Voices From ASA Member-Shops
on how business has been for them during 2011.
"We are doing well this year for two reasons: I hired a well-qualified service writer, and the Marcellus Shale gas boom is in our county. It has helped us to stay busy with the extra people and vehicles that it has brought here.” – Pat Westich, Waynesburg, Pa.
"The beginning of the year looked good, like we were heading for more stable months instead of the up and down see-saw of the past three years. But the summer months were not at all good …
"We are still able to pay the bills and do some upsells, but many customers are only going for the break-down type of repairs. It is difficult to keep a positive attitude, and the low sales are depressing to the employees as well because they are paid bonuses based on sales and net profits.
"We have had some success in diversifying into service on hybrid vehicles and that has helped somewhat, but not enough to offset the loss in routine maintenance work. I’m convinced that some of it is simply a result of better-built vehicles and much longer maintenance intervals … We may have to seek out some new strategies for 2012.”
People are spending more money to keep their cars running. Used cars are very expensive. Keeping what they have.” – Frank Eich, Youngstown, Ohio
We added our second location in November 2010. 2011 has been down all year. Sales year-to-date is down 20 percent. We market heavily and receive very little back. I find many customers are looking at price more than ever. They are willing to give in on quality, warranty and even our relationship for price. These are very uncertain times.” – Randy Pickering, Lakewood, Colo.
I feel our industry is indicative of our overall economy; the rich get richer and the middle class gets squeezed. Insurance companies control our industry, continuously working to keep prices low. They negotiate agreements with larger shops for discounts and drive consumers to them. The consumer gets left thinking they have no other choices. It becomes more and more challenging to repair a vehicle properly and make a profit. Unless we educate consumers and unite to stand up to insurance
Business is down significantly in 2011 due to the economy as well as insurance company steering. Some of my regular customers say that they are being told that they must go to a specific location or the insurance company will not guarantee the work. The customer needs to be educated that they can take it wherever they want. I am shutting down the shop for 30 days due to health reasons. But I plan on reopening in the middle of December. At that time, I plan on doing a major push to educate the consumer regarding insurance company practices. They will understand that they have a choice.” – Don Witkowski, Clinton Township, Mich.
To see how ASA members are doing in 2011,
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