by Jeff Stankard
News is quickly being reported that economic-stimulus rebate checks are going toward car repairs versus new car purchases. The economic downturn has customers shifting gears toward vehicle maintenance, as they weigh the cost of repairs versus monthly new car payments.
The good news is that those consumers who typically put off scheduled or necessary maintenance are realizing that vehicle maintenance equals increased fuel efficiency. As gas prices continue to rise, more of your customers will likely “see the light” as it relates to the many benefits of vehicle maintenance. With that said, you’ll need to be prepared to handle increased service volume, and that’s where efficient scheduling comes in.
With the goal of providing you with ideas to improve or change your shop’s scheduling system to be more productive, Babcox Research asked a sample of shop owner readers for their ideas on this topic. We received dozens of great responses, so thank you to those of you who responded.
10 Ideas to Make Shop Scheduling Systems More Productive
1. Separate “maintenance” work from “repair” work, and assign your most qualified techs to do the major repairs. Assign complicated jobs to techs who’ve had prior experience in doing the repair.
2. “Pad” the schedule to compensate for problems that may arise, like the wrong parts being ordered or delivered.
3. Allocate about 15% of the schedule for unexpected, necessary repairs that are found during vehicle inspections.
4. Schedule the most involved jobs for early in the morning and at the beginning of the week. Don’t hold up less time-intensive jobs while bigger jobs are being completed.
5. Limit the number of people who do the scheduling and forward business calls to your cell phone when the shop is closed.
6. Consider using your website to schedule appointments to reduce the amount of times the phone rings.
7. Schedule customers for their next appointment when they’re paying for their current service work, and call customers the day before to remind them of their upcoming vehicle service appointment.
8. Offer a shuttle service to prevent customers from canceling repairs due to not having a vehicle to use.
9. Make sure your service advisor does not overbook or underbook repairs, and allows adequate time for the completion of each repair.
10. Schedule involved service jobs on days that most employees will be present.
If you would like to offer additional ideas on this topic, just send me an e-mail and we’ll add it to our listing on the website.