How to Avoid Automotive Repair Fraud

Too many automotive centers are taking advantage of the consumer’s lack of knowledge about their vehicles when it comes time for repairs. While there are many trustworthy shops that do honorable and reliable work, there are always places that are quick to take the consumer’s money while not making the necessary repairs.

The government, the press, Better Business Bureaus and other consumer rights advocates are working hard to intervene, and while some shops are getting caught and being indicted with fraud, too many are still under the radar and getting away with it.

Here are some tips on how to become better educated about your vehicle so that when repair work is needed, you will have a better understanding of what is actually being done.

Talk to Everyone

The most important thing of course is to find a reputable place thats been in business for several years. The best way to find this kind of information is to ask your family and friends where they have their vehicles maintained. Ask your coworkers and anyone whose opinion you value. Why do they like the shop they frequent, what their fees are, and how long they have been using that particular place? This is where doing a little research will save you a ton of headaches and a lot of money.

When its time to take your vehicle to the shop, be very specific in what you are there for. For example, if you are replacing tires, let them know you are there just for tire work. If the service adviser tells you that you need additional work done, question why it’s needed. If you feel the mechanic is trying to up sell you unnecessary repair work, this should raise a red flag. You have every right to request a quote for their suggested repairs and get a second opinion.

Don’t be Shy

There are times when a service adviser may tell you that you need new brakes or that you have a leak, both of which can be relatively easily spotted when the vehicle is in the air and the wheels are off the vehicle. This is generally the time these types of potential problems are found. Ask the adviser for measurements of components that are worn, such as the brakes, and ask if you can take a look for yourself. If you feel they are not being forthcoming with the information you need in order to make a decision, or they will not allow you to view the problem, do not approve the repair. Most reputable shops have no problem with these kinds of requests.

If you need major repairs, such as engine replacement or transmission repairs, always get a second opinion from another reputable shop. If you have built up a good relationship with your existing shop, this may not be necessary. But if this is the first time you have brought your vehicle to a new shop it’s important to get that second opinion.

If it’s not practical to move your vehicle, take the time to get “ballpark” estimates by telephone. Reputable shops understand the need for their customers to get additional quotes. Its in their best interest to accommodate you in any way they can in order to get and keep your business.

Be Prepared

Be a knowledgeable consumer. Read your owners manual and be prepared for the regular wear and replacement work that will arise every few thousand miles. Keep your vehicle on its proper maintenance schedule and when larger problems arise, you are not hit unawares with a huge expense.

It costs money to own a vehicle and keep it in good repair, and it can cost more than you bargained for if you are not careful. Don’t be afraid to ask for input from others and gather as much information along the way as you can. Being prepared, you stand a much better chance of avoiding automotive repair fraud.

Amazing Ways To Store Clothes Without A Closet Using Personal Loans

If you have just transferred to a new place and you cant afford a new closet yet, it can be a huge dilemma if you dont know how to creatively arrange an alternative storage. First, you can use the best low interest personal loans to purchase the needed alternative storage for your wardrobe. In the future, using a bit of your savings and maybe a little small personal loans, you can invest on a topnotch and huge closet to fit in your expansive clothing collection.

As for now, while you are in small personal loans budget, you might want to do these following alternatives to store your clothes properly:

Coat closet. If your apartment has a built-in coat closet in the living room, make use of this as temporary clothes storage. However, it can only fit a few items so be sure to store only those delicate dresses, sensitive fabrics, important outfits such as designer gowns or office wear if you have any.

Pantry. Got a pantry? Forget storing food in it for a moment. While you can stuff your food supply in the cupboard and fridge, use the pantry to store your clothes instead. But before you do that, clean the inside of the pantry first. The goal is to get rid of the smell of food as it may affect your clothes. You dont want to smell like herbs and spices upon going out of the house.

Suitcase. Why take your clothes out of the suitcase when theyre just fine and safe inside? Use your suitcase as your temporary drawer. Plop it on a table or chair so you can easily unzip and open it when you need to get a shirt. But when you need the furniture youre putting it on, you can simply take the suitcase down and stash it under the bed.

Homemade clothes hanger. For clothes that need to be hanged, you can create a rack composed of a steel or wooden pole that you can usually buy at craft stores and secure the ends on a wall or two base poles on each end.

Cardboard boxes. When youre too busy or too broke to think of any other fancy ways to temporarily place your clothes, use empty cardboard boxes. Ideally, it is best to use boxes of any dry and inodorous goods like diapers and clothes.

These alternative clothes storage will get you by until you have earned enough money or have found the best low interest personal loans to buy a new closet. As for now, use the small personal loans to recreate these storage ideas. They wont cost you a lot of money and they will serve the purpose well.

How You Can Be Among The 20% Of Automotive Dealerships Who Survive The Current Economic Crisis

For most dealerships, times are hard. The leads have slowed down, the obstacles of financing should qualify as an Olympic sport and advertising just doesnt work like it used to.

And the truth is that many dealers are going under. Theres going to be a lot of casualties after this one.your store included.

OR maybe not.

This current financial crisis may really be your best blessing as a small business owner.

Sounds crazy, however heres the deal.

Many dealers are going out of business. No doubt. Its already happening. Your job is to be sure its somebody elses business going under not yours. And there are very real ways to do this, if youre really serious about being among the 20% of dealers who will survive the storm.

Im going to give you some cold, hard stats and ways to aid you in simply a moment, but let me begin by saying that if you dont have the correct systems or processes in place, work them out now. If you have personality conflicts, deal with them today. If you dont have a system for staying in touch with past customers and unconverted leads, get one.

If you dont have a crystal clear answer to the query, “Why should somebody choose me over other dealers?” figure it out this weekend. If you dont have a predictable way to get new clients into the door, at will, now is the time to do something about it. If you have floor plan issues or problems with your lenders, it’s better to sort it out this month than next.

Why?

It all comes back to the timeless 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto Principle.

If youre not acquainted with the Pareto Principle, this rule dictates that 20% of dealerships naturally get 80% of the business. In different words, the 20% of dealers who can survive this current economic storm will do so because they make 16 times as much as those in the 80%.

And because of this capability to earn additional capital, when the market does come back (which it invariably will), theyll be larger and higher than ever, readily positioned to eat up new shares of the auto market.

That may mean more dealers go out of business once more-but it wont affect you if youre among the 20%.

So what can you do to make sure your dealership quickly and easily ends up among the 20% if youre already in, or teetering towards the 80% category?

Well heres what dealers in the 20% group do, and what youll need to do if you plan to survive:

1. Theyre sharpening their axe to make sure the dealership runs smoothly
2. Theyre going through extra lengths to make sure the staff is well skilled
3. Theyre getting a dense hold on the marketing engine that will drive their business over the following few years

And most importantly, they wont panic or talk themselves into defeat. They know individuals will still buy cars. Just not as many. They also know theres going to be less deals to go around and theyll do what it takes to safeguard that business.

Now, what happens if things get real unhealthy, and unemployment rises to 15% or a lot more? Well if youre in the 80%, you’ll be forced to lay off and you wont have the required sustain employees to run your store.

BUT, if youre in the 20%, 15% unemployment rates mean youll have the pick of the litter of who you would like to work at your store. It means that youll have the cash to dismiss your deadbeats and riff-raff and be ready to replace them with competent, skilled, hard working folks in an instant.

Therefore high unemployment rates can be a good thingif youre in the right group.

The 20% group will see these hard times as an opportunity.

Smart people (those in the 20%) know that now, and the months ahead are prime time to invest in stock, real estate, human capital, marketing, inventory — and theyll be the ones who really rake it in when the market comes back.

Thus where can you fall as it relates to the 80/20 rule?

Heres something else that we know for sure

1. 80% of the individuals reading this can create solely 20% of the results they have to be successful (harsh, however true)
2. But 20% of the dealers reading can create 80% or more of the results they need to make itand make it huge!

A small percentage of the dealers reading this right now are prepared to make marvelous progresses in the coming months, whereas the rest are destined to mediocrity.

Now here’s where things get really crucial. The eighty/twenty rule repeats itself, infinitely. Which means the top 20% splits itself into eighty/twenty. Thus theres the top 4%.

Then it happens again. 20% of the top 20% of the top 20% — the top 0.8%. Thats where you really need to be. If we didnt already challenge you enough to be within the top twentyif you REALLY want to come out ahead, try to become a top 0.8% person.

Let’s take a closer look at the .8% person:

Each decision is carefully made by a 0.8% person because its way more important than a decision made by an 80% person.

A 0.8% person knows a way to focus and slim their labors on those things that are actually crucial. Even though he might have a list of 43 things to do, hell hone in on the three or four that are more important than all the others combined. But the 80% people treat all things as if theyre the same, or worse, work on the forty less crucial tasks before they tackle the three or 4 that really matter! They have no sense of priority and hence they “busy work” themselves out of survival.

The 0.8% person carefully discriminates what information he will allow into his mindwhat he reads, listens to, or watches on TV who he surrounds himself with. The 80% people are “open minded” and “tolerant” to just about anyone or any idea.

The 0.8% people belongs to some kind of mastermind or “good ol boys” club. This can be the sort of group that can support, hold up, and go the extra mile for its members. And most of the 0.8% folks pay BIG money to be in these clubs! However again, unlike the 80% who would see it as a waste, they understand the worth and that some of the most brilliant men of all time, (i.e. Carnegie, Henry Ford, Ben Franklin) all participated in the same.

The 0.8% person is perfectly immune to disapproval from othersdoesnt care what most folks think is not affected by pessimism on the news, from neighbors or family members. He realizes that the mass of humanity is nearly always pathetically wrong. The 80% folkswell, theyre the masses.

So, friend, whats it gonna be for you? 80%, 20%, 4%, 0.8%? Your actions now will finally determine your fate of your future. So choose the winning team and start down the road to success-even in these tough financial times!

Sources to Get Quality Online Leads for Automotive Dealers

Are you still placing ads in newspapers or billboards and waiting for people to show up at your dealership? Do you have a nice website but are unable to get quality leads? Is your competitor grabbing all the prospective buyers in your market? Then it is the time to rethink on your marketing strategy.

We all know that there are a limited number of potential car buyers in the market. Now the question is, how do you direct these potential car buyers to your dealership? Though consumers like to physically inspect a car before purchasing, it is the Internet they approach first in their car buying process. Needless to say is how dramatically the Internet has changed the car buying process almost 90 percent of consumers use the Internet to research vehicles (source: ‘Capgemini Cars Online Study 2009/2010). The survey also states that many consumers today are starting their research on vehicles with search engines, then moving to manufacturer and dealer sites.

So, it is very important for the auto dealers to have a solid internet marketing strategy; which includes automotive SEO, PPC, Email campaigns and automotive social media marketing media to get quality online leads and stay ahead of their competitors. A well planned internet marketing strategy enables you to access a wide number of potential customers, which then translates in to huge sales.

Simply put, investing in the website design is not enough. Proper care and nurturing its performance should be the top priority of an automotive dealer. It is very important to make sure that your website is ranking on the first page of all the major search engines in order to get highly qualified, exclusive leads to your website.

Sources to get quality leads
As a smart auto dealer, you should embrace all that the Internet offers. In order to survive, sustain and succeed in today’s competitive environment, you should take advantage of all the tools that are available; such as SEO, PPC advertising, e-mail campaigns, and an aggressive social media marketing strategy.

SEO
Automotive SEO is one of the major sources, which provides quality online leads for your dealership. A solid automotive SEO strategy lists your website among the top rankings for all your keywords. Ranking on the first page of the search engines makes your website credible, which in turn provides more traffic, more quality leads and eventually more sales. Proper optimization of home and inside pages brings up all the content related to services and products you offer – making it easy for the customers to know about your services.

PPC
Pay Per Click advertising involves purchasing sponsored links on the top of page of a search engines. These campaigns can generate instant sales to your dealership if used within the right context. PPC attracts highly targeted traffic to your dealership based on the keywords you have selected. An important aspect of a PPC campaign is that they can be launched quickly, which ensures that you get quality leads in no time.

Email campaigns
E-mail marketing is one of the most effective marketing methods that generate quality leads. Email campaigns increase sales, downloads, inquiries, registrations and overall sales. Through email campaigns, dealers can contact potential customers on a regular basis, increase customer loyalty by sending newsletters or other information related to products or services they offer. Through email marketing, dealers can target large number of customers with minimal budgets. In short, it is a cost effective, highly responsive and opportunistic medium to generate quality leads.

Social media marketing
Millions of people are using social platforms like Twitter and Facebook on a daily basis nowadays. It is one of the latest and the fast growing marketing base today. High-quality social media content can raise brand awareness and consideration levels. It can also change customer perceptions of a brand. Social media marketing improves your dealership’s reputation online and thus provides quality leads.

Automotive dealers can get quality online leads using Search Engine Optimization along with the other three campaigns mentioned above. But even today, many auto dealers are still not embracing these highly effective marketing campaigns because they either fail to understand them or they think that it is time consuming and difficult to implement. If you are one from them, it is very important for you to approach a reputed internet marketing firm that specializes in helping automotive dealers, to get quality leads that result in sales opportunities.

Eight Essential Characteristics Of The Construction Marketing Expert

The construction industry has been hit hard by the economic recession. Construction has been one of the fastest growing and lucrative businesses in the world. However, in 2007 the bubble started to burst and by the middle of 2008, many house builders were in serious trouble. Now we see some light at the end of the tunnel but in order to capitalise on the growing number of opportunities, many are rediscovering the essentials of construction marketing to build a solid foundation for future growth. Knowing how to procure work in a changing economic climate through an understanding of sound business development principles and construction marketing strategies is key to the future of the industry.

Construction marketing has had a bad press. This has largely been due to a misunderstanding of what modern marketing is all about. Gone are the days of the fancy sales talk, over promising, irrelevant jargon and hype. These days marketing is all about building relationships, making the right connections, offering genuine solutions and forging collaborative partnerships. In order for effective construction marketing to take place, the right person needs to be appointed.

Most Managing Director’s of smaller construction companies spend a lot of time on public relations exercises for which they may not feel cut out! They have enough on their hands managing the business. So someone to concentrate on marketing, client relations and business development is crucial.

Construction Marketing is a specialised area and should be an essential ingredient in your business plan if you want to expand and take on the new challenges of a changing industry. Of course there are marketing techniques and general principles that work in any industry, but whoever does your marketing, needs to know the business.

The construction industry is evolving and changing with new demands and challenges to be faced. This will inevitably mean that we live in a climate of change. Any marketing person worth their fee, will stay ahead of the game and spend time focussing on key areas of development.

Although the opportunities in the construction business are growing rapidly with every government led initiative, the competition for work is getting more intense – especially with the growing emphasis on partnering and frameworks. If your company is to stay in the front line of business growth, you need a Marketing and Promotions Budget and the right person to take things forward.
There are eight essential characteristics you should look for in a marketing person. This may be a special appointment or someone within your company who has the skills and abilities to be at the front end of your marketing and business promotion efforts.
They need to be:
1. A people person. It is essential to have an open personality that connects easily with others and is able to understand how human psychology works. Knowing how people tick, what their key motivators are and what is likely to grab their attention in terms of that new business proposal, is an essential characteristic.

2. An excellent communicator. It’s no good being at the front line of business development if you can’t articulate well. This is more than picking up the telephone. Creativity is essential if your prospect is to be won. So keeping accurate records of every conversation and a knowledge of the company you are targeting is crucial together with relevant personal details of the target. For instance, knowing birthdays, important anniversaries, hobbies and interests can enable a good communicator to respond appropriately. Sending a personalised birthday or Christmas card can be a powerful way of building relationships which form the foundation for business opportunity.

3. Un-flappable! The marketing person will encounter a number of hurdles on a daily basis. The pressure of meeting Key Performance Indicators set by the management can create undue stress for instance. Then there is the unpleasant business of rejection, which is inevitable when targeting new prospects. Sometimes in a busy office environment, especially in the construction industry which often doesn’t rate the marketing role, there can be tensions and a conflict in perceived priorities. The marketing person needs to hold firm in times of uncertainty, believe in the company and it’s products and services and have a determination to grow that sales pipeline.

4. Focussed on the big picture. Getting the next tender through the door and securing that letter of intent is only part of the picture. The marketing person will always be thinking ahead, three to six months down the line, to ensure that all important sales pipeline is healthy. Especially in construction, where the lead in time from tender to job on site can often take months.

5. Highly motivated and a motivator of others. Marketing people need to be self starters. People who see what needs to be done and then just get on with it. They need to be people with initiative and drive and have the ability to take others with them.

6. Well informed. The problem faced by the construction industry in terms of business development is that there have been few specialists in this area. So the danger of appointing a marketing consultant with no real knowledge of the industry has been a real one. At the very least the marketing person needs to have a working knowledge of the industry if not a background in construction.

7. Creative, flexible AND organised! A disorganised marketer is doomed to failure. So although creative and flexible approach is essential, accurate records should be kept using an efficient Customer Relations Management System.

8. Well presented! First impressions do count! They way the marketer presents themselves is crucial. By all means, they can be modern and trendy, but they do need to wear a suite and tie!

So best of luck in finding the right person to carry your business forward! Be careful who you appoint and then give them the resources they need to do their job.