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About tdmart

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    Occasional Poster

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  • Business Name
    Martin's Repair Service LLC
  • Business Address
    750 Old Ridge Road, Hanover, Pennsylvania, 17331
  • Type of Business
    Auto Repair
  • Your Current Position
    Shop Owner
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  1. tdmart


  2. Well, I look at it this way. Cost is what it is and when I consider the options - the cost of the Mitchell Package is minimal, especially if I consider trying to do automotive repair without it. We use it every day all the time. Comes out to cents per hour. Why are we fussing?
  3. Not a chance that I will give business to Advance Auto Parts. The ones in our area only sell parts that the customer does not need. They are a parts retailer, nothing else.Then when the vehicle still isn't fixed, the owner comes to us and asks what is wrong. When we take a moment to tell the owner that we do not know what is wrong until we see the vehicle, the owner gets all bent outa shape cause ............... he already spent a bunch a money to Advance. My biggest complaint to Advance is that in their strategy in the parts retailing business, they are perceived as more knowledgable than the repair garages. So when the vehicle owner comes to us, we tend to be viewed as the underdog to Advance. And, with that, I will stop.
  4. Well, as I read over the posts so far, I am at the point of concluding that I must be weird or at least an oddball. Here is the thing though, I so much enjoy what I do, fixing problems on vehicles. Seriously. I do. Here at our garage, we all (5 of us) enjoy what we do. We have, shall I call it fun? all day long. However, for diversion, I do gardening which produces alot of the food my wife and I consume. I also enjoy lawn work and deleting items from the wife's 'honey do' list. For extra diversion I study history (especially church history) and family genealogy.
  5. Well, here is how I relate to a negative world. First, let me say that there is various ways people use in doing this and I respect those that differ with me. But, for me, I rely on my faith and trust in my Maker. It is He that created me and knows more about me than I myself do so why wouldn't I trust Him to help me when I need it the most. My reliance on an almighty God is not a sign of weakness on my part but rather a dependence on a power that is greater and better than I am. Now that I have said that, by nature, I tend to be rather positive and as I relate to the negative world we live in, especially customers with broken down vehicles, I try to see the bright side of things. I am friendly to all, especially those that are otherwise. I see them as an opportunity to change their outlook in life. I grew up in my Dad's garage in the sixties and seventies and I saw my Dad relate to customers the same way. He had many many friends and I decided as a teenager that if I ever had my own business, I would emulate the methods my Dad used in relating to people. Now, after being in business for 25+ years, I have many friends and good customers. We have customers that bring us tips, donuts, cookies, gift certificates, and the list goes on. I enjoy meeting my customers in town while my wife and I go shopping. We were once out for breakfast and one of our customers was there and, unknown to me, when I went to check out and pay my bill, to my surprise, my customer had already paid it. We have a reciprical relationship here. I also tell my men, even if you do not agree with what the customer is saying, be friendly and kind to them. I could add more but I gotta go - work is calling.
  6. Well, ya know, I have been watching this development and pondering what effects the Tesla line will have on our industry. Obviously, there is no way we can be sure of what all will happen, my thought is that in the next number of years there will be more electric vehicles. However, that will be only for the commuters. So far, I have not seen anything much beyond the car level in the electric vehicle field. Probably half of the vehicles we work on here are diesels. And with the diesel engines getting much more efficient than earlier ones, I predict they will be around for a long time and give us alot of work for many years. Will the Tesla line and other lines push us out of competition with the dealers? Probably not. Will it affect us? Yes it will. How much? Wait and see.For the shops that are up to the challenge of diversity, there is opportunities. For others, its going down a dead end road. The developing technology is slowly sorting the men from the boys.
  7. Well, I have been in this business for most of my life. And at age 59, I admit there is times I think about getting out. However, when I step back and reflect on the reasons why I would consider quitting, at the same time, I also reflect on the reasons I should keep on. For me, the reasons to stay in business far outweigh the reasons for quitting. What I find is that my reasons for quitting are mostly selfish in nature. Here is the thing, this business of auto/truck repair is largely a service oriented business. At the same time we are fixing cars, we are building relations with others, customers and vendors alike. I am one that tends to look at the big picture. And for me, my objective and goal in life is more than just making money, it is about relating to my fellowmen. And so, from that perspective, I value the relationship I have with my customers and vendors. Does that mean we always agree in every point? No but we find ways to work through the differences and move on. The technology of today's vehicles does not intimidate me at all. That does not mean that we are able to repair every problem the first time we see the car but with decent amount of training and access to good service information we can usually find our way. So, bottom line, to me, life is more than making money and having an easy life. We are created by our Maker in such a way that we function best when we serve others. Now, I know, there are some of you that will differ with me on that, and that is your right to do so, but your disagreeing with me does not change my life or the good business we have and enjoy. Actually, the reality of it is that if I quit my business, I am not sure I could find something I enjoy as much as what I am doing right now. So. I will keep on doing what I enjoy doing.
  8. My thought when I said that was not to have getting rich as your main objective and goal, customers real fast pick up on that.
  9. For me, I grew up in my Dad's garage back in the sixties and seventies. I held the light while he worked, I pumped the brake pedal while he bled the brakes out. I turned the engine over while he was checking compression on an engine. He would have me pull an engine out and take it apart for rebuilding. In looking back, that is perhaps the easiest way to get into the business. So, by the time I was ready to go on my own, I had a number of years of experience and had pretty well mastered the basics. When I went on my own, I bought an old ambulance and made it into a service vehicle and went out to the owners places to work on their vehicle. While it was not an efficient way of going into business, it gave me a clientele list that a few years later when I bought a property, I had a list of customers. A few years later, I expanded and bought another shop out and now, I am at the place I need more room for the demands of a growing business. You might say I have a family business because my sons now work in my business and the plans are for them to eventually take it over. There is many thing I could say. One, in this business, you will not get rich. Two, treat your customers like you want to be treated if you were the customer. Three, stay current with developing automotive technology. Four, keep options open relative to location, size of building facilities, employees, etc. Five, focus on what works for you and not what other shops are doing or not doing. Six, do not be gullible for every salesman that comes in the door. Sort them out, pick the ones with the best service. Seven, do not become linked with a parts franchise. My suggestions will not assure success but these are some guiding principles that have worked for me.
  10. Well, after reading this thread, I feel compelled to reply. First of all, what I say may not apply to all shops but here in south central PA, some shops hardly have enough business to pay bills awhile others are swamped with work. One shop said to me recently that they are a month behind. We have been extremely busy for most of this year. Personally, I do not agree it has anything at all to do with politics. Rather, many customers are weary of shops that do less than sup par work. The slow shops here in this area are characterized by (1) not keeping up with technology (2) no current diagnostic tools or service information (3) persons working there that are filthy dirty, smoking, cussing and swearing at the job and the customer, hate the job, girly pictures on the walls, and the list could go on. Also, within the last year, there has been several good shops that have gone out of business. Our shop has benifited from this. Another thing, we get alot of business from other shops that only want to do the easy in easy out jobs. They turn away the electronic work, the diesel work, engine changes and drivetrain work. Then complain they are slow. Another thing I hear is customers complimenting to us about the upbeat happy atmosphere here. What I am getting at is that customers are weary of going to shops where they are seen as a bother and a pest. Here, we enjoy our work, my men want to be here doing what we are doing. We have alot of fun doing what we do and do not mind at all that the customer sees us this way. Due to having good service information and many diagnostic electronic tools including scan tools, lab scope, DVOM and the list goes on, we can be current and not be scared of developing technology. Another thing I see, our customers are comfortable with the relationship we have with them. We chat with them and are a part of their lives. We enjoy meeting our customers at Walmart or wherever we might be. And, I must say, we get compliments on our morals. We do not allow swearing, cussing, girly pictures, smoking, and drugs. We are intensely religious and our customers greatly appreciate that. They know they can trust us and we can trust them. So, in this Thanksgiving season, I am very grateful to my Maker for all we have. Great business, good customers and good vendors.
  11. Well fellows, here at our shop, it's not all about the profit for us. It is about the type of service we provide to the person paying our wages and providing our income. We only buy online in extreme emergency. Most of our customers would try and go elsewhere if we constantly told them that the part would not be here till tomorrow or so. Furthermore, we here want service after the sale. That is one principle we consistently operate by. When I need labor for a warranty part, I can get it because I have a good relationship with our vendors. Will Amazon or Ebay give us labor? Probably not. If our customers want online parts - let them get the parts and pay us a much higher labor rate for installation without any warranty.

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