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Shock/Strut sales...


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Looking at my year to year sales comparison. We're up 2% from last year overall but I'm down in two areas - Fluid Flush/Maintenance and Shocks/Struts. I know why we're down on the maintenance services and that is being addressed. What I'm asking for is thoughts on how we might increase sales on shocks/struts.

 

I'm not comfortable recommending them to customers simply based on miles. If we see leakage we show customers and recommend replacing. If we see abnormal tire wear we show our customers and recommend them. But outside of damage or tire wear are there any tests (aside from test drives and bouncing the vehicle) that can reveal wear? It seems there should be some tool or method to measure what the pressure within the shock/strut is producing and where it should ideally be. I've asked Technicians and so far no one has any ideas.

 

Perhaps designing a tool to test out shocks/struts...Thanks for any input!

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I remember a tool for shocks many years ago. Late 70s or early 80s. It was a gauge that attached to the fender by a magnet. You jounced the vehicle and it would measure the oscillations up and down and pass/fail the unit. Problem is it wouldn't work for struts because of the way strut/spring assembly is engineered.

The only "test" I know of is how the unit reacts on a test drive.

Obviously it's easy to recommend a leaking, bent, or obviously weak unit for replacement. But don't discount a "soft" recommendation based on mileage. We start to recommend replacement at 80mo/80k miles. Studies have shown that ride, braking, and tire wear can all be improved by replacing oem units above a certain mileage.

Edited by tyrguy
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As far as struts go, we ALWAYS use "Quik Struts" when available. We tell the client that we are replacing the entire assembly with strut, coil spring, mount, and bearing, and that it will restore original ride height and ride, brake better, and handle better. Once we complete the installation we perform a 4-corner alignment so that it drives properly and gives the utmost in tire life.

 

We definitely sell the sizzle more than we sell the steak, and we install a lot of strut assemblies.

 

Hi-Gear

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As far as struts go, we ALWAYS use "Quik Struts" when available. We tell the client that we are replacing the entire assembly with strut, coil spring, mount, and bearing, and that it will restore original ride height and ride, brake better, and handle better. Once we complete the installation we perform a 4-corner alignment so that it drives properly and gives the utmost in tire life.

 

We definitely sell the sizzle more than we sell the steak, and we install a lot of strut assemblies.

 

Hi-Gear

 

We do likewise, and here is some background into the sale process.

 

1. Profile your customer, are they the type of customer that keeps their car well maintained? Would they benefit from keeping the car for a couple more years? These are excellent candidates.

2. Are they emotionally attached to their vehicle?

3. Is the car sound enough structurally to accept a new suspension, for example a rusted out 2003 Maxima may not be worth the investment for the customer.

4. Are the other suspension components good enough to to avoid comeback complains, e.i, are the control arm bushings sturdy, anti-swaybar links and bushings not excessively worn, tie rods and ball joins at an acceptable condition etc.

 

We set the expectations, and then once the car is done and it drives and feels like a new car, customers are often extremely happy. This is one of those jobs where they can actually feel they are getting their money's worth.

 

-Harry

Edited by HarrytheCarGeek
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We do likewise, and here is some background into the sale process.

 

1. Profile your customer, are they the type of customer that keeps their car well maintained? Would they benefit from keeping the car for a couple more years? These are excellent candidates.

2. Are they emotionally attached to their vehicle?

3. Is the car sound enough structurally to accept a new suspension, for example a rusted out 2003 Maxima may not be worth the investment for the customer.

4. Are the other suspension components good enough to to avoid comeback complains, e.i, are the control arm bushings sturdy, anti-swaybar links and bushings not excessively worn, tie rods and ball joins at an acceptable condition etc.

 

We set the expectations, and then once the car is done and it drives and feels like a new car, customers are often extremely happy. This is one of those jobs where they can actually feel they are getting their money's worth.

 

-Harry

Harry, That's a great sales process list, and I'm going to print it and post it and start using it Monday!! Thank you,

 

Hi-Gear

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So last month my shop sold a total of 45 sets or 90 shocks and struts. I personally sold aproximately 30 sets. We generally start talking to customers about them at 70K miles. They key with this is consistency and a understanding of why they should be replaced. Shocks should be replaced not because of a bouncy ride. The job or function of a shock or strut is to hold or push a tire to the ground after hitting a bump. This is not something that can be replicated or measured in a shop setting. Ride control replacement is a preventative maintenance repair. It should be done before problems arise. If you wait till after the problem arises you are actually doing your customers a disservice. As a car goes down the road the piston articulates thousands of times every minute. The internal valves wear out and the fluid breaks down due to heat and pressure. Seals on modern struts and shocks do not usually leak. This is an outdated sales technique. Seals on modern shocks and struts can handle much more pressure and tend to last much longer than the useful life of the shock or strut. I typically get a 50% margin on the parts and charge a flat fee for installation. If you are trying to sell shocks and struts at book time you are probably pricing yourself out of the market. You should call a few local shops near buy you and see what they are charging then structure a system that works based on your demographic. Where I work our labor rate is $97.16 an hour. We charge one and a half hours to install a set of struts a half hour to install a set of shocks and one hour to install a set of quick struts. This may seem low however, this should be more of a gross prophit sale than a margin sale.

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So last month my shop sold a total of 45 sets or 90 shocks and struts. I personally sold aproximately 30 sets. We generally start talking to customers about them at 70K miles. They key with this is consistency and a understanding of why they should be replaced. Shocks should be replaced not because of a bouncy ride. The job or function of a shock or strut is to hold or push a tire to the ground after hitting a bump. This is not something that can be replicated or measured in a shop setting. Ride control replacement is a preventative maintenance repair. It should be done before problems arise. If you wait till after the problem arises you are actually doing your customers a disservice. As a car goes down the road the piston articulates thousands of times every minute. The internal valves wear out and the fluid breaks down due to heat and pressure. Seals on modern struts and shocks do not usually leak. This is an outdated sales technique. Seals on modern shocks and struts can handle much more pressure and tend to last much longer than the useful life of the shock or strut. I typically get a 50% margin on the parts and charge a flat fee for installation. If you are trying to sell shocks and struts at book time you are probably pricing yourself out of the market. You should call a few local shops near buy you and see what they are charging then structure a system that works based on your demographic. Where I work our labor rate is $97.16 an hour. We charge one and a half hours to install a set of struts a half hour to install a set of shocks and one hour to install a set of quick struts. This may seem low however, this should be more of a gross prophit sale than a margin sale.

A set would be 4 units. A pair would be 2 units. I'm assuming what you are referring to as a set is only 2? Also I don't understand your last sentence.

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We charge book time to install struts. I can't justify a flat price when some take 20 mins and some 3-4 hours. We do quick struts or other brands complete units, it's better for the customer. In the rust belt 99% of the time the strut mounts and springs are shot anyway.

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Really appreciate the forum replies and have begun to implement the sales process into maintenance sales first. Explained to my team that we need to be cognizant of the of mileage and to check off OEM when they're high mileage OEM. My Service Manager and myself will then begin the process of selling and informing our customers on the benefits to allow them the time to think it over and budget. It's a pipeline that continually needs filled.

 

My shop does a great job at repairing broken parts and fixing poor running vehicles. We do a poor job of maintenance sales and it reflects as such.

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Read through the whole post- I like the idea of quick struts as well for obvious reasons. Problem seems to be that most part places do not have the modular assemblies in stock and it is hard to get. Who do you guys use as suppliers? Being able to get parts fast seems like the best way to sell as the job itself would not take long at all

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NAPA, Advance, OReilly, and two independents all sell Monroe (our ride control product of choice) in this market. We can usually find them if they are available. Loaded struts are only available for the more popular vehicles.

I ordered two struts, mounts, and rear shocks for a 2007 Kia Sedona today for tomorrow morning. Napa was 1st call: none available for tomorrow. O-R 2nd call: available but more than Advance. Advance: ordered for tomorrow and had best price. Monroe is my first choice also. I use some KYB with good results. I used some Chinese quick struts 3 times. ** !st, last and only ** for total of 3. Bad ride and made noise. You could look at them at they looked sh--ty.

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Autozone/napa/advance/parts plus all stock complete units. Subaru/Kia/Toyota quick struts come from the Internet, nobody has them locally. It's much better for everyone to install a complete strut. We just had to build some for a Suzuki the cost was very high, but nobody had any complete.

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