Lang Aftermarket iReport: Quick service drives Dealer ‘Do-It-For-Me’ surge
“In the wake of shuttering more than 45,000 service bays across the U.S. between 2008 and 2013, Vehicle Dealers have repositioned themselves in the Do-It-For-Me (DIFM) market, with many using innovative strategies centered on quick service.
“As service bays generate a large portion of their profits, many Dealers are making their bays more convenient and price competitive with the aim of attracting an expanding range of vehicle age groups and nameplates.”
— Jim Lang, publisher, Lang Aftermarket iReport
Dealers Extend Their Bay Reach
Following the 2008 Great Recession, when the number of vehicles 5 years and younger (the vehicle age group that traditionally was the focus of Dealer bay repair and warranty work) plummeted, Dealers scrambled to extend their service bay reach across a broader mix of vehicle age groups and nameplates.
Although Quick Service is a term often associated with Ford Dealers (there are over 825 Ford Quick Lane outlets in the U.S, some attached to dealerships and others free-standing), Quick Service strategies are being implemented by Dealers across many nameplates.
While versions of Quick Service differ among Dealers, the objective is the same: provide consumers with convenient, fast and economical vehicle repair and maintenance.
Vehicle Repair Dichotomy
The essence of Quick Service operations is to divide vehicle repair jobs into two major groups: repairs that can be completed within a relatively short time and complex repairs that require more time to complete.
Quick Service: Key Features
Dealer Quick Service operations have five essential features:
- Menu of services
- No appointments
- Extended service hours
- Competitive pricing
- Appeal to all vehicle nameplates and all vehicle years
While Quick Service programs vary, most Dealers offer Quick Service for a dozen or so repair and maintenance jobs, ranging from vehicle checkups (inspections) to oil changes, brake work, tire replacement, wiper blades, etc.
With speed and convenience at the core of Quick Service operations, appointments are not required and consumers can wait while most repairs are performed.
To accommodate customers waiting for their vehicles, many Dealers have enhanced their customer lounges. Some Dealers provide shuttle service to nearby malls so consumers can shop while their vehicles are being serviced.
Expanded Service Hours
Quick Service is commonly offered 10 hours a day and six days a week, with a growing number of Dealers offering Sunday service. This means that many Dealers are open significantly more hours each week than most Independent (non-Dealer) repair outlets.
This can provide a considerable competitive advantage to Dealers, especially with the shrinking number of many types of Independent (non-Dealer) service outlets across the country.
Quick Service can provide major efficiencies for Dealers (greater bay utilization, increased technician production, etc.) that can enable them to sharpen their pricing.
Many Dealers offer customer pricing that is competitive with Independent outlets by using non-OE products and lower labor rates for older vehicles and nameplates other than those that they sell new.
All Nameplates & All Years
The competitive pricing and convenience of Quick Service help to attract older vehicles and a wide range of nameplates to Dealers.
This broad service appeal is critical for Dealers to fill their bays and expand their repair activities and parts sales, which are among the most profitable aspects of their business.
Quick Service not only helps Dealers build bay traffic, it also creates add-on business, when vehicles are in the Quick Service bays and technicians can inspect them.
Quick Service can also provide an added benefit to customers who purchase used cars from Dealers, and it is often used by Dealers to promote their used vehicle business
Independent Repair Outlet Response
Independent (non-Dealer) repair outlets, particularly Service Stations & Garages, must adapt Quick Service marketing and sales techniques to their own business in order to keep customers as a focal point of their marketing plans.
Six Major Takeaways
- Quick Service occupies a key role in the aggressive strategies adopted by many Dealers aimed at attracting to their bays a broader mix of vehicle age groups and nameplates.
- While many variations of the Quick Service strategies are being applied by Dealers, the goal is the same: provide consumers with convenient, fast, and economical vehicle repair and maintenance.
- The focus of Quick Service operations is to divide vehicle repairs into two major groups: repairs that can be completed within a relatively short time and complex repairs that require more time.
- Dealer Quick Service strategies have five major characteristics: menu of services, no appointment required, expanded service hours, competitive pricing, and appeal to all vehicle nameplates and years.
- Quick Service not only helps to increase Dealer bay traffic, it also leads to add-on repairs once the vehicles are in Dealer bays. Quick Service also is an added benefit that Dealers use to promote used vehicle sales.
- Independent (non-Dealer) outlets should be aware of the Dealer Quick Service growth across the country and how this is changing the competitive landscape, particularly in terms of older and mixed nameplate vehicles, which are the core business of Independent service (DIFM) outlets.
Copyright 2019 by Lang Marketing Resources, Inc.
NOTE: Special thanks to publisher Jim Lang for granting us permission to publish the Lang Aftermarket iReport.