Now more than ever before, we need to think and breathe business. I know most of you may have started as techs and many still turn wrenches on a daily basis, but the brutal facts are in: We are in a fight, unprecedented from any other time in auto repair history. The battle will not only be fought in the service bays. The key battle will be for market share of the service and repair business.
We all heard that the future looks bright with low new car sales and dealerships closing, which are positive signs but not the total picture. The new car dealerships that remain after the dust has settled will emerge strong and with the full backing of the car maker. Yes, there will be some dissension in the ranks between the manufacturer and the franchise dealers. There will undoubtedly be a line drawn in the sand, as car dealers fight for market share of the service business and the car makers continue their desire to promote vehicles that need little or no maintenance. Dealers want and need the service business, but that would mean an abundance of cars that would last long past what the manufacturer would like. Car makers want to sell cars, not make them last for years.
Let’s throw national accounts into the mix. The world was a nice place when a muffler shop was a muffler shop, or a transmission shop was a transmission shop, and a quick lube just did oil changes. Now, every national chain has entered the service and repair business, a place once dominated by independent repair shops. No longer can a tire store rely on tire sales, or a transmission store satisfy its existence through the sale of rebuilding transmissions. All segments of the auto repair and service industry now perform a wide variety of services, from tires to brakes to oil changes, and more. This transformation of the repair and service market is cutting up the service and repair pie smaller and smaller.
So, where does that leave the independent repair shop owner? Actually, in a very good place. Think about it, we wrote the book on automotive service. We are the preferred choice of the motoring public. We are convenient, knowledgeable, work on multiple vehicle makes, friendly, and have been part of the community long before those muffler chains even thought about selling tires.
However, we must not take anything for granted. We do have the power to shape our destiny. It’s up to you and me to stay the course. A recent Lang Marketing Report indicated that the decline in dealer service bays will lead to an opportunity for independent repair facilities. However, how the independent aftermarket responds to this decline will play a crucial role in the future of the independent car and light truck aftermarket business.
As independents we need to commit ourselves to continued training. We need to embrace technology. We need to provide the very best in customer service and learn not only the skills of mechanics, but also the mechanics of business.
AutoShopOwner.com will be there, every step of the way. That is our commitment to you! It will not be easy, but anything worth fighting for is never easy. Within the forums of ASO is a wealth of knowledge that gets stronger every day. Participate in the forums, post your questions and opinions. Share happy stories and share those bad days too. We want to hear everything. Spread the word too, in numbers there is great strength. The larger the membership, the more benefits we share.
So, are you ready to roll up your sleeves and go to work? I know I am.