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Get tips on how to better automate your profits with the latest in digital vehicle inspection technology and workflow solutions.

A Secret Weapon to Boost Your ARO

A Secret Weapon to Boost Your ARO

Digital Vehicle Inspection Software: A Secret Weapon to Boost ARO Most successful auto repair shops have one thing in common: a high average repair order (ARO). Specifically, they leverage digital vehicle inspection software to easily relate with their clients...

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5 Pillars to Stand On

5 Pillars to Stand On

Every once in a while, I like to talk about things that are not technical or business related. Personal development is a favorite topic of mine, and I realize that it is an underappreciated subject. I think personal development gets a bad rap, and most people think of...

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How Digital Vehicle Inspections Boost Customer Contacts

How Digital Vehicle Inspections Boost Customer Contacts

How Digital Vehicle Inspections Boost Customer Contacts Digital vehicle inspections offer a great way to thoroughly assess a vehicle in your shop so nothing gets overlooked. A digital vehicle inspection ( DVI) takes the standard paper checklist and makes it part of...

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They Have Systems for This

They Have Systems for This

Automotive specialists are cursed to walk the earth acutely aware of a fundamental truth: things fall apart. In contrast, the average motorist more commonly adheres to what I call “the assumption of good function.” They’re blissfully unaware of the complexity of...

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All-As-One

All-As-One

Creating an all-in-one solution for any industry is a pretty huge feat and typically not something that is ever 100% completed. If you think about your day, most people use 5 to 10 different digital tools to get their job done that aren't under one software umbrella....

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Schrodinger’s Car

Schrodinger’s Car

On the topic of ensuring vehicle safety, an amusing thought crossed my mind regarding inspections and observation. I would hesitate to call this amusement a thought experiment, but it was (very) loosely based on a physicist, Erwin Schrodinger's thought experiment,...

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What’s Your Advantage?

What’s Your Advantage?

Recently, I was quoted in an article about a shop's competitive advantage: https://www.autoserviceworld.com/if-this-is-your-competitive-advantage-youre-doing-it-wrong/. The idea that you fix cars better than others is not really a competitive advantage. From a...

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Developing Your Shop with Toastmasters

Developing Your Shop with Toastmasters

In hindsight, it seems oddly fitting that the very first time I heard Chris Cloutier speak was when he was delivering a keynote speech at an industry event. It was AAPEX in the fall of 2017. A few months later, I found myself working for Chris and his software...

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The SaaS Side: Techflow

The SaaS Side: Techflow

An Interesting Case An interesting case came up today that I wanted to translate into some insight from the SaaS (Software as a Service) side. Developers commonly face conflicting feature requests. The best solution isn't always clear, and they'll never please all...

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Does Your Staff See Your Vision

Does Your Staff See Your Vision

Does Your Staff See Your Vision? As a business owner, you have a vision for your business. Having this vision keeps you focused on what you need to do now so that your business can maintain its trajectory towards that vision. This is great for you, but you can’t keep...

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How Good Leadership Retains Good Workers

How Good Leadership Retains Good Workers

Leadership is one of my favorite topics. A leadership advisor once told me that leadership is tough because you don't get a medal or certificate stating you're now a great leader after certain accomplishments. Great leadership takes a lifetime to cultivate. I'm not a...

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Baywatcher.io – Why?

Baywatcher.io – Why?

Back when I first began my journey in the automotive industry, I was told by my coach that every shop has a ceiling for maximum capacity. He said that the following formula would determine your potential ceiling for labor: Multiply your number of bays by your hours in...

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Setting Goals in the Auto Repair Business

Setting Goals in the Auto Repair Business

One of the best pieces of advice that I was given from a trainer is to set goals for myself and my businesses. If I didn't set goals, then I would never reach ANY destination, let alone the one that I thought would be what I wanted. The trainer said to think of...

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Keep Your Standards High!

Keep Your Standards High!

For years our industry has seemed to struggle to catch up to rising standards of customer service that others have made normal and consumers have grown to expect. But not this year. This year, we set the bar. Think about it. Hotels with no breakfast, airlines with...

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Digital Vehicle Inspection Is Worth Our Time

Digital Vehicle Inspection Is Worth Our Time

There are a few areas to address when a technician states something to the notion of, “Doing the DVI is not worth my time.” Let's tackle the reasons why a tech might feel this way. The inspection takes too long to complete. A non-paid courtesy inspection should not...

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Customer or Client

Customer or Client

For all the talk we hear about raising the image of the auto repair industry to a true profession, we must first have a reckoning with how we understand our relationship with those whom we serve. Restaurants and hospitality businesses have guests.Doctors and medical...

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Touch + Technology = Trust

Touch + Technology = Trust

The following quote was given to me by a friend named Mark who owns multiple shops: "The challenge is to blend the technology in the front room with the touch so that you can create the trust to differentiate your company from your competitors. Trust goes beyond just...

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Let’s Work Together! Why Integration Matters.

Let’s Work Together! Why Integration Matters.

I've been developing software for the majority of my life now, which means I am getting old. And, one thing I've come to realize is that software seamlessly working with other software is a GREAT thing. Back in my early days of development, I worked in closed looped...

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Change or Die?

Change or Die?

I recently read the book Change or Die, and I STRONGLY recommend it to anyone looking to make a change in their life or business, which I am pretty sure covers most of us. Yes, the title is brutal, but the writer makes a strong point about change being hard.

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Your markerboard is dead without you

Your markerboard is dead without you

Being the communication medium between highly competent technicians and highly demanding clients is only one challenge point behind the counter of an auto repair facility. That point gets plenty of love thanks to texting and digital vehicle inspections. What about the...

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The Complete Automotive Digital Experience

The Complete Automotive Digital Experience

As shop owners, we know that it's an inconvenience for our customers when their vehicles break down, and we should do everything we can to make their experience at our shops painless. We know that they are busy with work, kids, sports, hobbies, pets, and the list goes...

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How many clicks does it take?

How many clicks does it take?

I’ll never forget the first digital platform I attempted rolling out in my shop. Introducing it to my chief technician was a nightmare. This was largely due to the fact that one of the features on that platform was a time tracking piece which was intended to provide a...

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Shop Workflow – Might as well start simple.

Shop Workflow – Might as well start simple.

You’re not alone if you feel quickly overwhelmed while attempting to add digital procedures to your shop.

It’s easy to see other people doing something a certain way and then deciding you should hop on board, too. But, why does it seem easy for them and yet for me so challenging?

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How to Manage an Auto Mechanic Shop and More!

How to Manage an Auto Mechanic Shop and More!

I have been asked how I handle running two auto repair shops and a software company, along with being a father (who doesn't like to miss his daughters' soccer games) and a loving husband (who at least picks up his own dishes, if I might add). I do it by managing and...

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Warning: Texting from your main business line

Warning: Texting from your main business line

We get asked a lot if our tool can be set up to text from a shop's number. While the answer is yes, I typically try to steer shops away from this and have them go with a different number. Why? Phone companies have AI blackboxes that determine spam and could put your...

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Why the Cloud?

Why the Cloud?

What the heck is the cloud? Is it the internet? No, but it's on the internet. Is it good to have my software in the cloud? Yes, there are benefits. There are also risks, but anything digitized has risks. Stealing or hacking has always existed and always will. I would...

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The B-Team Fallacy

The B-Team Fallacy

What is the B-Team Fallacy? It’s a belief that some solutions and tools are only required for under performers (B-Team) so they may attain to the same level as our top performers (A-Team).

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3D Printing – Another Game Changer!

3D Printing – Another Game Changer!

I am constantly blown away by the technology that exists out in the world today! 3D printing is one of the latest technologies to come up on my radar and is a technology that will change EVERYTHING! Instead of waiting for a drone to drop-ship you a product, every...

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Not all DVIs are created equal

Not all DVIs are created equal

Like any tool a technician uses, Digital Vehicle Inspections are not all created equal. Take a standard issued flathead screw-driver, for example. Every technician has a set of these. The tool is so commonplace that a casual observer might logically expect flathead...

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Drones:  We beat Amazon to the punch!

Drones: We beat Amazon to the punch!

There are a lot of supply chain companies that are working on drone deliveries to cut down on manpower and time for delivery, which all makes perfect sense. Since I like to be on the cutting edge of things, Craig and I decided to test this out at a recent conference...

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Readers are Leaders

Readers are Leaders

I find this becoming more and more true: the more I read, the more I understand that there is a LOT I need to learn from a leadership perspective.

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Are you just checking boxes?

Are you just checking boxes?

Do you have a DVI? Are you using that DVI to its fullest potential or just checking boxes? I was discussing this topic with a colleague recently and recalled a sermon I once heard. It involved a story about a man with a high-end electric guitar. The man never used his...

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Don’t be an island!

Don’t be an island!

There are some things I miss due to COVID-19. One of those biggest things is group interaction. Throughout a normal year, I go to at least three Twenty Group meetings with fellow shop owners and attend roughly 10 automotive aftermarket repair conferences. I MISS these...

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Who is running/ruining your shop?

Who is running/ruining your shop?

“I can’t get my team onboard to do this...” Uttering this phrase is a startling admission of the fact that you are not running the business; however, this doesn’t have to be a white flag. You can learn to fix this.What can you do to correct this? First, look at how...

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Touchless Repair

Touchless Repair

If your shop isn’t offering a touchless repair experience, you should be. Now, more than ever, it’s becoming a critical component of our essential auto repair businesses.

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Lysol my keys?  Yes, please!

Lysol my keys? Yes, please!

I recently received the following Yelp review at one of my auto repair shops:"Clean shop with free coffee and water. Excellent services with knowledgeable and friendly staff. Manager sanitized my keys and inside of the car. Wonderful touch." I have preached Final...

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Let’s Do our Best

Let’s Do our Best

As uncertainty continues to arise these next few weeks/months we may be in survival mode at our businesses. I recently had meetings with my software team, and both shops, to do my best to address the future. I thought it would be a good idea to share my meeting...

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Two seasons for adopting technology in your shop

Two seasons for adopting technology in your shop

Wow, we are well into the new year and a new decade at that! Where does the time go? As a shop owner and someone who believes in Kaizen (continuous improvement), I'm constantly making changes to my shop and its processes. But, when is a good time to implement change...

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The Future of the Automotive Repair Industry

The Future of the Automotive Repair Industry

First, let me state that my crystal ball is broken. But, I do know things are changing in the automotive repair industry, and the future will look very different than it does now. Cars are only getting more complex, as well as our customers, and technology is one of the main driving forces.

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What is a Digital Vehicle Inspection (DVI)?

What is a Digital Vehicle Inspection (DVI)?

A frequent topic in industry discussions, it’s probable that you’ve heard the term “Digital Vehicle Inspection” or “DVI” mentioned in podcasts or management seminars.  While DVI is becoming common knowledge, asking “what it is” might be the most important question...

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DVI Customer Insights

DVI Customer Insights

I’m one of the first people to agree that as shop owners, we need goals, policies, and procedures to properly run our businesses. I also like to have supporting data to help me create those procedures and policies.

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Does it integrate with my SMS?

Does it integrate with my SMS?

Most shop owners I talk with about my software and other software are frequently asking this question. It's an important one because software talking to software is the new normal, presently how the technology world works, and the future of how things will be...

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Kiosk/Scheduler

Kiosk/Scheduler

​We are excited to soon release our Kiosk/Scheduler, the newest product addition to Autoflow’s already robust digital suite. This new feature will allow a shop to attach the scheduler to their website for customers to schedule appointments which will go directly into...

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Our Why

Our Why

Knowing your why these days has become a hot topic, especially after Simon Sinek’s book Start with Why came out a few years ago, a good book to read if you haven’t. I thought I might take a blog post to talk about the why behind Autoflow. Before I owned a shop, I’d...

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Autoflow.AI

Autoflow.AI

I love the title to this blog, Autoflow.AI; it sounds techy and geeky (which, of course, I am). I previously wrote about the basics and wonders of AI (Artificial Intelligence) and IVR (Interactive Voice Response) but didn’t promote that Autoflow now has an AI...

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Text to Pay – A New Level of Convenience!

Text to Pay – A New Level of Convenience!

In one of my shops, I witnessed the almost perfect digital service journey a few months back. A young executive read our reviews online, booked an appointment online, dropped off his car after hours, received status updates, and communicated with us all day via text...

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AI & IVR – More Acronyms

AI & IVR – More Acronyms

There have been some amazing developments in technology over the last few years that continue to keep evolving. Two technologies that have grown leaps and bounds are Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Interactive Voice Response (IVR). The best way to describe these is...

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Why the cloud? What are its benefits?

Why the cloud? What are its benefits?

There is an increasing discussion lately on cloud-based software.  With the term getting thrown around a lot, I want to address two core questions in this blog: what is a cloud-based system, and what are its benefits? I will not talk about the...

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Feedback is like a Christmas morning gift

Feedback is like a Christmas morning gift

Feedback is a gift that a lot of people don’t receive well. Thankfully, I have a good brother, friend, and adviser, Mark Cloutier, who helps me see these things. We have had many conversations on the topic of feedback and why we should appreciate the gift that it is....

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The Struggle

The Struggle

Recently, I did another podcast with Carm Capriotto of Remarkable Results Radio. This time, it was focused on entrepreneurship and my life's lessons learned (listen here). One of the topics we discussed was what Ben Horowitz called The Struggle in "The Hard Thing...

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Can you compare your auto repair shop to Amazon?

Can you compare your auto repair shop to Amazon?

That really isn't a fair comparison at all and actually doesn't work unless you start looking "outside the box,"...that old, tired cliché. I have mentioned Amazon in past blogs for several reasons: they leverage technology to replace old ways of doing business, they...

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One word – 2018

One word – 2018

A few years back, I heard a friend tell of a pastor that challenged everyone in the church to pick one word for the new year and seek to live by that one word instead of making some sort of new year's resolution you won't keep. I thought it was interesting, gave it a...

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What is IoT?

What is IoT?

Personally, I hate acronyms. I think smart people create them just to frustrate simple people like me. IoT is the Internet of Things, not to be confused with IoE, the Internet of Everything, which is another subject. It is basically all physical things connected...

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Who owns your Digital Vehicle Inspection data?

Who owns your Digital Vehicle Inspection data?

Yes, I have been on a kick about who owns the data that a shop owner collects. And, I want to clear up any misconceptions out there in this auto repair world about who owns a shop's data, even the data collected from your Digital Vehicle Inspection reports. Once...

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Real-Time Customer Communication

Real-Time Customer Communication

“Dealers Need to Get on the Text Message Bandwagon: Dealer service communication overwhelmingly takes place either in person at the dealership or over the phone; only 2% of all customers currently receive service updates via text message or email. Yet, 37% of Gen X[1]...

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Cloud-Based Shop Management System (SMS)

Cloud-Based Shop Management System (SMS)

This week, my post goes video. Why should you choose a cloud-based SMS over a desktop version?     The Desire for Continuous Improvement As an auto repair shop owner of Golden Rule Auto Care, Chris Cloutier realized the need for a better way to communicate...

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Technology is a Multiplier

Technology is a Multiplier

Technology is a multiplier, and we in the auto repair world should love and respect what it means to our businesses. I know we all resist change because we're comfortable with the way things have been done, but isn't it nice to no longer have to remember all 3,000...

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Amazon.com Parts Ordering – The Future?

Amazon.com Parts Ordering – The Future?

I think a lot of us shop owners have figured out that we can get parts through Amazon.com like we can anything else. I am lucky enough that my shop, Golden Rule Auto Care, is on a pilot program to test Amazon.com parts ordering through my Shop Management System...

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Internal Chat Communications for Auto Repair

Internal Chat Communications for Auto Repair

Technology is a great multiplier. If used properly, it can multiply your efforts. Remember, peoples' time is a limited resource, and, with proper technology, it can become multiplied. What does this have to do with some internal chat method for your auto repair shop?...

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3 Reasons Why You Need Tablets in Your Shop

3 Reasons Why You Need Tablets in Your Shop

Regardless of whether you use a digital inspection or not, you need to be thinking about getting tablets for your technicians. If the tablets you purchase are put in a strong case and have screen protectors, they will last for a while. I have some tablets in my shop...

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Vision 2017 – Let’s Talk Technology

Vision 2017 – Let’s Talk Technology

The stage is set for us to talk technology and the automotive repair industry. Vision Conference 2017 is coming up this week, and yours truly will be there with Scott, one of my Autoflow associates. Let's talk about the Shop Technology Timeline, where you're at and...

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Tablets and Computers for Auto Repair Shops

Tablets and Computers for Auto Repair Shops

I get asked this question a lot: "What kind of tablets should I use at my shop?" So, I put together a list of a few tablets I like and posted it on my Autoflow site: http://www.Autoflow/support/tablets/. You'll see links to Amazon for each tablet on that page, too....

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Digitizing Your Shop

Digitizing Your Shop

I recently read a great article in Ratchet+Wrench (R+W) called the "Four Areas to Address When Digitizing Your Shop," in which my good friend, Jeremy O'Neal (advisorfix.com), was quoted several times. R+W and Jeremy made the article a practical approach to digitizing...

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Shop Technology Timeline

Shop Technology Timeline

What is the Shop Technology Timeline? It is a guide that I built for automotive repair shops to follow to become more technologically advanced in their operations. A more efficient and productive shop leads to higher profits and a better customer experience, which we...

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Did you know why and where Autoflow was created?

Did you know why and where Autoflow was created?

Long before I owned an auto repair shop, I dreaded when my car broke down for a couple of reasons.  One, I never had the money to fix it, and two, I was going to have to drop it off at a shop and let it go into a black hole of time. I hated being in the dark as to...

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Communication made simple

Communication made simple

It's not easy to achieve "simple," but when done right, time-consuming tasks are made easier. With a simple click of a button on an Autoflow customized workflow, the shop just solved two problems: one is tracking each car in their vehicle inventory; the other is...

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Simple isn’t easy

Simple isn’t easy

Simple is never easy. For instance, TiVo is fast, easy, and simple. VCRs? Not so much, though both basically provide the same service. IPads are easy and simple while desktop computers aren't. I have taught the basics of computers in a lot of different settings and...

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Your Time vs. My Time

Your Time vs. My Time

Since we live in a world that very much revolves around "me," this is becoming an important and relevant topic. I am not saying that everyone in this world is stuck on themselves, but we have become very particular about how our time is allocated or wasted. Sitting in...

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Push vs. Pull Communication

Push vs. Pull Communication

We live in a world where all information is now at our fingertips...well, almost all information. We can pull content from the internet for just about anything: up-to-the-minute news, what our friends are eating, where to vacation, what the cheapest gas prices are in...

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Stop losing cars

Stop losing cars

There is no worse feeling than having an incredibly busy, profitable day at your shop and then noticing upon closing the one car in the parking lot that fell through the cracks and no one touched. You turn to your service writer, and they shrug their head after you...

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Automotive Repair – Disruptive Technology

Automotive Repair – Disruptive Technology

I enjoy talking, and reading about the subject of disruptive technology. Doom and gloom maybe, but interesting. I have heard lots of predictions about the auto aftermarket repair industry. And, I do agree that one day, driverless cars (provided by Lyft, Uber, Google,...

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