HYANNIS – Proponents of Question 1 on the November 3 ballot say that independent auto repair businesses need access to data collected by cars in order to fix vehicles, while opponents say that Question 1 could risk owner’s personal data as well as safety.
If Question 1 is approved, cars 2022 model or newer must be equipped by manufacturers with a standardized, open access platform that would allow auto repair shops to wirelessly access mechanical data using a smartphone-based app with owner’s permission.
Currently, telematics data generated by sensors in the cars is transmitted to servers only the automakers can access.
Supporters of Question 1 say that the telematics data only being available to the manufacturer means car owners must take the car to its original automaker to receive service and make repairs, diminishing consumer choice in where they can take their cars.
“If a person goes out and buys a car, they should own the data that enables that car to be fixed, and they should be able to choose where they want the car fixed. If shops like mine don’t have that information, then we can’t fix the car, which kind of forces someone to go to a place where they don’t want to go,” said Robert Wallace, President and Treasurer of Cape Tire and supporter of Question 1.
Wallace said that the limits on customer choice on where they can receive service for their car will lead to a monopolization of the industry by car manufacturers, with a rise in prices and a drop in quality service.
Wallace said that he and other supporters would be willing to purchase the data, similar to how the auto repair shops already purchase parts, and that they are not requesting that the data be made available for free.
“We’re willing to pay for it, we just want the information to keep our customers rolling.”
Conor Yunits, spokesperson for the Coalition for Safe and Secure Data which opposes Question 1, said that the issue of telematics is already covered under the right-to-repair-law that was introduced in 2013.
“It specifically says that any information necessary to diagnose and repair a vehicle that is provided to dealer repair shops and only available through telematics must be made available to local repair shops. This is already covered,” said Yunits.
Yunits said that currently data is only sent to secure servers owned by manufacturers, then to repair shops or customers through secure systems developed with the automaker.
According to Yunits, Question 1 would prevent manufacturers from being a part of the development process of security systems and apps that share the information in the future, sacrificing a layer of security for consumers.
Yunits also said that Question 1 unnecessarily risks owners’ personal data by creating opportunities for bad actors outside as well as inside repair shops to access personal data wirelessly.
While mechanics or others may be able to intercept and use the data for malicious purposes, Wallace said that is a risk that comes with a lot of modern technology, such as cellphones and other smart devices that collect data on their users, and that it is up to the customer to decide whether they want to take that risk.
Yunits also said that Question 1 would also force car manufacturers to comply with an unrealistic timetable which would be impossible to do in a safe and effective manner, with new requirements that would be enforced as early as January 2021.
I am helping a growing business to be more efficient. As part of this, I am looking at a service to maintain our general hardware and supplies. The shop needs a manager as the owner is too involved with the shop - and rightly so as he is highly respected in his arena. That's another discussion.
As he moved into a larger facility and hired more people. I'm working on efficiencies. The current goal is to have common hardware an supplies on hand, always. I am looking for a service to handle this. I have spoken with Rogo, Fastenal and Kimball Midwest. Any other suggestions? Runs to the hardware store are costly...
By Joe Marconi
I can't speak about all businesses in my area, but the repair shops are doing ok. In fact, most had a normal or near normal summer. A few weeks back we had a major storm that knocked out power for nearly the week. That killed the week. But aside from that, we had a very good June, July and August. With a miserable March and April, this was a great morale lift and financial boost.
The only down side is the affect COVID is having on other businesses, like restaurants, deli's, sport businesses and other businesses. Will this have a trickle down effect on our industry. No one can tell for sure.
I will be shoring up my finances and preparing for the unknown.
Has the Coronavirus (COVID-19) impacted your auto shop business? If it hasn't yet, it has the potential to do so soon. Please share what you are currently doing, how your business is impacted, what plans you have in place, etc.
Some things to consider:
Do you have a plan in place should you or one of your employees become ill? With school, event, and business closures, how will this affect your shop? Are you sending anything to your customers in terms of sharing your plans around keeping your customer and employees healthy and doing your part in your community? Many small and large businesses have been sending email communications to their customers. Are you marketing to your customers in terms of not delaying car repair, should there be a need to temporarily close? Are your parts suppliers sharing their plans, should the pandemic affect supply chains? Are you stocking up on business and shop necessities? Please share your experience in this topic and stay healthy!
In the media:
The coronavirus and its growing tally of sick and dead victims around the world have been roiling financial markets, prompting countless hand-washing reminders and ruining more than a few vacations, and that’s before anyone knows exactly how widespread the effect will be on the automotive industry, including your local repair shop. Source
“By mid-March, the shortage of supplies will be felt and members are projecting they’ll experience disruption through May or June,” even if operations in China soon get back to normal, said Stacey Miller, senior director of communications at the Auto Care Association, a trade group representing 150,000 auto aftermarket and service businesses. Source
By Joe Marconi
Today is the first day of summer, and we are still dealing with the dreaded COVID-19. However, there are positive indicators that business will be better than expected this summer. People will be taking more road trips, will avoid airplanes, trains and Ubers and will take to the roads in record numbers.
Gear up for a great summer and look for opportunity with each vehicle visit. Perform those multipoints as if your business depends on it….why?....Because it does!
We have a lot to be thankful for. Keep positive, be a leader and thrive!
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By Ron Ipach
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By [email protected]
OK. Not to start another parts markup thread but I would like to look at this from another angle. What percentages do you aim when marking up parts when you look at the part categories?
Just an example below:
Maintenance, etc ,etc
The reason I ask is because even a standard parts pricing matrix can blow certain items out of reasonable sale price. I am aware that less expensive items can net larger profits, which also makes up for more expensive items but I am trying to see a base line of what parts markup looks like with these categories.
By Ron Ipach
This is something that I'm hearing from shop owners constantly when we're talking about car count levels in their auto repair shop:
"Car count is down in my shop because cars are made better."
If I've heard it once, I've heard it a thousand times, and chances are you've probably said it yourself. Look, I'm not going to tell you cars aren't made better because that would be sheer stupidity.
The fact is that cars are made better. Cars are made to last much, much longer than they used to.
But... That's not the reason why car count is down in shops.
How do I know that? Well, a recent study came out that said the average car on American roadways is over 14 years old.
Let me say that again... The average car is over 14 years old. That's not a new car. The average. That means for every brand new car out there, in order to have an average of fourteen years, that means there's a car that's 28 years old. There is a balance there.
If the average car is 14 years old, those are the cars you work on. Right? 14 years ago the cars weren't made as good as they are now, and even if they were, they're 14 years old right now, odds are that they're going to need a lot of maintenance now or in the near future. It's important to make your shop available for those repairs.
Don't get caught up in the thinking that the car count is down simply because cars are made better. Those cars that are made better are not your business. Those aren't the ones that are going to give you more cars in your bays and increase your profitability. The most of a shop owner's profits is going to come from the cars that are older, and the average car is much older than it used to be.
Clear the "cars are just made better" excuse out from your mind, understand that there are plenty cars out there, it's just up to you to go focus on your marketing and attract more customers to your shop.
-- Ron Ipach (a.k.a Captain Car Count)
President/Founder of Repair Shop Coach More articles and content like this and originated through Ron Ipach's Car Count Daily campaign Auto Repair Shop Owners, Managers, and Automotive Industry Professionals are invited to join 'Car Count Daily Boosters' LinkedIn group to provide resources and gain insight on boosting car count DAILY and filling up the bays in their shops.
By Elon Block
As a result of the some of the recent changes, I'm preparing to hold a special webinar just for Goodyear tire dealers.
Please send me a private message if you would like to be notified when this has been scheduled.
By Joe Marconi
Legendary College basketball coach John Wooden, would always preach to his players that it’s the details of the game that matters most. That worrying about the score was futile if the execution and the details of the game were not performed with consistency and to the best of everyone’s abilities. In other words, the score will take care of itself and the wins will come if every detail of the game is consistently executed properly.
In the shop environment, only worrying about getting the car done, without performing all the steps properly will lead to an eventual breakdown in your workflow system. It will lead to higher comebacks, lower profits and poor customer satisfaction.
To have a properly working workflow system, that minimizes comebacks, improves overall quality and improves customer satisfaction, requires paying attention to the details of the workflow process in a consistent manner.
Is the customer write up process done properly each time? Are the technicians following the workflow process and every checklist done properly every time? Are the technicians short-cutting the process in an attempt to book hours? And, perhaps the main killer of the shop environment and workflow: a sloppy shop.
Yes, a sloppy shop leads to a breakdown in the system. Disorder in the shop equals disorder in the workflow, which equals increased comebacks, increased chances of people getting hurt, unhappy customers and lower profits. Time is wasted finding tools and equipment. People tend not to care enough about the condition of the customer’s car because the shop does not put an emphasis on neatness and order in the shop. Cars will leave with grease marks, dirty floor mats and job details forgotten.
The first step in any process is the shop environment and that means shop organization. You cannot have an efficient workflow until you have shop order. Everyone must be held accountable for keeping order. And it starts with the tech’s work space.
Want to improve production, profits and customer satisfaction? Pay attention to the details, focus on quality, create a well-defined workflow process and maintain order in the shop.