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This episode features John Herring, Brittany Schindler, and Jeremy Neff.  They discuss how many different inspections a shop uses, and why they use different inspection sheets.  You will learn how and when to use different sheets and turn them into paid inspections that deliver value to the motorist.

Episode Transcript

*This transcript was generated using Artificial Intelligence. Errors may occur. If you notice an error, please contact [email protected].

Bill Connor (00:06):
Good morning, good afternoon. I’m Bill Connor and you’ve reached the Digital Shop Talk Radio. If you joined us live, we certainly appreciate it and you found us by going to and registering. You’ll get a reminder every week. And for those of you that prefer to listen to us in a podcast, you can search for Digital Shop Talk Radio on your favorite podcast platform. And the only thing you’ll miss out is seeing our smiling faces for sure. And today I’m here with Brittany Schindler, the general manager of Rod’s Japanese Auto Repair multiple shop operation. And they also seem to go ahead and get into the hybrid and electric type vehicles. So we’ve got several different types shops represented here. And then we’ve got John Herring Stamps Auto Tire Pros. And John is also kind of unique in the fact that he also felt the need to go ahead and add a machine shop into his mix of tools he has.
So that would explain some of the gray hair he is got in his head for sure. And then we got Jeremy Neff of Neff’s Diesel Repair and Performance. And Jeremy is a single shop owner, unlike the other two with the exception that he actually has three shops rolled into one with light vehicle diesel and medium duty, and then also heavy duty trucks. So I’d like to welcome all three of you fine panelists here today and today Uwe, our AutoVitals very own Chief Innovation Officer and I are going to dive into how many different inspection sheets a shop really need and why they use different sheets. You’re going to take away some solid ideas from shops just like yours on this important topic. You’ll learn how and when to use these inspection sheet and more importantly, how to turn these different inspection sheets into paid inspections that deliver a huge value to the motorists.
And that’s what it’s all about. Education and so far so on using the inspection sheet you have, you’ll master these important processes of digital shop. All of these panels have really scored some amazing results over the years, some for a good many years with AutoVitals and some recent newcomers. So today we’re going to give you some solid information for using multiple inspection sheets and you can take away tips from shops just like yours. So if you wouldn’t mind, let’s go ahead and get these fine panelists started off here. And I know you like to always fire the first shot, so to say
Uwe Kleinschmidt (02:29):
Thank you. Of course, dying to talk about it because you mentioned it. We are on episode 1 39 and if I look back or even further back on use of digital inspection, in the beginning it was, oh, let’s just follow the same process. It’s just digital, take the paper inspection and turn it into a digital KD inspection. So not much change, just I have now the ability to change every topic much more easily without going to a printer. And so that made a lot of shop owners embrace the idea of turning inspection sheets from 70 points to 120 points. It was still one big inspection, but the ability to change made everybody really giddy and let’s cover as much as possible until two things happen. Number one, they realize, dang, it takes so much longer. And number two, I’m still not having the opportunity to differentiate between finding a problem in the inspection and then selling the deeper diagnosis and tests for what has been found. And that has changed the whole landscape of inspections. So way more inspection sheets exist today and it is all about what is the highest value from an courtesy inspection sheet done at every vehicle and then branch out and have specialized inspection sheets. That’s my observation. Brittany, do you want to talk about your, how did you start and how did it involve for you and what are you doing now?
Brittany Schindler (04:47):
Yeah, we talk about the inspection. How much feedback do we get from those customers on our digital inspections that we’re already doing the basic one that we do on every single car, right? We are getting huge feedback. People absolutely love it. They’re learning about their car, they’re seeing exactly what the technician sees out in the shop, but we do that basic inspection on every single car. And then why not take it even a step further with a more narrowed down inspection? We did the inspection, Hey, we see drips of cooling on the bottom of the engine, let’s do a cooling system inspection or recommend it, and then the technician’s just going to go fill out pressurize the cooling system. It held pressure for this amount of time or it didn’t hold pressure. Thermostats working fans are kicking on. He’s just clicking all these things, which is making him way faster at doing a diagnostics.
It’s just the same way that he did the inspection, which he’s very efficient at because he is used to doing ’em now. And then that’s so much more value for the customer. Like man, they did that whole inspection and then they did this cooling system inspection that they did all these steps and then they figured out exactly what it needs and customers really like the value they see and actually learning about things. And it makes the technician so much faster because he’s just doing the click, click, click all the canned notes and the canned jobs are already right there for him to do.
Bill Connor (06:08):
So Brittany, in your case, you’re using one inspection to do and whoever’s doing the inspection is required to do the whole inspection from end to end. You don’t use also, somebody can arbitrarily decide, Hey, I’m going to use this other inspection that’s only 10 points. Everybody starts with the same inspection and it gets fully completed. And the goal is to use it to find system related failures that you can get an authorization for specific pinpoint inspections
Brittany Schindler (06:37):
Exactly like we have a check engine light one. It’s like is there hard codes, pending codes, history codes? And then what does it explain on our inspection that we already wrote out that the technician doesn’t even have to explain to the customer what does a hard code, what does a pending code, what does a history code mean to the customer? So they’re learning so much more with these already fully detailed inspections that it’s just making everybody so much more efficient and the customer’s learning a lot more. And then when the service advisor is talking to the customer about that inspection, they’re basically saying everything that was written on there because it’s a lot of repetitiveness for us, but not for the customer. They’re just learning a lot of stuff.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (07:17):
So how
Bill Connor (07:19):
Uwe Kleinschmidt (07:20):
Bill Connor (07:20):
Ahead. I was going to say your inspection that you’re using is pretty much what I would summarize as a no tool inspection. You’re not going to diagnose the vehicle. You’re looking for signs that you should do something additional that the customer should be authorizing.
Brittany Schindler (07:35):
Yeah, the original inspection, I call it a visual inspection to the customer. I say it requires no diagnostics, nothing to be removed. It is a visual only. So then based off of that, then perform a different inspection or with a different diagnostics at the same time. And then again, it just shows so much value to the customer when you tailor an inspection to the diagnostics, not just diagnose concern technician states, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. It’s like tons of information all at once. And
Bill Connor (08:07):
That’s a common question that comes up is a lot of people say, well, my technicians are taking too long to do the inspection. And a lot of times when they first start out, it’s because they’re actually trying to document and actually diagnose during the inspection. And that’s kind of not really the long-term way to do things. Go ahead, Uwe, you had another question. So I didn’t mean to interrupt you,
Uwe Kleinschmidt (08:32):
Brittany. How many inspections do you have in total?
Brittany Schindler (08:36):
I was just looking at that. I have a warranty inspection, I have a hybrid inspection. I have the regular inspection check engine, light cooling system inspection, pre-purchase inspection and a safety inspection.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (08:50):
And what you say inspection is your visual inspection, what you just called regular inspection is your visual vehicle health inspection and all the other inspections are being sold for a fee?
Brittany Schindler (09:04):
Yes. Yeah, that is separate, different labor line for the technician to complete on a tablet, different for the customer.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (09:13):
And can you share how many points your visual inspection
Brittany Schindler (09:21):
Has? Yeah, I have
Uwe Kleinschmidt (09:23):
Brittany Schindler (09:24):
Around 65 or so.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (09:28):
Brittany Schindler (09:29):
Maybe more. I mean that’s just how many topics there are, but there’s so many more selections,
Uwe Kleinschmidt (09:33):
Conditions. That’s true. Yeah. Thank you. John, how did it work for you when you entered the digital inspection world and how did it evolve to today?
John Herring (09:47):
I think just like any program that you implement in your company, it’s always a work in progress. I would like to say I’ve mastered it since I’ve had it for so long, but it is a constant thing that has to constantly be worked on. I’ve had probably every scenario happen as far as technicians not having buy-in service writers not having buy-in when you get, I find that the drop script is really, really important when it comes to informing customers about what’s coming down the pipeline when they come into our shop. So if I don’t have managers at the front desk doing that correctly, then that’s an issue with the inspections. So it’s always a constant and working on it and changing it and making it work to your benefit. We’ve had real big inspections, we’ve condensed them down and got rid of stuff that we don’t necessarily need. And that’s one of the reasons why we have so many multiple inspections because for instance, like a return car, everybody has comebacks, so we have a shop comeback return inspection. So it’s a completely different inspection for a completely different reason for somebody coming into the store. So that’s a good example of why you would want to have multiple inspections in for very simple reasons, not to mention the more complicated ones.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (11:06):
And from your name tire Pros, it indicates you also have customers who expect a quick in and out, whereas just tire work. Are you doing a check-in and inspection and then sell upsell a more comprehensive inspection? Or are you telling everybody we’re going to do in comprehensive inspection no matter what
John Herring (11:33):
Our policy is that every car gets inspected with our, we call it our stamps vehicle health report. Every car is to get one of those, whether it’s we do enterprise cars, we do two other body shops, we do cars for, they don’t require inspections, but we still have inspections that we do on those cars. For instance, like a body shop inspection. If we’re not taking pictures of a car coming into our shop, something happens on it and now there’s a scratch and we don’t have any recourse for that. So that inspection for us is actually just an internal inspection, so that doesn’t actually go to the customer. So pretty much a health inspection is the root of the whole business. It revolves around all of it.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (12:20):
And you have no trouble selling that to a wait or that they are happy to wait to get that inspection?
John Herring (12:26):
Well, that’s where we try to be unique in. We’re not the quick tire change place. We can arrange it and set it up like a fast oil change, but we like to get the touch on the car to be able to look at other stuff and be able to upsell other stuff because we all know how tires are a lost leader if you’re not selling service with tires. So it’s important that we do have people that come in for quick in and out tires, but our policy is we try to get ’em to drop it off so that we have time with the car.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (12:57):
And do you have loaners in place for them to come back? No. Shuttle?
John Herring (13:02):
No. We have a shuttle that we have for the company and then we’ll use Uber to Uber people back and forth from home. But we don’t have shuttle cars and we have a shuttle car, but it doesn’t get used. Mostly we mainly call Uber or I’m giving them a ride. I’m Uber too.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (13:22):
Bill Connor (13:24):
Do you find during your conversation with them if your service writer presents the inspection in a value to the customer type way, that you’ll almost never get a customer that says, I don’t want to do that?
John Herring (13:38):
Right. And I find with, so if I have a shop that has stats that have a low email capture rate, then I know that they’re not doing that drop off script and building that value with the customer during drop off because if they built that value and they told them the value that we’re giving them, if they give us their email address, we would have every email address. So that is actually an issue that I’m dealing with at one of my shops now is we have a low return rate and we have a low email rate, and if we don’t have their emails, then I can’t do anything. And during that audit of figuring that out, I found out we haven’t been writing down addresses either. So there’s a bunch of stuff that you could find that’s another one of those. It’s always a work in progress.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (14:25):
And would you mind how many inspection sheets you have active and what your main inspection, how many topics you have approximately?
John Herring (14:36):
We have 13 inspections. It ranges from AC brake steering engine, mechanical cooling system diagnostic, pre-purchase, diesel inspection, enterprise inspection, regular inspection for a V four dash 19. I dunno what that exactly is for, but I’m sure it’s for something. We have the return customer inspection, body shop inspection, internal only. And just on our health inspection there’s ten nine twenty nine, there’s about 42 topics that we hit on our basic inspection.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (15:14):
And you have one internal inspection. That’s the body shop, the CYI.
John Herring (15:19):
Yeah, we have two. The body shop and Enterprise because Enterprise doesn’t care about their cars, but that’s, there’s a dent or something that happens on it. We need to have our take in.
Bill Connor (15:31):
John, when you’ve got these different system inspections you talked about in our prep show that you do something else with another group to go ahead and help determine liability and things like that. Do you find that having a predefined checklist, so to say, for a cooling system maybe, does the cooling fan work a pressure test radio cap, yes or no pressure test cooling system? Is there any codes in the computer? Do you find that helps go ahead and understand that if something goes wrong and has to be looked at by a third party, that the documentation on what was done and why is solid?
John Herring (16:10):
Yeah, I think that’s one of the biggest things that a shop owners have to do in this time and age is we have to really look at the liability that falls upon our backs for not just the liability of the financial costs, but also liability for other reasons. Me being on A BBB ARAC committee board, I’ve learned real fast that it’s all about documentation. Shops that don’t document, they get ruled in favor of the customer shops that have documentation. It’s really hard for a customer to overcome the facts of the case because the shop has it documented. So that’s a, I’ve had to go to court here recently for one, and I thought we actually won the case. And I thought that us having those digital inspections and us having a time and stamp date on pictures and stuff like that really helped our case out a lot. So the liability factor with inspections is limited if you’re doing it right
Bill Connor (17:11):
And you’re also talking about liability and also a third way that isn’t monetary and that’s protecting your reputation
John Herring (17:18):
Because we all know what the big chain people around here, they’re called big O, and they will sell you a set of brake pads if there’s 80% left, and then that customer will call you and say, why did you not sell me brake pads? They said I needed brake pads. And I’m like, no, excuse me ma, but I have a picture of your brake pads that were perfect. So the argument isn’t with me, the arguments with them. So yeah, that does protect our reputation big time.
Bill Connor (17:46):
And you also meant a picture with a measurement, not just
John Herring (17:48):
A picture, right? Correct. It’s a picture with an actual brake gauge and a description of the brakes being good and at a certain millimeter and no safety issues found at this time.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (18:04):
Thank you. Jeremy, last button at least, would you let us in and how your development was of the inspection sheet and where you ended up now?
Jeremy Neff (18:20):
Yeah, there was definitely a learning process, building all the inspections and then finding out you can add cam jobs to the topic points and everything. So total right now we have seven different inspections. One of the most beneficial, going back to protecting the shop and everything would be we have a check-in inspection. Super simple. It’s only five points, but we go around the whole vehicle, take pictures of the whole vehicle on the outside, take pictures of the looking from the outside into the passenger or the driver’s side, seat and compartment mainly. So oil, if it was already there, it was already there. We didn’t put it there, that type of thing. But that one’s probably saved me the most amount of time. If the customer comes back and say, Hey, there’s a ding on the car or the truck that wasn’t there before. And so we say, hold on.
We did a check and we’d go in there and say, oh, there’s an arrow point right at it. It’s timestamped. We don’t even move the truck when we do that inspection. Mainly just to show that before we even touched it, all this damage was already there. Before that I had to sit for hours looking at security footage, watch the vehicle go through the shop, through the yard and everything. Just four to five hours is a waste of time. So we came up with that one and that one saved me probably the most amount of time.
So then we have our full one for our pickups. We primarily did just the pickups and that one’s 70, 70 points. And that one’s always a work in progress it seems like as these newer diesels add stuff that weren’t normally there with the older trucks. That one we credit our guys seven tenths of an hour to complete that one. That one’s, we do that one on every new diesel, every new pickup, every four wheel drive, one that comes in, we get that one. We don’t charge the customer initially if they want it again, we always charge ’em, but we try to get everything in there just in case, like John said, protect us. I’ll say, yeah, I’m at another shop. And he said, you guys messed this house. Oh no, it was messed up before we even got to our shop. There’s a picture of it and everything.
And then we got a pre-trip, a safety, those are for basically to protect us and see if anything’s changed over. So we do the big truck or the big inspection on the initial contact of the vehicle for free. And then every year we’ll do it again if the customer keeps coming in. And if they come in for oil changes throughout the year, then we narrow it down to a lot smaller, either pre-trip or a safety, which is half the points. The safety one, we always do the safety one regardless of how many miles that came into play when the techs we’re spending so much time on these inspections. So I was like, well, we’re duplicating a lot. So we narrowed it down to the safety and the pre-trip, pre-trip, just make sure everything else is good and go through the old inspection and see if anything has gotten fixed that we didn’t fix.
Maybe another shop did it, then we can ask the customer, Hey, what happened there? Did we not? Was it priced or what was the deal? And then we got a big truck inspection, that’s our newest one. We’re still trying that one as far as the technicians to see how much time is good for them. And the company as far as credit, that one is 46 points, so it’s not as much as a pickup one. And then we even had, we have a pre alignment just because we’re getting so many, we weren’t getting consistent test points before. We did an alignment and hook the A line machine up. So I built the pre alignment inspection. So every inspections is the same before we do the alignment. So if we do an alignment, they miss checking the tires for low tires and it’s still pulling, well, that’s the point on the inspection now that we just assign that technician with the alignment. It’s like a canned job. It pops up automatically. And then the last one, we have a car one. That one is pretty new to us. We just hired a gas technician in March, so we’re still filling that one out, changing that one. But yeah, that’s the inspections we use on a weekly, daily basis.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (23:14):
Awesome. Can I ask you a few questions? So alignment, do you use Hunter or something which is integrated or is that a manual procedure?
Jeremy Neff (23:27):
We use a 40-year-old piece of crap hunter.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (23:32):
What do you really think about it?
Jeremy Neff (23:34):
But it’s accurate and they don’t make any more parts. So we’re saving up for a newer one and it’s more than likely going to be a hunter, but thick quarter is about 70. So pretty big chunk of change we’re still saving up to replace that one.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (23:51):
And help me understand how you sell to the customer that if the inspection is being repeated before the year is overall, how do you sell that? You charge for it?
Jeremy Neff (24:11):
We just informed them that you’ve driven your vehicle X amount of miles. I guarantee around here they haven’t been the nicest miles, so anything can change shocks, fall joints, anything like that. So if they don’t want to pay for the full one after our criteria or before our criteria is met to do another free one, then we’ll say, well, the next free one we can offer is just this one, and this is the only thing we look at as far as that goes. Keep in mind I tell the technicians, even though it’s a smaller inspection, it doesn’t have everything, look at everything. If something’s failed, note it down and you guys get bonus for it. So just because the smaller the inspection, we always look at everything, but we try to sell it every time the customer comes in after the free initial one. Yeah.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (25:09):
And did it take a while to get this down to sell it to the customer or was it natural in customers? In the vast majority say yes, go ahead and do,
Jeremy Neff (25:21):
We’re still working on that. We haven’t found a good way to sell. So an inspection for us would cost $90 on the full inspection to the customer. So we’re still trying to fill the customers out as far as paying for an additional inspection. However, we do have a few that just request it every time. So we’re still working on our verbiage and stuff like that, I guess.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (25:52):
I think that would be Bill, that would be a good topic I think for another podcast, because this is key, right? Part of the drop off conversation on how to sell an inspection. Anyway, sorry, go ahead.
Bill Connor (26:10):
And it’s especially bad when a service advisor can’t sell a no cost inspection, but that’s a whole nother issue out. So one of the things is that when we’ve got multiple different inspection sheets, I’m assuming Jeremy has a separate one for big trucks because they might have air brakes on ’em and things like that. And then Brittany’s got a separate one for hybrid type vehicles. So that’s one thing. And then we’ve also got other shops that they’re a specialty shop. So I know a shop for example, that works on Lexus, that they’ve got an sheet for the different Lexus platforms that’s actually hooked into specific can jobs that actually almost can build the estimates on the common thing. So could you talk a little bit about the type of things you would look for with your staff? I assume the staff has to participate also to go ahead and decide, do I need a different inspection sheet or do we try and cram it all on one sheet and then just tell them to ignore topics that don’t apply?
Uwe Kleinschmidt (27:16):
Yeah, let’s open it up to everybody. In other words, did you create inspection sheets? Because the link to the can jobs is highly beneficial. And since some can jobs for certain vehicle types are different than for others, you just created a different inspection sheet or a novel topic on the same inspection sheet, which then gets skipped if it’s not that vehicle type. I hope the question makes sense.
Brittany Schindler (27:49):
Yeah. The way that we have ours set up, the main inspection is tailored to most cars that we see being in business for 20 years. We have a regular certain cars that come in, so our regular inspection is tailored to most of those. We don’t do a whole lot of diesels and things like that, so we don’t have to worry about it. There’s not a whole lot of things that are being skipped besides maybe rear differential or clutch and things like that. And then I did make, since we do work on hybrids and EVs, there is just an EV inspection because there would be way more stuff to skip when doing the regular inspection on an EV car because there’s so many things that car does not have. So it is very short. And then we always talk about how can we make the inspections faster? How long are technicians taking all these inspections? Let’s figure out how we can make them faster. Oh, we see this kind of car all the time. Let’s make an inspection for that specific car. And I totally 100% agree, definitely 100% talk about this with your team. That’s just going to get them more. And then even more ideas from them like, oh, we should put this first, this second, put this in the check-in for the advisor to check in or whatever it is. We all want to be more efficient. That’s what we’re working on.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (29:11):
And so you, is it fair to assume that the overwhelming majority of your vehicles is Japanese?
Brittany Schindler (29:23):
Yes, that’s fair to say. It was mostly Japanese cars, so it was pretty basic and easy quick inspections, and we had got it down to very short time for the technician to do a thorough inspection with a picture of almost every recommendation that he makes.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (29:38):
And the variety between the different cars is not as high, so we can use one inspection for all of them. I see. Yeah, I know for European specialist, that’s not the case, right? A BMW seems to be so special in different than in Mercedes that people would build different inspection sheets because they have different can jobs. Okay, thank you. John and Jeremy, do you have different inspection sheets based on different can jobs which cover basically the same feature set, same topics?
Jeremy Neff (30:25):
Yeah, we’re still working through the car one. We’re still building those can jobs because we’ve never had those.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (30:32):
I see.
Jeremy Neff (30:32):
So when the inspection, when we build it in our invoicing, we’ll add it as we build them in the inspection so the gas tech can just select them. And then the diesel pickets, we’ve had those for quite a while. For everything that’s failed, they have to have a pitcher and then a canned job selected on there if it’s available. There’s some that aren’t though. But yeah, we do have different ones.
Bill Connor (31:00):
So would a best practice when you’re building an inspection sheet, especially your courtesy inspection, would it be that I see a fluid leak under the vehicle and the only answer that it can have as far as an action is for a fluid leak inspection if it’s got a coolant leak, a coolant system, performance tests or whatever. So you want to go ahead and limit the actions or jobs that they can actually go and choose from there to actually allow you to gather up that additional time. So I know we get a lot of people, and there’s a couple here that are asking today is how should I structure my inspection sheet to lead to other paid inspections that are going to cover my butt and make sure that we’re doing a complete system inspection and restoration when it comes to some of these other major systems on a vehicle?
John Herring (31:55):
Well, I can say that when we do a diagnostic inspection, so we first start out with a vehicle health inspection, we noticed that a check engine light’s on or a BS light or even airbag lights on, we then perform a diagnostical test inspection. And I guess that just add adds value to what, because we charge $160 to DRA car, that starts that level of value with the customer that says, oh, this isn’t just part of the health inspection they did. They’ve got to do a whole nother inspection in order to figure out what’s going on with my car. And that’s during the time we’re taking pictures of the scanner and taking notes of the codes and recommending what needs to be fixed through that would, I guess my example of what would lead to an inspection to be able to sell more.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (32:45):
But you would use an indicator on the dashboard to actually trigger that selling of a diagnostic. You would not put a scanner on every single vehicle, no matter whether there is an indicator on or not, right? Correct. The indicator has to be there, so you might miss pending codes or stuff like that,
John Herring (33:09):
Right. Well, if a customer comes in and says, my check engine light was on and it’s not on now, then we’ll know to go with pending codes. But the majority of the time is we need to just build that. We’re not just going to give away the DAG inspection. That’s something that has to be sold. So that helps the service writer build that value that, hey, there’s a whole nother procedure to this dag. It’s not just, Hey, pull a code and tell
Uwe Kleinschmidt (33:34):
You, yeah, that’s what the ozone and other things imply, and the motorists come in and say, must be a piece of cake. Can you just hook this thing up and tell me? Right. Yeah.
John Herring (33:48):
Well, especially with the diagnostic inspection, that’s really where you get into that liability factor. Somebody comes in and says, Hey, I had this problem and you put cats on the car and then everything’s fine. They come back, check engine lights back on, oh, it’s for the same light. No, it’s not. We’re going to do another inspection. These are the codes your car head now, these are the codes your car head then so that you can’t tell that verbally to a customer and get them to believe that unless you’re a great salesman. So take the salesmanship out of it and let the facts do the selling and how we handle customers.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (34:24):
Yeah. Thank you. I want to insert Bill two questions from David Eli. One is, if your customer comes in for a check engine light as an example, are you missing out by not performing a health inspection? That’s a pretigious question.
John Herring (34:40):
Well, for us, we would start with the health inspection and then figure out why they need the diagnostic inspection. So we would just automatically go to a diagnostic inspection.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (34:52):
But I think the question is, and David, correct me if I misrepresent what you’re asking, the customer’s just so focused on the check engine light thing and that’s all they want you to take care of. And then you say, but we are doing a full health inspection for your car. And so the question is, is there always the additional effort by the service advisor to sell the full health inspection and not just take care of the check engine light?
John Herring (35:24):
Yeah. Yeah. Well, yeah, I guess because it helps the service rider. If the service rider says, Hey, you do have a check engine light on, but we need to look at all the other systems on the car to be able to determine if there’s any relation to the check engine light that’s on. So in order to do that diag, we have to do the health inspection because say the brake light’s on and they got a leaky master cylinder. You know what I mean? There’s a couple of the different scenarios there I could probably throw at you that would make sense to everybody I guess.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (35:59):
No, I love this. I love this. There are dependencies in the car and we have to take care of them. We cannot just focus on one thing.
Bill Connor (36:08):
So the conversation might be more along the lines. Maura, I understand you check engine lights on and obvious it needs some repairs there, but to make sure you have a safe, reliable and comfortable vehicle, it’s important to us to know the overall condition of the patient, just like your doctor would in case you have to make an investment, we at least know that something else isn’t going to kill your patient. So again, you’re working on trying to get it to customer in layman’s terms that they can go and understand and correlate to something else they know in their life.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (36:43):
And here’s the other question for everybody. When you send of your inspections for your customers to review, do you send it via text, email, or both?
John Herring (36:52):
Brittany Schindler (36:53):
Both or whatever they prefer.
Jeremy Neff (36:56):
We send a questionnaire in forms that ask that question, how do you want to be communicated? And then before the customer even gets there, and it actually links to our website too, so when they click on it, it loads on our website. And so that’s a whole questionnaire they go through. And one of ’em is that. So just whatever they prefer is how we send it to them.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (37:22):
I mean, do you know the numbers? How many people actually, percentage wise of your customers fill out that questionnaire?
Jeremy Neff (37:30):
So right now, the last time I did an audit, we’re about 65 to 70% of all the ones out that we get back. If they don’t fill ’em out, we actually do it right there when they check in and the initial in the drop off script, if you will, before they get in and they say they called schedule it. We say, as soon as we get off the phone, I’m going to send you a link to a questionnaire so we can save time When you drop off your vehicle, if you don’t fill it out before you get here, we’ll have to fill it out when you get here because it’s got information we need.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (38:05):
A 70% is a magical number, I have to tell you. Jeremy, how do you do that? Is it built into some other narrative you tell them?
Jeremy Neff (38:19):
Well, I think it’s in the saving time. Everybody likes to save time, so you can either take five minutes to do it before you get in, otherwise it’s going to take 10 to 15 minutes when you get here. So I think the key word is saving time.
Bill Connor (38:35):
You’ve got them by the what’s in it for them?
Uwe Kleinschmidt (38:38):
Jeremy Neff (38:38):
Time. Everybody likes time.
Bill Connor (38:42):
And so there’s so many different type of inspections out there that have specific purposes on it. So we’ve got some shops that when they’re dealing with a fleet, they go and configure it, inspection sheet specifically for that fleet. If they’re working for the U-S-P-O-S post office, the only thing they care about is the emergency flashers work is the passenger side mirror is still intact in the vehicle and is a rubber push bumper there. And already she’s attached. And then we’ve got other people that have, I think Brittany’s got one that’s kind of interested. I haven’t asked her about yet. That’s your warranty inspection. Is that because you have that lifetime warranty and you want them to go ahead and come in periodically to keep that warranty and effect? So could you talk about some different type inspections you guys are using that are unique? I see some have a loaner vehicle check-in inspection. Is the vehicle coming back in the same shape as when it left?
Jeremy Neff (39:41):
I forgot about that one. Yeah.
Brittany Schindler (39:46):
Yeah. I have both the loaner and the warranty inspection sheets on mine. The warranty one? Yeah, so we have a lifetime warranty. In order to keep that lifetime warranty in place, you have to come back twice a year or every 5,000 miles, whichever comes first to keep that warranty in place. And what the warranty inspection says is take pictures of previous work done, is there anything that needs to be done by the customer to keep this warranty taxed? Meaning like, okay, say we did an alternator and now the valve cover gaskets leaking and it’s getting oil into the alternator. Yes, I’m not going to keep warranting that alternator if you don’t fix your valve cover gaskets. So the customer’s going to know that. They’re going to be like, oh, okay, well I better do that. Right? I don’t want to lose the warranty on the alternator or my car to break down. So that kind of stuff is on my warranty inspection. And then yeah, I have a very basic loaner inspection that’s just like, are the tabs still good? Is it due for an oil change? How do the brakes feel wipers? Is it clean? Is there any damage? Like four corners? So that’s pretty basic and quick that the advisors can just run out and do.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (40:53):
Can I ask, because I am super intrigued by your lifetime warranty thing, but as usual, the devil’s in the detail. So yes, I as a motorist have to follow a certain frequency of inspections that seems clear and simple. Now I start declining jobs. Are you then excluding those subsystems in the car from the warranty and document all this and so I have the lifetime warranty except for breaks and for whatever. Is that how you manage that?
Brittany Schindler (41:29):
Yeah, yeah. I just let them know straight up what’s going on with their car and if it’s like keep getting neglected and they’re going over on oil changes or not changing their fluids on time. If I do a power steering rack or a transmission or anything like that, brick master cylinder, if they’re not changing that fluid on time, it says very specifically that you have to keep up on those systems maintenance in order for me to keep warrantying it. I’m not going to warrant you something that you’re going to keep dirty fluid, keep going through the system, but I’m also going to explain why and what that means and what dirty fluid means to a system like that and how it can break it down. And I really try to teach people what a lifetime warranty means. People are like, oh, on wear items. So I’m like, well, that’s wearing down. There’s nothing wrong with the part. It worked properly, it just wore down, it didn’t have a defect or it wasn’t installed properly. So we just have to reteach people what that actually means. It’s against defect is what it’s
Bill Connor (42:27):
You just really kind of expanding on what we’ve known for years, which is let’s say that the most appropriate time to get a approval for the next maintenance service. Let’s say they had a transmission replaced today that costs $5,000. The best time to go ahead and schedule that next transmission flush is before they leave the office today. They already know what it can cost if something goes wrong, so might as well.
John Herring (42:53):
Well, I think that could be a whole nother topic is just to exit scheduling. That’s such a big part of being able to stay busy and on not have those ups and downs by doing that exit scheduling, whether or not somebody plans on being there for that appointment or not, they’re still got it in their head. They’re still getting reminders. So that can be a whole nother topic.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (43:19):
Bill Connor (43:23):
So one of the things I’d like to go ahead and ask them about is the involvement level that you have with your staff when it comes to managing and updating inspections, do they all have the autonomy to go ahead and ask that I need this condition and this is the action that should take place? How is your staff participating or is it coming from the top down?
John Herring (43:47):
For us, I guess it would go both ways. If we see something as managers that needs to be changed, then we’re making that change and implementing that. But we’re also having weekly meetings with our technicians and our crew to have them give us any ideas or any changes they need done on inspections to make their job easier. So for me it’s both.
Bill Connor (44:14):
Same would be both. So you’re doing all that.
Brittany Schindler (44:20):
I also do both too. I feel like you get way more buy-in when they’re actually part of changing or making the inspection. And I think we’ve talked about this before last time I was on is there’s the negotiables that you have with your team and then there’s the non-negotiables with your team, the non-negotiables, you’re going to do this, but let’s talk about what the best way is to get this done. And again, when you have your ideas, that’s awesome, but then you might hear from someone and you might hear from someone that’s brand new on your team that might have a way better idea that you’re like, why didn’t I ever think of that? So why not talk about it with your team? And again, it’s just way more buy-in from them too.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (45:00):
And so do you do the audit by yourself? I don’t know, weekly every other week and then go back to the team?
John Herring (45:11):
For me, I audit every beginning of the week and then I go work with the individual person, whether it’s service writer technician or GS or whatever, and then just discuss what could be better and keep auditing those once a week.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (45:27):
And what do you audit the technician effectiveness report? The inspection results?
John Herring (45:33):
Well, obviously the results for what they’re recommending is important, but I think more or less of looking at the estimate what the customer came in for was that that concern addressed on the inspection. Okay, it was a check engine light, was that check engine light, then turn into a diag inspection. So it’s the invoice and the inspection that goes along with it or you’ll get an inspection, which I find all the time you get an inspection that’s done with technicians making recommendations, but the service writer does not tell that to the customer. So those are things that you have to stop constantly stay on top of because we try to paint a picture for a customer. I put it to our guys, it’s like if you walked into a restaurant and looked at a menu by the pictures and how the menu’s placed on how well the food’s going to taste or well, maybe not by the time you get it, but you have a good idea of what you want because you’re looking at this menu. So I try to tell my guys that so they can relate because that relation with them, knowing how a customer seeing it versus how they’re doing it is a big eyeopener sometime for the technicians.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (46:51):
Brittany, how do you audit? Thank you, John.
Brittany Schindler (46:54):
I look at the amount of pictures taken, I look at that constantly to make sure that we’re always taking a ton of pictures and that it’s staying the same too. So I’ll look at it recent and then I’ll look at the month and then I’ll look at the quarter. And I do that for both shops too. My other shop is new and I have new technicians over there, so they are both in the groove actually. They are taking about the same amount of pictures we are taking over here. And then I mean look at ARO and then I go find out what we’re not selling or if we’re not writing the correct on pictures, I will go find it and I will know because I’ve told you guys this before, my main goal with our inspection is make it so well that the customer doesn’t have to Google anything.
I want it to make perfect sense right there on that inspection in layman terms so they know exactly what’s going on with it. I don’t want them to even have to touch Google. So if the service advisor just puts a arrow, it doesn’t put what that picture is or what it means, they’re going to hear about it from me. So they already know. And that whole thing where the notes automatically pop up on the while you’re editing the inspection is totally magical for us as when we edit the inspections and I know the advisors love it. I’m like, guys, you only got to write it a couple times or differently and it’ll always pop up for you. So it makes us very efficient and they know and they see the buy-in factor too because I’m like, go show someone, go show your mom this inspection and show her this picture and have her explain to you what it means. Just because you know exactly what’s going on with it doesn’t mean they do. Even someone that knows a thing or two about cars, they might not know what is in that picture or what it means. So huge one for me is making sure pictures are edited properly.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (48:40):
Thank you. Jeremy, when do you do your audit and what do you look at?
Jeremy Neff (48:47):
I usually do audits when we get busy.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (48:53):
So that’s every week now, right? Or every day?
Jeremy Neff (48:56):
Yeah, we’re crazy busy now. Yeah, so unfortunately the last few times the audits are done after the inspection’s been sent and the job’s been done and I actually started QCing. A lot of the vehicles, when we get busy, a lot of times the techs don’t have time to qc. So when I go out there and QC or before I do, I look at the inspection, look at everything, and then I go out there and if I see something that should have been failed on the inspection because we’re not perfect and I got two new set of eyes on it where I’m not looking at vehicles all day every day and they are, it’s really easy to miss stuff. Just I have my phone on me and I have the AutoVitals app on my phone and I just snap the picture and then I’d go into my office, double check, make sure that it’s on there.
If it’s not, I send it in the chat, in the vehicle, chat to the technician, which also has the service writer in it. So the service writer knows it’s not done yet and we need to have it sent back to miss the QC or spots for the technician to take care of. We’ve been doing that a lot the last few weeks, but I’m really random. I’m terrible about doing audits on everything, but when I do, I find the same stuff everybody else probably finds nobody’s perfect. And then I always think of it as two new set size looking at it where I’m not looking at it all day every day and I actually let go, let a service advisor go because I kept telling em and telling em, telling ’em, telling em and actually reprimanded him and he wasn’t getting it so I had to let him go. But audits basically hold the whole team to the standard that you set. That’s how I feel.
Bill Connor (50:47):
We got about seven minutes left, so I wanted to see if we could go ahead and get a top three things that each one of these would recommend a listener to do when it comes to multiple inspections, unless you had something else that you wanted to try and sneak in there.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (51:03):
Oh, I have plenty. It’s getting interesting, but yes, you’re right. I’m sorry. Let’s really wrap it up and would say if you had to tell a group of shop owners who are trying to change their ways and setting up a good set of inspection sheets, what are the top three things they should look for? Who wants to stop?
Brittany Schindler (51:34):
I would look for areas of where you’re slow or not as efficient and talk about it with your team. Like, Hey guys, what areas need to be worked on? Where can we be faster? So we always talk about efficiency, right? Again. So I think that would be a good start to talk about with the team.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (51:53):
And do you feel it’s too difficult in the beginning to branch from one inspection sheet to 15 because it’s just overwhelming the team? Would you go slow or would you just do a thorough and then sit down with the team and say, we need one vehicle out inspection and here are the inspections we’re going to sell off of it?
Brittany Schindler (52:18):
I mean, if they’re already comfortable using AutoVitals and they know the layout of it, I would say make as many as you want. And then when that time comes to use it, then at that time you could probably narrow down even better and make it faster. So if you want all those extra inspections and you’re down for it, make ’em, it’s going to take a while to make ’em. It is. It’s going to take a while to make ’em, make ’em to the best of your ability, make ’em with your team at team lunch meetings or whatever. And then again, when they’re actually being used, that’s when you can more fine tune it.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (52:52):
Thank you. But let me sneak in a question from the qa. Tracy is asking, what about mandatory state inspections? We haven’t covered that yet, so it’s a little off topic, but
John Herring (53:07):
I don’t have state inspections in Arizona, so I can’t answer that.
Brittany Schindler (53:13):
We don’t either. I’m sure it would work just fine though.
Bill Connor (53:18):
I can share some inspection sheets that I’ve helped shop set up and what they do is they go ahead and set up a inline inspection sheet, so to say that’s in the exact same order that they would input the data in their inspection machine and then each of them just has a pass fail on it so that way they’re getting it. And then on the last topic that’s on there, it basically points out that this is a state inspection only. We have not done our vehicle health inspection. And it explains to them why it is and invites them to come back and get it done. So that inspection sheet is just focused on the state inspection only as a way to gather the data and input it right directly into the inspection sheet. And I know in Texas, for example, shops that have went to doing that, they actually like it because in the past they would go ahead and get an inspection technician, go ahead and say that here, I’ve got a vehicle here that you didn’t check the power steering level, therefore I’m going to go ahead and write you this ticket. And now they can go back and they can pull up that and they can show, yes, we did go and inspect the power steering level and here’s the picture of it. So again, different states have different things. They don’t typically want you to inspect the whole vehicle, but if you’re using it for a data input form and proof that you did set inspection, then that’s a good way to look at it. Also,
Uwe Kleinschmidt (54:39):
Tracy, if this makes sense, Jeremy, give me one second because we are running out of time. That’s why I’m trying. Tracy, if you were in a Facebook forum, would you mind asking that question there again? Then we can attach some examples because Bill explained it very well in detail, but if we could add a visual to it, that would be probably even better. Jeremy, go ahead.
Bill Connor (55:07):
Maybe we can have somebody that use it to share theirs from the library.
Jeremy Neff (55:12):
Yeah, so the three takeaways include your team when you’re building it, build it for efficiency and flow of the inspection. Start on the bottom, put it in the rack, put it in there, and then check everything underneath and then really hammer home the importance of the inspection to your team. I’m still having problems with that if I’m honest. They understand it. There’s just certain points that I like different. So they’re kind of thinking of the vehicles they’re looking at as their own. If they got fogged headlights or something like that, you just document it and let ’em know that they need to look at it in the future or they might not even know until they turn on at night and forget about it. They said, oh crap, they said I need new headlights and this is why I can’t see anything. But yeah, team buy-in efficiency and then explain the importance to customers and the team
Uwe Kleinschmidt (56:12):
And the importance is mostly prepared in a drop off script to the motorist. That’s the key. The motorist spend some time even if it’s just an oil change or an engine light or it does not matter.
John Herring (56:31):
Bill Connor (56:34):
Thank you very much. Get his top three in there really quick.
John Herring (56:38):
Yes, me?
Bill Connor (56:40):
John Herring (56:41):
No, I don’t have, I guess my only thing would be is if shop owners really took it serious in building multiple inspection sheets. I think it just takes their business to the next level in the organization of the whole company starts to stand out as something different from the competition that we are all surrounded by buy, so do more inspections, you’ll be a better shop.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (57:08):
Very cool. This is the perfect closing statement for this episode
Bill Connor (57:15):
And I’m sure we can go ahead and maybe count on these guys to come back and visit us on some more topics related to this because it goes on as far as ways you can use these tools to go ahead and educate the consumer, which is what we’re really after is educating them to the point where they’re coming up to us and just asking how much and when can you get the doggone thing done. So that brings us to the end here, Uwe. I’d like to go ahead and invite everybody to go ahead and [email protected] slash radio and join us live. We’ve had lots of questions come in today and that’s great. We did our best to go ahead and answer as many as we can. If not, if you’ll go ahead and go to the Facebook forum and then continue to discussion there. These folks here have participated in the forum in the past and I’m sure they’ll do so again. And I like to go ahead and wish everybody a great day and let you know to go out and wow your customers and make some money in the process. And thank you guys. You guys have been great. Lots of great information and we certainly appreciate it. Thank
John Herring (58:15):
You. Thank you.

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