What kind of job are we doing for our clients if they break down on the commute to work or on a trip?
Are we looking after our clients’ best interests? Are we filling our service bays with honest, profitable under car repairs 52 weeks a year? Are we performing inspections on every vehicle that enters our service bays?
These are all good questions. Some can be answered after analyzing your weekly or monthly numbers. The question that really matters most can be answered standing in front of the mirror in your own repair facility. Are you performing inspections on every vehicle that comes into your service bays?
Bread and butter
Under-car repairs such as brakes, chassis, suspension, exhaust and wheel bearings are some of the most profitable repairs performed in our repair facilities daily. Labour intensive jobs with great potential for gross profit on parts are every repair facility’s bread and butter. The average shop performs its fair share of under-car repairs, but I question all repair facilities (including my own) in that, are we performing inspections on every vehicle? Are we documenting all our findings and making the time to discuss those findings with every client before they leave the facility? I can safely say the answer is NO! If the answer was YES our industry would look completely different.
In the past and also today, we have changed the oil in our clients’ vehicles, wiggled their tires and banged on their exhaust and called it a pre-trip inspection. Is it possible that our clients would like an inspection and are willing to pay for that inspection on their vehicle when they say, “I would like an inspection on my vehicle before I leave on a vacation?”
Many repair facilities are performing regular inspections on their clients’ vehicles and advising future repairs based on their inspection process. I would like to personally say “thank you” for being leaders in this industry. For the repair facilities that don’t perform regular inspections on their clients’ vehicles, or minimize their clients’ requests for an inspection on their vehicle when asked to perform an inspection, I ask, “Why?” We are trusted to keep our clients safe, to prevent costly breakdowns many miles from home, only to have them potentially break down in front of another repair facility due to our inability to perform inspections and communicate effectively!
Performing inspections on clients’ vehicles to identify potential issues like wheel bearings, ball joints or brake pads and rotors is the easy part. Getting paid to perform those inspections is a completely different article for a later date. There is no silver bullet, there is no easy answer, but there is one golden rule—show the value! If you develop an inspection process to identify under-car repairs, you can make it as easy or complicated as you would like, but always remember to show the value.
Make time to have a discussion with your clients about how important it is to have a good inspection process to prevent costly breakdowns, keeping clients safe and driving with confidence in their vehicle for years to come. Perform the inspections, show the value, increase client retention and increase profitability. It all starts tomorrow with one client, one vehicle and one inspection!!