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flacvabeach last won the day on October 20

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About flacvabeach

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    First landing Autocare
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    2114 Thoroughgood Road, Virginia Beach, Virginia, 23455
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    Auto Repair
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    Shop Owner
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    Napa Car Care
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  1. The ongoing "special session" of the Virginia legislature can best be described as "the inmates are in charge of the asylum." A couple of weeks ago HB5130 was introduced as follows: following the declaration by the Governor of a state of emergency pursuant to § 44-146.17 that includes or is followed by any additional executive order in furtherance of such declaration that includes a stay at home or shelter in place order, employers shall (i) compensate its essential workers at a rate not less than one and one-half times the employee's regular rate of pay for any hours worked during the closure order. We were originally overjoyed that our trade was considered essential, but this bill, if passed could be the death knell for business as we know it. I responded to our legislators with this: I strongly urge you to vote AGAINST HB5130. My family and I own and operate a business defined as essential during the pandemic. For six months we have struggled to keep our trained, experienced staff employed and paid in an uncertain market. Labor is the largest expense we incur and every labor dollar paid to the employee costs $1.25 when you account for additional expenses for taxes, insurance, etc. Employers can not absorb increases in labor costs and survive, rather, they pass them on to the consumer, but the consumer has no one to pass these costs to. Instead, at some point they stop purchasing goods and services that have been priced out of their reach. The essential employees that this bill hopes to help could soon find themselves unemployed in a market that can no longer afford their services. Researching the background of the eight sponsors for this bill (all D), I found that it doesn't appear that any of them has ever held a real job, much less owned and operated a business with employees. Almost all of them began their political ascent by first being elected to local school boards, then city council and on to state legislature. I am guilty of never having paid much attention to school board races because my kids have long since been grown up and gainfully employed. Believe me, I will research future races and eye each candidate as a potential legislator and beyond. If any of you live in Virginia, I urge you to contact our legislators and tell them how you feel about this Here are key email addresses: [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] Thanks, Mark Anderton First Landing Autocare Virginia Beach
  2. In the process of switching our two shops from ROwriter to Protractor. Short-term pain for, we hope, long-term gain.
  3. The Virginia Department of Labor and industry has issued a regulation requiring use of masks among staff based on a vaguely defined level of risk, basically described as the ability of employees to stay 6 feet apart during the conduct of business. It's up to each employer to determine what level of risk applies. That sounds great, but they have created a cadre of inspectors to perform inspections with no advanced notice, so it's yet another opportunity for the state to levy fines arbitrarily. The Virginia Automotive Association formally requested an exemption for tire and auto shops citing separation of employees in bays with only intermittent closer contact for consultation/assistance. It was turned down. We closed our waiting rooms at the beginning of the pandemic and went to a process that is contactless as possible. The majority of our jobs are by appointment and either drop-off or we pick up and deliver. We have a tent in front of our reception where customers can wait if they insist. We have a standard vehicle disinfection process and we use seat and steering wheel covers in each car. This new paradigm is working so well I think it will be our mode of operation going forward regardless of pandemic.
  4. The Virginia Inspection process is summarized here, The irony of this thing is that last year we fought and won a battle to have the inspection fee raised from $16 to $20 signed off by the same governor who proposed eliminating the program this year. $20 is pretty meager compensation for a job that takes the tech about 40 minutes per car. Then the service writer has to compile the digital inspection, prepare an estimate and then spend "quality time" with the vehicle's owner. No question it brings in vehicles and gives us a chance to make them lifelong customers. It also makes for a busy first and last week of the month. We can do them by appointment now which makes it a lot less hectic.
  5. The Virginia legislature ended its 2020 session last night, wisely voting to keep the annual inspection program. It was touch and go throughout the session with a lot of sentiment for getting rid of the program, a compromise proposal for inspecting every two years and a final vote to leave the program as-is . The Virginia Automotive Association is entirely responsible for saving this program which benefits every citizen living in and passing through Virginia. New proposals will come up next year to eliminate inspections and the battle will begin again.
  6. Thanks for the input, particularly about TX. VAA is using the UT study in our defense effort. Mark
  7. Virginia's Governor in his 2020 budget proposal has included elimination of the state's vehicle safety inspection program. In addition, a state legislator has introduced a bill doing the same. I serve on the board of the Virginia Automotive Association, a group of over 200 independent shops who have banded together to lobby in the interests of our industry. VAA has ponied up a a $25000 increase in the lobbying budget to fight the move. As a shop owner, I have mixed emotions on the subject, but if I were gambling I would bet that the program will go away. On one hand, it's kind of nice that the state's motorists are forced to bring their cars to a shop once a year, giving us an opportunity to make them life-long customers. Also, it has created a cadre of technicians in the state who have been vetted and background checked by the state police. On the other hand, there are a litany of negatives inluding customer resentment, anger when their vehicle fails, uneven management by the state police who oversee the program due to limited resources. Some shops are "by the book" while others are "sticker mills" who will pass anything. Unfortunately, VAA and others have been unable to produce hard statistics that show that the program .makes a difference in highway safety. The big studies I have found blame driver error for the majority of accidents. What is ironic is that just this year VAA won a long battle to get the inspection fee raised from 16 to 20 dollars. The legislature convenes in January to enact laws that will take effect in June. I would like to hear how other Virginia shop owners feel and I would like to hear from other states that have witnessed termination of these programs. Mark Anderton
  8. We have two shops, the larger of which has a three-car bay that has two large window units in the wall. During our current heat wave (90-plus temp and 90-plus humidity) they have kept the work space relatively comfortable. One drawback - the guys set the units to 60 degrees, thinking the lower they set it, the better it will cool. Well, on a hot day they can't bring the bay down to less than about 80, but at night or on the weekend they turn the place into an icebox. We don't work weekends, so I'm not sure what that costs me. It's a training issue. We are all competing for a diminishing pool of talented people to work on cars and AC is a way to help bring them in, as is the five day work week. Our other shop is an old (circa 1964) Shell gas station with three bays which is not air conditioned. July has been tough on my guys who work there, but we are looking at ways to cool things off. Swamp fans DO NOT WORK in a high humidity environment like Tidewater Virginia, so AC is the only practical answer. You don't need to maintain 72 degrees like a typical office building. You just need to knock the temp and humidity down to bearable levels. The bay doors go up and down continuously, anyway, so there is little hope of maintaining a stable temperature. I watch the talented, loyal guys working out in my service station and just hope they will hang in there until I come up with a practical, affordable solution.
  9. flacvabeach


  10. Virginia's Governor Northam signed a bill into law that increases the fee shops can charge for the annual safety inspection from $16 to $20. This was made possible through a lot of hard work and lobbying by the Virginia Automotive Association. You can learn more about VAA at vaauto.org. Done properly, Virginia's inspection process takes about 45 minutes per car, so shops are still running a deficit, but it's a long-awaited improvement.
  11. The VAA convention is being held April 12-14 at The Main in Norfolk Virginia. This is always a great show and includes great speakers, great food, and a big automotive trade show. Everyone is welcome - you don't have to be a member to join in the fun. Visit vaauto.org for details and registration. Join VAA and you get one free registration to the show! 2019 Convention Brochure.pdf
  12. We have used the RAP for about a year and it has eliminated our issues with flash capabilities. The scheduling has not been a problem and they have been pretty accommodating about doing multiple modules when it's necessary. We don't do a bunch of euro, so we haven't hit the wall there yet.
  13. Apart from the VAA's political activism on behalf of our industry, there is also a powerful social aspect to VAA membership. Every year we hold a convention attended by about 400 folks from independent repair shops and vendors all over Virginia. In April of 2015 the convention will once again be held at the Homestead, an amazing resort that is one of our state's treasures. The convention provides an opportunity to obtain training, and inspiration from industry experts and fellow shop owners (and amazing food). There is also a trade show that, in itself, is an amazing social and informational affair. If you join now, your membership is covered through 2018. New members receive two free convention registrations and if, at the end of 2018, you don't feel your membership was of any benefit, VAA will refund your membership fee. CLICK HERE to join. Shop not in Virginia? You are still welcome to attend the convention, enjoy the beautiful Homestead, and find out how a successful statewide industry alliance functions.
  14. Autovitals Workflow lets us see exactly how our techs are loaded and what the real-time status is on each job. We have a touchscreen display in each shop that lets managers pull up the RO on any job in the shop. You can also pull up all of the photos techs have taken during the digital visual inspection.

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