Trends You’ll See Reflected in Auto Repair Shop Software
The auto repair industry keeps evolving as a new generation of drivers and automotive repair technicians refresh it from year to year. Customers are more savvy with how they interact and pay now versus a generation ago when they may have also been DIYers under the hood. The right auto repair software makes than transition easier.
While some things change, the commitment to keeping cars on the road remains the same. We may be using shop management software, real-time labor guides, and automotive appointment scheduling software, but customer service is still the heart of our business.
As you gear up for the year ahead, here are the biggest trends we’re seeing in the aftermarket.
Die-hards Are Keeping Their Cars Longer
Since new car and truck sales peaked in 1987, people have committed to hanging onto their vehicles longer. When sales surged again in 2014, there were 14 million vehicles on the road over the age of 25. That’s up from 8 million in 2002.
With some economic uncertainty these days, fewer consumers are rushing out to make major purchases, like new vehicles. This is great news for the aftermarket since these consumers are investing in preventative maintenance to keep their cars on the road longer.
This rising demand for auto repair services creates great opportunities for shops who are geared up for the rush. Even better, Millennials are more likely to stay on top of servicing their vehicles. By tapping into this conscientious and tech-friendly generation, your shop can capitalize on a loyal and connected clientele.
Small is Big
The United States has more than 175,000 auto repair shops, two-thirds of which service multiple brands of vehicles and two-thirds of which are family owned. Collectively, they employ more than 700,000 people and the number of workers in the field keeps growing every year.
The average shop owner is between 40 and 46, having started in a bay more than 20 years ago. At times, they may struggle to keep up with changing technology. Old-school shop owners also rely on word of mouth to promote their services, so there’s a learning curve to use digital technology and social media to build their brands.
With small teams running shops, taking away time-consuming processes makes the most of your crew. By getting customers to automatically schedule their next service and pay remotely, you free up your phone lines. That way, you can focus on training staff and staying current on other trends that affect your bottom line.
The Faces in the Bays are Changing
While auto technicians are predominantly white and male, there are more women entering the field. After a record low participation rate of 2.55% in 2013, the rate of women techs rose to 5.38% by 2017 and sits at close to 5% today. On average, they are three years younger than their male peers. Comparatively, women earn 97 cents for every dollar their male coworkers do – working out to average salaries of $35,138 versus $36,099.
It should come as no surprise that many techs bounce from job to job as they seek better working conditions and pay. One in five techs stay in a job for less than a year, while one in three sticks around for 1-2 years. Only 13% remain at the same shop beyond 10 years.
Talking with our peers in the industry, we’re hearing that reaching beyond the usual circles of recruiting is bringing new blood into the business. Connecting with local high schools and sharing the pride of auto repair draws in new people to share the workload. On top of that, having the right shop management software gets them off on the right foot. By engaging smart technology to make the job easier, we can all have a better and more profitable 2022.
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