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Charging Extra for TPMS and Servicing the TPMS Sensor?


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I was at a TECH NET meeting the other night and a discussion started on charging extra for mounting and balance new tires with TPMS. I was a little surprised to find that most shops don’t charge extra because they don’t rebuild the sensor by replacing the seal, core, retainer nut and cap. Most just let the air out, dismount and mount tire, put the core back in and that’s it. They claim that is only causes more issues and they can't charge for it becuase it adds too much more to the tire sale.

 

I stock most of the TPMS kits and remove the sensor, replace the seal, the core and the cap when we sell a set of tires. I feel it’s the right way to do the job. We explain to the customer beforehand about the TPMS and also inform them that sometimes the sensors may need to be replaced if the core or retaining cap is seized.

 

What are you doing in your shop?

 

We also install new seal kits. I don't charge more labor but I do charge for a new seal kit. I added a few bucks to all my tire services a few years ago to try to recover cost associated with TPMS and I try to use my hourly service tech for tire work.

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I don't do anything with tires at this time so it doesn't matter to me. When I get the machine to do tires, I will do the service to the TPMS system otherwise you may be causing more problems. We don't have the corrosion problems around here but its just good practice.

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Our tire business is growing, we do about $5-$6,000 per week, which is about 10% of total sales. Margins on tires are low, as you know, but when you sell a customer tires, the rest of the work follows.

 

 

There is good money in tires just not good margins. I wish I could do 5K - 6K a week in tire sales. I am averaging 2K - 3K right now but I am trying to grow this segment of my business. 10 - 15% of sales is a great target for a general repair center.

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We sell the kits for $5 with our tires. When we went to selling the kits we raised the price of our valve stems to match the price. We haven't had any complaints. When customers are spending at least $500 on a set of tires they aren't going to complain over $20.

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We are in a small town before you head off into the redwoods, you could say we are in a remote location. It would be amazing if we could do 4-5K per week in tires!! If I do 2k we're kickin' butt. As far as the TPMS, we do not replace anything on them, and have never had one issue of a come back. The customers quoting us are very tight fisted and so many shops in and around our town do EVERYTHING FREE, drives me crazy (IDIOTS). If I have to do something out of necessity, I show the customers the concern and explain and they're cool about it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Joe, the kits you have, do they include the stems on sensors where the stem is removable? I've been looking for a kit that includes these, talked to my carquest rep about it too. I only seem to find kits that have the seals and nuts, 500pcs kits that are mostly valve cores and caps.

 

We leave the sensors alone unless there is a problem. Same with valve stems, we check them, replace cracked or rotted looking ones, thats it. Charge for them when we need to replace them.

 

On another TPMS note through, what do you charge for resetting the TPMS system if needed. On some cars it needs to be reset just for tire rotations. Most shops around here seem to charge straight labor, usualy a half hour. What's the rest of the world do?

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      I recently spoke with a friend of mine who owns a large general repair shop in the Midwest. His father founded the business in 1975. He was telling me that although he’s busy, he’s also very frustrated. When I probed him more about his frustrations, he said that it’s hard to find qualified technicians. My friend employs four technicians and is looking to hire two more. I then asked him, “How long does a technician last working for you.” He looked puzzled and replied, “I never really thought about that, but I can tell that except for one tech, most technicians don’t last working for me longer than a few years.”
      Judging from personal experience as a shop owner and from what I know about the auto repair industry, I can tell you that other than a few exceptions, the turnover rate for technicians in our industry is too high. This makes me think, do we have a technician shortage or a retention problem? Have we done the best we can over the decades to provide great pay plans, benefits packages, great work environments, and the right culture to ensure that the techs we have stay with us?
      Finding and hiring qualified automotive technicians is not a new phenomenon. This problem has been around for as long as I can remember. While we do need to attract people to our industry and provide the necessary training and mentorship, we also need to focus on retention. Having a revolving door and needing to hire techs every few years or so costs your company money. Big money! And that revolving door may be a sign of an even bigger issue: poor leadership, and poor employee management skills.
      Here’s one more thing to consider, for the most part, technicians don’t leave one job to start a new career, they leave one shop as a technician to become a technician at another shop. The reasons why they leave can be debated, but there is one fact that we cannot deny, people don’t quit the company they work for, they usually leave because of the boss or manager they work for.
      Put yourselves in the shoes of your employees. Do you have a workplace that communicates, “We appreciate you and want you to stay!”
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