea, however, and that is that collectors are dedicated to keeping that car in good shape. But here is the side benefit: we all know that a valuable vehicle, whether a Ferrari or restored '57 Chevy, cannot sit fallow. so, as a service, we will provide regular maintenance for stored vehicles to keep them from deteriorating. For a monthly fee, we can start the engine or drive the car, keep it detailed, change fluids, or even do some engine work. We can also arrange for folks to pick up their car if they want to drive it on a nice day. When they bring it back, we'll put it back into storage for them. I think there's a need for it...I just don't know how deep it is and how much folks will be willing to pay.
  10. Hello to everyone from Memphis, Tennessee! Elvis says "hey".... I am not only new to the site, I am also a new non-mechanic shop owner. I recently partnered with a high school buddy who basically channels automotive expertise. He has about 30 years of experience, most of which lies with Mercedes-Benz and BMW's. Our shop will be specifically marketed to these two makes of car. We've invested about $100k in the shop but, to be honest, are about $50,000 short of where we need to be. Where his expertise lies in the technical end of the enterprise, I am the business end. I have a finance background and am pretty analytical, so we are definitely the Odd Couple. I happen to own the building in which our shop is located (not debt free unfortunately). It actually includes about 46,000 sf of space, although the shop currently takes up a 5,000 sf bay and currently has two lifts.. We are considering using some of the remaining space for climate-controlled vehicle storage. If anyone has thoughts on this, fire away. I've researched this quite a bit but sure welcome any first-hand knowledge. I also have plenty of secure outside storage for RV's, boats etc. I have been so impressed with the knowledge represented by the members thus far and find the entire site to be invaluable. Even though I have confidence in my own experience and abilities, I realize how much i have to learn about the automotive business. I remember my school teachers saying "There's no such thing as a dumb question." If this statement does not apply here, someone better let me know pretty quick; I have a lot of them lined up already.... I look forward to corresponding with everyone! Rob

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