So what are the main points that any aftermarket services provider, whether franchised or independent, can concentrate on to ensure they make the most of their assets?
Brian Taylor, industry consultant, and Chris Oakham of Trend Tracker, agree that there is one secret ingredient to running an efficient business: processing work speedily.
“Well trained technicians that have the right tools for the job and the right parts to hand are crucial to any successful workshop,” says Oakham.
This could sometimes mean using two technicians per car. “The total hours will be the same but the ramp and other equipment will be freed up more quickly,” explains Taylor.
Equipment and tools need to be kept in top condition. Older models can often become unreliable and are unsuitable for newer vehicles. Taylor advises: “Modern equipment tends to give more accuracy, more options and links to other hi-tech equipment required today.”
It is also advisable to order parts for delivery on the day before the visit is due, as the majority of suppliers today offer a sale or return service.
“This saves you time waiting for parts when you could be working on the car and gives you the opportunity of coursing parts elsewhere if your regular supplier can’t supply,” says Taylor.
“Provided the customer thinks you’re doing them a favour, upselling can make a huge difference to a workshop’s profits,” says Oakham.
It is best if additional work that a vehicle may require is identified prior to carrying out the main work. If possible, approach customers with your suggestions face-to-face, making an effort to explain the problems.
“Everything must be justified in terms of benefits, not vehicle assembler service requirements,” says Taylor. “If you don’t explain, they will think you’re trying to stitch them up and you may lose their business.”
Once their service or MoT has been completed, pre-book the next service or repair as soon as possible.