Auto Service World
News   April 9, 2024   by Adam Malik

CARS Executive Outlook 2024: Mike Howard

CARS reached out to leaders in the automotive repair and service sector of the automotive aftermarket to ask them about their thoughts about the industry over the next 12 months. We wanted to know how things will change this year, what’s the biggest challenge and how they can seize the biggest opportunity. We will present their answers in alphabetical order over the coming weeks…

You can view the full feature in the February 2024 issue.

Mike Howard, 2023 Shop of the Year  |  Art Turney’s Garage

It seems that the best way to prepare for change is to accept that it is coming. Change is inevitable. Because we never know exactly what it will be or how it will affect us, we must invest in technicians, tools, equipment, software, training, etc. That way, when change hits, we are (hopefully) in a position to tackle it head on.

I think the biggest challenge we face is access to a qualified labour pool. It’s a systemic and lingering challenge. Labour is our biggest expense, but it’s also where the revenue comes from. It’s a balance to ensure staff compensation is good, but not inhibitive. We are fortunate to have some real good techs, so it is imperative to keep them. We must offer what’s important to our people above and beyond compensation.

As the saying goes, “Don’t count the cars — make the cars count.” We need to look at providing more service/sales to our customers. Techs must look beyond the reason for the customer’s visit. We don’t want to sell our customers something they don’t need or want, but the opposite — we want to point out to them the cost of not maintaining and repairing their vehicle and help them to make informed decisions. Not all shops, ours included, have been good at that but it’s a way to improve sales.

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