Customer convenience, cost and efficiency cited as reasons ASA-member shops are using services such as Uber and Lyft.
Ride-sharing services, like Uber and Lyft, are becoming increasingly popular with ASA shop owners who offer customers rides to and/or from the shop while their vehicles are being serviced.
A recent ASA survey showed that 41 percent of shop owners use ride sharing to transport customers and that 58 percent of non-ride-sharing shop owners would promote it if it could be offered economically.
Many shop owners see ride sharing as a viable alternative to an in-house ride service because it is more cost-effective and efficient.
Javier Avalos, owner of Spectrum Ina Road Auto Collision in Tucson, Ariz., has used ride sharing for about three years. He uses the Lyft service 5 to 10 times weekly, based on demand, to transport customers to and from his shop because “It gives us the flexibility of having someone ready to drive when we need them; our liability has been eliminated because we don’t have an employee driving; and it’s more cost-effective because it usually takes about an hour to get someone wherever they are going.”
Javier’s shop serves customers throughout the sprawling Tucson area, so he feels ride sharing allows him to keep his 11-person staff focused on their shop duties instead of having to leave the shop for an hour or more.
He sees the downside to ride sharing as limiting his customer interaction because “I would usually drive them because it gave me a chance to ask how they liked their experience and how they would grade us. I kind of miss doing it, but it keeps everybody working on their jobs.”
Dave Roman, owner of Done With Care Auto Repair in Shawnee, Kan., combines in-house loaners and ride-sharing in his four-person shop. He has used ride sharing for about a year and is pleased with how it fits into his overall operation.
“We use it when it’s the best option,” Roman says. “I like to keep the loaner cars for people who are leaving their vehicle for a day or two or longer. If they just need a ride when they’re dropping it off for an oil change or a minor service, it makes more sense to use the Uber service.”
One of the most important benefits, Roman says, is that ride sharing makes him competitive with his main competitors: local car dealerships. “It’s a pretty easy way to make it as convenient as possible for customers to use our shop. If I can’t give them that option, they may not buy their service here …
“I’m always faced with ‘How do I get customers in the door?’ So if I have to offer a ride service to do that, it makes sense. We use it to bridge the gap between providing good customer service and having someone leave their job to drive or pick up a customer,” he added.
Ben Sternsmith, area vice president of Lyft Business, says ride sharing already covers 95 percent of the U.S. population in all 50 states. He expects the popularity of ride sharing to continue to soar because it is usually more efficient and economical than in-house options, especially for small and midsize shops. He cites the average wait time of less than three minutes after a service order is placed and typical pricing at 30-50 percent less than traditional ground transport options as the reasons that more ASA-member shops will see ride sharing as a viable option in their customer transportation system. – AutoInc. staff
Editor’s Note: Figures in pie charts don’t equal 100 percent because some respondents answered in more than one category.