Big picture benefits

April 13, 2018

Do you ever wonder how your two-bay repair facility compares with the shop down the road?

It can be beneficial to look at the big picture when trying to hammer out what seems like small but important details for your business, like whether you should invest in a new scan tool, or how to seek out ongoing training opportunities.

When you step back and consider the data and feedback collected from your peers and colleagues in the automotive aftermarket, you’ll find that data tells a story. Your big decisions are your neighbors’ big decisions, too.  

For the third consecutive year, we surveyed shop owners and technicians to better understand the nature of their business and how they buy tools in the 2017 PTEN Purchasing Study. This survey eventually becomes the Aftermarket Profile. (Turn to page 26 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 as a roadmap of sorts -- something to help you monitor your business as well as industry trends from year to year.

This year, nearly 450 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 2017.

One challenge you might be facing these days is hiring and retaining technicians with the right skill set, especially as vehicles grow more complex. We learned that 75 percent of shop owners and technicians felt additional training is needed when it comes to vehicle electrical and electronic systems. The good news is, many of today’s diagnostic tools and scan tools come with a great deal of manufacturer support, as well as tech-to-tech assistance (even remote). In addition, more opportunities for ongoing education are cropping up outside of the classroom. Shop owners and technicians report utilizing video services like YouTube for training and information purposes.

It’s more important than ever to have the right tools at your disposal -- whether that is a scan tool that “sees” every vehicle to come into the shop, or the knowledge to perform a mechanical repair. We hope this survey will help you to take inventory of your shop's most needed and beneficial tools.

Have a question about any of the information in this year’s survey? Were there any surprises?

Send me your feedback by email or phone. 

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

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