A Picture of the Service and Repair IndustryPosted 12/10/2009
By Karin White
2009 'How's your Business?' Survey Results
The Automotive Service Association's "How's Your Business?" (HYB?) survey is in its 17th year of exploring the overall success and business practices of ASA member businesses. The annual survey provides an analysis of the independent mechanical and collision repair industries. The purpose of the survey is to provide an accurate benchmark for business owners and those interested in the industry, based on feedback from ASA's membership base.
In August, the survey was offered through a third-party online survey service to all regular members. Regular members are automotive service businesses that provide automotive repairs/services to the motoring public, and/or businesses that provide repairs/services to exclusive fleets, such as public utilities. Members received e-mail notices and announcements of the survey through regular publications, such as AutoInc., e-newsletters and various other communications.
Overall, the membership response rate was 19 percent - made up of both mechanical and collision repairers. As thanks for their participation and time, members were offered a free set of articles from AutoInc. with tips and advice on how to survive in difficult economic times. In addition, participating members were included in a drawing for a $250 Visa gift card.
Participation levels varied by region and were as follows: Midwest: 26 percent; Northeast: 12 percent; South: 28 percent; West: 34 percent. ASA uses regional divisions as defined by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration.
The 2009 HYB report is packed with pertinent industry statistics. Graphics were incorporated to help readers quickly identify the information most applicable to their business.
Editor's note: Karin White, research and project specialist, distributed this year's "How's Your Business?" survey to mechanical and collision members and collected results. She also wrote copy and assisted in proofreading and verifying figures. Special thanks to the Mechanical and Collision Division managers, Robbie Addison and Denise Caspersen, for their introductions. Due to rounding, some percentages may not add up to 100 percent. In other cases, percentages greater than 100 percent may result if respondents are able to select more than one answer to a particular question.
The automotive industry is related to and employs a variety of goods and services for the motoring public. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports preliminary, non-seasonably adjusted employee counts (in thousands) for August 2009 and the percentages of change from August 2008, which are noted in the table on the right. Compared with other industries, the automotive service sector experienced some loss but not as great as other industries, some of which experienced losses as great as -132 percent (automobile dealers).
ASA members are categorized by the U.S. Census Bureau in the category of "Other Services." A closer look at the automotive maintenance and repair fields capture general automotive repair, exhaust, transmission, body, paint and glass repair businesses. Also included are oil change facilities, car washes and all other automotive repair and maintenance businesses.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides a historical look at the changes specifically for the automotive repair and maintenance employees. The 2009 employee count is a preliminary value.
The Automotive Service Association membership base consists mainly of automotive body and interior repair and general automotive repair businesses. To better service each segment, the association has staff to serve both categories. There are some shops that perform collision and mechanical repairs, some shops that are affiliated with dealerships and some are transmission shops. The following report is developed and presented from mechanical and collision classification perspectives.
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