The data behind the business

April 4, 2018
See what our annual Aftermarket Profile has to say about your customers’ buying habits and industry trends.

This month we bring you a special report that I hope you’ll find beneficial. For the third year in a row, we surveyed shop owners and technicians to better understand the nature of their business and how they buy tools. This survey eventually becomes the Aftermarket Profile. (Turn to page 8 for the full report.) 

Once again, we look forward to passing this information on to you. Our hope is that you keep the Aftermarket Profile on-hand and use it to help monitor your own business and customers’ trends from year to year.

This year, roughly 500 shop owners and technicians across the country completed the in-depth questionnaire. Some interesting findings: In the three years since we began conducting the survey, shop owners and technicians report their top revenue opportunities have shifted from reprogramming/reflashing tools (1), electrical (2) and TPMS (3) as the top three money-makers in 2016 to diagnostic (1), maintenance services (2) and electrical (3) in 2018.

That means these categories are an opportunity for you, too. Make sure to keep informed on new-to-market products, trends and training so you can stock the right inventory and better assist your customers.

One challenge you might be facing these days is online tool purchases. Data shows shop owners and technicians are increasingly reaching out to online vendors for tools and equipment, often because they view this type of sale as convenient or more cost effective. In three years, respondents reported their online tool purchases from Amazon have increased 21 percent. Sure, Amazon makes purchasing (just about anything) extremely easy. Amazon Prime members don’t even need to pull out their credit card — and the tool can come as quickly as two days.

That said, there are quite a few things Amazon hasn’t got that you do have — for example, try and buy, warranties, financing, reliable training and returns (to name a few). That’s where you, as a distributor, continue to have the advantage ... and the numbers show it.

Despite an increase in online tool purchases, the numbers tell this story: the majority of shop owners and technicians still prefer to purchase tools and equipment from their mobile tool distributor.

Keep doing what works, and consider methods to fine-tune what might be improved. In the meantime, we will keep collecting data and sharing content on new products and successful strategies from fellow mobile dealers.

Do you have questions about any of the information in this year’s survey? Were there any surprises? Send me your feedback by email or phone.

Safe travels!

About the Author

Sara Scullin | Editor | PTEN and Professional Distributor

Sara Scullin is the editor of PTEN and Professional Distributor magazines. These publications are part of the Endeavor Business Media Vehicle Repair Group, which includes Fleet Maintenance, Professional Tool & Equipment News (PTEN), Professional Distributor magazines and VehicleServicePros.com.

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