Why all this back patting? Because this issue is made possible because of all of you, our readers. Last year, we asked you to tell us what articles you’d most like to see in BSB … and tell us you did! Your response was overwhelming. (If you didn’t fill out the entry form we ran last year in the magazine, you get another chance. Go to page 11, and you can play a part in shaping next year’s April issue.)
How did we sort through all these article suggestions and decide on eight winners? Easy:
1. If you sent in cash with your entry, you won.
2. If you sent in a check with your entry and it cleared, you won.
3. If you sent in a credit card number, I’d be on an extended trip to some exotic locale right now and wouldn’t be writing these Editor’s Notes. No one sent in a credit card number.
Yes, I’m kidding about our accepting bribes! Stop dialing the police and step away from the phone!
Here’s how the winning entries were really selected:
1. We went through all the article suggestions to determine which topics were most in demand.
2. Because these topics were popular and suggested by more than one reader, the reader who suggested the topic first won. (This was determined by the dates on the faxes or the postmarks on the envelopes.) For example, lots of you suggested a story on why insurers are exempt from anti-trust laws and what can be done to eliminate their exemption, but shop manager Mike Hogan was the first to fax us his entry form with that suggestion – so he won.
What did our eight winners win? Fifty dollars and their question/suggestion answered by an industry expert. On the first page of each feature, you’ll see a photo of the winning reader along with the article idea that he or she submitted. The article that follows, then, addresses what that reader wanted to know.
We also tried hard to find the “right” writer for each article. To address Mike Hogan’s question about antitrust laws, we went to our legal writer Susan Martin – who’s not only an attorney but also understands the problems of shop owners. She’s married to one.
For reader Dan McClellan’s question about why no one wants smart kids to become repairers, we relied on the recruiting expertise of Mark Claypool, president of Mentors at Work, executive director of the National Autobody Council, former director of the I-CAR Education Foundation and former director of development for Skills USA/VICA.
To answer reader Bill O’Keefe’s question about how to compete with shops that bury customers’ deductibles, we enlisted the help of shop owner and well-known industry columnist Dick Strom, who explains how his “honesty is the best policy” philosophy can work for you – even when your competitors aren’t honest.
Though we try hard every month to bring you the stories you need to run a more profitable business, this issue is special because it’s 100 percent yours. You created it.
Shop manager and winner Brandon Mitchell wrote at the bottom of his entry, “I’d like to thank you all for asking what we think.”
But I think it should be the other way around. We’d like to thank all of you for telling us.