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The Women’s Industry Network (WIN) wrapped up its 11th annual conference this past May with great success. WIN is a non-profit organization dedicated to encouraging, developing, and cultivating opportunities to attract women to the field of collision repair while recognizing excellence, promoting leadership, and fostering a network among the women who are shaping the industry. The theme for this year’s event, held in the Mile-High City of Denver, Colo., was “Be Extraordinary.” 271 women attended the conference – more than half the total WIN membership, and the highest attendance to date. And yes, there were a few men, too. WIN welcomes all!

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

She’s been on every major network news show. She’s featured in countless YouTube videos. She even has her own Tedx Talk.

The “she” is Patrice Banks, a self-proclaimed “sheCANic,” and owner and founder of Girls Auto Clinic, an automotive repair shop by women, for women. And she’s usually seen in her trademark bright red heels.

At the 2017 Alliance of Automotive Service Providers/New Jersey (AASP/NJ) Conference and Tradeshow, Mike Anderson of Collision Advice debuted a condensed version of a new seminar on “100% Disassembly and Parts Mirror Matching.”

While we can’t show you the seminar, freelance writer Chasidy Rae Sisk provides a detailed recap of the one-hour event in this Autobodynews.com article.

Automotive repair industry veteran John Shoemaker writes in a recent Aftermarket Business World™ article that, “ … we need to rethink the way we discuss repairs with insurers. We need to step away from negotiating a repair based on opinion and desire, to educating how a repair should be accomplished using OEM processes.” He goes on to cite examples of how using OEM-specified repair procedures helped to turn the tables and easily convince an insurance adjuster to accept the shop’s recommendations, which were based on OEM information. We couldn’t agree more.

The first “writing” part of the job requires the Service Writer to translate what the Customer is saying or “reporting” into a format that can be easily read and understood by the technician.

Having a dedicated, solid service writer is key to the growth and success of any repair shop. He or she is the point person – the one who is on top of everything, knows where all the vehicles are, when the parts are arriving, when the technicians are going on break and what time each customer is picking up. Really… they do it all.

Cologne, Germany – July 8, 2016 – ALLDATA Europe GmbH, an affiliate of ALLDATA LLC, the leading provider of manufacturers’ automotive repair information and solutions for the professional automotive service and repair industry, announced it has signed a licensing agreement with Hyundai Motor Europe GmbH to include manufacturer-specific repair information in ALLDATA Repair®. ALLDATA Repair now includes more than 22 vehicle brands, making it a comprehensive source of vehicle repair information for the European market act 

Cologne, Germany – September 14, 2016 – ALLDATA Europe GmbH, an affiliate of ALLDATA LLC, the leading provider of manufacturers’ automotive repair information and solutions for the professional automotive service and repair industry, announced it has reached a milestone with 5,000 subscribers across Europe in just four years. Since its official product launch at Automechanika in 2012, ALLDATA Repair in Europe has grown to include 22 vehicle brands with more than 25 million articles and 23,000 engine combinations, available in five languages (English, Spanish, French, Italian and German). A strong network of resellers and distributors, in combination with direct sales, has contributed to ALLDATA’s rapid growth in Europe.

The Car Care Council highlights two months during the year to focus attention on the importance of car care and preventative maintenance – National Car Care Month in April and Fall Car Care Month in October.

Give a listen. ALLDATA was recently featured on The Car Doctor radio program with Ron Ananian.

AutoZone, Inc. recently launched its new top-of-the-line Duralast GT brake pads, offering race-ready, proven stopping performance.

In the spirit of April Fools’ Day, three of our Tech Tips are true … and two are pranks. But which two? Find out by clicking each one to unlock the true Tech Tips, or the pranks. Ultimately, we know there’s no foolin’ around when it comes to OEM-accurate, tech-verified automotive mechanical repairs. 

Negotiating between customers and insurance companies can be a time-consuming and frustrating process. In this article, Travis Bean, associate editor for FenderBender and Ratchet+Wrench, addresses the importance of understanding – and educating consumers on – various parts categories, to help the process go smoother and with complete transparency as to the parts that are going on to customers’ vehicles.

If only we had the power to read minds like Mel Gibson in the year 2000 hit movie, “What Women Want.” And even though it’s February, we’re not talking about what women want for Valentine’s Day. No, we’re talking about what women want when it comes to servicing their automobiles. And when you consider industry trends, it’s clearly a subject worth exploring.

Every technician, no matter how long he or she’s been in the business of automotive repair, takes pride in their tools. But what about the technician’s most valuable tool, your hands? Do you take care of them? Or are they sore and beat up from so much grime, repetitive motion, and often freezing temperatures? Here are some suggestions for treating your hands with the same respect and consideration that you show the most expensive tools in your collection.

Getting organized is one of those things most of us have resolved to do at multiple points, both in our careers and personal lives. Whether it’s your professional tool cart or the kitchen junk drawer, we often procrastinate dealing with the issue because it’s hard to know where to start. That’s why we were so excited to run across this article by Tess Collins in Ratchet+Wrench.

With the stiff competition in the automotive industry there’s one thing that repair and collision shops need to put at the top of their resolutions for the new year, take advantage of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools.

This being the 50th anniversary of SEMA, they really pulled out all the stops to make it the most memorable ever. The “Battle of the Builders” is a new competition that scopes out the finest custom cars on the floor show. As reported in ca.motor1.com, the winner this year was newcomer Cam Miller and his 1969 Chevrolet Camaro, said to be “… absolutely flawless from every angle.”

The racing checkerboard flooring at the ALLDATA booth turned out to be symbolic of the fast pace on the SEMA show floor. The reason for all the buzz? We unveiled a new technology platform – with all the bells and whistles of the hottest software out there – that now powers ALLDATA Repair® and Collision®.

ELK GROVE, Calif., – October 19, 2016 – ALLDATA LLC, an AutoZone company and the leading provider of manufacturers’ automotive repair information and solutions for the professional automotive service and collision repair industries, reached a significant milestone in the third quarter of 2016: exceeding 100,000 subscribers in North America. ALLDATA solutions are now available across North America—in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Mike Anderson of Collision Advice is renowned for his collision industry experience and data-driven approach to shop operations, management, and collision diagnostics and repair. We encourage you to check out the   webinar hosted by Mike, You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know.

2016 marks ALLDATA’s 10th year at SEMA and it promises to be the best yet. While you’re in Las Vegas, be sure to stop by ALLDATA Booth 10623, where we’ll be launching landmark new technologies—like our updated ALLDATA Repair, and showcasing our entire product suite of automotive repair and shop management solutions.

Drive Rite Automotive owner Hari Dhiwali is a man with a plan. And that plan involves utilizing technology and prioritizing the customer to deliver outstanding repair experiences. Drive Rite is located in Northern California and offers service on all vehicles, from small automobiles to trucks and motor homes. Two Quick Lube bays deliver fast oil changes, along with ten drive-through bays for smog checks, brakes, transmissions, engine rebuilds, air conditioner service, diesels and more.

During the early years of my career, I noticed that many dealership owners or general managers thought the service department was just a necessary expense that was required by the manufacturer.

It’s a common problem that affects many industries – and the automotive repair industry is certainly not immune. It keeps business owners and managers up at night. That problem is trying to hire and retain top-notch, qualified employees

Facebook isn’t just for people to keep up with their friends. It can be a valuable tool to drive business to your shop, communicate with customers and stay updated on industry news—but some may feel it’s not worth the effort or takes too much time to maintain. Read on for more myths and the truth about business-related Facebook pages.

The Federal Trade Commission is putting dealerships that promote rigorous multi-point inspections under the microscope. Recently, General Motors and two large dealership groups were the target of FTC actions alleging that they are misleading consumers with claims that their vehicles are “certified” and “safe”. Some of these “safe” vehicles were sold with unrepaired safety recalls. The companies have agreed to pay substantial fines and to repair and clear all safety recalls before claiming vehicles are “safe” or “certified” unless they clearly disclose open recall information.

ELK GROVE, Calif., – May 11, 2016 – ALLDATA LLC, an AutoZone company and the leading provider of manufacturers’ automotive repair information and solutions for the professional automotive service and collision repair industries, celebrated its 30th anniversary this month. ALLDATA was founded in 1986 in Elk Grove, California, with the goal of making it easier for technicians to access the reliable, updated OEM information they need to complete repairs. The company has grown to cover 95 percent of the OEM market, providing accurate, updated information to more than 80,000 customers.

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

Self-driving cars are everywhere these days. Not physically on the road, unless you’re in the tech hubs of California or Texas, but they are all over the news. Google has a model it’s testing in California, Texas and Washington. GM has acquired multiple companies that are developing self-driving technologies, and plans to launch a fleet of self-driving Lyft vehicles in the next few years. And Volvo is gearing up to launch 100 self-driving cars in a real-world test in China.  

Who works in your shop? Master techs? Techs just out of school? Someone in between? Most shops have technicians at all levels of skill and experience, from the expert to the newbie. Successful shops find ways to share knowledge and cross-train to create a solid team. But there’s always room for improvement.

ELK GROVE, Calif., – December 11, 2015 – ALLDATA LLC, an AutoZone company, and the leading provider of manufacturers’ automotive repair information and solutions for the professional automotive service and collision repair industries, today announced it has teamed up with CARFAX to offer a new benefit that helps increase customer loyalty and revenue. Now users of the ALLDATA Manage Online shop management system can easily enroll in the free myCARFAX Service Shop program. Each participating location has access to valuable tools that connect them with millions of vehicle owners and help keep their customers’ cars well maintained. 

Running a shop today is not easy. It’s not like the “good old days” when the shop owner owned the shop and the land it was on, did repairs and ran things alone (or with a family member helping), and knew every customer personally. Today, it’s more likely that a shop owner is paying high rent, leasing equipment, has unsustainable staffing costs and high taxes, and doesn’t personally know most of the customers. It’s a very different—and much more challenging—world.

As a shop owner, you want to make sure your customers are satisfied and happy with the service they’ve received. Better yet, you want your customers to recommend your business to others. Word-of-mouth and personal recommendations are much more powerful than online reviews or picking the top search engine result. 

Another SEMA show is in the books and that’s a good thing - you can only handle so much information and fun in one week! ALLDATA sent a team of people to SEMA and everyone agreed that this year’s show was among the best. More than 140,000 people came to Las Vegas to spend a week learning about everything new in the automotive industry–and ALLDATA had lots to share.

”What if your doctor came to you and said that you needed heart surgery? Wouldn’t you want a battery of comprehensive tests done first? When an auto repair shop says your car needs a new engine, the same concept applies. While comparing heart surgery to replacing an engine may seem like an unlikely analogy, the diagnostic process used in both cases is very similar. Tests performed during diagnostics need to eliminate guesswork and help conclude exactly what the core problem is. Making an accurate diagnosis takes a specialized person using high-tech equipment.”

How does your shop handle it when a customer declines regular maintenance procedures? It happens all the time. And it can be a tricky situation—you don’t want to do a “hard sell” and be viewed as pushing unnecessary work, but you want to help keep your customers’ vehicles in good shape. The Car Care Council’s 2015 vehicle inspection results show  that your efforts are needed. The Council hosts vehicle inspections at community car care events across the country and the 2015 results showed that 84 percent of vehicles need service or parts, ranging from low fluid levels to hose or wiper blade replacements.

There are many ways to innovate—from streamlining processes to adopting new technologies to improving employee training. Shops across the country are making changes to speed the repair process, while also making it more pleasant for customers to bring in their vehicles. We wanted to share two recent examples of innovation we’ve seen…and ask for your input.

Toyota® Prius®. BMW® X6®. Ford® Fusion Hybrid®. Mazda® Tribute®. The list goes on, with new hybrid vehicles being introduced—and familiar models being offered as hybrids—nearly every year. Hybrid vehicles are no longer the wave of the future. They are here and they are widely used, for personal vehicles, taxis, delivery vehicles, ride-sharing and more.

My techs seem to be busy all day. Why are we barely keeping our heads above water?” If you’ve thought or said this out loud, you’re not alone. The rising costs associated with running an automotive shop these days are making it increasingly difficult to keep the doors open. But by regularly evaluating workflow practices, shops may find some ways to fight those shrinking profit margins.

As a shop owner, your goals include looking for ways to increase your business and, even more importantly, to secure repeat business. There is one way you can achieve both goals, of increasing and ensuring repeat business: add fleet vehicles to your customer base. What type of fleet vehicles? Well, how many businesses and organizations can you think of that have more than one vehicle? Limo companies, delivery vans and company service trucks are great examples. Other examples would include utilities like cable TV, plumbers, exterminators, non-profit organizations and courier services. And don’t forget taxi cab companies! All of those vehicles will need servicing at some point, including regular maintenance and repairs. Some organizations have their own shops to work on their vehicles but many rely on a good local shop. And that shop could be yours!

BG White

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