Auto Service World
Feature   June 1, 2006   by Tom Venetis Editor

Finding new revenues in the aftermarket

One of the most vexing questions amongst independent service providers is where to find new revenue....

One of the most vexing questions amongst independent service providers is where to find new revenue.

One possibility is to go high-tech, offering customers the service of installing internal digital electronics such as iPod bays, DVD entertainment systems, tire pressure sensors, GPS tracking systems and proximity monitoring systems.

Now before everyone thinks this editor has lost it, take a minute and think about the fact that OEMs are installing these systems on their newest product lines. Now think about this: there is nothing about any of these products that suggests they are only for the benefit of the OEMs. In fact, manufacturers are already producing, packaging and distributing these technologies for the worldwide aftermarket.

And there are no reasons to let a Future Shop or anyone else take this opportunity away from the service provider. If an independent shop has built a good working relationship with a customer, does excellent work, uses high quality parts, employs certified technicians whose work is guaranteed, there is nothing to stop them from installing that DVD entertainment system.

I recently asked Ed Jagt, owner Pro-Tech Tire and Auto in Barrie, Ont. directly if his customers were asking for internal electronic systems to be installed by his technicians.

“I probably get asked two to three times a week about them,” he told me. “Especially on those model vehicles that are two model years old and they don’t have it already.”

Why should a family be forced to buy a new mini-van just to get a DVD entertainment system so the kids can be entertained on the long trip to see grandma in PEI or Vancouver? And who is going to sell their well-running but two-year old vehicle just to get an onboard tire pressure measurement system that comes installed on a new car?

Jagt said the real challenge is getting more distributors behind the technologies and getting them into the hands of the service providers.

This is a great opportunity for the distributors. Customers are starting to ask for these internal digital electronics and service providers are looking to the distributors to make the technologies available. By fully getting behind these technologies, distributors will not only be helping in making this industry more profitable, they will also see their own profits increase. We only have to move quickly to grab the opportunities while we can.