If you see fewer auto repair shops near you then you are witnessing a trend that is spreading throughout the auto repair industry. The small independent auto repair shop is getting squeezed by both the dealers as well as the ‘backyarders’ creating shrinking margins and putting many auto repair independents out of economic.
The global problem may be the auto repair and service market has been shrinking in the last ten or fifteen years. Technology has made cars much more reliable with fewer breakdowns, repairs and scheduled maintenances.
Many manufacturers offer at least one 100,000 mile warranty meaning that the independent will get little chance to operate that car for their early 5-10 years it is owned.
As new car sales margins go down, VW, Chevrolet, Toyota and other manufacturers are seeking to their service departments to make up the difference.
Additionally many dealers such as Porsche and Saab in order to adding other value added benefits such as being a loaner car while repairs are being made. Independents are increasingly being forced to give courtesy rides to customers in a feat to keep on top of the dealers since customers now expect this service.
Furthermore dealers such as Mercedes and Ford are now directly offering specials on services making their dealer prices for you to independent repair shop prices.
But it’s but not just competitive pricing is actually not worrying the independents.
The battle for skilled labor is also being won through dealers: the dealers constantly competed for skilled labor and now have become significantly more aggressive. With fewer folks entering automobile repair profession and opting instead for careers such as health and technology, the total talent pool of the top skilled auto technicians is shrinking.
Increasingly it becoming harder for independents to hire and retain these highly skilled employees. Being an automotive technician, would you rather work for Audi or Joe’s Drive way?
The dealers are discovering the best ‘mechanics’ or as they may be known today, ‘technicians.’ A premier end dealer technician earns $100,000 a whole year with benefits while an unbiased shop owner would require gross during a $1,000,000 twelve months to make that and still have to reimburse their own benefits and social security.
Because from the economic realities many independent owners are now closing their shops on and on to work for GM, Nissan and other dealers.
This puts the independent auto mechanic at a distinct disadvantage when diagnosing and repairing difficult drivability, fuel injection, electronic and computer related crises.
Additionally, is not diagnosis appeared and a part of needs replacing the dealer will have it in stock, not only verifying diagnosing but greatly speeding in the repair along with increasing client satisfaction. Big advantage Cadillac and Mercedes.
But it’s not just a skilled employee world war. Techs cannot fix cars without information and there’s a long and ongoing dispute from the dealers/manufacturers and independents over technical information access and diagnostic applications.
The manufacturers claim that the technical details are proprietary while independents claim the information should build up to anyone that owns or fixes build of car.
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Excel Auto Repair & Sales
94 E Falmouth Hwy, East Falmouth, MA 02536