There has been a lot of discussions this month about some OEMs restructuring subscription fees for service information and reprogramming/reflashing. Most of the restructuring is focused on charging users per vehicle reflashed. This has stirred up a lot of technicians and shop owners.
It is expensive to reflash and reprogram modules on vehicles. Even the power supply can cost between $500-$800. Unfortunately, it is a requirement for some repairs. But, it is a new service your shop can offer and charge for.
Everyone has to find common ground to benefit our mutual customers. If we don’t, there will be a lot of vehicles that will not be repaired, or they will be running around with critical systems disabled and MIL lights glowing. This grim future will have a direct impact on driver safety, the environment and the economy as a whole.
Even if you favor legislation or working together, there are four universal truths.
Shops are Customers, Not Competition
A shop may spend more than $5,000 for service information, software and tools from an OEM in a year. A customer who makes this sizeable of purchase should be treated with respect and not contempt.
Information and Computer Code Has Value
The OEMs have a right to charge for service information and software updates. OEMs employ people to write the code, run the websites and make sure updates are bug-free. If they feel they need to protect their intellectual property with pass-thru devices or other security measures that keep the data away from parts manufacturers and other OEMs, that is their right.
No Charity Cases
OEMs and shops are not charities. Both are for-profit businesses with owners or shareholders demanding dividends or profits.
Shops need to pass the cost of subscriptions to customers directly through line item charges or indirectly with higher labor rates.
OEMs need to make updates accessible to more shops. The more shops that can reflash or reprogram means more subscribers and vehicles fixed right the first time. This makes for a healthy service market where everybody wins!
We Work For The SAME Bosses
Shops, OEMs and dealers have the same customers. All of us are responsible for providing them with safe and economical transportation to keep the wheels of the country’s economy turning.
If a car or truck can’t be repaired quickly on the first try, it is a black eye for the shop and a black eye for the manufacturer of the vehicle, no matter where it is repaired or how many miles are on the odometer. If a driver has a positive ownership experience with a vehicle, it translates into future purchases of a new vehicle or service.
Finding common ground these days is tough. It is so easy to log into a forum and express your views without listening to the other side or getting all of the facts.