stevebfl

  • I suppose that I represent a Goliath.  We have twenty-five bays and 13 techs, one technical support expert, five service writers/support people and two cashiers/office workers and one Janitor.

    Our size allows us to buy all the specialized tooling to be efficient and capable, pay for and send techs and writers to specialized training at long distance, and through experience and the…Read More

  • I also agree with Eric.  If your guy does become a cop you have a good idea whether you have replaced him.  Experienced techs aren’t all they are cut out to be sometimes.  Various issues make it so the situation won’t work.  either he expects more from you or your shop policies don’t won’t with him.  I would rather create a great tech from raw materials than have a great one join and find…Read More

  • I believe Greg has defined the issue. We have never had a problem getting techs and many of them have come from dealers. Our 25 bay shop with 13 techs works in teams of two to three guys. Each team works on at most two car lines. Totally specialized by manufacturer. This allows a Mercedes tech to work on what he knows. Our teams have the factory tooling for the car they work on, which…Read More

  • acoliajja,

    We don’t sell any flushes that aren’t a part of manufacturer recommended service. We do them at the intervals that are recommended except for oil changes. We work only on euro cars and they have gone to extremely long oil change intervals. Our town has no freeways and as such most daily driving is stop and go. If one would look at what many manufacturers call extreme…Read More

  • I’m semi retired now after owning the shop for 38 years. The way we do things has probably changed to a certain point and since I’m only working as a technical consultant, I can’t speak to current actions.

    But, for the 38 years it took to build a 25 bay 13 tech facility, our position with old or new customers was to approach their concerns first. We always road test and do a quick…Read More

  • I like Tom’s concept, but it was never the way I did it. I actually did his calculation in reverse. My concept is different enough to be ridiculed by most. I have always felt that I would not have a business if I couldn’t produce a product at or below market price. Thus market price is my whole world. My market competition is the dealer for the couple cars I choose to specialize in.…Read More

  • I like Tom’s concept, but it was never the way I did it. I actually did his calculation in reverse. My concept is different enough to be ridiculed by most. I have always felt that I would not have a business if I couldn’t produce a product at or below market price. Thus market price is my whole world. My market competition is the dealer for the couple cars I choose to specialize in.…Read More

  • I like Tom’s concept, but it was never the way I did it. I actually did his calculation in reverse. My concept is different enough to be ridiculed by most. I have always felt that I would not have a business if I couldn’t produce a product at or below market price. Thus market price is my whole world. My market competition is the dealer for the couple cars I choose to specialize in.…Read More

  • Just as bad as flat rate, commissioned service writers are just not a part of great customer service. The writer really has two things he must do well, support the tech and make the customers visit as pleasant as possible. The absolute last thing I want at my service desk is a writer badgering my customers to flush their wallets. When a customer sees a writer as a help then sales…Read More

  • The system is changing for shops that specialize and develop efficiency as such. We have two techs in their late twenties or early thirties that are making a hundred k a year with paid insurance 401k and other incentives. One is single and lives like a king, multiple motorcycles and brand new car and a rally car. The other is a single father of three whose wife died a couple years ago…Read More

  • Long term I don’t see this as an issue at all.  The independent repair business is gradually moving towards specialization as I see it anyway.  Cars are just too complicated to be a master level of skill in more than a couple car brands.  Shops will wind up only working on one or two brands or will gravitate to a model similar to ours.  We have a twenty five bay shop with thirteen tec…Read More

  • We have never paid flat rate and our pay system rewards capability not necessarily productivity.  Our labor rate is high in a small Southern town and we get away with it because of our capability and customer service.  A tech billing 50 hours a week in our 42.5 hour weeks will produce over $298,750 in labor during the year.  Thirty percent of that is $89,625.  Forty percent is $11…Read More

  • To keep your insurance cost at a minimum, be sure to have the borrower sign off on primary coverage.  We have 6 loaners, 4 of which are year old or less BMWs and a Passat.  As such they need more than just liability coverage.  But when the car is sent out paperwork is signed out similar to what one does when renting a vehicle.  They must prove insurance and show drivers license both of…Read More

  • Hi Bernard,We bill tires just as we do any part, and labor similar to other labor.  As was mentioned this skews the GP% on parts sales, but since it doesn’t change the money in the bank, that has never bothered me.  We work to move the GP% up continuously and whether tires are in it or not makes no difference to our internal goals.  If I am talking with other shop owners (which I am no…Read More

  • BTW, if anyone wants to see the ISPI NEXT document email me at [email protected]

  • I’ll second the motion for Ami at Euro Car.  Great service which is the most important thing about using BMW online ISTA.  Of course the newest tool is ISPI NEXT.  It is BMWs new stand alone server which is only about $10,000 complete.  It comes with AIR and all the programming and diagnostic software subscriptions at that price.  Not sure I can load document here but there is a pdf that…Read More

  • We bought a Hunter Hawkeye camera system a couple years ago. It was the third new system we had bought. The first was a hunter in 1980. The second was a FMC in 1995. We bought the FMC because at the time Hunter swore that they were dedicated to the upgradability of their 111 series through the end of the century. We/I wanted a PC based tool that I could network so that I could have…Read More

  • While I like the ingenuity and risk taking involved, I personally would never consider it.  Too much unknown risk based on dealing in a enterprise with no training or experience.  It might be worth learning, but since there are already very good mechanisms to offer financing as a customer service I can’t see investing the time or the money.  The original story where there was over a…Read More

  • Charging for loaners is a big NO NO at least in Florida. You won’t get insurance and you have huge regulations as a rental car agency.

  • We bought a TC 3500 years ago and it struggled for years.  As we got the experience to do the low profile the low profiles got lower.  About 3 years ago We bought a new  Hawkeye target system Hunter alignment machine and wanted a few more years out of the TC 3500.  One of the best investments we ever did was to add the articulating arm modification and the center post modification that…Read More

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