Throttle Back: Tips for successfully balancing work and life.

mac-glasses“You cannot imagine the craving for rest that I feel — a hunger and thirst. For six long days, since my work was done, my mind has been a whirlpool, swift, unprogressive and incessant, a torrent of thoughts leading nowhere, spinning round swift and steady.” — H.G. Wells

Wells penned those words in his novel, “When the Sleeper Wakes.” Though written in the late 1800s, that sentiment has stood the test of time. Finding work/life balance is hard. When it’s time to throttle back, here’s how:

1. Track Your Day
You’ve heard the saying, “Time is money.” So why not budget your time like you do your money? Knowing where you’re spending your time will shed light on where you can save it.
Start by breaking down your day on a piece of paper. Record what you do throughout a normal day. From the time your feet hit the floor to the time you put them up, write down what you do.
Next, look at the day you’ve tracked and keep these questions in mind: Where did I waste the most time? What tasks can I consolidate? Am I completing my daily to-dos in the most efficient order?
If you’ve been feeling crunched for time, hopefully you find error in your ways and time in your day. Track as many days as you need to get the most realistic picture of your week. Write down a routine that maximizes your time and stick to it.

2. Say No
There’s freedom in the word “no.” Things that seemed quick and easy when you committed to them usually end up taking the longest to complete, robbing you of your time. Before agreeing to take on another responsibility, consider where it will fit into your day. Be realistic about how long it will take. Be selective about the “extras” you take on.

3. Say Yes
Learning to say “yes” is just as important as teaching yourself to respond with “no.” The temptation to be a one man show and take everything on by yourself is human nature, but the reality is, it’s impossible! For goodness sake, say “yes” when others offer their help!

4. Simplify
Take the confusion out of your processes. Make notes in your phone or in a notebook. I prefer to physically write my schedule down in a day planner. Do what works for you.
You’ll be amazed with how getting things out of your head and onto a piece of paper streamlines the day.

5. Recharge
Take some time for yourself. Do one thing daily that is for you and only you. Maybe it’s taking the dog on a walk, going to the gym before work or waking up early enough to enjoy a cup of coffee and read the paper. Regular time for yourself will help you not get worn down as quickly.
Periodically, allow time to recharge for a longer stint. Know what you need to feel renewed. For some, that means spending time relaxing at home. For others, it means an adventurous trip with friends.

Do you struggle with maintaining the work/life balance? How do you throttle back in order to keep moving forward? I’d love to know. Send me an email:

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Confessions of a Millennial

photo-1416339306562-f3d12fefd36fHi, my name is Erin, and I am a millennial, a bona fide member of the generation responsible for YOLO, the popularity of Justin Bieber, hashtags, social media oversharing and something called a selfie stick. For that I deeply apologize. I’ve heard a lot of industry buzz about how to sell to this up-and-coming group of consumers and have listened to presentations about how to go about it. Research and power points presentations aside, here are a few things I know to be true about my peers that can be used to your advantage.

We Like Convenience
It’s something we’ve grown up with. We’re talking about a generation that’s been shouting a number at a speaker box to order food since we were old enough to scream for a Happy Meal. We like convenience; therefore, we like you. Ten minutes to have my oil changed? You mean I don’t have to sit for an hour at the dealership? It’s one of the greatest advantages of the fast lube. It’s even right there in the name. Fast. Before we know it, our oil has been changed, tire pressure checked and we’re back in the Chik-fil-A drive-thru line.

We are Obsessed with our Phones
I was on a flight last month, sitting between two strangers close to my age. We were getting prepped for take-off and the three of us were frantically emailing, texting and posting long after we’d been asked to power down. The flight attendant came by, and the three of us, as if we were still sitting in our respective high school econ classes, dropped our phones in our laps and tried to play it cool. We were clearly waiting until the last possible second to turn off our phones. It’s a strange addiction, made even stranger by the fact that we rarely use them to talk. We post pictures, look up directions, text like nobody’s business, tweet, play Clash of Clans and when that pesky light appears on our dashboard, we turn to Google to find a place to have our oil changed.
If you don’t already have a digital presence, a mobile responsive website, or at the very least, updated and easy-to-locate contact information on your page, now is the time. Maybe it’s even time to consider a mobile marketing strategy or going paperless in favor of texting or emailing oil change reminders with coupons. We like a good deal just like everyone else. If we can flash our phone instead of clipping a coupon, all the better.

We Don’t Know Very Much About Our Cars
It’s sad, really. Barring those of us who work in the industry or have a real passion for cars, most of us have no idea what’s going on under the hood. We gas ‘em up, drive them until the gas light comes on (sometimes further) and pray we don’t get a flat or have something illuminate on the dashboard. Next time you see a millennial pull up to your bay, before they bury themselves into the digital recesses of their smartphone, explain to them what kind of oil their car needs, where they can find their correct tire pressure and how to check their oil. Consider it an educational opportunity. Teach us a thing or two, be friendly and personable and believe me, we’ll post, tweet, write a Yelp review or tell our friends about it. You’re also likely to earn yourself a loyal customer.

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February Promotional Ideas

photo-1418338249065-dfea5ee97c3ePromoting your business is important, but it can be difficult when there isn’t a holiday or some sort of festivity to capitalize on. Luckily, there are two holidays in February where you can do a fun promotion to attract customers to your shop.

Valentine’s Day
The most romantic day of the year is the perfect opportunity to run a promotion. Here are some examples of what you could do to get people to fall in love with your store:
Buy an oil change, have someone you love get theirs half off.
If a customer comes to your shop on Valentine’s Day (or make it Valentine’s Week; February 9-14), give them a coupon to share with someone they love. That person then comes back to your store within an allotted time frame with the redeemable coupon for a half-priced oil change.
Feel the love: Half-price oil changes from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Valentine’s Day.
If you’re in the loving spirit, promote half-price oil changes for a few hours (or the whole day if you’re feeling extra generous), on Valentine’s Day.
Perfect Pairs
If you offer other services besides the standard oil change, this would be a good place to offer a discount. Bundle an oil change with a tire alignment and balance at a lower rate than purchasing the two separately. Mix and match any combos you can think of to help entice customers to purchase more services from you.
To make your customers feel appreciated, you can simply hand out a rose or a piece of chocolate (make sure it’s wrapped) after a service has been completed. Small touches can make a big impact.

Presidents’ Day
Presidents’ Day celebrates the birthdays of two of the greatest presidents in history — George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Presidents’ Day is celebrated on the third Monday in February, which falls on the 16th this year. Here are some ways you can incorporate a Presidents’ Day promotion:
$6 Off an Oil Change
Since Presidents’ Day honors Washington and Lincoln, discount the price of the denomination each one is featured on — the $1 bill and the $5 bill, respectively.
Military Gets a Discount
It’s an honor to give back to the men and women who have sacrificed so much for the United States. Offer a discount to veterans, active duty and reserve military servicemen and servicewomen. Better yet, get some other local businesses involved and put on an event. See if a food truck or restaurant will cater in an area of your parking lot, have music and balloons and make it a must-attend event. Contact local news outlets to report on the store beforehand for maximum exposure.
Unable to put together a big event? Handing out miniature American flags can be a fun freebie, too

Incorporating promotions into your shop can be as easy as giving out chocolate and miniature flags or as extravagant as a full-on party. Remember, don’t think of promotions as just an expense. They’re a great way to get new customers — or those who haven’t returned in a while — into your shop. Once they’re there, you can turn them into repeat loyal customers with your outstanding service.

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Merry Christmas Giving


This time of year we’re reminded how exciting it is to receive but we also remember the magic there is in giving. As a company, it is important to give back to the community that allows you to do what you do year round.

Quality Lube Oil Change in Auburn Hills, Michigan is working to make this holiday season even brighter for those in their community. This is the 12th time the shop has collected toys for local children in need and offering discounted auto services to those who donate.

If you’re looking for some ways to give back this holiday season, here are some other ideas:

1. Host a food drive. Have customers bring canned or non perishable food items to you. You can just host the drive or offer extra incentive to them for donating by offering a discount on services.

2. Volunteer. Get your team together and volunteer your time at a local homeless shelter, food pantry or other organization.

3. Write. Provide customers with the pen and paper and while they are waiting for you to service their cars they can write a letter to service men and women. Then, take up all the letters and send them off when you’re ready.

4. Donate. Give customers the opportunity to donate to a local cause and match their contribution.

We’d love to know what you do to give back during this time of year, comment below.

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Shell Announced as BMW Recommended Oil Supplier


On November 4, 2014 Shell announced that it was chosen as BMW’s only recommended global supplier for aftermarket engine oils. The BMW brands included are: BMW, BMW i, BMW M, Mini and BMW Motorrad.

Beginning in 2015, Shell’s premium motor oils will be available to customers at dealerships in more than 140 countries including China, Germany, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States.

“We are honored to become the BMW Group’s recommended supplier of aftermarket engine oil. We look forward to jointly supplying, distributing and marketing these oils, as of start 2015,” stated Mark Gainsbourough, executive vice president for Shell Lubricants.

What do you think of this development? As always we welcome your thoughts and comments below.

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Henley Valvoline Instant Oil Change Service Centers Partnering with AutoTex Pink

Valvoline Instant Oil Change’s largest franchisee, Henley Enterprises, is again partnering with the AutoTex Pink division of WEXCO Industries to raise funds and increase awareness for the National Breast Cancer Foundation. This is the third year in a row that the two teams have partnered together.


This month is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. AutoTex Pink wiper blades are available at hundreds of Valvoline Instant Oil Changes across 12 states. Keep an eye out for them. A portion of the proceeds from each sale is donated to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Additionally, Henley’s Valvoline Instant Oil Change locations will make a donation to the National Breast Cancer Foundation in connection with the AutoTex Pink wiper blade campaign.

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Get the Most From Your Trip to AAPEX

AAPXE14-Logo-and-Promise  Iyou’ve been to the Automotive Aftermarket Product Expo (AAPEX) before you know what to expect. If this is your first year at AAPEX prepare yourself for a busy week and bring good walking shoes! Another good way to prepare yourself and get the most from your trip is to check out the preparation materials provided by the AAPEXedu team.

On Wednesday, October 8, at 4 pm EST you can join the “A Checklist for Attending AAPEX 2014″ webinar. Strategic marketing expert, Steve Miller will share essential information to help you ensure that you grow your business at this year’s AAPEX. Included in the webinar are:

• A Preshow Preparation Checklist to make sure you don’t forget anything before leaving for Las Vegas.

• A Checklist for how to get the most while you’re at AAPEX.

Your time at AAPEX is limited and extremely valuable, making being as productive as possible essential. Miller will review what’s new and what’s happening at AAPEX 2014 to give you a sneak peak at events you won’t want to miss.

To register for “A Checklist for Attending AAPEX 2014” or to watch a previous webinar in the AAPEXedu Video Learning Library, visit:

Have a question? Comment below or e-mail us at:

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Bosch Presents Young Technician’s Symposium At This Year’s CARS

Further developing the skills of your staff is important. Investing in the future of your less experienced staff members is even more imperative. This year the Congress of Automotive Service and Repair (CARS) will be held July 30 to Aug. 2 in Detroit, and included in the lineup of events is an opportunity for technicians who are new to the industry to expand their knowledge base.

The Young Technician’s Symposium will focus on technicians who have two to three years of experience. Bosch trainers will use hands-on instruction to further develop young technicians’ skills from maintenance and light repairs to electrical and drivability diagnosis.

“The ultimate goal is giving young technicians a game plan that will allow them to continue learning once they are back in the repair shop,” said Bob Pattengale, training manager for Bosch.

Students will receive pre and post tests. All students who pass will receive a certificate from Bosch. Part one of the Young Technician’s Symposium will be presented from 9 a.m. to noon on Aug. 1. Part two will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. on that same day. Part three is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Aug. 2, and part four will be held from 12:30 to 3:30 pm. that afternoon.

For more information visit:

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Improving Engine Performance: Fuel Additives and Cleaners

by Gumout Performance Additives

UntitledMore than likely, a customer has asked, “Do I need to use a fuel additive or a fuel system cleaner? Are they worth it?” The answer is yes. To make the best recommendations for your customers it is helpful to understand the science behind the products.

Over time, all engines lose performance and fuel economy. Much of this is due to the impact of fuel on key engine parts. Even high-quality fuel produces carbon deposits during combustion. These deposits build up on engine parts, limiting their performance.

Fuel contains ethanol, which attacks metal surfaces and allows water to have a more corrosive impact. It is best to use a performance additive that maximizes engine performance in these conditions.

 A Complete Clean

The intense heat of the combustion chamber can make important engine parts like piston tops and cylinder heads difficult to clean.

Look for a cleaner that contains polyether-amine (PEA). PEA breaks the bonds between carbon deposits and engine parts, removing them from the fuel system. The result is cleaner piston tops and cylinder heads, as well as a cleaner combustion chamber. This reduces hot spots that can lead to pre-ignition and reduced combustion efficiency.

PEA also cleans other vital parts of the fuel system, such as fuel injectors, intake valvesformula and ports, for maximized performance and fuel economy. Once deposits have been removed, PEA bonds to the metal surface of engine parts to prevent future buildup.

 More Conditioning and Protection

Cleaning is only part of the story. Antioxidants help stabilize fuel and oil, particularly inillustration[1] engines that are used less often, to keep varnish from developing on metal parts. Corrosion inhibitors keep key engine parts from degrading, helping to extend engine life.

Think about suggesting a versatile product that can be used in gas, ethanol and diesel and poured into the crankcase to stabilize oil.

Cleaner, better conditioned engine parts mean better performance. Your customers will be grateful you understand the science that protects their investment and keeps them on the road.

To learn more about the science behind Gumout products visit:

*Complete Fuel System Cleaners and Multi-System Tune-Up. When poured into the fuel tank. Engine tests proving PEA performance include ASTM D5598, ASTM D5500 and ASTM D6201. Documentation of PEA performance includes The World Wide Fuel Charter, updated September 2013
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Create 7 Shop Efficiencies with Mobile Automobile Software Solutions

by: Mike Risich

What automotive service facility doesn’t want more customers?

It’s a no-brainer, right?

Even though increasing car counts is always a goal, achieving that-without adding staff or scaling back on existing customers’ services-is sometimes challenging, if not impossible.

Think about it. More customers oftentimes means an increase in data entry, more repair orders and vehicle maintenance estimates, all of which, at times, are not easy to read. To further complicate matters, not every customer agrees to the services recommended on work orders, no matter how much technicians and service advisors insist.

You may be holding the solution in the palm of your hand: Your mobile device.

In today’s automotive service facilities, mobile devices do everything except fix cars and carry out routine services like oil lube and filter changes.

And, best of all, mobile technology empowers service facilities to take full advantage of the solutions literally at their fingertips in less time and effort than the conventional method of typing in invoices after writing out multi-point inspections, jotting down VINs and calling customers to relay findings.

Whether your goal is to increase car counts and revenue, boost productivity, or communicate easier with customers, mobile automotive software solutions that integrate with an automotive service facility’s existing shop management system can do that and more.

Below are seven fool-proof tips for using vehicle maintenance software to improve overall automotive service facility operations.

  1. Meet customers at their vehicle and begin repair orders and estimates.

With wireless automotive software solutions, techs can meet customers at their vehicle and begin the multi-point digital inspection, work order and estimate process using a handheld device. Typing in a customer’s last name, license plate or digitally scanning a VIN populates remaining fields, saving time on writing out the information, making it more accurate and, best of all, automatically syncing with the shop management software.

  1. Scan VINs

Jotting down a vehicle identification number (VIN) is easy, right? Sure. Getting each and every letter and number correct – and making sure it’s legible – is something entirely different. Scanning a VIN eliminates the need to decipher messy handwriting, lessens the likelihood of mistakes and saves time.

  1. Review pending service recommendations.

Research has shown that nearly 75 percent of vehicles being serviced are having an oil change performed. Considering that, according to Automotive News, the average vehicle is 11 years old, additional services or maintenance are most likely needed. Shop management software alerts service advisors and techs to pending services upon a customer’s arrival. This technology maintains a vehicle service history and offers suggestions that either remain from a previous appointment, or are due now.

  1. Build orders and create digital inspections with the press of a button.

Wireless software solutions eliminate messy handwriting and speed up multi-point inspections and repair orders, allowing shops more time to service additional vehicles. Without hiring additional staff, or adjusting work schedules, efficiency, and in turn profits, can be dramatically increased by incorporating innovative automotive software solutions.

  1. Add photos to vehicle service recommendations.

What better way to prove that a customer needs new brakes than to show it? Techs do this every day by taking multiple photos of vehicle conditions, underlining the need for recommended services. Techs that take three or more photos with additional service recommendations have seen work orders increase from 30 to 60 percent on average.

  1. Text or email customers vehicle diagnoses with images.

Wireless automotive software with built-in text and email functionality enables techs to seamlessly send estimates, multi-point inspections and photos directly to customers. This speeds up customer approval times from the national average of one hour and 17 minutes to a mere 37 minutes.

  1. Use mobile technology that’s fully integrated with your shop management system.

Boosting productivity is possible with wireless automotive software that automatically integrates with data entered from handheld devices into the shop management system without the need for double entry.

For more information on how mobile automotive software solutions can improve shop operations, visit or call 610-400-1019.

Mike Risich has been involved in software development since 1995. While teaching a Microsoft-based class in Bucks County, Pa., a student who owned an automotive service facility asked for help with the computer programs he used to organize sales. Risich realized a large gap between the technologies used in the automotive industry and those that were available in other industries.

The opportunity to develop time-saving software solutions already in use by doctors, dentists, convenience stores and airports became apparent. His introduction to the automotive service industry began in 2008 with the formation of BOLT ON TECHNOLOGY – a software solutions company based strictly in the automotive world.

His affiliations quickly grew to partnerships, including with Mitchell 1, a Snap-On Tools company, which has officially licensed three of BOLT ON TECHNOLOGY’s products. The company now serves thousands of auto repair shops across the U.S., Canada, South America and Guam.

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