Report: Latest insight on challenges for independent repair shops & technicians in 2020

  • Independent repair shops report staying up-to-date with diagnostic advancements as a top challenge in the new year
  • Technicians struggle most with finding time to complete hands-on training
  • Shop owners say getting the best education and training is the most important advice for young people considering a career as a technician

NAPERVILLE, Ill. – Feb. 11, 2020 – IMR Inc., the industry’s leading full-service automotive market research firm, has released its latest findings on the top challenges for independent repair shops and technicians in 2020.

Shop owners and technicians reported that for 2020, they see some of their biggest challenges as finding time for hands-on training, staying up-to-date with diagnostic advancements and vehicle technology, and finding qualified and motivated technicians to work in the shop.

Of shop owners who said that staying up-to-date with vehicle diagnostic technology was a major concern, only 18 percent of shops with one to three bays agreed, compared to 37.1 percent of shops with four to seven bays. 38.3 percent of shops with eight or more bays also said that this was a major challenge.

29.2 percent of shop owners said that finding high quality technicians who are reliable and knowledgeable is another challenge that they will face in 2020. Additionally, 17.5 percent of shop owners said that they face challenges in finding technicians with the in-demand skills needed to service all types of vehicles, from older models to the newest hybrid and electric applications.

Overall, 31.1 percent of shops see keeping up with emerging and current advancements in vehicle technology as a major challenge for the new year, with 16.6 percent of those respondents also stating that higher part prices are an additional challenge for the shop.

Technicians said that in addition to finding time for important training and staying on top of trends in diagnostic and vehicle technology, it is a challenge to afford the new diagnostic tools and software that the industry demands (27.5%).

Shop owners who provided their answers and feedback for this Insight also shared important advice for new technicians who are entering the workforce or considering a career as a technician.

35.5 percent of respondents said that it is most important to get the best education and training possible and 19.6 percent said to take advantage of all training that is available through an employer.

Shop owners also said that getting hands-on training (10.7%) and becoming proficient in repairing electric vehicles and new technology (9.3%) are other top pieces of advice for those considering a job in the automotive repair field.

IMR Inc. conducts the aftermarket’s longest running monthly Repair Shop Tracking Study which provides insights into various trends such as shop demographics, parts and brand purchasing, supplier usage and preferences as well as attitudes on current industry topics.

For more information on IMR Inc., visit The most recent Insights from IMR Inc. can be found here.

About IMR Inc.

IMR Inc. provides syndicated and proprietary research as well as comprehensive, expert-level insights for the automotive industry with over 45 years of trusted service in the aftermarket and original equipment sectors. IMR Inc. serves as a trusted research provider and advisor to a full spectrum of automotive companies nationwide, with research frequently published in industry association factbooks, status reports and other media. For more information, call 800-654-1079, email or visit