People In Overdrive

Is the technician shortage shrinking? Let’s discuss.

People in Overdrive


Shop owners share pay plans for the front of the house as well as back of the house. How are associates being incentivized to produce?

You Net Results owner and guide Brian Gillis talks about how to increase auto repair sales using the Oil Change Chain. Oil changes are the lifeblood of your auto repair shop. You could even say they are a crucial loss leader.

When you blow off an oil change request, you may be rejecting a potential lifetime customer. For example, they may only come in for an oil change today. The next visit may be just for an oil change, too. On the third or fourth link in the oil change chain, they may need a higher cost service, such as a 60k maintenance or a brake job.

Remember: Your Ticket Average does not pay the bills – total sales does! Don’t break the chain! Creating lifelong customers is a long game, so patience is key.

Oil Change Chain - Replacing automotive fluids is just the beginning.The Oil Change Chain – Setting The Table

Brian opens up the clip discussing “real world language”. When we visit a foreign country, we want to know a little bit of the language in order to get around. In the automotive repair industry, a phrase we should all learn is “the oil change chain”. This phrase is such an important part of the language that makes up a repair shop’s “YES” culture.

What is the most requested service in an automotive shop? If you answered an “oil change”, you are correct. Everybody knows how important it is to regularly change your engine oil, so you don’t ruin your vehicle. Think back to the first time you met your most loyal customers. What need brought them into your shop? Again, it most likely was an oil change.

Some Service Advisors cringe at the thought of ringing up another oil change. Their ticket average is about to go in the tank. Well, that is short sighted thinking. As we mentioned earlier, your focus should not be on a short term ticket average. Rather, your total sales pay the bills.

Defining The Oil Change Chain And Explaining Its Importance

In order to fully explain the Oil Change Chain concept, Brian produces an actual chain for a visual aid. Each link in this chain represents a job the customer has done. The first three links in this particular chain were mere oil changes. On the fourth visit, however, the customer needed a higher ticket service: a brake job. The next two links represented oil changes, but on the seventh visit, the customer needed a 60,000 mile service. Two more oil changes followed, then a water pump replacement.

What if you blew that customer off when they needed one of those oil changes? “We’re too busy today. What about tomorrow or another day?” If you don’t say yes to their small request and find a way to fit them in, guess what? They will find another shop that will, and then that shop will reap the benefits of future high ticket repairs. Leaving out one link in the chain in the form of an inexpensive oil change just cost your shop the benefits of the whole oil change chain.

Is Your Auto Repair Shop Ready For The Next Step? Book Your FREE Strategy Session!

Brian Gillis - You Net ResultsYour independent automotive repair shop is lacking in direction. Maybe your business plan has stalled out. You are definitely not meeting your goals for growth. You need an experienced automotive industry coach who can help you. Then why not schedule a FREE business strategy session with You Net Results guide Brian Gillis? You’ve got absolutely nothing to lose, so sign up today!

Does your auto repair shop charge for automotive inspections? If not, why not? Whether a customer needs a pre-trip check, a brake inspection, or a full vehicle inspection, your technician’s time and your service advisor’s time are worth charging for. Some shop owners have experienced customers taking advantage of them by getting a free inspection from your shop and getting the repair done at a rival shop! Others do not feel it is fair to charge for inspections. Still, others offer tiers of inspections, ranging from free to charging different amounts. This is a great discussion about the philosophy behind whether or not we should charge customers for inspections.

Always charge for Automotive Inspections - Your Technicians' time is worth money.

Automotive Inspections – Time Is Money

Jerry outlined the model featuring three levels of inspection: A basic inspection, which is free; a more thorough mid-level inspection for a nominal fee; and a thorough, complete inspection, costing more. His experience? Most people are willing to pay for the mid level vehicle inspection, rather than going for the free basic package. Bottom line: it is not fair to ask your technician to work for free, or for you to pay him or her when you are not being paid by the customer.

Pam joined the discussion, pointing this out from a Service Writer’s perspective. Customers understand there is value in our work. They come expecting to pay for it, or at least they should. If your Service Advisor explains the value of the inspection, customers will be happy to pay for it. If they are not receptive, the chances are that your front counter employee is not asking enough questions.

For example, if a customer says their Check Engine Light is on, your Service Writer should be asking if they have noticed any issues with the vehicle’s performance. If you don’t ask, there is a good chance your technicians may not know where to look for the problem. Then, when you fail to fix the issue, the customer will rightfully hold you accountable.

Scott makes the point that many of his older clients do not drive much, but will take a long trip once or twice a year to see family. They enter the shop, asking for a pre-trip inspection, and are happy to pay for it. That peace of mind is so valuable. Opening the hood for the inspection also creates opportunities to sell more work if necessary.

What Are Your Competitors Doing?

Fred added that his Service Writer recently called around to other shops, asking how much they charged for automotive inspections. He was surprised to know how high their fees were to inspect customers’ vehicles. Since the market is bearing it, he found it necessary to raise his own inspection fees.

Jerry gave an example of the basic inspection in action. His shop offers a free 15-minute visual “no wrench” inspection. From just a few minutes of eyeballing the engine and wheels,  his technicians can recommend premium services such as a full brake inspection. Again, customers who come in and let us inspect their vehicles should expect to pay for our services ultimately. Obviously, if a more thorough brake inspection is in order, Jerry’s shop rolls the cost of the inspection into the repair charge.

Bottom line? Don’t give away free full vehicle automotive inspections. Many times, customers will take advantage of your generosity and get the work done elsewhere.

Ready For The Next Step? Book Your FREE Strategy Session!

Brian Gillis - You Net ResultsYour auto repair shop lacks direction. Maybe your business plan has stalled out, and you aren’t meeting your goals. You need an experienced automotive industry coach to help you. Then why not schedule a FREE business strategy session with You Net Results guide Brian Gillis? You’ve got nothing to lose, so sign up today!

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