An analysis of the service and labor market

Every four years, MacKay & Company, conducts a comprehensive survey of the heavy duty service market. It collects data from approximately 15,000 to 20,000 medium and heavy duty vehicle operators.

MacKay & Company ( is a specialized management consulting and market research firm focused on commercial on-highway vehicles, construction equipment, farm field machinery and related components such as engines and transmissions.

An overview of the latest survey was given by John Blodgett, MacKay & Company's sales and marketing manager, during the recent day-long SOLD (Service Opportunities and Learning Day) program which took place prior to this year's Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week (HDAW). Held in Las Vegas, HDAW is North America's largest gathering of the independent heavy duty aftermarket.

The Class 8 market in 2011 was 2,820,260 units, said Blodgett. By vocation, the breakdown is: for hire 30 percent; private 17 percent; construction/mining 17 percent; full-service lease/rental 12 percent; agriculture 8 percent; owner operator 6 percent; government 4 percent; refuse 4 percent; and utilities/other 2 percent.

The survey found the 2011 medium duty universe was 1,605,386 units. School bus accounted for 24 percent; private 17 percent; and lease/rental 15 percent; construction/mining 11 percent; agriculture 10 percent; government 8 percent; for hire 8 percent; utilities/other 5 percent; and refuse 2 percent.

The 2011 trailer universe was pegged at 3,723,473 units: for hire 42 percent; lease/rental 18 percent; private 17 percent; construction/mining 7 percent; agriculture 7 percent; utilities/other 3 percent; owner operator 3 percent; refuse 2 percent; and government 1 percent.


Blodgett reported that the 2011 heavy duty service labor market - after warranty - totaled 293 million hours: paint and body work 24 percent; preventive maintenance 22 percent; brake work 13 percent; engine work 12 percent; electrical work 9 percent; suspension and steering work 8 percent; drivetrain work 6 percent; and all other components 6 percent.

The 2011 medium duty service labor market accounted for 117 million hours: paint and body 29 percent; preventive maintenance 17 percent; brake 12 percent; electrical 11 percent; all other components 10 percent; engine 9 percent; suspension and steering 7 percent; and drivetrain 6 percent.

The survey determined there was 84 million hours of trailer service labor done in 2011: paint and body 24 percent; preventive maintenance 11 percent; brake 16 percent; suspension, etc. 12 percent; wheels, hubs, wheel seals and bearings 9 percent; electrical 9 percent; and all other components 9 percent.

The 2011 service labor market by service provider was 495 million hours (excluding tires), with the end user doing 75 percent of the work, followed by independent garages at 9 percent; OE truck dealers 8 percent; independent paint and body shops 6 percent; all others 2 percent.


The truck operator profile of in-house service labor was 371 million (excluding tires), the MacKay survey data showed, with the following breakdown: paint and body 23 percent; preventive maintenance 21 percent; brakes 13 percent; electrical 10 percent; engine 8 percent; suspension and steering 7 percent; all other components 8 percent; and drivetrain 6 percent.

The survey found that the concerns about outsourcing power unit service work were, in order:

  • Quality of work/repair.
  • Cost of repairs.
  • Time lost/downtime/turnaround time/availability.
  • Reliability/accountability of the shop and shop personnel.

Looking ahead to 2016, Blodgett said MacKay projects that the heavy duty truck and trailer service labor market would total 527 million hours, with the vehicle operator doing 69 percent of the work; independent garages 11 percent; OE truck dealers 10 percent; independent paint and body shops 7 percent; all others 3 percent.