How’s Your Business?
“We have definitely slowed down this year. Our customers are unsure of the future and being that it was an election year seemed to compound this feeling. Our maintenance sales have slowed down dramatically, and customers are buying mostly needed repairs at this time. I feel that if we come out of this recession too quickly we could also lose future repairs due to customers just wanting to buy new cars. As an industry we need to keep a close watch on this or it could cause more independents to go belly up.”
– Rick Koebernick, Dakota K Auto Repair & Tire Center, Arlington Heights, Ill.
“I own a national transmission franchise and offer full auto repair services. In 2012 significantly more customers, regardless of the services needed, are shopping more and using the Internet to understand likely solutions to their problems. They are struggling financially to the point they are postponing repairs causing higher repair bills.”
– Nick Carpinello, Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care Center, Cincinnati, Ohio
“Business has been great this year. We would normally have a slowdown for a week or two here and there throughout the year. During the past two years, we have not really seen that. My only complaint is that it is continually getting harder to get ‘good’ aftermarket parts. Our defective part failure is higher than ever … Overall, it’s been buckle down, get to work early, and get ready to go to work, because there is plenty of it!”
– Bean Elliott, BC Car Repair Inc., Alvin, Texas
“In this area, we had a drastic change due to the loss of the space shuttle activity and depressed housing loss. Our primary business is high-level electronic diagnostics with dealer tools for other shops and bodyshops to flash and or coding of replacement modules.”
– Kenneth Humphreys, Auto Group 1 Diagnostics LLC, Rockledge, Fla.
“Car counts are steady. Average repair order is slightly up. Gross margins are slightly up. We notice customers are keeping their cars much longer and maintaining and repairing them. An unprecedented number of vehicles with over 200,000 miles are still going strong. Several have over 300,000 miles as well.”
– Tom Lund, Alta View Tires & Service, Sandy, Utah
"It’s great and getting better. I feel it’s all about the service. Pricing is not as important as most people think. Quality work and great service bring people back. Customer retention is very important. Most of our business comes from a small group of customers who bring all of their cars and have been trained to believe in maintenance and trust our work and work ethics.”
– Bruce Goldstein, Rapco Automotive, Upper Darby, Pa.
“We have had a steady increase for the last three years. We have changed many things to achieve this. The top two improvements are online presence and marketing using the Internet as well as taking care of the customers’ needs not just their vehicles.”
– Judi Haglin, Haglin Automotive, Boulder, Colo.
“We continue to focus all day, every day of the week, working hour after hour on the business of making our customers happy. After the business of repairing and refinishing vehicles is completed, our management team takes the time to work on our business, looking at what changes need to be made, how we can improve processes while at the same time ensuring that all the things business owners must do to ensure our profitability and success continue. We continue to train our staff, participate in business development partnerships with everyone we do business with to ensure that our staff attains the highest credentials possible and as a professional collision repair and refinish facility, we operate at the highest standards. We strive to have the state-of-the-art equipment, to be good stewards in representing our industry, while being a good community-based, family-owned and operated business. We are thankful for all our blessings.”
– Eddie Okahara, Oka’s Auto Body, Hawaii
“As an independent shop, our sales are down due to deceptive referrals in the area. I’m not against DRPs, but when ‘strong-armed’ steering tactics are employed and multiple attempts are made to pressure my customer away from my shop, I do not take this lightly …”
– Carl Thurman, Thurman Body Shop, Ellettsville, Ind.