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Episode Description

In this episode of The Digital Shop Talk Radio show, we welcome Jill Trotta from RepairPal to talk about how to use transparency to attract digital consumers. We cover topics including:

  • Why consumers crave price transparency in the digital age
  • Best practices when discussing price with potential customers
  • How RepairPal and AutoVitals’ digital tools make it easy to establish trust with customers
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Episode Transcript

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

Good morning and good afternoon, welcome to this week’s edition of the Digital Shop Talk Radio. I’m Tom Dorsey, and today I’ve got a great guest with us, Jill Trotta from RepairPal. And we’re going to be talking about transparency, price transparency. You know at all the why we talk a lot about transparency through our inspection program. And today we’re going to talk a little bit about the other side of that coin. And that’s getting traction from the motorists and just setting the expectations in managing those expectations of the digital consumer. So without further ado, welcome, Jill Trotta. Great to have you on. It’s great to be here. Tom, Thanks for inviting me. I’m really excited. You know, I’ve known you for a long time. You know, not to you know, you got to walk a tightrope when you have female guests on and you’re talking about time in the industry. But how about I let you just introduce us to yourself, introduce yourself to the audience, you know, your background. How and how did you get with repairpal? Why did you choose repairpal? Yeah so I haven’t been in the industry for. Like 28 years, I think, since I was like 10. Yeah, I grew up. Yeah, yeah, I grew up in it actually. I did kind of grew up in the industry. My uncle owned an auto shop and spent a lot of time with me. I had a big old Volkswagen Bug and instead of fixing it for me, he gave me an idiot’s guide and told me if I wanted him to fix it, I had to pay him or he would help me fix it. So that’s kind of how I got into it. And I went to trade school. I’ve been a technician. I’ve worked both on the dealer side, in the independent side, and I was a part of a group that we opened a shop and ran that for quite a few years. I left that had a not so great business partnership. I left that and went back into the industry and worked for many for a little bit. And then I kind of decided I wanted out of the industry and was on my and to not you know, I’ve been at it for so long, even though I have a college degree in recreational therapy, totally unrelated, you know, it’s what I know. So I’d actually was going to take a job with Herbert, Herbert Hertz, Avis Budget rental car, really, and manage their fleet at San Francisco airport. So that was kind of my segue out of the day to day auto industry, but I wasn’t super happy with that. So I was just kind of cruising around and I found an ad on the internet and this was eight years ago and it said, are you an AC certified master technician who wants to do something different? And I am. And I did so in that ad was repairpal. And at the time repairpal only had I think it was employee number 12. Now we have about six to over 60. And I joined, there was 100 shops and our certified network, and it was my job to build the processes and lead the scaling of the network. And now we’re approaching 2,700 jobs and now I lead sales and still our certification program, you know, and that’s fantastic. And, you know, because it, it’s been an interesting journey, I’m sure. And we’re going to dig right into that because I’m really curious about how it’s evolved over time. And it’s almost as if you guys started out kind of behind the eight ball. You know, I remember back back when you guys were the big thing when you came out was that like, oh, nine, something like that. Yeah so the estimator has been out since 2007. I joined in 2013 and. Yeah, you know, the estimate, it was out for a while. And that was going OK. And then our new CEO came in and he launched the certified shot program, which is our bread and butter. Now our estimator is our crown jewel. We’re constantly working on that. I actually lead the effort with the estimate. And, you know, it’s gone. Well, it’s been crazy eight years. And like you said, when we first came out, people like hated, as I always say, that when we would go to trade shows in the beginning and that for some reason I was became one of the lead trade show people who would not talk to us and people would go out to dinner with us, like we wouldn’t even go out to dinner, even if we did. And then, you know, it evolved to where people would let us take them out to dinner. And now when we go to trade shows, we have a lot of people and big partners who want to meet and talk with us and now people buy us dinner. So, you know, that’s kind of amazing evolution. Yeah, ornamentals is the same way. I mean, we is like we were lepers or something. And we were pariah in the beginning. And, you know, Obama loves to tell a funny story. And we were, you know, approaching etai and he got to talk to chubbie. And I think he might even been at a super conference. But as you know, kind of like as a guest, maybe not. Definitely not. Yeah, right. At that time. And you comes up, he’s excited that here’s what we do. And he says, well, how many shows you how about a handful of the last 100. Call me when you got 2,500. Right and just boom, shut them down. Well it was about a year later, he was you know, and here we are in it. And it was such a kind of a difficult grind almost where you get out there and you know, from when you’re actually at the trade show, you know, and he looks and he gosh, it’s kind of it really weighs on you. But tell me, you know, I’m more interested to tell me about what is the solution that you would say that you’re providing. What’s your mission statement? What’s the main goal in and solution that you’re looking to provide specifically to independents? Yeah so our mission statement is we’re for consumers in the. And in their car, but we’re also four shops who are for those consumers and, you know, there’s a lot of products out there and they’re totally based on like bidding in a race to the bottom. And we are not doing that with our estimate. Or if you’ve ever looked at our estimate or like our goal is to create a level playing field for shops and consumers where they can interact to create a marketplace, where they can interact, and where consumers feel that they are getting a fair price and where shops feel like they’re able to charge a fair price. So if you compare our estimates to other estimates, we’re generally higher. And that’s because we have an internal team of automotive professionals that we’re constantly looking over the estimates because our network, you have to qualify to be a part of our network. So those shops have to make all the capital investments in training and tools and equipment. And if they’re know, once they’ve made those investments, they’re able to provide a bigger suite of repairs and their fixed rate first time is going to be much higher because they’ve made those investments were for those shops. And we realize those investments are expensive. And if you can’t charge a good amount for your labor and for your parts and make money, then those shops are not going to exist anymore. So so that’s you know, there’s a lot to kind of unpack there, because as part of that is when you first came out in the estimator first came out in, a lot of people said, hey, you know, and as a matter of fact, and I don’t know if it was kind of deserved or how it got hung around your neck, but actually, I think the first perceptions in the market was that, you know, repairpal is saying that we’re ripping off the consumer. Write the prices are too high and that they need this service. And so it was almost like whether it was intentional or not, I doubt it was because that’s a hard place to start, is to say that it was almost the consumer versus the shop. And then but you need the shops to get on to the system. So so that’s why I’m saying it’s almost as if you sort it out right behind you. How did you overcome that? Because I know you’ve been working hard in those seven, eight years to kind of overcome that. And if and now when you talk to folks, there’s like people who get it right and you have consistently generation for those folks. And then there’s folks that are still kind of no, you know, I wouldn’t go near them with a 10 foot pole. Yeah, Yeah. And I mean, it’s definitely there’s two sides to that. There’s shops who love us. We do a lot of value delivery for them. We provide them with a good platform to talk to have the price conversation with their customers without committing to a price. We provide a range and we provide a lot of additional educational content. So that the consumer can learn about the repair. And most often the information that we provide is going to mirror what the shop owner is going to say. So it provides a level of credibility that unfortunately is needed in this industry. You know, I was recently on another I was talking with the bogy from our Girls Garage here. Yeah, it was fun. I was on her podcast and a lot of the issues in the industry, there’s a few bad apples who are creative, who create that environment. And unfortunately, that spreads. And what I found and what I know is that most shop owners are not like that. They are hardworking people who want to help people. So we kind of provide a platform in a way for them to kind of bridge that initial trust gap, because, you know, in that, you know, we have a lot of parallels, right? Because in the digital inspection space, it was one of those things where initially it was kind of seen as a gimmick or, you know, I’ve been doing this or I don’t need this or if I need pictures, you know, because it’s just pictures. Yeah, I have a phone, you know, or as more phones started to develop cameras. Right because we’ve been around a while, too. Yeah and so but but the funny thing is, is that now just the way that the digital consumer is evolving, there’s no place to hide. Right there is nowhere to hide. And in and it’s some folks you got to drag them kicking and screaming to this realization and then they can adopt it and leverage it and profit from it. Other folks will resist it. And you always have that segment across. You know, I love this job and I’m not even a kid. And I have a friend, childhood friend, still never been on the internet, still has a pager. Why? because I don’t know. It’s important, but he has a place there. I mean, I imagine doctors have pagers. So imagine how he got the service. I’ve never even heard of it. But he has a pager, so, you know, and he’s just one he’s just one of those guys. He’s a laggard or whatever. You know, the marketing term is for him. But but but so as you see that evolution, right, as people start to get that realization and I’m sure that success breeds more success and you have some folks to brag about. But what is the big challenge for you and how are you? What is your strategy around overcoming that is to say, look, this is an inevitable thing that the digital consumer demands is they’re going to get the information one way or the other. That’s the thing. You can’t hide the internet. Hello So. So how do you marry those two together to say to somebody, not only do we have success here, but this is an inevitable thing. And, you know, you should probably start getting used to it and building a foundation using these tools now so that you’re not under the bus later. Yep I mean, we do a lot of education around it. I talk a lot about it. We recently did I was at one of your digital conferences and talking about price transparency because it exists everywhere now and it particularly exists. Our data shows that about 80% of auto consumers are checking prices online before they come into the shop and they’re checking prices, and they’re calling you on the phone and they’re asking you the price. Well, they’re looking at it. So resist. It’s out there so you can resist it and you could not like it and you could do all those things. But it is in your best interest to at least educate yourself about what estimates are out there, how they’re built and be able to have that conversation with the consumer. I went into shop groups and training. And one of my first questions that I asked them to ask the consumer is, did you get a price online and where did you get that price? So that way the person or the service advisor knows where that information is coming from. And then if they’ve educated themselves, they’ll know how those estimates were built. Our estimate is built on the same data that shop owners have access to it. It’s not different. We apply some different formulas to them. We formulate labor rates by zip code, not by region. A lot of the estimates out there, they just cut the US into different regions and then they apply labor rates. And you know that that doesn’t work like I’m in Oakland and labor in Oakland is $20 an hour less than San Francisco, which is only 12 miles away. We have areas in New Jersey where the river goes through. One side of the river is $20.30 dollars difference and liberate from one side of the river to the next. So we realize that early on in built models and algorithms and we’re recently creating a new labor model. So we’re constantly looking at it and trying to figure out how the best way to display that is for shop so that it’s fair for shops and for consumers as well. And so and that’s a lot of feedback from the actual shop owners and the consumer as well right now. What’s what’s your process for collecting that survey? I mean, how does that work? I mean, so we have 2,700 shops now, so we get labourites from them and then a regional price parity. We look at different areas like what the cost of living is, how much text are getting paid, how much rent per square foot. And we take all those things into consideration when you’re creating elaborate, because my goal is to have our library not only be what shops are charging, but what they should be charging. And a lot of our data shows that our labor rates are fair, but they could probably be higher. So we’re in the process right now of creating a model that will support that. So, you know, and one of the things that I think, you know, scared a lot of people away, at least initially, was, you know, and this was the scuttlebutt, right? The rumor that was around. And and that would be that, hey, you know what? They’re kind of letting anybody in. And you got shady guys in there and they’re just driving the price down. There’s no way that I can compete at that price that they’re putting on there. How do you vet that? Is there limitations to the size of annual revenue? I mean, how do you make sure that you’re kind of grouping like with like so that were supporting the price point versus undercutting it? Well, one of the things my certification team does is when we get the labor rate from the shop, we run it and we look to see like is it in the range? And we find that a lot of the shops are under the range. So, you know, and they’re like, oh, great, I’m going to be under your range and it’s like, that’s not great, that hurts the industry, because if you bring a shopping cart into your shop at a low labor rate and you’re not going to make money, the only way you’re going to make money is to sell things. And that puts you in a really bad position. So if we want leverage to be fair in every shop, we do not let anybody into our network. You have to have current training. You have to have a computerized shop management system. You have to have good customer service scores. We check all those things and we don’t let shops in who don’t? Everybody that’s on the same criteria. So even when we work with large groups, those jobs are vetted individually. So if we have 100 shops that want to come in from a particular group. I can guarantee you hundreds of those shops are not going to get in and we’re going to go through and individually, just like we would any other mom and pop store or multi unit, they’re all vetted the same. And they. And and we constantly monitor if problems come up with shocks, our number one reason for attrition in our network is removal is we remove them. We have an internal partner support team who, you know, they act as you they’re like the peacemaker. So they fit in between the shot our partners, which could be a tow company and extended warranty company, a telematics provider and the consumer. So if any of these entities has a problem, they can call into our internal support team who will out the problem. And if it’s a problem with a consumer, then we’ll let the consumer know that the shop was being fair. If it’s a problem with a shop, we will take care of that problem and then cancel the shop and possibly remove the shop. If it’s a problem with the partner, then we’ll re-evaluate that partnership. If it’s something that should be a part of our network, that is it adding value to our shops? So so let me and actually we’ve got a question from Dennis hetson along the same lines. And that’s to say, you know, we’re talking about consumer transparency, but is there transparency between the individual shops in the network? Is there a way to see and not maybe directly exact down to the penny, but a range of labor rates with the other shops you group them? Have you thought about maybe doing it? You know, these are randomized, not in your zip code, but same size of shop, in the same demographic, Random House costs and all that stuff, average income, whatever it is to say. Here’s some ranges of labor rates to give some of that price transparency back to the shops as well. So that’s confidential information. So we don’t display other shops, labor rates. But if you want to know what our labor is for your area, if you go on to repair belgacom, put in your make model, your zip code and a type of car, and type in general diagnosis, it’ll tell you what a one hour labor rate is. And if you switch between, like BMW, Acura, Honda and GM product or a Ford product, it will give you the labor specific to the model. Oh, very interesting. BMW, European is going to be higher than Japanese. Yeah, course, you know, so that we take that into consideration as well. But we don’t share shop’s data with other shops. We do. When you apply to be a part of our network, we have reporting that we send out. So it shows you how your shop lines up. We’re in the process of revamping that right now. So we should have that relaunch. We did it for a while and then we’ve been rethinking it and we’re relaunching it probably in the first quarter of next year. So you’ll be able to see how your shop lines up in terms of training, in terms of your customer service, in terms of your tooling with the other shops in our network, not in specific areas, because, you know, there’s a lot of data sensitivity. So we don’t share that information from shop to shop. Yeah, of course. You know, but but let’s talk about this. So so. You know, if I’m going to get a contract, if I’m going to get into the system and I expect, you know, I’ve got some leads coming in, you know, it’s really at the end of the day, you can make the phone ring or should be making the phone ring at least more than it is now, because, I mean, this is what we do. Right and so but it’s still up to me to convert. Right and so in a lot of times, I have to have some wiggle room inside of there, too, because and it’s like anything else. And one of the things I think that people initially would be afraid of jail was to say, well, gosh, you know, you get these guys and they’re going to underbid this thing. And then they get in and they pull it all apart and then they go, well, guess what? We found all this other stuff. And now, you know, my estimate is way higher than it would have been if you went to the other guy down the road. How how do you help set and manage those expectations with folks? How do you. What if they have fees additional like for inspection, for digital inspection? I charge for or my diag services. They can go 1 to 10 hours, depending on what they said. Yeah, a lot of that is up to the shop. So in terms of diag, we do provide a one hour diagnosis. I have to look where we’re I think there’s some verbiage in there that we should say that like this is for one hour, it could take longer, you know, and we spend a lot of time in the estimator just making sure that we’re educating consumers. So, like, in terms of like a water pump, there’s a bunch that are done right now. But like, you can put in water pump and then you can say add timing, add the attention hours, you can add different things. You kind of show the consumer that so you can play with the meter in different ways. And we’re really working on some additional functionality in the next year. So we’ll be able to make it better and we’re always taking feedback. If you have feedback about our estimate or email me at Gillette, repairpal comes right to me. And I am the product on over the estimator so I work with the product team to talk about. Like this is what people are saying and it’s Michael. I’m part of the industry. I came out of the industry. I’m not just like some tech person who works at a tech company like I care about what happens, and I get people. Yeah, no, no, but but that’s not like my background, like we said meetings. And they say, like, you know, one of the big ones was in the beginning they would talk about APIs. And I’m like, what to do with that? Even if so, I would sit-in meetings and Google terms because I’m an automotive person. I’m not a tech person. Now, I know a lot of these things because I’ve been here long enough, but it is a goal to make it a good tool. One of the other things, if you’re repairpal certified shop, we guarantee it. If it’s wrong, we’ll pay you the difference. You charge the consumer and you provide them with the good customer service experience. You you know, you charge them the top of the estimator you submit to us estimate feedback at repairpal and we do an evaluation of it and we pay the difference. And then we submit the updates to our data providers who then provide the update for the next quarterly release. So it’s motor. We use motor data for our time. So then we submit that to motor and motor, then evaluates it and they make changes. So it’s kind of it’s a win-win. It’s a systemic fix. So like, give you your remains the whole time is wrong. Then motor gets that information that we had to pay a claim on it, you know, and some of them some of the claims are a couple of thousand dollars. Our average claim is in the $150 range. It’s not that much, but to a little shop, that’s a lot. And that’s our way of saying thank you for pointing this out because we’ll fix it. Yeah and so really what you’re saying is help us. Help you. Write the more that they interact with your feedback and comment and the better and more accurate you can make it because consumers are using it, whether you like it or not, they’re out there. We look at prices on everything. I mean, I know, you know, how much stuff costs now before you walk in somewhere because you’ve probably googled and looked around and tried to find the best price that all the reviews and all the reviews and everything. But then something happens. After you’ve built the relationship with the consumer, they probably won’t check. They there’s businesses that I use that I don’t think twice about it. And after you’ve created that report. With your customer, they’re not going to think twice about it either, and they’re probably not going to use the estimate anymore. But for the first couple of interactions, it’s like when you’re dating, you don’t go full hog. Some people do, but you shouldn’t bet that person a bit before you let them get close enough that close to you. And that’s kind of like the estimate are like people are going to use it. The first couple of times. And then after that, that’s your customer. Yeah, and that’s really in me, most people and, you know, that’s so funny, that’s the other thing. And I you know, we talk about this a lot, right, is that digital consumers are conditioned, you know, they’re conditioned to have that information right at their fingertips and have that transparency. And if they can’t find it, they won’t continue to look. They’ll find somebody who does provide it. Yeah, there they go. You know, you might as well be in Siberia because they’re not because they’re not going to. Yeah, they’re not going to done and but but now if you have that and now the next test is did you stick to it was a fair did I get my value? Was it as expected? And once that happens now, I’m never going to change that again. And I don’t want to deal with that in my digital life. I just want to be able to hit a button on an app and say, oh, I’m going to drop my car off or come pick it up or whatever it is. And I know it’s going to be this range. Is that expensive? Is that cheap? I don’t know. But it works and it’s what I can afford and it’s convenient and all of those good things for me. And I just keep doing it over and over and over again forever, really. You have to work hard to kind of mess up that relationship with the digital consumer once you’ve built that trust with. Yeah, Yeah. And you know, like I like those I like the platforms because they do provide transparency. We provide it like up front. And then when it’s it, it’s a good fit because it’s transparency from end to end transparency. And that’s important for people these days. And one of the other things that we found is that 40% of the consumers check the price after they’ve already authorized it. So they’ve authorized it. And then they’re like, oh, I should go check. You probably already have that car on your rack and they may or may not say something to you. They might just be like, wow, this person is not charging me a fair price and I’m not going to say anything because I’m kind of timid, but I’m certainly not going to go back. But I’m glad I could not even be the case. It could just be a simple you know, you had to do, you know, like in the case of maybe about a cover gasket, they look it up and it says valve cover gasket. Well, you’re doing the one side that has the intake over it. So it’s not three hours. It’s six hours. You know, and not having if you don’t know, if you’re not super aware of what’s going on in the world, does our estimation online, like you could get caught in that and lose consumers needlessly? Yeah Yeah. And, you know, on the other side of that is too, is a lot of times folks get that information wherever they get it from, it’s best if they get it from a trusted source or the show of their educational information online. But they’re going to get the information and then they come up and test you or they check in test. Right and they already know they are or what they’re doing out there is. But they’re going to. And then that’s how they make that judgment on you. And so so let’s talk, you know, because, you know, I’m just going to Pose this, Jill, because I can and you’re on my show. So I was thinking, you know, wouldn’t really make that estimate are awesome is if it had digital assets from inspections with, you know, kind of a percentage behind it that says, you know. 75% of 06 Honda Civics need this water pump job done. Here’s what it looks like visually and pictures and what to expect from a sports perspective and then give a range. And so I could see where the digital inspection assets would really, I think, tie into the educational and the information experience that your consumers that rely on your tool, because that’s really what I’m sure when somebody starts using repairpal from a consumer perspective, they always use repairpal. They’re like yelpers almost, right? Yeah, exactly. And we have actually talked about that. And that is one of the things that I did talk to my product people about is including some sort of video and a better explanation, because right now we have a repair encyclopedia and it’s a lot of pictures and things. But like a good video explanation, a good picture, actual pictures of what the repair is would be really helpful. So, you know, we are constantly upgrading the estimate and I wouldn’t be surprised if those types of pictures and videos started to appear on our site. Well, if you look up, I should talk about that. We should talk about that. So if you’re some guys that have that. Yeah, I know where you can find some stuff. Yeah Yeah. But you know what I think? Because that really is the evolution. And as a lot of this us as providers to this industry, a lot of this stuff really starts to consolidate. It’s inevitable. Everything is consolidating. Right eventually, you know, Google glasses was just. A little too early and you probably need the glasses, it’ll just be an implant at some point, but but everything will cross-reference right at some point in the future, especially with the big data and just the way things are starting to evolve. And it’s really important, I think, that there are those, you know, cross-functional beneficial type services that are layered in there. And not only, again, I think the currency. Right of the digital age is transparency. It really is. It is. And it helps you to be transparent. It helps us to be transparent. It helps get that message out there. But most importantly, it helps that shop to then really overcome that stigma of all. You know, they’re just going to get me in there and try to sell me stuff that I need to. Hey, this person, this automotive repair shop owner in this team of people have of professionals in that shop are just as critical as my doctor, my dentist or anybody else providing me professor, my lawyer, providing professional services. And you would never think that, you know, you’re going to go to the doctor. They’re going try to sell you on a knee replacement or so. No, you know what you can. Nobody ever questions like, are you doing too much work because you’re trying to build me? Nobody ever says that. But they say it out there all the time. And, you know, your car does need things like to be safe and to be reliable and to have value and to have resale value. Right Yeah. Like, do you ever want to, like, not have that car or do you want to keep it out of the junkyard like there? Nobody questions the doctor when they say that. I do question my dentist now, Dennis. Like the kind like that. Yeah those dentists and just getting married today and it’s out there. I was just a joke. So let’s talk a little bit about how you work with warrantees and where kind of sources of bylines come from. Actually, we have a question kind of number he’s asking for. I might even be a little personal plug there, but he kind of I applaud your courage. He’s saying, well, course you’ll become a part of the repairpal family of warranty companies. And if you could, you’ll talk to us a little bit about how you collect leads for shops. Yeah, I actually we have over 40 partners and I believe karshi might be one of our partners. I’d have to verify that. But we have extended warranty providers. We have two providers. We’re heavily into the telematics space and also which is more recent in the last couple of months. It’s one of our big wins and things we celebrate from 2020 is that when you go into Consumer Reports and you look at their certified jobs, those are repairpal certified jobs. They’ve used our estimates for a long time, but they’ve had issues in the past, obviously with missing big networks of shops. They’ve thoroughly vetted us. And the our shops are listed as Consumer Reports certified shops. So that’s a way we drive leads. Carmax, they highly encourage anybody who buys a car from CarMax to use repairpal certified shops. And in the terms of their Carmex max care warranty, they reduce the deductible. $50 in most states. I don’t think Washington and Oregon may have some more. Why? you can’t do that. They don’t do their bit nationwide. So we drive leads through that channel through all the other extended warranty providers that we work with, through a general who is the largest tow her behind AAA. If you break down in an area you don’t know where to take your car, they will tow it to a repair panel certified shop. The consumer might not even know that to repair certified shop. It’s just one of the shops that are jero will tow it to Verizon. Hum we are the back end behind Verizon. Hum so they, they, they have a dongle but they’re also making an app to monitor your car. And we, our shops are listed in Verizon hum as the shops to take your car to. So Verizon customer biggest cell phone company in the US. Check engine light comes on. Where do I take my car. We’re built into the USA, a owners app. You know, you go through there, you have your insurance, you have your car loan, you have where to get my car repaired. Those are repairpal certified shops. So that is our partner channel. And that is the thing that quite honestly drives the most value, though the value from that channel, the average repair order, somewhere between 7 and 900. So it’s not it’s made the major repairs, it’s not a lot of maintenance, then we have to repair pellekaan during normal times. Repair bill dotcom gets about six million visitors a month during covid times, we’ve been getting about four. But the interesting thing is our conversion rate has remained the same. So even though we have less visitors, we have the same, if not higher conversion of those visitors to our site. And consumers come on to get the information. They give an estimate, they call a shop. We deliver it like nine to 12 leads from that amount per shop. On average, some areas get a lot more. Fortunately, some areas get a lot less. If you’re in an urban area, you’re going to get a lot more. If you’re in a rural area, you get less. And one of the big differentiating factors between us and some other lead platforms that are similar but not the same is our value, our own values between $500 and $600 through that channel. So we’re not sending you Groupon oil changes. We’re not sending in discounted work. We do not have any partners that require a discount. That’s one of our things. Early on, we partner with AARP and they required a discount and that didn’t play very well with our network. So, well, you do have to pay us on the back end. Once that customer becomes your customer, they’re not going to be a customer that’s going to ask you for 10% every time. Like, you know, once they become your customer, then and then if they come back to you directly, not through partner channels, that’s your customer. So you can’t just look at it with the upfront cost of retaining that of acquiring that customer. It’s like, what’s the lifetime value of that customer? And that’s what we send. We send, you know, repairs, actual repairs, not oil changes, not maintenance, not things like that. I can’t say that that will never come through. But that is not that’s not the focus of our site. That’s not how it was built. You know, at the same time, you know what? Hey, look, I think the bread and butter. Yeah repairers, they really help inject revenue. And it’s great for the bottom line, all that stuff. We want lots of good repair, but vehicles are just becoming more and more reliable. And it really you got to get the service industry done. Nothing wrong with doing service, right? There’s nothing there to you. No service is great. And, you know, and it’s like you said, it leads a lead. And if I can get somebody in the door, even if it is a lower level service, but then knock them out with my customer service and know everything about my awesome espresso, whatever it is. I mean, that’s that then when you have that, you know, that customer for life or as long as you get after you do like their water pump, like they’re going to need me eventually and they might even need maintenance when they’re in your shop. And then you have the opportunity to tell them that as well. And so. And so how do you position that? What what is your strategy behind that and differentiating? You know, Yeah. It sounds like your vision for the lawmakers right here. You run your baked deep and you’re looking for those big ticket repairs and everybody, you know, that makes the lights blink on the slot machine. But but what pays the bills is those bread and butter type of services. How do you differentiate and how do you attract those as well and feed those off to your shops? So, you know, a lot of what comes to our partner channels is repairs, that that’s what comes through our site. We have over three million pages of content on our site and we own, I’d venture to say, millions of search terms. So I call it internet magic because that is not my core competency and how well that happens. I just know that the amount of investment into the amount of content on our site to attract that. If you do some search for repairs in certain areas, if we have shops in those areas will come up in the top search terms for those areas, organic search terms, not paid search and so on. Those are key words. These are all repair in service specifically. Oh, Yeah. And so you’re able to attract those as well. Now, let me ask you this. So let’s see, is there a way for me to reject, you know, a type of service or a listing or if something comes up as the average price is just too low? Hey, in these other areas, I’m all about it. And that’s in my wheel over here. Not so much can I go through. And and let’s say you pick and choose what services or repairs that I want to be listed for yet every our partner. Programs are all alucard, so say the gentleman who brought up cartwheeled, suppose you have like have had some go rounds with that extended warranty company and you don’t want to work anywhere near your shop. You just tell us when we turn off that partner for you so you can go through and say that you really don’t like telematics for whatever reason. That would be you could turn off that whole category, you could turn off individually. The extended warranty companies who are the extended warranty companies you don’t like to work with? One of our partners is also a simple tire and simple tire ships, tires to independent shops. And if the amount that. The amount to mountain balance satire, if it’s too low for your shop, then don’t sign up for that partnership and you won’t get that work. So you’re able to go in and pick and choose what you want. And the good thing about our partners, too, it’s all pay for performance. You do have to pay a 10% fee for the work we send you. But if we don’t send you anything, you don’t pay anything. And if we send you work, say you have work like tires or a transmission or something, that you really didn’t get your margin on it. And so paying us the 10% really makes it so you can make any money on the job. Then you can call into our account management. You have a dedicated account manager and they know they know that there are specific jobs, batteries, tires, you know, high value like engines, transmissions where you’re not going to make your normal margins on those jobs. So paying a referral fee for that job is really not cool. Don’t work with you on that country. And so, you know, and actually Kenneth said that he looked in that car sheild isn’t in there. So is there how do folks submit requests to do business with you could submit him to get them to our business development director, our VP of business development. He he he’s all over. He talks to all the different car companies from insurance to then awards to tow providers, to fleet providers to he he’s in there constantly looking for the best partnerships for our shops. And one of the things, too, is that we really let our partners like we vet our shots. So there are partnerships that we’ve walked away from because we don’t feel like what they’re doing is in the best interests of shops and is in good practice what we would consider a good practice, something that we would want to have our name on. Yeah, well, out of it, really, if you’ve done a great work job because, you know, like I said back, I remember 10 years ago it was I wouldn’t want to be wouldn’t want to be in those board meetings. But you yeah, I know exactly what it is. And the media wasn’t your friend. I mean, were digging holes for you, it seemed like. Oh Yeah. It was like I would go to I got to where, you know, I’ve developed some thick skin over the years, especially being like the public facing kind of person who’s done most of the trade shows. And showed up on panels and talked about it. But, you know, it’s just the message is evolving and it’s really been powerful to see it go from everybody hated us to at least people have an understanding now of what we’re trying to do. And we’re delivering really good value to a lot of shops. You know, we’re not great in every area. If you’re very rural, then probably not a good fit. But if you’re near a major metro, if you’re near a carmax, if you’re near a military base or, you know, it’s worth giving us a try. You know, we have good deals out there, especially right now. Really good deals out there to get in to get you in our network. We have high density areas or high need areas that if you’re in those areas, if anybody is outside of Seattle, near pulau, you’re not set up. If you’re near like I forget what the name of this I have trouble saying. It’s like polu up Washington. We need shops there. We have value for you. It’s just, you know, it’s evolved. And I feel really proud about it. Like it’s. You know, I’m proud to be a part of it, and I’ve been in the industry for over 25 years. So it’s so I’ve got a couple of questions also in from John Canning, Nick morabito, have a couple of questions and want to address. He’s a little bit worried. How do folks, if they have, you know, some support type questions or and I’ll be specific in John’s case, he’s got folks that are coming back four or five times, are still getting the 10% How do they submit that? How do they, you know, bring that? There should be if you’re a repair shop, you should have a dashboard. And there’s a place to submit a case through your dashboard to ask for that, anything that comes in. So there’s a big controversy and a lot of talk in the industry and in all industries, really, about who actually owns that customer. So when you’re talking about partner programs, as long as those customers now listen to me, as long as those customers come back into the partner channels, there will be the 10% Well, that’s interesting now. So if they come through Carmex and they broke through Carmex, you will always be charged that 10% because that is Carmex customer. They’re using Carmex to come into your shop. Yeah, that’s kind of like, I guess, how, you know, the restaurants get it with the DoorDash or something, right? I mean, I can call, but if you walk directly into that restaurant, then you don’t pay those fees. Right? right. And so that’s interesting. And so then and so if I read between the lines of what you’re saying is, is that I need to set some expectations maybe at the next visit to say maybe even incentivize. Hey, you know, here’s a little 10% of you call me direct or if you book through our website, book an appointment link or something, I’m going to say yes, because what I am sure they’re going to come every time use door dash, even if that’s your favorite restaurant, you have to pay dawid at right to bring it to you and they have to get their fee. You know, if they come in through repairpal dotcom then you’re 199A month covers that. So we don’t charge you 10% That’s just if you get however many of those nine to 12 leads you can convert. Those are years. And so and so are there any restrictions on like let’s say as part of my follow up after service, if I send something out that says, hey, book your next appointment using this link or this link specifically, not this link, is that I mean, how shops do their internal marketing that’s on the shop, that’s their business, not ours. So how I once consumers in your shop now, every single time that they come in and they use their extended warranty, that will get that will get charged because that comes back in through the warranty channel and we can totally you know, we can attribute a repair to that. But when they’re coming in for their normal maintenance and repair, if they look through Carmex, then we do charge 10% Yeah, and swim in and so that’s great. And so that’s great advice for folks, you know, it really is. It’s and it’s almost here. You get a win that customer over. Yeah you got them through the door with repairpal or CarMax or however they come on through now. But now you want to make them your customer and there’s nothing wrong with that. And you’re paying them. There’s nothing wrong. Make them your customer go for it. And people love that. Anyway, we have to stop shying away from talking about the next appointment. And how to book it and given some expectations and even in some incentives to kind of, you know, educate your motorist on how your shop operates. You know, it may be the expectation for the digital inspection as well and how you’re going to get your follow UPS and your service reminders. And this is how you book that appointment. Matter of fact, you book it right through my service. Reminder, you click that link. You don’t need to go to any other place. Right and so that’s really up to you to set that up. Nick is asking he was told or the understanding was is that it was all or nothing on the partner work. Can you clarify on that for nick? Oh, absolutely. It’s not all or nothing. You don’t have to you do not have to sign up for all of our partner programs. You could send it from none of the partner programs. Now, that would be like eating a vanilla cake with no frosting like I would do. If you’re going to eat cake, you want frosting. The carrot is a decent pudding in the middle of it because I love you want all those additional things. You just don’t want this dry piece of cake. You need the feelings and you need the frosting. So but you could just have the cake. If you want to sign up for any of it. But the partners are all apart. Like you could just could just sign up for Medicare if you want and you could just sign up for w.g. just sign up for a jero and you can try out different ones and see we do provide as long as we’re able to track it, we do provide reporting so you can look in your dashboard. And you can see where you’re getting value. Yeah, and it sounds like you’re giving it to Kenneth. Kenneth says, you know, back to that castle, they need a little love to get in there. But he says they love you. And you’ve been a huge blessing during the pandemic. You know, during the pandemic, we actually grew this year. Yeah and a large part of that is because of Carmex in our partnership. So when a lot of franchise dealers close down their service departments and CarMax closed down their service departments for three months and all of that work went to our shops, everything is Carmex. They refer a large part of that work and we’re constantly meeting with them. We meet with them every other month for an entire day and we strategize about how to refer more Carmex business and to repair shops are NRPS for their customers is very high. So they are very proud and very interested in continuing to drive business. So if you don’t know NPS net promoter score, and that means that promoter score, sorry, by the average shopping or network has an impact score, I think it’s 76. The average shop in the country has an average score of about negative 10. So we really do break off the better shops. I believe that, that, that’s, that’s great. I mean, that’s a great lead with that next time. So Kimberly’s asking to give us some price transparency and some kind of, you know, how does it work? She’s asking if they pay the 199A. Do they still pay the 10% on top of that? They do. So the 199A is for the business that comes through repairpal. So that’s the leads that come through repairpal, that’s the business that comes through repairpal. Then there’s the partner channels. So the partner channels. You don’t get anything, you don’t pay. But yeah, it’s, it’s not it’s a both. You do pay the 199A to be listed and for all the website traffic and, and the other things that some of the other benefits that we have know, the estimate guarantee all that. And then there’s the partner channel. So the trick, Kimberly, is to get them to come in 10% on the oil change and then convert them over to the engine swap. OK yeah, Yeah. I mean, you know, the shops that get it. Get it. Yeah, right. Yeah no, I’m sure not. The shops that are set up with the right marketing, with the digital inspections, all those kind of things. Those are things that are a sign of a shop that understands consumers today, not consumers, not even consumers. Five years ago, like in the last five, six years, like the industry has evolved in a way that I don’t think it involved the previous 20 years in a way. Oh, and I know last year, I mean, with everything. Oh, Yeah. Especially now, like in covid times, like, you know, we’re still going to the hot dog to you digitally, like I downloaded in my email and it tastes like hot dog. Yeah and we threw this there. So, you know, at the beginning of the year, like everybody else, we kind of like, you know, we really tightened up. We we didn’t lay anybody off, know we kept everybody intact and we all rode this year out and we’ve grown. And, you know, that’s a big win in this economy to be able to say that, you know, and we’ve had several episodes, you know, digital shops, one in 2020. I mean, there’s just no you know, it was terrible year and it was bad stuff. And I’m not making light of any of that stuff. But if you were prepared and you were transparent coming into it or you were able to adopt that quickly, they won. I mean, I’ve got. Yeah that have put 30, almost 40% increase in revenue. Yeah we have shops who attributed the only reason they made it through this year was because the volume we sent them. Yeah, sure. No, but in the April in a march, April, in march, April, that was so devastating. You know, you can really see the difference. I mean, there were shops that were just closing their doors. Some never reopened, unfortunately, and there was others that were just they were running help wanted ads for it’s created like a huge divide in the industry. I think it’s a lot of the lower, you know, shops, the ones who are weren’t prepared and you don’t have the practices are gone. One of the main reasons that we’ve had for attrition this year, shops closing. Yeah, I know and, you know, and I wouldn’t even say it wasn’t shops that weren’t prepared, I guess you can’t argue that they weren’t prepared, but they were just more traditional in their approach to awesome shops. They’ve been doing great work. And and a lot of those areas, they were so awesome that the community was so tight. The community supported them. Yeah, you’re fine. But and if you’re in a really highly competitive market, you were just too traditional and you just weren’t willing to kind of think outside the box and put yourself out there and to try new things like, you know, my sales team and my internal teams, our whole my whole message to them this year is what got us here is not going to get us there. So our ability to adapt and change and be agile is super important. And that’s equally as important when you’re talking about direct repair. Yes the name of the game. And you know what? And I’ll tell you what, if you just have if you just trust you as an individual shop owner, do not have to be that agile. You don’t have to get out of bed thinking about the next big sea change. You have people like us doing it for you, not trying to sell you a bill of goods. We’re really trying to see the market prepare for it and give you at least a solution that’s going to fit. That’s going to keep you viable, right? Yeah, that’s really what drives us at vitals is being that crystal ball for you. And if you have the faith and you just kind of roll up the sleeves and do those best practices, even if they change on a monthly or weekly, the reason they’re changes because consumer behavior is changing, the data is changing, is telling us to today. We don’t like just updating you and making you jump through hoops. It’s really a reason. And I think what’s happened, Jill, and I think you would attest to this, too, over the last 10 years or so, is that folks are starting to figure it out. Folks are starting to say that our types of services really are in their best interests. Yeah, we got to make a dime, too. But really, we’re not going to keep making dimes if we can’t see around the curve and help folks be prepared for that. There’s so much pressure from consolidation in the dealers and in all of these things that are happening in the industry to keep the independent aftermarket small, you know, American business owners viable. You really have to play in that sandbox. There is just no two ways about it. And if you can come with somebody who grew up in the industry, Jill trada, you have great credibility. You’ve developed through that company with the total services and CarMax and the insurers and all of these other. You wouldn’t be in there if you didn’t have that credibility to really get that. $199 is very surprising to be able to put that type of credibility hanging from your shingle as well. You know, just real quick, before we kind of close out and follow up, because I can’t believe we’re at the top of the hour. But I want to get Robert’s question in because I was kind of digging around this earlier and Robert’s saying, how do you ensure that you’re not underpricing extensive work or unusual type of vehicles, for example, clutch replacement on a V 70r volvo? You know, a lot of people just don’t see that vehicle. So there’s less data available means bigger variances in the result because shops will see that often and more time is required to complete the job than a vehicle they see constantly. So there are jobs that we delist. If they are too complicated, then we’ll do list them. I’m not sure about double clutch job if we have it listed, if I’m not sure if it’s there or not. But if there is something that is problematic, we will take those estimates down because there’s just so much complexity about them that it doesn’t make sense to list them. We want to list the more common repairs, things that people are going to look for and then suggest they call a shop. What we do do is if, say, the shop was a Volvo specialist and they have identified that 2s and then somebody searches for a Volvo online, they will appear first. In our search, so we will serve up somebody who has a specialty in a particular car before doing somebody who is more of a general make person, but also if that shop was a repairpal certified shop and they feel like they’re going to take a bath by our estimate, or if they just reach out to us feedback at repairpal and give me a good story about what it is and a story that I can then present to motor about why that time should be higher. We do that and I’ll pay you the difference in even if, you know, motor says this and you still want those hours. If you if you provide me with the information that I need, I can try to push through a change and a change that will happen to me happen in the data overall for that repair. Yeah, and if you’re a good customer of mine. And it’s like a $200 or $300 difference, like you’re a good customer of mine. Yeah, sure, sure. And then there is an audience, you know, just from the industry. She she’s got the industry’s best interests at heart. And she’s open that door. She she is said, you know, here’s how to get in touch with me. And it doesn’t hurt to ask. Right and if you’re willing to consider those things on a case by case basis, I think that’s the most. But you can ask. Absolutely you can email estimate feedback at repairpal, even if you’re not one of our shops and you see something, you can email me at Gillette, repairpal, and we take those things seriously because the reality is and like for auto vitals, for repairpal, for whatever company, if you don’t exist, we don’t exist. So we want to be a friend to the industry. We want to be somebody who solves the problem that the industry has had. We’re not here to hurt the industry. We hurt the industry. Then then shops created an environment where shops are closed. Then we have a smaller customer pool. So as long as people are being fair and transparent and they’re interested in providing a good experience, those are the shops that we want that help us build the data, because that’s really all you’re doing. Is it us if you’re not as accurate and there just you don’t have the data and help them build the data and then they become more accurate. So, yeah, and I’m always willing to jump on a call and have that conversation. Like, I’ve had some very, very fun, very contentious conversations about how it’s done. And I don’t take those things personally. Like I take them like you’re using your time to reach out to me to help me create a better product for you. Like I’m going to take the time and listen to you. And that’s how the best stuff gets done, really. You know, if we all just agreed and, you know, I roll over and Google, you’re right. And nothing really changes. Nothing substantial comes out of it. It’s when you have that contentious discussion and then can find some common ground is when progress is made. Yeah so, you know, and Jill has opened that door. She is challenging you. She is saying, give me a call, send me an email. Nothing is off the table. Let’s hash it out. And you know what. Yeah, well you can ask for is somebody is going to be willing to take that’s what I love about all of us so much and puts himself out there and he throws down in that Facebook forum and wherever it is. And he says, let’s roll up our sleeves and talk about it here. My position, all here, your position. And if my position stronger, well, then, hey, you know what? That’s just the way, way. Or we can just simply avoid, you know, agree to disagree and move on. And, you know, as long as. Yeah, I mean. Before I let you go, I want to give you I want to leave you with this, Kimberly, familiar with price. Clarification is new and I want to leave you that. She says, thank you for clarifying. We just signed up and I’ve had two cars come in so far. $750 eroi average. Yeah, it’s come in so far. So congratulations. Congratulations thank you. Jill, I really appreciate you coming on and answering these questions and really being open and honest. I mean, it was such a nice, I think, conversation. We had a lot of folks get an understanding of what it is that you’re doing, how it is that you’re supporting them and how that they can help help you help them. And I really appreciate the time and thank you very much. Yeah, it’s been great. You know, I really miss being out there in the industry. I used to travel being all the trade shows, see people and talk to people. And this year has been very weird to not do that because I’ve been doing that, for the last seven years. So I don’t know. It’s just weird, you know. So I appreciate the forum to connect and talk as you reflect back on this year and you think to yourself, you know just how critical you know. And I remember I got to go to this next show and I just been home and now I’m just champing at the bit. I was. Yeah out there. And how so much of what we do revolves around that human interaction and that face to face contact and, you know, trying to be very much like an old school company in a small in a new school space, like we are much better as a team, face to face, like face to face, like, hey, Tom, trust me, I want to provide you value and I want to provide you the best experience, like that’s kind of our bread and butter and that’s how we operate. And that’ll change. You know, the digital technology really just it takes the distractions is the way I look at it, takes these actions. And you can connect, so we can’t. Exactly we’ll leave you with that. That’s food for thought, Jill. How can they find out more information? How can they get in touch with you if you want to give your contact information one more time just for fun? Yeah if you want to reach out to me directly, does Jill at repairpal. And if you’re interested in signing up, if you go on to it, you can just email me or you can go in repairpal to the shop owner page. It’s pretty prominent up there. And this Submit a lead through that. And one of my salespeople will call you back or just let me know, and I’ll make sure that you get a call back. Fantastic well, you’re right, and it was awesome having you on, I’ll let you get back to work and there’s a lot of shops out there that you got to help and tune in next week, next Wednesday, same time, same place, 10:00 AM Pacific, 1:00 PM Eastern digital shop. Dockray will be back on again. We’ll have another fantastic guest talk about great stuff in the automotive industry. Until then, get out there. Makes more money. Still got a few more weeks left in 2020. All right, bye. Thanks everybody.

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