Dollars and Sense
Not Happy With Your Bottom Line? Then Change It!
Why not sit down and resolve in your
own mind to change the businesses bottom-
line profitability by working on only
three things for the year 2010.
It has nothing to do with increasing
prices but everything to do with internal
Consider implementing your self discipline
to make sure these items are seamless
by the summer of 2010. You can do
it, but it will require self discipline and
personal resolve not to give up. It will
also require increased communication
and discussion within the entire shop.
Embrace this challenge and watch your
bottom-line move like it never has before.
1. Coach and Build a Team:
Shop management and staff must recognize
that their future incomes will rely
on the success of all of them working together
as a team. Each player brings a
skill and attitude to the shop and has a
responsibility to the team to do their very
best with every shift. The score card will
be customer/client reactions coupled with
measuring the increase in the team’s overall
Consider that we, as an industry sector
are no longer in the break down and
repair business as the mainstay of our
business but now we are in the maintenance
and service business looking after
very high-tech vehicles. It is no longer
our job to sell a repair but we now realize
it is our professional responsibility
to advise the client who hires us for our
advice and counsel based on the client’s
situation. This is why fully completed vehicle
inspections must be performed and
properly documented. If the front counter
does not have all the facts, then the relationship
of trust cannot be built by allowing
professional counselling to take place.
It’s also time to get away from the old
bonus programs and flat rate concept and
move to a shop profit sharing plan. The
old processes only promoted an “all about
me” attitude, created internal jealousy,
and offered nothing about serving the client
in a professional way. Under a shop
profit sharing plan each player of the team
will be paid their hourly wage based on
the skill they bring to the shop, however,
everyone from the top technician to the
bookkeeper will be involved in the shop’s
profit sharing program. When management
understands how to implement this
and the staff understands how it works,
then not only does the client see a big
difference in their experience visiting the
shop but everyone’s pay cheques move
in the right direction.
2. Capture time properly
Time clocks must be installed
throughout the shop for each technician
and used properly. Too many people
have been taught that the clock process
was to only monitor the technician. I respectfully
disagree. A time clock today
monitors each function that is performed
on the vehicle. This is part of our
ensuring the time spent
is accurate compared to the time sold.
If the technician
runs into an
problem as a seized bolt that ends up taking another half hour on that function, the right documentation to show the client what happened is now in place. It was not the shop’s fault a seized bolt occurred and that extra time must be paid for. Without proper documentation on file, it would become a problem at the front counter and potentially harm or even destroy the relationship with the client.
3. Ensure Proper Front Counter Billing
Too many shops do not bill/invoice correctly. This is partly due to the fact that management perceives “price” is everything and the only thing to retain a client. Again, I disagree. A customer wants value for the price paid. Define the value your shop brings to the marketplace and where the clients in your area are located who are looking for the value your shop offers.
Consider this very simple business fact: you cannot discount yourself into prosperity! You just keep busy, but you do not make any money for the time and effort put in. You buy yourself a job.
When the front counter slows the process down, has all the documented facts from the technicians and understands the client’s personal parameters with their vehicle, the service advisor can now counsel to the client’s best interest to ensure the vehicle remains safe and reliable.
Consider that slowing the process down and billing accurately for the labour services rendered, coupled with a clear explanation of all performed duties, allows the client to fully see your skill and professionalism and understand all the parameters of their vehicle. When the front counter rushes the process, then billings are missed and customers are rushed through a process that leaves a bad taste in the their mouth.
Work on making 2010 one of the best years of the past five. I’m confident hen everyone in the shop comes together to learn and discuss the new business realities, not only will the clients be thanking you, the teams pay cheques will increase and the bottom-line of the shop dramatically improves. This continuous profitability provides the funds to move the shop forward into the high-tech future.
Much, much more in the print addition of Auto Atlantic.
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