Challenges for independent automotive repair shops in 2023

May 22, 2023
IMR surveyed independent automotive repair shops to gain insight on the challenges they expected to face in 2023.

IMR surveyed 500 independent automotive repair shops for the entire month of January 2023 to ask shop owners what challenges they anticipated repair shops would face in 2023. 

Prior to the pandemic, in 2019, IMR's research discovered the independent repair shops listed their biggest challenges as finding time for hands-on technician training (42.6 percent), staying up to date with advances in diagnostics (31.6 percent), keeping up with advances in vehicle technology (31.1 percent), and finding good, knowledgeable, and motivated technicians (29.2 percent).

Last year, in 2022, shops expected to face challenges finding parts that are needed/parts shortages (35.8 percent), bringing customers back/providing incentives (31.8 percent), finding affordable parts (29.4 percent), and getting parts on time (27 percent). 

In their latest survey, IMR reports that three of the top five shop challenges of 2023 are similar to those that were expected back in 2019. Similar to 2022, finding affordable parts (45 percent) and getting parts on time (22.4 percent) remain significant concerns for shop owners in 2023. In addition to these consistent challenges, shop owners now worry about finding qualified/responsible technicians (33 percent) and staying current with diagnostic/software updates (22.8 percent) as they have become increasingly cited challenges. 

While automotive repair shops on average report the same expected challenges, when the results are analyzed by bay size, it shows that the size of the shop can make some challenges more pressing than others. 

For instance, the No. 1 ranked issue for repair shops with one to three bays is finding qualified/responsible technicians. In shops of this size, finding affordable parts is usually ranked second while shops with more than four bays consider this to be their No. 1 challenge.

On average, shops with one to three bays mentioned 2.1 challenges, shops with four to seven bays mentioned 2.3 challenges, and shops with over eight bays mentioned 3.3 challenges.

To read the full report, visit automotiveresearch.com.

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