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Avoiding the WWYD
Posted to Shop Management Forum on 7/11/2009 29 Replies

There have been far too many WWYD posts here recently and very few serious management issues discussed. Many have lamented how some of the old regular participants in this forum have departed and no longer post.

Let's start over with some good management training.

Step one in avoiding the WWYD post is to do a better job at evaluating what work you take in and what you don't.

Your first measurement is "how many cars do I have around here with an outstanding bill that haven't been picked up?"

If this is somewhat of a problem for you, you have several serious issues with your shop operation.

First, people with pieces of crap are attracted to your shop.

The fix is several things--

First, practice the Soap, Paint and Lights thing. Clean the place up, toss out all the old parts, sell any old equipment you no longer use. Scrub that floor so it looks like you could eat off it.

Paint the walls and ceiling white. Put in brilliant lighting. This will make your techs more efficient, because now they can see (wow).

Paint any old equipment, including hoists, so it looks like it just came out of the box yesterday. We paint our hoist arms every year.

This will repel those who have junk and need a freebie or a "favor". It's amazing how clean repels scum.

It's equally amazing how clean and bright attracts good potential customers.

Don't park any cars in front that aren't nice. Some of the best marketing is a bunch of nice cars out front. Like tends to attract like--people driving by with nice cars will want to visit your shop.

Finally, make sure that you're very clear with every customer "what exactly you're going to do and what it will cost". When I sell testing and inspection, I'm very clear that this is a 2-step process. The first step is to determine what repairs are needed and that has a price to it. After I've given my recommendations, they can either elect to have me fix it or they can take it wherever they want. They just pay the inspection bill and it's 2 separate transactions. One to inspect and the second to fix.

This is where most WWYD posts start, with a lack of clear agreement.

When the car is sitting outside, steaming, with coolant running towards the curb, the shop is in a clear position of strength. Once the car is fixed, the car owner has better control. They can screw you because the car is fixed.

Be sure you have complete agreement on the repair order as to what will happen and what it will cost.

Finally, make sure all repair estimates are what it takes to do it right, regardless what that costs. It costs what it costs and cutting steps that affect the quality of the job is very risky for you.

Any "do me a favor", "I'm just about to trade it" or "this is all I've got, what can you do?" jobs will all come back to bite you.

Remember, if it costs 3 bucks for a burger and all you have is a buck, you're not eating today. Why should car repair be any different?

90% of a repair shops problems are CREATED at the front counter. This business is hard enough without being your own worst enemy and intentionally taking in trouble.

Think before you act, plan ahead and work for continuous improvement.

George from Nebraska

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