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  1. First, I would be the last person to tell anyone that car counts is not a measurable and important KPI. Every shop needs to know their needed car count and what their sweet spot is. And then use that KPI to understand other important KPI's - ARO, Labor margin, part margins, etc. Now, with that said, the industry in general, has and will see, a decline in the amount of times your customers will visit your shop. It was not that long ago when we had customers bring their cars in 4 to 5 times per year. That has changed. Plus with COVID and many people not using their cars as they used to, w
  2. Got your attention? Good. That's the power of advertising and marketing. I know many of you are affected by COVID and experiencing a downturn economically. Studies have shown that the businesses that maintain advertising during downturns do better with market share and sales when the economy returns to normal. Maintaining your marketing presence is a lot easier and less expensive than playing catch up when things get better. I know the reality of tough times. Do your best to maintain your advertising during tough times. You will get back what you invest.
  3. Today is the first day of summer, and we are still dealing with the dreaded COVID-19. However, there are positive indicators that business will be better than expected this summer. People will be taking more road trips, will avoid airplanes, trains and Ubers and will take to the roads in record numbers. Gear up for a great summer and look for opportunity with each vehicle visit. Perform those multipoints as if your business depends on it….why?....Because it does! We have a lot to be thankful for. Keep positive, be a leader and thrive!
  4. A woman called her dentist the other day and asked how much would a root canal cost. Her dentist replied, “Sure, hold on, let me look that up. Ok, that’ll be around $1400 for that job. Would you like to come in and have that root canal done?” Ridiculous scenario, you’re thinking? I agree! A dentist would never give a price over the phone without first examining the patient. Why do some shops continue to give prices over the phone? Even something as simple as a wheel alignment price can lead the customer and you in the wrong direction. Do you really know the car needs an alignment?
  5. If there is one thing that doctors and dentists do very well, it's that they book the next appointment for their clientele. I have heard every excuse possible why many auto repair shops don’t do this. But the fact remains that everyone in your shop today will need future service and repairs. And the question is, “Are they coming back to you.” Another reason for booking the next appointment is that there are times when not all the recommended services were done today. Some were postponed due to budget and prioritizing what’s most important. So, before that customer leaves, make sure the
  6. In my opinion, competition is actually good for the industry, and good for your repair shop too. It keeps us focused and forces us to maintain pace with other repair shops. It drives us to take a look at our own business to see where and how we can make improvements. Don't worry about the competition. And never compete on your competition's features. Find what sets you apart; your differentiation factor. Deliver world class service and promote your culture to your employees. So, how do we handle the competition? Learn from them, but don't copy them. Become the best you can be
  7. We sell service, not products. Yes, we sell water pumps, brake pads and air filters. And yes, those are products. But it’s the service we sell, the customer experience, which lives on well beyond the customer leaves your shop. Think of it this way; when you buy a watch, or a new cell phone, the experience of what you purchase continues after the sale. When we replace a customer’s water pump or air filter, there is very little about those items that lives on beyond the sale. But, what does live on is the customer experience. The better the experience, the more likely the customer w
  8. Here's a tip I have posted before, but it's worth repeating. One job that goes unnoticed most of the year is the job of the part's driver. You get part deliveries all day long, every day, all year long. Many times, these part's drivers take all the abuse due to wrong parts, the parts took too long to be delivered, on and on and on. Those drivers may not say anything, but they take it to heart. So, here's what you are going to do. Buy small gifts, such as small boxes of candy or chocolate. Nothing expensive. During the holidays, give all the drivers one of these small gifts an
  9. Shop production is a hot topic these days. High production results in higher sales and profits. But there seems to be so many obstacles to overcome to achieve high production levels. I was discussing production with a few shop owners, and one shop owner mentioned that he recently hired a shop foreman; an “A” tech in his early 50’s. The foreman uses his knowledge and skills to organize the work flow. For younger techs, it’s even more important that they know how to work and keep productive. What are your thoughts? Does anyone else have a foreman or similar position? And how d
  10. July 4th is this Wednesday. And as a shop owner, it means that sales may suffer. But, there is more to life than sales. Celebrate July 4th; commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence! Speak with your employees about their plans for the holiday. This will send a message that you care about them as people, and that it’s not always about business. With the right attitude, you will build morale and you will make up those sales. And let’s face it; we all need a little time off now and then.
  11. I recently made a call to my Internet provider to discuss and issue I was having. After multiple attempts at trying to explain my problem, the customer service rep on the other end of the phone had no clue how to solve my problem. She was nice, extremely polite, and had the voice of an angel. She was well-trained, but not in the art of problem solving. Great customer service is not about being nice to people, it’s all about understanding the customer’s needs and coming up with solutions to their problems. Train your service personnel in the art of proper etiquette, but also in the art
  12. This is not new topic for me, but I need to revisit it again. And I will keep revisiting this topic for the sake of our industry. For independent repair shops to "thrive" today, you must take a proactive approach with regard to business. If you only want to "survive" you can stop reading now. Waiting for the phone to ring, or for cars to breakdown, or for a customer to drive into your shop asking for a repair or service is business suicide. The days of broken cars lining up in front of your bays are over. Sure, cars still breakdown, but you cannot thrive with a wait-and-see strate
  13. If you are currently texting your clients and are using one of those potentially expensive services that charge a pretty decent monthly fee, and then in some cases, up to an additional dollar per text to send automated and group texts to your clients, you'll probably want to check out a service that I've been recommending to my clients for several years - and it's totally FREE for your first 250 texts, then only .05 cents for each text after that. https://www.eztexting.com/ Sure, it doesn't have a direct link to your client list, requiring you to export/import your mobile numbers int
  14. Hello Everyone, New member here. I wanted to pose a question to the forum here. Which types of leads are most likely to turn into sales for you? Put another way, what is your best source for generating new business? I don't want to know how you advertise, I want to know know for example if phone calls are more valuable than web leads, or which types of leads have the highest closing ratio for you? For most people here and in most industries, its unanimous that word-of-mouth and in person interactions are your most likely sales but besides those what is the most reliable?
  15. Back in the late 1990’s, I began to get concerned about car counts and customer retention. Around that time, cars were beginning to become more reliable and many of the services and tune up components we once counted on, were going away. I also started to notice that many customers were going to the quick lubes for their oil changes. To be honest, I couldn’t blame them. There was a time when I did not offer any “wait” service and I was never concerned about the oil change business. That all changed. I began an all-out blitz to get my customers coming back to me for their next oi
  16. What The Marketing Budget Should Be For Every Auto Repair Shop Owner Somebody recently sent an email to me asking the same question that I get dozens of times every single month. Basically, it says, "Ron, how much should I budget for my marketing?" I have a very simple answer to that. One that actually a lot of people are gonna totally disagree with me... My answer is, throw out the marketing budget. You do not need a marketing budget, and here's the reason why: A lot of times, I've heard five, six, or even three percent of your growth sales should be used towa
  17. One thing I often repeat over and over again is this; "Back in the 1980's, there were three things that made repair shops successful; General Motors, Ford and Chrysler." Those cars broke down a lot, and there was an endless supply of cars that required a lot of profitable work. Well, those days are gone. Cars today are build better, last longer (thankfully), and have ever-increasing service intervals. Consumers are also conditioned to think that their cars don't need maintenance. It wasn't that long ago when your customers were coming to you 4 to 5 times a year for service. Now, you ar
  18. With my work as a business coach, I get to speak to other coaches and shop owners around the country. It appears that many shops are slow, others are busy. And while there will always be ups and downs in the auto repair business, the present roller-coaster ride is one for the books. There are pockets of the country; northeast and mid-west in particular (among other areas) that are going through very tough times. Sales and car counts are down and shop owners are pulling their hair out trying to make sense of all this. There are other areas of the country that are having banner years. Hard
  19. Source: Some Repair Shops slow, others busy for others. What gives?
  20. It’s easy to get sucked into the drama and the negativity of your worst customers. For some reason, no matter how hard you try, there will be some people that you will find impossible to please. My advice: stop trying. I am not suggesting that you ignore all problem customers. That goes with the territory. What I do suggest is that you don’t ignore your BEST customers. Pay a lot of attention to them. Educate your customers; explain the reasons why you are suggesting certain repairs or services. However, you will find that devoting your time and energies to your best customers will br
  21. When a workplace suffers from poor morale, so does productivity. When a company enjoys high morale, productivity improves and profit follows. It all starts with the leader; the shop owner. You set the tone. Your attitude will dictate the direction of every employee. Too many work places suffer from poor morale. And it doesnt matter that you have the best tools, the best training, top techs and top service advisors. Without a healthy workplace environment, you will never reach your potential. You will also lose key employees. People do not want to work in an environment filled with stress and
  22. Too often we focus on the things that go wrong, and not on the things that go right. Lets face it; everyday things will go wrong. Have you ever watch a professional ball team play an entire game without mistakes being made. A football game where there were no dropped balls? It's more important to focus on the wins, not the losses. I am not suggesting we ignore the mistakes. But if we never recognize what goes right, and only on what goes wrong, we will end up creating a shop culture of negativity. And that will take its toll on production and lost income. Recognize what goes right, u
  23. Source: High shop morale improves productivity
  24. The other day, one of my service advisors, Kristina, was speaking to a customer about worn control arm bushings on her Honda. The customer was in the waiting room, sitting and reading a magazine, while her car was being serviced along with a New York State annual safety inspection. Kristina got half way through her explanation of the control arm bushings when the customer said, "Stop right there." She then opened up the magazine she was reading (a copy of March 2016 Issue Consumer Report), which was in our pile of magazines and said, "Look here, Honda control arm bushings are among the 5 Snea
  25. Source: Why technician pay incentive bonuses may backfire


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