Personal time is of the essence for service dealers

Jan. 1, 2020
In order for me to consider any presentation or proposal, someone has to show me how it will make me money, save me money or make my life easier somehow.

Time is an interesting concept. It is the most democratic of all constructs. No one, regardless of power, position or wealth, can purchase an extra second for their minutes, an extra minute for their hours or an extra hour for their days. That may be why time has become so valuable to the majority of people in our culture.

But, how can we attach a dollar value to something as finite and yet as intangible as the value associated with our time?

When it comes to time spent at work, we can do the math easily enough: divide what we make, including taxes and benefits, by the number of hours spent making it and bingo, we’re done. But, what about the value of “personal” time: time spent away from work? What’s that worth? My guess is that it’s worth exponentially more than time spent at work, especially when you consider the amount of time work consumes in the first place. That’s why I am suggesting that you consider your request carefully before asking a service dealer or a technician to give up “a few minutes” of their precious personal time for any reason.

Why bring it up now? Because I was just victimized by a gang of time bandits and what they stole was worth far more than money. I sat — in a very uncomfortable metal bridge chair — for almost two hours listening to someone I didn’t want to listen to tell me things I didn’t want to hear. They served pizza I couldn’t eat and sodas I couldn’t drink and tried to sell me on a program no serious shop owner would consider, let alone accept.

The only thing that made it bearable was the extent to which they had deluded themselves into believing that what they had to offer was worth the time and money invested in its presentation. It was so painful I had to apologize to my service advisor for dragging him along.

It’s easy to find fault with things, especially when you are unable or unwilling to look for solutions. So, here is what I am suggesting. Consider carefully what you are looking for when you plan a meeting, presentation, dinner, get-together or gathering. You ought to have at least some idea of what your “desired outcome” should look like.

Generally, these meetings are focused on something you would like folks like me to do. Just remember, it is pretty easy to see how whatever it is you are asking for will benefit you. The question you have to ask is: How will it benefit the service dealer? If you can’t answer that clearly and completely and then show us how the investment in time and money will be more than compensated for, don’t bother asking.

If you don’t have an effective benchmark, here is something that might help. In order for me to consider any presentation or proposal, someone has to show me how it will make me money, save me money or make my life easier somehow.

If it doesn’t meet that criterion, I don’t need it.

If the ROI isn’t obvious or at least compelling, don’t waste my time or your money — I don’t know about you, but I’ve got better things to do with my time.

Mitch Schneider is co-owner of Schneider’s Auto Repair, Inc., Simi Valley, Calif., and is an ASE Master Technician.