The Bigger Picture

The Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA) recently had the Opinion Research Corporation prepare a report entitled: A Study Of Information and Tools Availability to Independent Repair Shops. As part of the study, independent repair facilities were contacted for information.

One of the bullet points that caught my eye in reviewing the study was one that stated how each repair shop turns away an average of 6 customers per year, due to an unavailability of tools or information.

At first, I didn’t think that number was very high. On the surface, turning away 1 customer every 2 months simply doesn’t seem like that big of a deal. Then I started to look at the bigger picture.

First, there’s the obvious loss of revenue from not being able to perform the given service. But a bigger problem surfaces when you think about the number of friends, relatives or co-workers these people talked to about the under-equipped or unknowledgeable independent service provider they tried to have fix their vehicle. From a single refused job, your small business suffers the effects of never getting the chance at dozens of additional service opportunities.

Finally, it reinforces our industry’s image problem. I guess when we’re not trying to rip people off, we’re just not going to deal with their more difficult problems.

Regardless of what side you take in the Right To Repair Act battle, I feel like the repair information issue is a pretty simple one. Until all of the tools, equipment and information is openly available to those in the repair community who have a demonstrated, professional business approach, we all lose.

Technicians lose their reputation. Shops lose technicians and customers. Tool sellers lose outlets. And the driving public loses their opportunity to have a vehicle serviced by their preferred provider.

Together we win, or together we all fail.