Also, the shop must look at the quality of the staff to maximize its potential. An apprentice technician usually is not qualified to do high-end diagnostic work, yet if that is all the shop has on staff, then the potential for diagnostic labor is lost. Does the shop hire and train the right quality of staff to serve the client base it is selling to? What is the talent depth of the shop? Without the right quality of people, potential business is lost, comebacks are usually high, and client perception of the shop is low.
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The third question is Inventory. Is the shop carrying the right inventory to serve the current client base? Does the shop inconvenience clients by making them wait for parts to arrive because they didn’t carry the obvious inventory they should have to serve the client? Is the inventory management system tight enough to ensure the right inventory turns are being met each year, and that the proper quantity of stock is re-ordered on time? A poor inventory management system can create inefficiency within a shop and create lost potential sales for the business.
The fourth question is Equipment. Is the shop properly equipped to meet the demands in automotive maintenance/repairs of its current clientele? If the shop does not have the right equipment, then in time the reputation of the shop goes down as word travels among clients that the shop is not competent enough to handle my vehicle. This shop can’t fix the vehicle the right way the first time. Once again, without the right equipment, technicians are forced to be inefficient with their work and usually management is blaming the technician for low productivity vs. management in competencies by not ensuring the shop was equipped right in the first place to do the work called for.
The fifth question is Facility. Does the facility look professional, is it attractive to come to, is it set up to properly accommodate the clientele it is selling to? Take the time to do this simple exercise. Stand across the street for ten minutes and look at your facility and honestly answer this question: I am new in town; I am looking for a competent automotive maintenance/repair outlet. What would make me WANT to turn into my location and check it out? Is your facility set up the way your clients want it, or the way you want it? Pay attention to your clients’ views. It is the client who pays you, it is the client who must be pleased. Give them a facility that they are comfortable with.
The sixth question is the Finance. Without the proper financing in place, you cannot create a professional facility, purchase or lease the right equipment required, stock the correct inventory at the right levels or hire and train the most capable personnel in your trading area.
Out of the six questions, the most important one is your Attitude, which affects all the other questions being examined. Without the correct attitude in place, you can’t get started at solving any problem in your shop, including how you set your labor rates.
The next time you are looking around and see one shop steady and the next one not, review the six questions of capability, and I am confident you will find the answer your looking for.