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A look at how state-of-the-art service repair shops operate

Monday, April 9, 2018 - 07:00
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If you’re a progressive shop owner today, your future looks very bright indeed. New opportunities are about to open up for you if you continue to maintain a positive attitude and a focused commitment to your business. 

Your prospects are in stark contrast to the fate of those who fail to prepare for advancing vehicle technology, the growing shortage of competent technicians and a new generation of educated and plugged-in consumers. Shop owners who do not keep up with the times will pay a steep price as the business landscape changes. 

Thousands of independent shops will disappear in the next few years, but I believe the ones that are left will be terrific businesses to be a part of. 

These thriving shops will typically have eight to 10 hoists, and two or three “diagnostic only” bays in a meticulously clean facility. 

Vehicle calibration services will have an impact on bay design. We’re going to see bays as wide as 32 to 35 feet that give adequate room for this specialized service. Vehicle software platforms will become the new training models as many high-end technicians transition to the role, essentially, of software analysists. 

Shops will have secure high-quality connections to the internet – both for client use in the waiting area, and for staff use in the office, back rooms and bays. 

Tablets will replace clipboards and paper. And accessing technical information, vehicle service histories and management information will all be done online. Similarly, parts ordering will be done instantly with the touch of a button instead of a phone line. 

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Shop web sites will be managed by outside firms and will be used not only for marketing purposes, but as a reference tool for clients seeking information about their vehicles. Making service appointments will be streamlined, with everyone’s calendars automatically synced and updated. 

And as your shop evolves, so will your workforce. 

Your well-paid and highly trained staff will be committed and fully engaged, with a clear understanding of your vision for the business as a whole and their role within it. 

Management and staff will establish a close, professional relationship. This will be a “career” — not just a “job” — for everyone in the shop. The business will offer them unique opportunities for personal growth and job satisfaction. Challenges will be met with enthusiasm and be rewarded with handsome compensation and financial stability. 

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