Tom Ham writes:
“What is the biggest expense hole that you have plugged during the past year or so? At our shop it was terminating a newcomer marketing program that brought no results—about a $2,000 annual waste of money.”
A shop owner in Redondo Beach, Calif., replies:
“We came up for renewal with our laundry provider. Shopped several options and then showed it to our current company, they matched prices and it´s saved us over $200 per month!”
A shop owner in West Bend, Wis., responds:
“Renegotiated my shop lease. $6,000 saved. Sold some stuff and consolidated to discontinue using off-site storage: $1,000.”
A shop owner in Clive, Iowa, answers:
“Gave the Yellow Pages the boot=$14,400 a year in savings.”
A shop owner in St-Jean-sur-Rich, Quebec, replies:
“My employee of 10 years left for 'greener' pastures. I thought this´d kill me, and my gross sales dropped some 40 percent. My supplies and tools always balance now and are accounted for every day. I have no more BS government paperwork to fill, no workman´s comp, etc. I decided to go it alone for at least one year until the economy (hopefully) recovers.
“I have figured out I have saved $8,000 over the past 8 months, so more net profit even though gross sales are down 40 percent. Guess my guy wasn´t pulling his weight.”
A shop owner in Ephrata, Pa., answers:
“We have also decided to reduce/eliminate our Yellow Pages ad, although we won´t see those savings until early next year. Our book offers free one-line phone/address in bold in the Yellow Pages and the White Pages, so customers can still find us.
“I review our budgets on a monthly basis, so this is an ongoing review to determine what else we can reduce/eliminate to save money.”
A shop owner in Traverse City, Mich., writes:
“Let two inept techs go and hired one intelligent one to replace them. Saved over $5,000 in comebacks from the previous year.”
The questions and responses are posted on the Automotive Management Network website, which is operated by Deb and Tom Ham, owners of Auto Centric (formerly Ham's Automotive) in Grand Rapids, Mich. The comments have been edited for clarity and brevity.