According to a survey unveiled last fall by J.D. Power and Associates, about 1/2 of all non-luxury vehicle owners do not return to the dealership for service after the fourth year of ownership. And although the study didn't project past year 4, I'd bet that this reliance on the dealership nearly dropped off the table by the following calendar change. These results are important to the independent repair shop for a number of reasons.
#1. The average age of a vehicle on the road today is nearly 9 years, which means the independent shop has a great opportunity to re-capture service dollars that were originally lost to the dealership when the vehicle was purchased. You have the chance to be a real asset during the peak periods of a vehicle's maintenance and service life.
#2. To do so you must be ready to service these vehicles. Not just with warm coffee in the waiting area, but with the appropriate tools, equipment, repair data and know-how in the shop.
#3. By taking advantage of this demand for your services after the vehicle has fallen out of warranty, the independent shop can showcase its ability to properly service and maintain a customer's vehicle ... at any age.
However, again, this requires an investment when it comes to new tools and equipment, as well as technician training.
This study shows that the driving public is not completely sold on a dealership's ability to service their vehicle after the warranty has expired. The challenge for you is to ensure that your shop is ready to step up and demonstrate an ability to service these vehicles with all available resources.
It's never easy to put money into something that won't provide immediate returns, but making such a decision will set you and your business up for future success in not only retaining current business, but in adding to your customer base, and growing the public's trust in the capabilities of the independent repairer.