Quick Tips – Competing with Car Dealers

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGyyWPhKjeE In today's Quick Tips I discuss strategies to compete with your local Car Dealer, such as offering Policy Alignments, Road Hazard, Life Time Balancing and some type of Preferred Customer Card program.  I didn't mention this in the video, but another great way to promote customer retention is to offer your customers the option of joining an Oil Change Club. … [Read more...]

Compensation for Tech/Assistant Manager

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Frequently, I run into situations where Tire Dealers require a lead technician to run their store to cover days off.  This arrangement usually doesn't create a problem, that is unless your technician is on a flat rate pay plan and flags over 100 hours a week.  Then in most cases, your technician is losing money while minding your store. Ideally, you want your technicians working on vehicles full time and your sales management - managing and selling full time.  I liken the Tech/Asst Manager position to one of a utility player in baseball.  It's tough to be the really good at two positions; however, it can happen! If you must employ a utility player, I suggest using a modified compensation program.  One that pays flat rate for all days that your technician is turning wrenches in addition to a hybrid comp-plan, that includes a small salary plus a percentage of store's total monthly Net Service Gross Profit. It may look something like this: Flat Rate Hourly Rate: $15.00 Monthly … [Read more...]

Employees: Assets or Liabilities?

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Anyone in business will likely give the same answer when asked about their most valuable part of their business: their employees. It seems to be an obvious answer for any successful owner. The employees drive revenue, deliver the product or service that the company has committed to market and leave the necessary impression upon customers that will drive them to return to do business with the company. So, you may find it ironic that the very same group that is considered the most valuable part of any business also poses the greatest threat to its success and long-term health. However, there is a business strategy that, if implemented properly, can guarantee a return on investment that will exceed any marketing or sales strategy that a company has ever attempted. This can be accomplished by managing the capital that matters most, the human kind. Human Capital seems to be the new business buzz, but I believe it is finally receiving its due attention. For many, the transition from … [Read more...]

Employee Wage Update:

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January will see a number of state minimum wage increases across the nation.  Arizona ($7.35), Montana ($7.35), Ohio ($7.40), Oregon ($8.50), Vermont ($8.15), and Washington ($8.67) will all increase. Owners are encouraged to check for state and local variances for certain occupations or situations. The Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor has a helpful Web page for state minimum wage requirements.  However, this Web site posts changed rates once they become effective; it does not post future or expected changes. … [Read more...]

Business Owners are Heroes Too

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Many times when we talk about heroes, we tend to think of our military personnel, firefighters, police officers, teachers, parents and countless others whose selfless deeds and service make a significant difference in the lives of others.  I would like to add the business owner to that list.  Yes, you.  You may not put your life on the line on a regular basis for the sake of others, at least not literally, but you are a risk-taker, nonetheless.  As the American soldier fights for the freedom that many take for granted, you uphold that freedom in a pursuit of a dream, driving the economy and providing a foundation upon which our country was founded from the very drafting of our Constitution. You may have never thought of this, but the employees you hired are likely providing for families and others whose lives are affected by the risk you have taken to start the business, the customers you attracted and have kept, the revenues that you have earned from serving them and the paychecks … [Read more...]

Are You Connected?

…To your suppliers?  Electronically?  Why should you be?  You could be wasting lots of time and money, and making costly mistakes, by entering things multiple times.  In today’s electronic age, connectivity is much easier and more affordable than it has been in past years. When computers exchange data, instead of humans re-entering it, there is virtually no margin for error.  The system doesn’t change the numbers along the way; data remains constant.  Just think of credit card processing for a moment.  There are millions of transactions that are being processed every day, error free.  When is the last time you had a credit card statement come through with a different amount than what you signed for?  Typically any errors in charges were created by the person manually keying in the amount of the charge.  And then those charges appeared on your receipt, right or wrong. In addition to data integrity, speed and efficiency come into play.  Imagine needing to look up a part for a … [Read more...]

Quick Tip! Gross Builder – Add On Balance

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Add On Balance If your like most Tire Dealers, you give Life-Time FREE rotations away with the purchase of a set of Tires. Forward ahead to the first time to your customer comes back for their FREE tire rotation -  It may go something like this - "Sir we will rotate your tires for FREE,  but you really should balance the tires as well - That will be $29.99 - Want us to take care of that for your?" Question:  How does one FEEL when you take their FREE service away from them? Answer:  Probably not so good. Solution:  Task your Service Manager to insure his/her Technicians are checking the tire balance on at least one tire - every time they pull wheels. So the conversation should go like this:  "Mr Grier; While rotating your tires, our technician checked the balance of one of your tires, your right front tire is out of balance by almost an ounce!  That condition will most likely cause premature tire wear and a vibration in the steering wheel at highway speeds.  It may … [Read more...]

Tis the Season! Why Not Offer Your Customer’s a 5 Pack?

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I am a fan of (almost) anything that builds gross and improves customer retention.  Thats why I like the Oil Change Pack program. The program is pretty straight forward, offer your customers the option of pre-purchasing five oil changes for a discounted price.  The customer gets a break on the average oil change price and you get to collect a lot more from your customer for the current visit.  In addition, you also get an opportunity to inspect your customer's vehicle at least four more times. When you consider that customer retention rates in the automotive repair industry average just over 30%, insuring that you have future customers is a beautiful thing. I have included an example from one of my dealers.  If you would like information on  customizing an Oil Change Pack program for your business, please contact me. Good Selling! Pat … [Read more...]