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This article is for you, shop owners and shop managers. Brave souls that entered the automotive repair business hoping to eke out a living. You may have come into this endeavor with excellent hands-on skills and now have been compelled to track profits and losses and negotiate wages. Along the way you might have heard or used (or overused) a term:  Return on Investment.

Did you know that the average comeback costs a shop $237? We're here so you can fix it right the first time
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A visit to the doctor typically involves having one’s vital signs checked. This provided the medical professionals a baseline report on the patient’s condition. Checking is done prior to treatment to determine if there are any underlying conditions. If any treatments are provided, the vital signs may be inspected again to determine if treatment has created any issues. Text is visible fully now 

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Shop Man - PC

ELK GROVE, Calif. – July 15, 2020 – ALLDATA has launched ALLDATA Shop Manager, the third addition to the company’s suite of shop management solutions. 

August is National Brake Safety Month, so now is the time to emphasize the importance of brake maintenance to your customers. It’s normally difficult to sell maintenance work outside of OEM service schedules (and being in the midst of a pandemic doesn’t help the situation) but here are some strategies to convince your customers that maintenance is in their best interest. 

Two auto body trade schools last week described programs structured to provide students with significant shop time early in the process.

Representatives from Cleveland, Ohio-based Matrix Trade Institute and Saint Louis, Mo.-based Ranken Technical College presented to an SCRS virtual open board meeting July 20 what SCRS had previously pitched as “unconventional approaches to technician development.” 

Since 1991, Ron Ananian has informed, educated, and entertained millions of listeners through his nationally syndicated radio program, The Car Doctor

Drivers are holding on to cars and trucks longer during the coronavirus pandemic.

The average age of a vehicle on U.S. roads rose by a month this year to a record 11.9 years.

Digital micro-load “conductance” testers are becoming increasingly popular. They’re small, light, inexpensive, and quick, garnering a much-deserved following. Here’s a breakdown on why you should be performing these tests on every vehicle coming through you shop.

Though competitor next-generation trucks have opted for aluminum panels and closures over a steel body, Ford on Thursday announced the next-generation 2021 Ford F-150 would carry “a fully boxed high-strength steel frame with a high-strength, military-grade, aluminum alloy body.”

TOP THREE WAYS TO BOOST YOUR BUSINESS

Over the past few months, the automotive industry has experienced challenges unlike any we’ve seen before. With the onset of COVID-19, customers stopped calling, parts stores experienced disruptions in their supply chains and shop owners throughout the nation were wondering if they were going to close their doors for good.

ALLDATA has a new product to showcase: ALLDATA Shop Manager. It’s a shop management system seamlessly integrated with ALLDATA Repair or ALLDATA Collision. It simplifies creating shop documents like estimates, repair orders, and invoices, and it’s with this simplification that you’re able to appreciate the efficiency of this product. This article will serve as an exploration of the features that showcase this efficiency.  

There are roughly 750,000 automotive technicians and diesel mechanics nationally, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. Let’s say that you had the good fortune to have hired 10 of the best technicians in your area. Their skill levels range from fledgling lube technicians to highly qualified master technicians. What can you do to ensure they keep their toolboxes anchored in your shop for years to come?

The Internal Combustion engine is a marvel of reliability. If it has air, compression, fuel, and ignition in the proper quantities and at the correct time, it will run. If it doesn’t run or runs rough, then we have to diagnose the cause.

 

Business was humming along and no one saw it coming: a pandemic unlike any that anyone has seen since the Spanish Flu in 1918

The coronavirus continues to impact everyone – in widely varying degrees. As the situation plays out in the next weeks and months, it’s more important than ever to stay connected with your customers.

Aaron Stokes is a well-known figure in the automotive coaching industry. He started from a repair shop in a garage and over the course of 20+ years fought his way to his current status: the owner of five repair shops and founder of Shop Fix Academy. Recently, ALLDATA has worked with Aaron Stokes and Shop Fix Academy to bring shop owners useful webinars about increasing performance at their shops. The webinars can be quite lengthy – ranging from two and a half hours to almost four – so here is a summation of his first two: Win BIG in the Final Months of 2019 and Anatomy of a Record-Breaking Month.

Without a doubt, the world-wide COVID-19 pandemic will be the defining event of 2020. Along with memories of mass closures, social distancing and financial volatility, we will also remember how communities and nations across the globe were bound together in solidarity to overcome a common threat.

Autobody News used its 19,000 shop email subscribers and social media channels to conduct a survey of collision shops across the country April 17-19, to see how they were coping with the COVID 19 pandemic.

The health, safety and well-being of our customers, our employees, and the community at large remain ALLDATA’s top priority during these unprecedented times caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19.)

While most of North America “shelters in place,” essential automotive-related businesses – including gas stations, auto repair shops, and retailers like our parent company AutoZone – continue to serve the needs of first responders and the general public who rely on safe, reliable transportation.

On Feb. 13, CIECA offered a CIECAst webinar entitled “Utilizing Technology to Thrive and Not Just Survive in 2020” with Mike Anderson of Collision Advice. 

Topics included eliminating human disruption, how AI will impact collision repair facilities, electronic quality control checklists, text reminders, customer updates using technology and much more.

HOW SHOPS ARE KEEPING THE DOORS OPEN DURING THE PANDEMIC

As ALLDATA President Satwinder Mangat calls out in his COVID-19 update, our teams are working diligently to maintain the integrity of our customers’ access to ALLDATA products and to continue to provide outstanding service and support during these unprecedented times.

We’ve gathered the best health and safety practices from our customers and throughout the industry to keep your business running – and to keep you, your employees, and your customers safe.

Vehicles today are a far cry from what they were 20 years ago, when cars weren’t equipped with a single advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS).

ALLDATA Repair®, our flagship product, has been evolving since its creation in 1986. From stacks of manuals and disks to a simple click of a button, we’ve worked hard to keep our product up-to-date with repair information (we publish new information daily!), and stay ahead of the game with a positive user experience. We aim to make the important information accessible – for example, about 40% of our users end up on Parts & Labor, so we made it easy to access on the home screen. Here are some of the top useful features we want to make sure you know about!

It has been said that you only get one chance to make a first impression. While that is true, it is equally true that we get multiple chances to improve on or ruin that impression. Nowhere is that truer than in customer relations. It’s also true in marriage… but that’s a subject for another time and place.

The automotive repair industry has a public relations issue. Much of the public is wary of us. And often, automotive folk relate better to machines than to people. We can improve our PR using some simple techniques which we will explore.

We live in an age where it is easier than ever to share expertise. According to Edison Research, in 2018 alone there were more than 700,000 active podcasts and over 29 million podcast episodes. Yet professional trustworthy automotive collision industry videos or podcasts designed specifically for automotive collision technicians are rare. AutoBody’s Ed Attanasio has written this article describing ‘BoothTalk’, a podcast by a Collision Refinisher for Collision Refinishers.

Cedarbrae Automotive, is a successful independent service repair business in Scarborough, Ont. Founded in 1972 by Sam Scala and today operated by sons Frank and Corey, it’s a busy shop with a huge and loyal client base, that depend on its staff for their automotive needs year after year.

Yet as vehicle technology advances, Cedarbrae has taken steps to ensure it has the access to the latest and most accurate repair information, one reason why, says Frank Scala that “two years ago, we chose to partner with ALLDATA.”

The day we spoke with Matthew McDonnell, owner of Big Sky Collision Center in Billings, Mont., he was just hours away from signing the final documents for his company’s fourth location, this one in Manhattan, Mont. Coincidentally it was also his father’s 72nd birthday.

Did you know that the average comeback costs a shop $237? We're here so you can fix it right the first time

Two of the biggest challenges facing repairers today: widespread litigation and increasing vehicle complexity. But what if there’s one easy solution to help protect your shop from liability and get a firm grasp on advanced vehicle technologies?

Like many independent repair shops, Dietrich’s Collision in Imlay City, Michigan is family owned. Has been for three generations, in fact, founded in 1968 by the late patriarch Larry E. Dietrich.

We first heard about Dietrich’s Collision when Tony Benke – who now co-owns the business with his dad Kevin Dietrich – answered a survey following his experience with ALLDATA’s Library Request. Here’s what he wrote:  

Universal Technical Institute (UTI) is the nation’s leading provider of technical training for people seeking careers in the automotive, diesel, and welding industries. They also offer motorcycle, collision repair, marine mechanics, NASCAR, and manufacturer-specific training. Founded in 1965, the first UTI school was located in Phoenix, AZ and only had five students. It started with a single subject: automatic transmissions, with a diesel program added to the curriculum in 1968. It wasn’t until 1983 that UTI added a second campus in Houston, TX. 

Now, accredited repairers in Saskatchewan can get a nice bonus – up to $170 a month! – just for using ALLDATA Collision®. Though limited in scope geographically, this is a great example of an organization recognizing the importance of requiring accredited shops to utilize OEM information, and then supporting that requirement with a generous monthly reimbursement.

For all of its collision repair information and automotive diagnostics, the crew at Bennett Dunlop Ford Collision Centre constantly calls upon ALLDATA to repair approximately 200 cars monthly.

This dealership group has four locations in Canada and three of these feature body shops, all of which are busy and consistently receive five-star reviews from its ecstatic customers.

One of the biggest trade shows in the automotive industry is right around the corner: SEMA 2019 is taking place November 5 – November 8 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. With over 3,000 products in the New Products Showcase, educational seminars, product demonstrations, special events, and networking opportunities, the list of stuff to do is overwhelming. We’ve done the research and compiled a list of tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your SEMA experience.

ALLDATA, an AutoZone company, was recently designated a “Preferred Partner” of the Collision Advice Legacy Group Cooperative.

Connecting to a vehicle’s electronics and extracting information is not new. While primitive by today’s standards, some carmakers had scan tools over 35 years ago. The early 1990s saw several scan tools from aftermarket tool makers; the iconic MT2500 “Brick” from 1990 introduced many independent shops to scan-tool diagnostics.

At the NIADA Convention and Expo, George Verkamp (shown above), Vice President of Sales & Business Development at ALLDATA, and Doug Turner, Director of Service Operations at Byrider, revealed a statistic: the #1 reported problem facing independent dealers today is the increased cost of doing business. Why? Running a service department is increasingly complex and it’s more and more difficult to maintain margins.

When you’re looking for something good to eat, diesel fuel is probably not in your food pyramid. Yet, there are critters that like to feast on diesel fuel and their munching can create major headaches for operators of diesel engines.

You: Hey, Mike, I keep hearing you saying we need to look up the OEM repair procedures on every single vehicle every single time. But surely you’re not talking about even the easy jobs, where we’re just replacing a single part.

Me: Oh, you mean like the Infiniti vehicle I saw recently where something had flown from the road and put a hole in the grille? All the vehicle needed was to have that grille replaced. Sure, you could skip looking up the OEM procedures for that. But then you’d miss the parts diagram showing the small part on the grille marked with a little black dot with a white X in it. That symbol in the Infiniti procedures indicates a non-reusable part.

Shops struggle with parts pricing and sometimes ignore the link between parts markup and shop profit margins. Healthy shops often sell parts for more than the “street price.” The concern shop owners face is how much over that retail price they should mark up the parts and how to make the markup process as painless as possible.

There is a “science” (and some math) to parts-pricing strategies. There are also software tools available to help you with this daunting task. When these strategies are used properly a shop will improve profitability and will avoid leaving money “on the table.”

BG White

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