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Complete this assignment to see if your shop's processes can be improved

Monday, August 6, 2018 - 06:00
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Many shop owners have difficulty making their office time productive, so I thought I would develop an assignment for you to undertake.

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Remember that “office time” is uninterrupted time, and the purpose is to work ON the business to see where you can improve it.

What can I be doing to improve NET income of the business?


  • Pick out three random, long-term clients (minimum of three years dealing with you).
  • Print out the work that was recommended that should have been done for the past two years as suggested by the manufacturer for the same mileage driven during this period.
  • Calculate how many labor hours per visit should have been produced.
  • Retrieve the past two years’ vehicle history for these same clients.
  • Make a list of the work that was missed for the same time period. Calculate how many labor hours this represented.
  • Based on the historical mileage driven per year, and the number of miles currently on the vehicle, what maintenance is required for the next two-year period based on the manufacturer’s recommendations?
  • How many labor hours per visit does this represent, when the client must come in every 5,000 miles for an oil change? (You determine the mileage interval for oil changes for that client based on how the vehicle is used and use that number.)
  • Make a list of the changes required in the “processes” of your shop for handling your client to ensure you can maximize productivity and serve your client professionally.

This type of exercise will force you to look at your internal processes and how you handle every client. The two conclusions you will most likely discover are: #1 your internal vehicle inspection process must be clearly defined and #2 the front counter must have the time to have a proper discussion with the client as to what is recommended and why based on how the client uses the vehicle, their expectations with the vehicle and what is necessary to insure safety, reliability and efficiency of the vehicle.

Consider these important points:

- In North America, there is no definitive definition of a “Comprehensive Inspection”.  This would be an excellent discussion to have with your technicians to establish that particular definition / standard in your shop. The purpose of a Comprehensive Inspection is to create a complete “file” on the vehicle so you can then manage the vehicle for safety, reliability and efficiency by recommending “when” service should be performed. You are now “managing” the vehicle as you prioritize the repairs and maintenance on behalf of the client. This would also allow you to give the client a budget for maintaining their vehicle. That is a true “value” to the client. A Comprehensive Inspection should be performed once a year for consumers and twice a year for commercial vehicles. It is a paid inspection and will most likely take 1.0 to 1.5 hours on a basic consumer vehicle charged out at a diagnostic rate. Remember it is very complete inspection, so don’t bypass anything that affects safety, reliability and efficiency in the operation of the vehicle.

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