3 Tips When Choosing A Window Tinting Service for Auto or Residential Window Tinting

Are you looking to get window tinting for your car, truck or SUV? Or perhaps you are even considering getting the windows tinted on your home or office to save on energy bills? Either way, it is important to know what to look for in a window tinting provider, otherwise you might not be happy with the outcome. In this article, I will outline 3 things that you can factor into your search to hopefully end up with a result that you are happy with.

1) The first thing that you should consider when looking for a window tinting service is whether or not you are in their service area. Since these companies usually work out of garages for auto jobs, you need to make sure they are close by or you are willing to make the drive their. Alternatively, if you are looking to get your home or office done, you need to make sure they are willing to come to you to do the job. Don’t waste time researching companies that don’t serve you. This should be one of the first things you look at.

2) When it comes to window tint, there are a couple different things that can cause the cost to vary. One is the product itself, in this case, the type of tint you are looking for. Some brands or types of tint are not as high quality as others, and therefore cost less. You should consider which kind of tint you want to use early in the process so that you can shop around for better deals. In addition to the tint cost, there will be labor charges, and this is where there will usually be a bigger difference between providers. Once you know what type of window tint you want, shop around and get some estimates from different companies so that you can see who offers the best deal, and go with them as long as they meet your other criteria.

3) Lastly but still very important, is to look at online reviews. You will be able to find out so much about a company by reading reviews from other customers of theirs. It can be very telling, and many times you will even find a review from a customer who was getting the same product or services that you plan on getting. So seeing their opinion and experience can really help you gain some insight into what it would be like to use this particular company. It is also good to do this because window tinting providers can sometimes be one-man companies who do this out of a van or are on a very low budget. So it’s good to know whether or not they are reliable business men and can deliver the service in the way that you expect.

Following these 3 simple steps will surely help you to find one of the best choices for a window tint provider in your area. As long as you do your research and spend a little time focusing on the finer points, you will most likely be very happy with the end result.

Are You A Street-Smart Consumer – Take This Quiz

The ability to find the lowest price and best value is both an art and science. The science comes from the ability to comparison shop prices, quality and value for the dollar.

The art comes in your skill at smelling out good bargains others walk over without noticing. The art also comes from your ability to negotiate down the price or negotiate up extra-unadvertised services or other perks.

To find out where you stand on the Street-Smart consumer ladder take this short quiz.

1. I use a shopping list before going to the supermarket.

2. I get at least 3 estimates before making a buying decision.

3. I purchase at least 25% on merchandise that’s out of season?

4. I am a label reader most of the time.

5. The larger of a quantity I buy – the more of a discount I expect most of the time.

6. The cheapest price is not always the best value.

7. The best way to tell if a business has any complaints against it is to contact the Better Business Bureau.

8. Laws don’t protect you if you neglect protecting yourself.

9. I check my credit reports at least once each year.

10. I avoid buying clothes that force me to buy expensive accessories with them to look decent.

11. I avoid buying clothing whose styles change from year to year.

12. I check clothing labels for fiber content, care and cleaning instructions before buying.

13. The easiest and most effective way to reduce auto repair cost is through preventive maintenance.

14. Regular oil changes is the most important action you can do to protect your car’s engine and make it last longer

15. Buying a dependable used car can save you several thousand dollars off on new car depreciation.

16. Before signing any contract, I make sure I have all promises in writing.

17. I know the importance of negotiation and do it on big-ticket items.

18. I save money on insurance by carrying a larger deductible than the minimum.

19. I avoid buying items with my credit card I can’t pay off in 30 days or less.

20. I have a monthly budget and stick to it each month.

21. I review my monthly budget each month to see how well I did.

22. I avoid trying to keep up with the Jones.

Now that you’ve finished, review each question and give yourself 1 point for each yes answer. See the graph below for your results.

15 -21 yes answers

You are a street-smart consumer.

12-15

You are moving in the right direction to street-smart consumerism. Pay more attention to how you approach your purchases and how you spend your money.

9-12

You’re missing opportunities to save more money by a lack of information and/or desire to save. Take the time to get and practice the money saving information that’s available.

5-8

It’s hard to save money if you ranked in this category, but all is not lost. If you pick up the pace now by reading and studying solid money saving information you can get on the road to bigger savings.

1-5

If you landed in this category, either you have your own software company, you’re a distant cousin of Bill Gates or you don’t like money. However, if you like to have more money in your pocket you have to make a commitment to saving money. It doesn’t just happen. Find someone to help you, a mentor, a financial counselor or one of the many free financial services offered in most cities.

Congratulations on taking the time to take this quiz. Wherever your result or the category you landed in, it was the goal of this message to inform you. Now you can make any mid-course corrections to get on the road or further down the road to saving more money.

Advice From an Accident Attorney

If you have had an accident, you may be wondering, “What should I do now?” It can be a confusing and frustrating time. You may be injured, and reeling emotionally from the experience. You will receive advice from the police, bystanders, family, friends and more. If you find yourself in this situation, here is an easy to follow guide, which can help you maintain calm and control, and come out healthy and strong.

1.Stay at the scene of the accident; never leave until you have been released to do so. If you leave, you may risk severe criminal penalties if anyone else was injured or killed. You could be charged with a felony hit and run.

2. Check on All Drivers and Passengers. The first step it to make sure all people involved are OK; if they require medical attention, call 911 immediately. Make sure never to move someone until medical staff arrives, unless some danger requires you to do so.

3.Call the Police. This is an important step if there is property damage, injury, or death. Request that a police report be filed, and take note of the names and badge numbers of officers that are on the scene.

4.Provide your information to the other driver(s) involved, and obtain their information in return. Information should include:

a.Names

b.Addresses

c.Drivers’ license numbers

d.License plate numbers

e.Basic insurance information (company name, phone number and policy, if possible)

5) Keep conversations with others involved to a minimum.

Be respectful and cooperative, but don’t apologize for anything, as you could inadvertently be admitting liability for the incident. Do not state anything which can be considered to be accepting fault for the accident.

6) Approach witnesses.

Try to include details from any witnesses, such as if they’ve seen other accidents in the same place, ask their names and contact information, if they are willing to provide.

7) Call your insurance company.

Notify your company as soon as possible, and communicate with them directly and honestly regarding the accident and your injuries.

8) Request and go over any police report that is filed, to verify the information, what laws were broken, and to determine fault.

9) Keep Track of Your Medical Treatment

Start a file that includes any notes from doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors, or other medical professionals that you visit, and each medical provider that referred you to other caregivers. Keep an organized log of treatments or medications you receive.

10) Request copies of all medical reports and bills.

In addition, keep a journal or log of how your injuries are affecting (affected) your day to day life, duties, etc. Be sure to include time off from work, people hired to help complete tasks you generally manage.

11) Take Pictures.

Any photos of property damage are important to take as soon as possible. Before and after pictures of your car will also help your insurance company to figure out how much you should be compensated.

12) Obtain your property damage valuation from your insurance company.

If you aren’t satisfied with how your insurance company has valued your vehicle, don’t give up. You have the right to get independent repair estimates and replacement value quotes. Communicate your concerns to the insurance adjuster. If you cannot reach an agreement, consider mediation or an attorney’s help.

13) Exercise good judgment in talking about the accident

Don’t talk to anyone about the incident besides your legal adviser, insurance company, and the police. Do not talk to someone from the other insurance company, without the knowledge of your attorney or insurer. If called by the other insurance company, be polite, but ask them to call your attorney or insurer to arrange an interview. Make sure to tell your legal adviser or insurer about the call. Do NOT post anything on social media about the accident.

14) Carefully consider Early Settlement Offers

Do not accept the first settlement offer you receive until you verify all your physical injuries have been treated. Often, injuries fully develop or reach their height of severity up to several weeks later. Wait until you know you’ll be compensated for all your injuries and speak with an accident attorney before signing any settlement documents.

15) Think about hiring an accident attorney

If you or anyone else with you was injured in the accident, consulting an accident attorney who specializes in car wrecks or personal injury can assist you in maximizing your claim and recovery. Often, accident attorneys work on a contingent fee, meaning they only receive payment if you are awarded damages or a settlement. Contact an experienced accident attorney today if you have had an accident.

Calculating Car Workshop Labour Efficiency

The clock is ticking

‘Time is money’ in bodyshops and service workshops. Essentially, these operations buy and sell the time of panel beaters, painters and technicians. A service workshop, for example, might buy one hour from a technician for £10 and sell it to a customer for £40, and make a profit of £30. (These figures are, of course, notional).

Buying and selling the time of productives is, or should be, the major source of revenue and profit in bodyshops and service workshops. Profits from the sale of spare parts; oils and lubricants; paint and materials; and sublet and sundry are all subsidiary to the buying and selling of productives’ time. If you don’t sell time, you don’t sell any of these other things.

Just as you would take great care when buying and selling a spare part, you have to pay equal attention to buying and selling productives’ time – or even more so, because you cannot ‘stock’ productives’ time. In other words, if you don’t sell their time today, you cannot sell it tomorrow.

Time for sale

So once time is gone it’s gone, whereas a spare part will still be in stock. So it is a good idea to know how much time you have for sale. This would seem pretty simple. If you have six productives, and they are there eight hours every day, surely you have 48 hours for sale? Well, no, you don’t.

For a start, productives might be in the workshop for eight hours every day, but they don’t work on paying jobs for eight solid hours. For example, a customer could come back with a car that you serviced yesterday and complain that it keeps stalling. It will then be necessary for a productive to rectify the problem, and of course you cannot charge the customer for that. If it takes two hours, then you only have 46 hours left to sell, in our example.

Time sold

To complicate things further, you can actually end up selling more than 48 hours. Imagine, for instance, that a vehicle manufacturer’s standard time for a major service is two hours and you quote the customer on this basis. If your technician completes the service in one hour (unlikely, we know) then you will still charge the customer for two hours.

If this happened all day long, you could sell 96 hours less the four hours you could have sold if one of your technicians hadn’t spent two hours spent rectifying the engine stalling problem. (It’s four hours because you are selling two hours for every hour worked in this example.) So if your productives could halve the standard times all day, that’s 92 hours sold rather than 48 hours.

Three measures of time

What we are talking about here is the three kinds of time available in a bodyshop or service workshop:

Attended time – this is the time that panel beaters, painters or technicians are in the workplace available to work.

Work time – this is the time they spend actually working on jobs that, at the end of the day, a customer pays for. Clearly ‘work time’ does not include any time spent rectifying problems, or anything else they do that does not have a paying customer at the end.

Sold time – this is the time that you charge customers for. It could be the time quoted on an estimate for an insurance company, or a menu-priced service.

You could say that ‘attended time’ and ‘work time’ are both ‘real’, because you can almost see them. You can see when a productive is in the workshop, and you can see a productive working on paying jobs. What’s more, you can measure ‘attended time’ and ‘work time’ using a clock.

On the other hand, ‘sold time’ is not ‘real’. You can’t see it, and you can’t measure it using a clock. But at the end of every day you can add up all the time you have sold to customers from your job cards or invoices.

How fast and how long

If you measure attended time and work time, and add up sold time at the end of the day, you can then see how fast and how long your productives have worked during the day.

How fast they have worked is sold hours divided by work hours. In our example, that’s 92 hours sold compared to 46 hours worked, or 200% expressed as a percentage. That is, your productives are working twice as fast as the standard time.

How long they have worked is work hours divided by attended hours. In our example that’s 46 hours compared to 48 hours, or 95.8% expressed as a percentage. That is, your productives were working on paying jobs for 95.8% of the time.

Labour efficiency

What we have just worked out as percentages are two ‘labour efficiencies’:

Productive efficiency tells you how fast productives are working compared to standard times, or the estimate in the case of a body repair job – how many sold hours they produced compared to the work time it took them to produce these sold hours.

Labour utilisation (sometimes called ‘selling efficiency’) tells you how long productives worked on paying jobs compared to the time they attended the workplace.

As formulae, productive efficiency and labour utilisation are calculated like this:

Productive efficiency = (Sold Hours/ Work Hours) x 100%

Labour utilisation = (Work Hours/Attended Hours) x 100%

Overall labour efficiency

There is one other measure of labour efficiency and that’s called overall efficiency. This is a simple combination of productive efficiency and labour utilisation, and comes from multiplying them together:

Overall Efficiency = Productive Efficiency x Labour Utilisation

Or, another way of looking at overall efficiency is as sold hours divided by attended hours:

Overall efficiency = (Sold Hours/Attended Hours) x 100%

How labour efficiency affects profit

Obviously you will make more profit if you can squeeze more sold hours from the hours your productives attend. We have already said that if you buy one hour from a service workshop technician for £10 and sell it to a customer for £40 you will make a profit of £30. But if you bought one hour from the technician and then sold two hours, you will make much more profit – £70.

It is equally obvious that if you buy one hour from a service workshop technician for £10, and then the whole hour is expended rectifying a come-back job for which you can make no charge, you have lost £10. Less obvious is that you have lost the opportunity to sell two hours (in our example), and thus lost the opportunity to make a profit of £70.

So the reason for measuring time in a workshop, and then calculating the labour efficiencies, is very clear. It’s all about profit. And if you don’t measure time and calculate the labour efficiencies, it is absolutely certain you will not maximise profitability because you will not know:

How fast your productives are working as a team and individually, and whether they could work faster if they were better trained or had better equipment

How long your productives are working as a team and individually, and how much time they are wasting on work that customers aren’t paying for.

How time is measured

The most basic way of measuring time in a workshop is by using a ‘clock’ which stamps time on a ‘clock card’ for attended time and on the job card for work time. The times are then correlated manually on a ‘daily operating control’ sheet, and the labour efficiencies calculated.

However, computers have largely superseded this basic method, with the ‘clocking’ carried out using barcodes or magnetic swipe cards. The computer then completes all the correlations and calculations instantly.

Typical labour efficiencies for the Top 25%

In recent years, the labour efficiencies achieved by bodyshops and service workshops have fallen from what would have been considered the ‘norm’ a decade ago. The reasons for this are complex. However the top 25% of franchised dealer bodyshops and service workshops are still achieving reasonable levels of performance, typically:

For a bodyshop, productive efficiency averages 106%, utilisation 88% and therefore overall efficiency is 93.3% (106% x 88%)

For a service workshop, productive efficiency averages 115%, utilisation 92% and therefore overall efficiency is 105.8% (115% x 92%)

For 40-hour attended by a productive in a week, these translate as:

For a bodyshop – 40 hours attended, 35.2 hours working on paying jobs, and 37.3 hours sold or invoiced to customers

For a service workshop – 40 hours attended, 36.8 hours working on paying jobs, and 42.3 hours sold or invoiced to customers.

Why service workshops are usually more labour-efficient than bodyshops

bodyshops are clearly less efficient, but why? Firstly, jobs move between productives in a bodyshop – starting with strip, then panel, then preparation, paint, refit and valeting. Usually this means moving the vehicle physically around the bodyshop, which is far less efficient than the straight in a bay, job done and straight out situation of a service workshop. The result for bodyshops is a lower labour utilisation than for a service workshop.

Productive efficiency in bodyshops used to be higher than for service workshops, because sold hours were negotiated with insurance assessors – so-called ‘opinion times’. A bodyshop might get 20 hours for a job and the productives would finish it in 15 work hours, achieving a productive efficiency of 133%. Nowadays, the times in a bodyshop are set by computerised estimating systems with virtually no room for negotiation or ‘opinion times’.

service workshops, like bodyshops, have seen standard times fall, too. But their customer base is millions of motorists rather than a dozen insurance companies, so service managers can set whatever times they want – within reason, and of course, subject to competition.

Lost time

Obviously it would be great if you could get away with just paying technicians when they are working on paying jobs, but you can’t. What you actually pay them for is attendance, or ‘attended time’, and they don’t ‘work’ on paying jobs all the time they are attending.

The difference between attended time and work time is ‘lost time’, which is also called non-productive time – the few hours every week that technicians are paid for when they are not working on paying jobs. Three common things that make up lost time are rectification of faulty work (‘come-backs’), collection and delivery of cars, and cleaning and maintenance.

In addition to paying for lost time, you might pay bonus and overtime, and you pay for technicians’ holidays, sick leave and training. Then there is the employer’s contribution to National Insurance, and the cost of any perks technicians receive such as pension or health insurance contributions.

It’s tempting to throw all of these payments into the cost of buying the technician’s time in our example and calculate what you might see as the ‘real’ profit. If you did, the cost of buying the hour would probably be around £13, and therefore the profit falls to £27.

Accounting for time

The facts presented so far would seem to make calculating the profit when buying and selling technicians’ time quite simple. Apparently all you have to do for any period – a day, a week, a month or a year – is add up all your labour sales and subtract all your technicians’ costs (including basic, bonus, overtime, holidays, sick, training, perks and National Insurance) to arrive at your profit on labour.

You can, but it is far better to identify all your technicians’ costs separately in your management accounts, because you can then see how much you are paying them for not working. And by separating these payments to technicians, you can look more closely at the effects of labour efficiency on your operation, whether it is mechanical servicing and repair or body repairs.

The following example shows the traditional format for the management accounts of a service workshop or bodyshop. Here we have taken the results for one technician over 12 months, assuming basic pay of £12 per hour and hours sold out at an average of £60 per hour. Additionally, we have assumed that the technician attends 44 weeks per annum and 40 hours per week, working 37 of those hours with lost time of 3 hours. As a result of the technician’s efforts, the workshop sells 42 hours per week (or 1,848 sold hours per annum from 44 weeks x 42 hours), and this is achieved without any overtime or bonus pay.

Management accounts

Labour sales 1,848 hours sold @ £60 = £110,880

Less Technician’s pay for 1,628 work hours @ £12 = £19,536

Technician’s bonus pay (all bonus pay entered if earned) = NIL

Technician’s overtime pay (all overtime entered if earned) = NIL

Gross profit on labour sales (Labour gross profit) = £91,344

Direct expenses

Technician’s pay for 132 hours of lost time @ £12 = £1,584

Technician’s pay for hols, sick & training (40 days of 8 hours) @ £12 = £3,840

Technician’s National Insurance and perks = £3,744

Direct profit on labour sales = £82,176

Labour gross profit

In this traditional form of management accounts, then, the cost of the technician is divided up into no less than six lines. The first three lines appear straight after labour sales, and consist of all pay made to the technician for actually producing work that is then sold to a customer. This includes pay for ‘work time’, and all bonus and overtime pay. Accountants call these the ‘cost of sales’.

By subtracting these three lines from sales, you end up with the gross profit made from buying and selling the technician’s time – usually called the ‘labour gross profit’. The labour gross profit is often expressed as a percentage of labour sales, which in this example comes to 82% (£91,344 divided by £110,880 expressed as a percentage).

The remaining three lines appear in the direct expenses section of management accounts along with the cost of non-productive salaries, apprentices, consumables, courtesy cars, advertising, etc. The idea, as we have said, is to identify what you pay technicians for not working. In this example, the total cost of the technician is £28,704 per annum, and £9,168 is for not working. That is nearly one-third, and a far from unusual proportion!

Dividing up the technician’s pay

The way some of the technician’s pay is divided up is self-evident – bonus, overtime, holidays etc, and National Insurance and perks. That just leaves the technician’s basic pay, which is divided up according to ‘work time’ and ‘lost time’:

In our example we know the technician attends 40 hours each week and works 37 of these hours, which means that the technician works for 1,628 hours in a year (37 hours x 44 weeks), which at £12 per hour is £19,536.

That leaves three hours of lost time each week, or 132 hours per annum (3 hours x 44 weeks), or £1,584 at £12 per hour.

In fact, this split corresponds to one of the measures of efficiency we discussed earlier – labour utilisation. Labour utilisation is ‘work hours’ divided by ‘attended hours’ expressed as a percentage, or 92.5% in this case (37 hours divided by 40 hours). The split in the management accounts allocates 92.5% of basic pay as the cost of doing the work. The remainder (7.5% of basic pay) – corresponding to the technician’s pay for lost time – is allocated as an expense.

It should now be clear that labour utilisation has a direct bearing on how much gross profit is effectively produced from selling the technician’s time, and what is paid to the technician for not working.

Calculating labour sales

In our example, the workshop sells 42 hours per week as a result of the 37 hours the technician actually works out of the 40 hours attended. We have already seen that the labour utilisation here is 92.5% (37 hours divided by 40 hours). The productive efficiency can also be calculated as 113.5% (42 sold hours divided by 37 work hours), and the overall efficiency is 105% (42 sold hours divided by 40 attended hours). All these formulae were covered earlier.

The labour sales in our example are calculated by multiplying the sold hours in a year (1,848 hours) by the labour rate of £60 per hour. In full, this calculation is as follows:

Annual labour sales = 1 technician x 40 attended hours per week x 44 weeks attended per year x 105% overall efficiency x £60 per hour labour rate = £110,880

Increased productive efficiency

Now we can have a look at what happens to the profit on labour sales if labour efficiency increases. Let’s say our technician still works 37 hours out of 40 hours attended, but works faster (i.e. is more productive) and achieves 43 sold hours. The utilisation is still 92.5% (37 work hours divided by 40 attended hours), but the productive efficiency has increased to 116.2% (43 sold hours divided by 37 work hours) and the overall efficiency has also increased to 107.5% (43 sold hours divided by 40 attended hours). The effect is as follows (and we have assumed again that bonus and overtime are ‘nil’):

Labour sales

1 tech x 40 att. hours x 44 weeks x 107.5% overall efficiency x £60 per hour = £113,520

Less

1 tech x 40 att. hours x 44 weeks x 92.5% utilisation x £12 per hour = £19,536

Gross profit on labour sales (Labour gross profit) £93,984

Direct expenses

1 tech x 40 att. hours x 44 weeks x 7.5% lost time x £12 per hour = £1,584

Technician’s pay for hols, sick & training (40 days of 8 hours) @ £12 = £3,840

Technician’s National Insurance and perks = £3,744

Direct profit on labour sales £84,816

A small increase in productive efficiency – just about three percentage points – has resulted in an extra annual profit on labour of £2,640.

Improving labour utilisation and productive efficiency

So far, we have explained how to measure time in a service or body repair workshop, how labour efficiency is calculated, and how management accounts are designed to highlight the sources of labour profit. We have shown how productive efficiency affects profitability. Next, we look at the effects on profit of improving labour utilisation, and then both productive efficiency and labour utilisation at the same time.

Increased labour utilisation

Taking the same example discussed earlier, let’s improve labour utilisation by assuming that our technician manages to work 38 hours out of 40 hours attended instead of 37, while leaving the productive efficiency the same (113.5%) as in the original example. This means that utilisation goes up to 95% (38 work hours divided by 40 attended hours), and even if the productive efficiency is the same at 113.5%, then our technician will produce 43.1 sold hours (38 hours worked x 113.5%). That is, the technician’s overall efficiency has increased to 107.8% (43.1 sold hours divided by 40 attended hours).

The effect on labour profits is then:

Labour sales

1 tech x 40 att. hours x 44 weeks x 107.8% overall efficiency x £60 per hour = £113,520

Less

1 tech x 40 att. hours x 44 weeks x 95% utilisation x £12 per hour = £20,064 Gross profit on labour sales (Labour gross profit) = £93,456

Direct expenses

1 tech x 40 att. hours x 44 weeks x 5% lost time x £12 per hour = £1,056

Technician’s pay for hols, sick & training (40 days of 8 hours) @ £12 = £3,840

Technician’s National Insurance and perks = £3,744

Direct profit on labour sales = £84,816

The improvement, from one extra hour worked per week, is £2,640 in a year.

Do both!

But what would happen if both utilisation and productive efficiency improved at the same time? That is, the technician still attends 40 hours, but works 38 hours at the improved productive efficiency of 116.2% (from Part 2) thereby producing 44.2 sold hours (38 work hours x 116.2%) and hence an overall efficiency of 110.5% (44.2 sold hours divided by 40 attended hours). The calculation looks like this:

Labour sales

1 tech x 40 att. hours x 44 weeks x 110.5% overall efficiency x £60 per hour = £116,688

Less

1 tech x 40 att. hours x 44 weeks x 95% utilisation x £12 per hour = £20,064

Gross profit on labour sales (Labour gross profit) = £96,624

Direct expenses

1 tech x 40 att. hours x 44 weeks x 5% lost time x £12 per hour = £1,056

Technician’s pay for hols, sick & training (40 days of 8 hours) @ £12 = £3,840

Technician’s National Insurance and perks = £3,744

Direct profit on labour sales = £87,984

The improvement is £5,808, multiplied by (say) seven technicians is a sizeable £40,656 extra profit per annum.

This shows how significant for profitability only relatively small increases in labour efficiency can be. However, labour profits can also fall just as significantly if labour efficiency falls by an equally small amount.

Hidden lost time

If small improvements in labour efficiency translate into big improvements in labour profits, but any slight reduction means big falls in profit, then you need to know what levers to pull to make sure you are on the side of big profits. So what’s the secret? Or is it about managing the minutiae?

There’s no secret. The trick is managing every aspect of a workshop. Managers have to do everything they can to make sure technicians, panel beaters or painters are working as fast as possible for as long as possible. In other words, you must do everything to minimise lost time, and provide your productive staff with every means to support faster working like training, power tools… and even placing certain jobs with productives who are the most experienced. If you have a clutch job, then give it to the clutch expert.

But there is one secret worth knowing, and that’s ‘hidden lost time’.

As we have shown, lost time is a killer. But then lost time, if it’s measured at all, is usually about the most obvious elements such as rectification of faulty work, collection and delivery of cars, and cleaning and maintenance. However, there is a lot more lost time hidden away within jobs. Technicians may seem to be working hard, but too often they may be waiting for spare parts at the back counter of the stores. Or a technician may be waiting in line to use a piece of equipment like a wheel alignment rig.

The outcome of ‘hidden lost time’ is a fall in productive efficiency, but labour utilisation is unaffected because you haven’t measured the losses. But, as you have seen, the effect on profits can be huge. So apart from attending to the obvious and direct influences on labour efficiency, which affect how fast technicians work (productive efficiency) and how long (utilisation), workshop managers must also attend to anything that can slow them down when they are supposed to be working.

Understanding Approximate Numbers: Why, When, and Where We Use Them

Why, When, and Where we use numerical approximations.

WHAT IS AN APPROXIMATE NUMBER?

A value which is APPROXIMATE is an INEXACT value which is close to the real value.

HOW CLOSE – HOW BIG AN ERROR IS OK?

The difference between the real value and the approximate value is the error.

Although an approximation can often reduce the complexity of a problem, every approximation will introduce an error.

We often assume these errors will offset one another when numbers are added, subtracted, multiplied, or divided. However, arithmetic can also compound small errors. When this happens, many small errors can combine to produce a giant error.

That said, NUMERICAL APPROXIMATIONS are used because they do SIMPLIFY OUR DAILY LIFE.

We use approximate numbers for a myriad of tasks: to get a quick estimate of travel times, project our grocery expense for the week, guess how tall the neighbor’s tree is, predict how many pounds we will weigh by next week, predict a grade on a test, etc.

Approximations make arithmetic less complex, and reduce the time and effort needed to process numbers.

Using approximations can give us a useful answer quickly.

Approximations are practical.

Approximating a number can allow us to evaluate a course of action immediately, without waiting for an exact number.

At the very least, approximations can often show us how to understand and appreciate the implications of an important decision without waiting for further study.

However, we have all experienced how the errors introduced by using inexact numbers can lead to a catastrophe. For example, using rough approximations in your calculations can mean you underestimate your expenses and run out of money.

WHAT are some of the SPECIFIC TYPES OF APPROXIMATIONS WE DO USE?

Five ways approximations are used are discussed below:

1. RANGE OF VALUES…

An approximation is often given as a range of values.

A RANGE of values which approximates the exact value is used in every area of life.

How much will lunch cost? Somewhere between $50 and $110 at one of the high end restaurants; or, $5 to $15 at the sandwich shop down the street. How much is your house worth? How much is your car repair?… and so on.

2. ROUNDING VALUES… SOMETIMES YOU HAVE NO CHOICE

A number is often approximated by rounding it to a certain number of significant figures.

Sometimes rounding a number is strictly for convenience, such as rounding 999 to 1000.

Sometimes, there is no choice.

For example, the square root of 2 = 1.4142135623730950488016887242097 (and so on). However, no one can compute an exact value for the square root of 2 because it is an irrational number. 1.4142135623730950488016887242097 is an approximation. You have no choice. You must use an approximation for the square root of 2.

In addition, it is not necessary to use 31 decimal points for most problems. The square root of 2 is usually rounded to something like 1.4142. The rounded number is another approximation.

A great deal of time in school is spent training students how approximate numbers by rounding them.

3. SIMPLIFYING FORMULAS…

Approximations are used to simplify formulas to make them more useful.

For example, if you are on the deck of a ship, how far can you see in clear weather? This is called the distance to the horizon.

There is a formula for calculating this distance.

d = sqrt[h(D+h)]

� d = distance to the horizon

� D = diameter of the Earth

� h = height of the observer above sea level

� R = radius of the Earth

Using an approximation, this formula can be reduced to the following:

d = 3.6 * sqrt(h)

� d is the distance to the horizon (in kilometers)

� h is the height above sea level (in meters)

Using the approximate formula, an officer standing on the deck of a ship can estimate the distance to the horizon in his head with very little effort.

4. STATISTICS: HOW CLOSE IS THE ANSWER?…

As an example, consider polls of likely voters taken prior to an election.

Suppose 56.5 % of likely voters favor candidate A + or – 3%. This is an APPROXIMATION which means that the real number of voters which favor candidate A is somewhere between 53.5% and 59.5% (a RANGE of POSSIBLE VALUES).

5. APPROXIMATIONS USING TRIAL AND ERROR…

Some calculations are so complex they cannot be solved analytically.

But that does not mean they cannot be solved.

The solution to many non-linear equations can be approximated with a high degree of accuracy using the trial and error method.

The problem is, these approximations frequently require so many trials that hand computation in not practical.

However, using the computer, billions of calculations can be completed in a few seconds.

Approximating a solution by trial and error is important in mathematics, physics, chemistry, electrical engineering, and other fields.

Computing the square root of five is a simple example of how trial and error can be used.

To use the trial and error method: 1) guess at the square root of five; 2) multiply your guess times itself to see how close the multiplied results are to five.

Repeat steps 1) and 2) over and over until you achieve the desired degree of accuracy.

When to Replace Brake Pads

Worn brake pads can adversely impact your ability to bring your car to a halt. This can be especially dangerous in an emergency situation when adequately working brakes are a must to help you stop your car promptly. There are some telltale signs of pending brake problems; do you know what they are? Awareness of a problem is the key to avoiding potential harmful consequences; let’s examine some well known warning signs.

Signs of pending brake trouble include the following:

  • Squealing brakes
  • Pulling of the car from one side to the other
  • Wheel grabs
  • Brake pedal pumping
  • Sudden and hard brake pedal
  • Spongy brake pedals
  • Grinding of the brakes

    While some of these problems may necessitate you replacing other brake components, an inspection of your brake pads should reveal that they are worn and are in need of immediate replacement.

    Your next course of action depends on your expertise, your time, and on your wallet. Most garages offer a free brake inspection and this can be a wonderful opportunity to have someone else inspect your system to confirm your findings.

    Ask your mechanic for a complete diagnosis of your brake system and an estimate on what parts and repairs will cost you. A good garage will give you a print out showing a fairly close estimate of what your costs will be. Throw in your local taxes and the price quoted should be within 95% of the final cost, barring an unforeseen additional problem being detected [for example, brake master cylinder failure].

    If you feel reasonably confident that you can do the work yourself, you stand to save yourself plenty of money, at least in labor costs. You can save money with parts, too, by shopping around; the highest prices you pay will likely be through your dealer’s parts department. Prices at a national auto parts supply store should be lower, while prices through an online wholesaler should be about the lowest available as they purchase directly from the manufacturer.

    If you decide to purchase online, only obtain parts from a reputable dealer selling parts from trusted manufacturers. Be careful of those sites selling generic parts from overseas merchants. Make sure that you can return what you purchase, if needed, to address in based in the U.S.

  • Helpful Tips for DIY Car Radiator Flushing

    Once you turn the key, start your vehicle’s ignition and begin to drive, your internal combustion engine starts producing a substantial amount of heat. In order to remove this heat and prevent your engine from overheating, a functional radiator is needed. A car radiator uses thermal heat exchange to eliminate high temperatures and heat to keep a vehicle’s engine in working condition. This means that larger vehicles require larger radiators to facilitate the same effect.

    For radiators to be effective and stay cool, they must be cleaned regularly by means of flushing. Solid deposits, residues, and other sediment buildup can cause a cooling system to clog or fail entirely. Flushing a car radiator is one of the most important routine maintenance jobs and must be done to keep vehicles operational over time. Fortunately, it can be done on your own. It’s also quick and inexpensive to do. Continue reading to learn some tips that can help you when it comes time to flush your car radiator.

    Get Started With the Right Supplies

    The first thing to do when it comes to flushing a car radiator is gather up all the necessary supplies and materials. It is never a fun situation to get halfway through your project, only to discover you are missing a key element. Going back to the store could pose a problem; especially if the radiator has already been drained. Ideal provisions for radiator flushing includes a funnel, cloth rag, coolant, radiator flush solution, Phillips screwdriver or wrench, separate container for old coolant, and extra rags for accidents and spills. When you have determined that all your supplies are in place, you can begin the process of flushing the radiator.

    Here’s What To Do:

    Before you remove the radiator cap, be sure the car engine is COMPLETELY cool; otherwise you run the risk of spilling hot coolant on yourself. And this really burns!

    Next, flush the used coolant out of the radiator. Do this by locating the radiator drain plug. It is typically located at the bottom of the radiator. If you have trouble finding it, refer to your owners’ manual or look online for pictures and instructional videos. You can also contact a professional mechanic for over-the-phone assistance.

    Once you find the drain plug, place the container for old coolant under the drain and open it up. Let the old coolant flow out for a few minutes; if it seems to be moving slow, check to see if the plug is all the way open.

    When the radiator is empty, replace the drain plug and open the radiator cap.

    Next, pour the flush cleaning solution inside. Fill the remaining space inside the radiator with room temperature water.

    Now you are ready to replace the radiator cap; just be sure it is screwed on tight. It is possible for caps to fall off, which allows coolant to escape from the radiator.

    Let the car engine run until it reaches its normal driving temperature. Then turn it off and let it cool completely.

    Once the car engine is cool again, you are ready to flush the solution from the radiator and add fresh clean coolant. Use the same emptying process as before.

    Use a 50/50 solution of coolant and water to get optimal and safe results. You can find pre-mixed coolants at your local auto store. This is sometimes more convenient.

    Tips For Discovering How Much Your House is Worth

    Determining how much a house is worth is no easy task. Basic information on home values is always out there, but who are people to trust when it comes to assessing a home value? Appraisers? Real estate agents? Zillow?

    There are a lot of free online tools out there that can estimate a home’s value, and every site uses different information to determine its best guess estimate. Why do we trust computers for information like this? Because its fast and convenient. Does convenience always lead to accuracy, however?

    House value estimate websites can not assess – they can simply provide an estimate based on what you tell them. Can a mechanic accurately pinpoint a problem in your car if you don’t tell him everything that is wrong? Didn’t think so. Home value reductions like a cracked foundation can only be evaluated by an online calculator if you tell the calculator it exists. Even then, it doesn’t know how bad the crack is. Try telling an online tool that your foundation simply has one crack, and that the entire foundation isn’t in bad shape. Computers typically work on yes/no answers, and house value calculators are no different.

    As if that isn’t enough, website estimators typically don’t give definitive numbers. Instead, they provide a price range. If you can’t get a definitive, immediate answer to your home value question, why ask an online calculator?

    To determine how much worth you have in your house, a real estate agent is the best option. They have local knowledge of your real estate market and can provide reliable, fast answers based on recent sales. In addition to that, they can judge subjective housing conditions, like a tiny crack in a foundation versus a damaged foundation in need of repair.

    Would you trust just anyone who uses the internet to manage an internet marketing campaign? No. Working with a local real estate agent to find out how much your house is worth is essential to getting an accurate estimate.

    You Will Have to Undergo Some Driving Lessons Before You Are Allowed to Drive a Car on the Road

    To anticipate spending too much money on medical expenses and car repair, purchasing insurance coverage is a good idea. In the event of accident, other people can be in danger too. If you are at fault, other people who are involved in the accident may file lawsuits against you. This particular circumstance will direct auto insurance company to handle all the necessary requirements, for example providing a lawyer, paying court fees, etc.

    Insurance company eliminates the hassles, so you will be able to do your everyday activities without worrying about the issues too much. Another reason is that driving without insurance is basically against the law, and there will be penalties for that. Please put in mind that penalties vary between states. The difference can only be in terms of specific details, as instructed by the DMV of your state. All states have the same penalties, but there are differences in the amount of fines, procedures to reinstate insurance, etc. Some of the most common penalties are briefly outlined below.

    Driving Ban & Suspended Registration

    If you are caught driving without valid insurance, you will be banned from driving and your vehicle’s registration will also be suspended. There is a very simple rule: if the car has no insurance, the vehicle has no plate as well. Commonly you have to turn in the vehicle’s plates to the local DMV. In certain states, such as in New York, car insurance must be provided by a licensed company, meaning your insurer has to be listed or licensed by New York State Department of Financial Services.

    Every state has a local insurance department where you can obtain a list of licensed insurers. Please make sure you only purchase coverage from the listed car insurance companies to get valid proof of insurance. In New York, insurance coverage provided by any insurer from any other state will not be considered valid. It makes sense since every state has different details in traffic regulations. If you are driving without insurance, the New York State will suspend your vehicle’s registration until certain time period.

    If registration suspension exceeds 90 days, your driver license will be suspended too, meaning you cannot drive any vehicle anymore until your driver license is reinstated. In New York, you have to pay a fee of $25 – $50 to reinstate the driver license. It is better to turn in your plates to the New York DMV before your insurance coverage ends; you will then get a receipt to proof that you already turned the plates in. This rule also applies even if your car is in the storage or parked at public road.

    Car Gets Towed

    Excluding New Hampshire, all states in the United States penalize uninsured drivers. However, each state implements different set of rules concerning the fines and other penalties. If you commit any traffic offense, your car will be pulled over and the officer will ask you to produce driver license, vehicle titles, and proof of insurance. You will be fined based on the offense. In most states, if you fail to produce proof of insurance, your car will be towed away and impounded.

    Because you were driving the car when it was pulled over, you will be responsible for paying the storage fees and fines to get the car back. Depending on the state where you live, the total amount can be thousands of dollars. Considering you have to also purchase insurance before you can repossess the car, it is safe to say you will spend more money in addition to the fines and storage fees. Usually, you will need at least liability coverage to take the car back. However, if your driver license is suspended due to traffic offenses such as DUI (Driving under Influence) or other violations, you may have to take someone with a valid driver license.

    You can bring the original insurance document, the copy of it, or simply fax it depending on the DMV. Please also make sure that you bring enough money to pay all the charges. Instead of paying thousands of dollars, it is best to purchase insurance coverage which is probably way less expensive. You can use online car insurance calculator to estimate the price of insurance policies from almost every insurer.

    SR-22 Requirements

    Once again, depending on the state where you live, proof of insurance can be in different forms. One of the most common is SR-22 document, which basically shows you have the least minimum liability requirement to be considered legal for driving. There are some situations where SR-22 is obligatory such as when you are caught for driving under influence, at fault in the event of accident, you commit too many traffic offenses, or having non-valid driver license.

    If you are required to obtain an SR-22 document, you will have to maintain the minimum insurance requirement of the state in which the document is issued and keep the document for usually 3 years, even if you move to other states. If in any case your insurance lapses or is cancelled, your vehicle registration and driver license will be suspended again. SR-22 requirements can be different from state to state, but you can ask your local DMV or insurance company for more details.

    Besides SR-22 document and insurance card issued by your insurer, there are two more valid proofs of insurance that you can use. In some states, the preferred form is electronic database sent by your insurer to the DMV. Even if your insurance company uses this procedure, you must always keep the insurance card with you as backup. It is worth mentioning that some people choose not to be insured, yet they use a different form of responsibility, which is a large amount of deposit. Surprisingly, many states allow people to use this form indeed.

    There are two possible methods you can use if you choose not to purchase insurance policy from any company. First, you have to make large deposit but the amount varies depending on the state; it is usually from $25,000 to $100,000. Another way is to purchase or secure a bond with a surety company. The surety bond company should be an authorized one in your state. If you prefer to use one of those methods, please make sure to keep the certificate of bond or deposit with you.

    Fines

    The car is indeed yours after you purchase it, but you are not allowed to drive it on the road unless you also buy insurance coverage for it. The car should be covered by at least liability insurance before it can get to roadway. When you are pulled over due to any reason, the police officer will ask for insurance card or any other valid proof of insurance.

    If you cannot produce it, you will receive a ticket in addition to the actual reason why you were pulled over in the first place. For example, if you are being stopped for speeding or driving in the wrong lane, and you are currently not insured, the tickets you receive will include all those offenses. Again, depending on the states, you will probably be able to dismiss the ‘driving without insurance’ ticket.

    The other violations have been committed, and there is no way to dismiss the tickets. If you can produce the proof of insurance within the time period indicated on the ticket, this specific offense can be dismissed. This is possible only if you were actually insured at the traffic stop, yet for whatever reason you did not bring insurance card or any other proof of insurance. Based on this, even the best car insurance companies in the world will not be able to save you from the fines.

    In case where you were not insured at all at the traffic stop, you have to deal with an exceptionally high fine. In Ontario, for example, the minimum fine for this offense is $5,000. According to NAIC (National Association of Insurance Commissioners), the exact amount varies by state, but it typically starts from $5,000 to $10,000. There is also a 25% surcharge added to the actual fee. Driving without insurance doesn’t make any sense, since you can get cheap auto insurance easily from many companies.

    Jail Time

    Jail time is usually for repeat offenses only. Uninsured driver will be put in jail for a maximum of 30 days depending on the situation. To make things worse, you still have to appear in court and pay the fines based on the offenses you committed. You will therefore are penalized with both penalties. Based on a study conducted by IRC (Insurance Research Council) in 2011, one out of seven drivers in United States is uninsured.

    The main reason is that insurance policies are expensive, which is not a good excuse after all. If you do a little online research, you will find numerous websites providing car insurance estimate services for you free of charge. The websites usually access some of the most reputable insurers in the state and perform the estimation based on the personal data you provide such as age, car model, address, mileage, etc.

    Such estimation will not be 100% accurate, but you can at least predict the actual amount you need to pay. If you won’t use independent estimator, you can ask for car insurance quotes from almost every company in the state. Those companies nowadays provide the quotes for free, and you can get it without buying their policies.

    What happens if the other driver has no car insurance?

    No Pay No Play

    This is a relatively new penalty, and it is currently only implemented in 8 states across United States including Oregon, North Dakota, Alaska, Iowa, California, Michigan, Louisiana, and New Jersey. The law basically states that uninsured drivers are not allowed to receive compensations from insured drivers regardless who are at fault in the event of accidents. In Montana, for example, uninsured drivers are allowed to file a lawsuit against their insured counterparts to obtain compensation for non-economic damages.

    With ‘no pay, no play’ law, uninsured drivers are prohibited from doing so because they basically are not providing the same benefits to others. In the simplest way, uninsured drivers are considered cheating on those who are insured. Those who do not have insurance will not be allowed to collect compensation for non-economic damages from other drivers who actually have insurance policies.

    This can be a good idea, since there are cheap auto insurance quotes all over the market, and some people simply don’t want to purchase it even if it is against the law. The only way that uninsured drivers can file a lawsuit is when they pay large deductible (usually around $10,000). Only after that they can sue for property damage.

    How a Faulty Exhaust System Can Make You Sick

    If you smell fumes from your car when starting it or while driving, you have a faulty exhaust system. Breathing in the fumes can make you sick and cause drowsiness, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. This part of the car should not be ignored because its carbon monoxide and breathing in too many fumes can put you to sleep permanently.

    It could be caused from different components such as the catalytic converter or the exhaust manifold. The catalytic converter is an exhaust emission control device which converts toxic chemicals in the exhaust of an internal combustion engine into less toxic substances.

    The exhaust system is usually piping used to guide reaction exhaust gases away from a controlled combustion inside an engine or stove. The entire system conveys burnt gases from the engine and includes one or more exhaust pipes.

    The exhaust manifold collects exhaust gases from different cylinders and goes into one pipe. The muffler is the silencer to the exhaust system. With the descriptions of each part, you can see why if faulty it can cause a hazard to your health.

    It’s best to take your car to a mechanic that specializes in exhaust systems as well as other repairs. If you go to a muffler shop, they will charge you more and possibly try to sell you the complete exhaust system when you need one part.

    Catalytic converters are popular for going bad. You should never start your car in a closed garage. Always open the door first and once started, drive it out of the garage. People have died from a faulty exhaust system. The muffler just drowns out the noise but without it, you your car will be really noisy.

    It’s very easy to detect, so once you smell strong fumes, get it to the mechanic. These toxic chemicals can cause a host of health problems and should be avoided. If you have a family member that knows about exhaust systems, ask them for advice and if they can guide you to a good auto repair shop. Go to two or three different shops and compare the pricing with the work needed.

    Ask them to give you a written estimate with their guarantee in writing. By getting this done as quickly as possible, it will save your life or a huge hospital bill. By reading this article, you should know how a faulty exhaust system can make you sick.