DemandAdvantage Blog

Smog Check Software / Repair Order Software / Auto Web Site / Marketing

Why We Do What We Do

by bschneider 28. March 2013 10:27

Having been successful in the flower and the insurance business, among others, I get questions all the time why I'm now so committed to Demand Advantage and helping our STAR certified, Smog Test Only, Auto Shop and Lube customers. My partner, Joe Vandertol, gets the same question. The reason is very simple. We LOVE the art of building successful companies. That's why we founded DA. 

I built my flower shop, Greenhouse Designs, into a major player in the entertainment business. Our flowers appeared on shows like Fantasy Island and Movies like Mommy Dearest. We were featured on Entertainment Tonight as the "florist to the stars" the year we did the Oscars. My Insurance business grew from a corner of my den into a multi-million dollar firm spanning four western States.

Joe's the technology guy. He built his multi-million dollar company by developing one of the most successful airline reservation systems in use today. Our experiences taught us some major lessons about what it takes to run and grow a business.

I remember the dinner that gave birth to DA.  We sat for hours talking about the years we spent building our companies; all the mistakes and all the successes. Ultimately we arrived at the same conclusion as to what it takes for a small business to succeed, not just marginally, but spectacularly.  It's not a secret, it's pretty much common sense. It's something most small business people already know but do not execute well. And that not so secret concept is to have a system that does the right thing, the same way, every time, over and over again. Accomplishing this is the singular challenge of every owner.

If you're reading this and own a Smog Test Only Station, or say a Lube Station, you know what I mean. You love your business. You love to work with your customers and do all the things that attracted you to the profession in the first place. But the busier you get the less time you have to do all those things that got you busy in the first place. This is the story of just about every small business. When we focus on sales, we get busy. When we get busy, we stop selling and spend all our time servicing. Pretty soon we get slow again because we were so busy serving customers we forgot (or did not have the time) to find new ones or do the things that keep existing ones coming back.

We found that most small businesses that actually do have systems are running them independently of one another. Many Test Only stations still use those expensive pre printed NCR forms required by the State of CA. They spend time filling out the form by hand, then entering it a second time into the computer. And then if they're really good, they'll come back later and enter the customer into a marketing database so they can send out e-mail reminders or coupons. But how many owners do that every time, all the time. Our research found that number is very small.

What we created with DA is a system that joins a very easy to use Point of Sale component with a single database that works with our e-mail, web site and coupon marketing engine. So using the example of the owner of a Test Only Station, not only will he stop throwing money away on paper forms, when he gets busy he won't have to worry about slowing down again because his marketing will all be automated. Our goal is to make his biggest problem trying to figure out how much he wants to expand in order to keep up with all the new and returning customers.

Yes there are companies that will send e-mails to your customers and yes there are companies that will build you a web site. There are even more who will sell you expensive point of sale software. But there is really only one company that does all that for one very low monthly subscription that, in the case of the Test Only Station is practically revenue neutral.

So this is why we do what we do. Based on years of experience, we've put together a system that automates so many of the things we struggled with in our own ventures. Every day Joe and I get up and are excited to help our customers succeed. And there is no better feeling than seeing it happen.

CETIA As An Important Voice for Our Industry

by bschneider 28. February 2013 11:57

Over the last little while I've been corresponding with Susan over at the California Emissions Testing Industries Association. I can't emphasis enough how important CETIA is to Test-Only and Star Certified Stations. Susan and her team have been doing important things in Sacramento to protect the Test-Only Industry. Since Star Certified and Test-Only Businesses make up so many of our customers, we want to help CETIA in its mission. We feel this is one more way that Demand Advantage can help grow our customers' buinesses.

We will be looking into rolling out a promotional campaign that helps CETIA increase its membership. The more Star and Test-Only Stations have a voice through CETIA, the stronger we will all be. Keep checking back for exciting news related to our new campaign!   In the meantime, point your browser over to and see for yourself all the great things they're doing.

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I'ts Cold Out There! 10 Things to Check on Your Car Before a Winter Road Trip

by bschneider 3. January 2012 10:19


Now that the holidays are over more and more of us who live in warmer climes are turning our attention to that long awaited snow trip. For residents of the Southwest the thought of winter proofing our cars is usually the last thing on our minds. After all, here where I live in Los Angeles, it hardly gets below freezing all winter. But just a few hours north the thermometer can drop in a hurry as one begins to climb into the Sierra Nevada. So before you head of into the great white north, it would be a good idea to do the following:

1. Check your tires' tread depth: It can get slick up in the mountains or in any environment where it rains then freezes. If you're not used to driving under those conditions it's imperative that you give yourself as much as an advantage as possible. It's not good enough to just eyeball your treads. Consumer Reports recommends that consumers place a quarter in the tread to measure the depth. Replacement is necessary under a depth of 4/32. So when you place the quarter in the tread, do so with president Washington's head upside down. If our first president's head is still at least partially visible, you're good to go.

2. Check the condition of all the belts on the car:  A broken belt at the 6,000 foot level can be a lot more inconvenient then it would be a mile or so from  home, so it's important to make sure each belt is in good shape. That means looking for cracks or obvious signs of wear. Replacing a belt on the road will cost you a lot more than in town, not to mention the extra time you'll spend looking for one instead of on the slopes.

3. Check your brake lights:  This seems like such a simple thing but the truth is most of us just assume they're always working. The fact is, that just is not the case. And the guy driving behind you is not necessarily going drive up to the side of your car to let you know. Place a brick on the brake then walk back and check that both lights are illuminated. Safe, stopping distances decrease rapidly in the snow and lacking brake lights make you, literally, a sitting target.

4. Check your fluids: With your engine off, check the power steering fluid, the brake fluid, coolant, windshield wiper fluid and also the engine oil. Your owner's manual will  indicate how to check the transmission and your car's other specific fluids. Make sure you pay attention to the recommended oil viscosity for cold weather. Oil gets thicker as it gets colder. If it's too thick it won't lubricate your engine properly.

5. Check your brakes: This is one of the things most of us are not going to want to do because it involves jacking up your car and removing the wheel. Better safe than sorry; if you haven't had your brakes professionally checked in the last 10,000 miles get into a shop for a look see.

6. Chains: Yes, this is sort of a no brainer. But you 'd be surprised to know how many of us don't remember this simple precaution. Make sure you have put the chains on before so you know how to do it. Figuring out how to get a set of new chains on at 10:00 PM in a snow storm is no fun at all.

7. Check and replace your wiper blades. If it hasn't rained in a while chances are you'll need to address this. It an easy thing to remedy.

8. Make sure to check the battery. If your battery is over three years old, have a certified technician test its ability to hold a charge. If it's a newer one, just check that the posts aren't corroded and it has enough water. It might  be a good idea to have some jumper cables with you as well. (to help out the other guy who forgot to check HIS battery!)

9. Four wheel drive owners: Most of us with off road vehicles don't really use the system all that often. Make sure it's working properly before showing up all those 4x2 owners.

10.  Prepare an emergency kit. No matter how careful we are to prepare, accidents can happen. It would be a very good idea to equip your car with flares, stopping blocks, abrasive material like salt (in case you get stuck in the snow) and a first aid kit.

If you take the time to follow these simple things you'll go a long way towards ensuring a safe and happy mountain adventure for you and your family.  A sure bet to make sure you get all the above done right is to take your car into a reputable auto service company, preferably one Demand Advantage Partners with! Have fun out there!




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