Identifix, one of the nation’s premier sources of online and hotline diagnostic and repair information, recently announced that the company is celebrating 20 years of servicing independent repair shops.
Identifix was incorporated in August 1987, and went live with the repair hotline on January 2, 1988, with four employees. It has since evolved into the nation’s best source for knowledge of what breaks on vehicles, what vehicles it breaks on, and how to fix those vehicles correctly. Its staff has grown to 41 master technicians with more than 1,000 years of combined experience performing vehicle diagnostics.
Founder Bill Sauer was a service station dealer for eight years then designed and built a diagnostic center that he sold after four years. He then started an equipment sales company that sold oscilloscopes, dynos, infra-reds and other test equipment. As part of those equipment sales he wanted shops to use the equipment well and properly, which inspired him to provide technician on-site shop training. This was in the mid 1970’s, when electronic ignition was a new technology; he discovered that the technicians had little knowledge of electronic ignition and lacked understanding of ignition theory. "I coined a saying back then ‘You can’t tell what is wrong, if you don’t know what is right.’ This, of course holds so very true today. I strongly felt that techs should understand the theory of operation," Sauer commented.
In 1976, Sauer created Autotech which provided advanced technical training. Sauer later sold the company and when the eighties arrived and the computer car hit the market, being somewhat of a visionary, Sauer foresaw the increasing need for information. He started formulating the idea for a technical hotline. After many years of training and development the Repair Hotline went live in January 1988.
And now, 20 years later, Identifix has grown from four specialists managing the Repair Hotline to 41, who receive up to 20,000 calls a month – nearly 3 million since it was first started. Identifix shows no signs of slowing down. In August, more than 4,500 shops called the Hotline, a new monthly record.
With the growth of the Internet and in response to the demand from service shops, Identifix released Direct-Hit; its award-winning online diagnostic product in February 2002.
Each month the most interesting diagnostic problems are selected to write as Hotline Archives from more than 20,000 calls received by the 41 factory trained master technicians who staff the Identifix Repair Hotline. The master technicians document the vehicle problem/symptoms, likely cause(s); provide useful tests and helpful hints all on a one page document that can be printed and taken to the vehicle. With more than 1,000 new Hotline Archives added to Direct-Hit each week, Hotline Archives represent the best source for continually updated diagnostic information and solutions for what’s breaking on today’s vehicles. In August Identifix had more than 10,000 subscribers use Direct-Hit, with those subscribers accessing information on more than 200,000 different vehicles just in the last month.
According to Josh Clayton, general manager of H & H Mobile in East Lansing, MI, Identifix places the correct options and proven solutions right at his technicians’ fingertips, "Identifix is fantastic the best upgrade in this shop in the last six months. We use it daily to solve problems on 75-80% if the vehicles that come in. It’s very fast and informative. All of our technicians love it and find it easy to use. It saves us a lot of time so helps our profitability too."
Founder Bill Sauer, while semi-retired, still remains active in the company and is the "go to" guy if someone needs a special piece of information, a personal contact, or perhaps to fix an emission problem. Sauer himself holds 50 ASE certifications.
Commenting on the growth of the company over the years Sauer stated, "Our tremendous growth hasn’t happened without help from a lot of believers. The key to our success is the quality and knowledge of the technicians on the phone, as well as the rest of many dedicated and talented employees."
Sauer went on to say; "I started this ‘dream’ partly because I felt it was financially feasible, but more importantly to do a little to improve the working conditions of an auto repair technician. I hope we have succeeded! Thank you for your support."
For more information, visit www.identifix.com.