Dealerships versus independent repair shops

May 4, 2016
While independent repair shops are the first choice for scan tool sales, don’t overlook dealerships in some instances.

Many distributors agree: independent shops make for an easier approach and scan tool sale, compared to dealerships, for a variety of reasons.

“Dealerships are tough because the guy can buy for just that particular vehicle line, it’s not like being at an independent shop where you have to have all lines,” says Mac Tools distributor Doug Pennington.

“As a general rule, the independents come up with a wider variety of challenges than dealerships,” explains Mac Tools distributor Jeff Frazier. “Some of the solutions they have to come up with are pretty brilliant and creative, instead of just relying on pattern failures.”

“Independent shops are more our type of scan tools, because that’s what they have to use versus they dealership and the factory tools,” adds Cornwell Tools dealer Sean Fenton.

While dealerships have proprietary scanners, Mac Tools distributor Mike Strupp has taken a different approach to dealerships by servicing the used car dealership side.

“I’ve even sold a couple of these to a dealership because of used cars and trade in, that’s not their brand,” explains Strupp. He explains without an aftermarket scan tool, these used car dealerships are left to pay the customer price for diagnosis at another dealership or independent repair shop. 

“I usually find the head technician of the shop - the guy that everybody goes to. Usually I try to press him with it first. A lot of times, he’ll buy one,” says Strupp. “Then, he’ll go to the general manager… and then (the general manager) approaches me.”

About the Author

Erica Schueller | Editorial Director | Commercial Vehicle Group

Erica Schueller is the Editorial Director of the Endeavor Commercial Vehicle Group. The commercial vehicle group includes the following brands: American Trucker, Bulk Transporter, Fleet Maintenance, FleetOwner, Refrigerated Transporter, and Trailer/Body Builders brands.

An award-winning journalist, Schueller has reported and written about the vehicle maintenance and repair industry her entire career. She has received accolades for her reporting and editing in the commercial and automotive vehicle fields by the Truck Writers of North America (TWNA), the International Automotive Media Competition (IAMC), the Folio: Eddie & Ozzie Awards and the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE) Azbee Awards.

Schueller has received recognition among her publishing industry peers as a recipient of the 2014 Folio Top Women in Media Rising Stars award, acknowledging her accomplishments of digital content management and assistance with improving the print and digital products in the Vehicle Repair Group. She was also named one Women in Trucking’s 2018 Top Women in Transportation to Watch.

She is an active member of a number of industry groups, including the American Trucking Associations' (ATA) Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC),  the Auto Care Association's Young Auto Care Networking Group, GenNext, and Women in Trucking.

In December 2018, Schueller graduated at the top of her class from the Waukesha County Technical College's 10-week professional truck driving program, earning her Class A commercial driver's license (CDL).  

She has worked in the vehicle repair and maintenance industry since 2008.

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