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Measuring Maintenance Service Against The Competition

How well are you capturing the necessary maintenance work on each vehicle that arrives at your shop each day? Each week? Maybe you are quick to point out a dirty air filter, but gloss over those worn out wiper blades. It pays to keep track of each maintenance task for each vehicle you work on and notice trends over time. But even then, how many maintenance tasks should you expect to see each day? And, maybe more

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How well are you capturing the necessary maintenance work on each vehicle that arrives at your shop each day? Each week? Maybe you are quick to point out a dirty air filter, but gloss over those worn out wiper blades. It pays to keep track of each maintenance task for each vehicle you work on and notice trends over time.
 
But even then, how many maintenance tasks should you expect to see each day? And, maybe more ­importantly, what is your competition doing? 
 
Typically in a Maintenance Chronicle, we take a two-week snapshot of an independent repair shop, but this time we’re looking at a random two-weeks of maintenance work at a tire and auto center to give us a ­different perspective.
 

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Shop Vitals
Bays:  10
Technicians:  5
Two-Week Car Count:  521 vehicles
Most Sales in a Day:  127
Work Week:  6 Days a Week
Years in Business:  25
Specialty:  Tires
Winter Maintenance
This was an especially ­brutal winter for most areas of the country, and no ­region seemed to receive more media coverage than ­Georgia, where snow and ice storms practically shut the state down for days at a time. This made our ­profile of a 10-bay tire and auto center in Georgia ­interesting. 
 
This 25-year-old shop is open six days a week, employs five technicians, and during a cold two-week stretch in February, it saw a total of 521 vehicles and made a total of 566 non-tire related maintenance sales. Including tires, the total maintenance sales jumped to 876.
 
It’s tough to say if the weather had much affect on the maintenance sales in either week. Week 1 looked slower in terms of maintenance sales, as it had the three slowest days from the two-week sample (47, 38 and 40 total daily maintenance sales), but week 1 also had the higher total vehicle count (279 versus 242). The store manager also noted that the reported numbers were fairly typical for a two-week sample, despite the atypical weather conditions.

Standout Sales
Marginal batteries usually have a pretty good life in the warmer climates of Georgia, but not during this unseasonably cold winter. Once the temperatures dropped, so did a ton of those fringe batteries. 
 
If our profiled shop’s maintenance sales benefitted from the weather in any way during this frigid two-week period, it was in battery replacements — selling 94 in week 1 and 99 in week 2 — for a two-week average of 16 battery replacements a day. His staff checks the battery during every oil change and recommends a new battery at 25 percent life or less.
 
They also inspect air ­filters and cabin air filters with every oil change. This definitely paid off during our two-week snapshot. The shop saw a steady stream of cabin air filter ­replacements, with 18 total over the two weeks, for an average of 1.5 per day.
Focus On The Core
Goes without saying that tires are the top operation at this shop, but during week 1 of our sample, there were fewer tire sales (123) with more overall vehicle traffic (37 more vehicles in week 1 over week 2).
 
In fact, one day that week yielded only six tire sales, by far the slowest tire day during the two weeks, and nearly the slowest overall day as the severe weather kept the maintenance job count to 40.
Week 2 was back to normal with 477 total maintenance sales (187 tire and 290 non-tire). 

Making Saturday Count
Many shops have gone away from the six-day workweek, but this Georgia-based tire and auto center is open on Saturdays, and with good reason as Saturday in our sample proved to be its busiest day.
Tire sales lead the way on Saturday, topping 40 sales  in week 1 and topping 50 the following Saturday. Those were the two biggest selling days for tires and the shop’s overall maintenance business.
 
To put those numbers in perspective within our sample, the weekdays in week 2 (the better-selling of the two weeks) averaged 70 sales a day across the categories we measured. The Saturdays saw 117 and 127 total maintenance sales, respectively.
 
Key Takeaway
This shop’s business model might differ from yours, but the nuts and bolts of its maintenance sales success can be replicated in any shop. The key is in repeatable routines built into the business. Focus on your core business, but understand how to surround it with other opportunities. ­Informing customers about these often hidden maintenance items will contribute to their vehicle’s overall health and also help ­contribute sales to your bottom line.
 
Maintenance Sales at a Glance Feb. 3-Feb. 15, 2014 
Tires…………………………………….310
Battery Replacement……………..193
LOF Service………………………….187
Air Filters……………………………….69
Wiper Blades………………………….26
Fuel Injector Cleaning……………..21
Cabin Air Filters……………………..18
Belts……………………………………..12
Hoses……………………………………12
Coolant Flush & Fill…………………10
Transmission Flush/Filter………….8
Lighting…………………………………..5
Ignition (Plugs/Wires)……………….2
Shock/Struts……………………………2
Fuel Filters……………………………..1 

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