The Dollars and Cents of Nuts and Bolts


By Bob Atwood

Suc­cess in any busi­ness often comes down to nuts and bolts—the basics. That’s lit­er­al­ly true for deal­er­ships.

I’ve been in deal­er­ships where the parts depart­ment keeps nuts and bolts out in the shop for ease of access for the tech­ni­cians, but con­ve­nience can be cost­ly. Inven­to­ry can be lost or stolen.

So keep nuts and bolts behind the parts counter so techs have to ask for what they need.

Nuts and bolts don’t seem like a big-tick­et item until you have to replace them. You can’t buy just one or two. Nuts and bolts come in box­es of 25 and 50. That’s when the costs mount up.

Every lit­tle item adds up. Take wheel weights. Are you giv­ing them away?

Wheel weights are kept in the shop at the wheel bal­ancer. I sug­gest cre­at­ing ser­vice op codes so that every time we bal­ance tires, we auto­mat­i­cal­ly charge out so many ounces of wheel weights on that repair order. That way, we’re pass­ing the cost on, appro­pri­ate­ly, to the cus­tomer.

It’s the same for Fre­on, which is often in a 30-pound cylin­der in a charg­ing sta­tion. If the tech­ni­cian doesn’t tell the advi­sor how much Fre­on and PAG oil he used, that cost doesn’t get charged on the tick­et. So again, cre­ate ser­vice op codes so that any time we do AC work, we auto­mat­i­cal­ly charge out so many pounds of Fre­on and so many ounces of PAG oil.

Here’s anoth­er “lit­tle” issue: clean­ing costs for uni­forms of ser­vice techs who are on vaca­tion. How about demand­ing a dis­count for techs on vaca­tion? Just tell the uni­form com­pa­ny it’s sim­ple arith­metic: My 20 tech­ni­cians get two weeks’ vaca­tion each. That’s 40 weeks total, 40 times your charge per week. Take that dol­lar total, divide it by 12, and sub­tract that amount from my state­ment every month.

Instruc­tor Bob Atwood teach­es Fixed Oper­a­tions Ser­vice in week 3 of 6 in the pro­gram. Reach him at [email protected] Atwood will lead a week-long Advanced Ser­vice Man­age­ment Sem­i­nar at NADA head­quar­ters in McLean, VA Aug. 13–17. Call 800.557.6232 for infor­ma­tion or to reg­is­ter for this com­pre­hen­sive, action-packed pro­gram, or sign in to and reg­is­ter through the NADA U Store! Vis­it us soon to down­load the sched­ule and appli­ca­tions for all Acad­e­my pro­grams.





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