Auto Service World
News   October 1, 2019   by Allan Janssen

Kukui webinar examines how you charge for your services


About half of the independent shop owners on a recent webinar hosted by Kukui felt they could charge as much as or more than new-car dealerships do for their services.

The webinar, designed to look at how shop labour charges are calculated, pointed out a number of ways aftermarket shops outshine dealership service departments.

“Independent shop owners feel they have to be faster or better than the dealer, but that’s not necessarily the case,” said Christopher Petersen, owner of Northwest Automotive in Kalispell, Montana, and one of two shop owners invited to share their views on the subject. “If you have better one-on-one relationships, you can charge for that.”

Petersen pointed out that consumer dissatisfaction with dealership is not mainly about the price.

He described the difference in dealership prices versus independent prices as a “framing issue.” He said shop owners need to be aware of their strengths and charge accordingly for them.

The other shop owner on the webinar, Travis Troy of Honest Wrenches in Des Moines, Iowa., said people simply want to be treated properly when they bring their vehicles in for service.

He said some of the practices he observed at a local GMC dealership would have been “a fireable offense” at most independent shops.

“We are not another option. We are the best option,” he said. “If we think of ourselves as an alternative, we are the same as them. Most of them offer 12,000 / 12-month warranty on their work? Most independent shops are way above that!”

They were joined on the webinar by hosts Jimmy Lea and Patrick Egan of Kukui, who conducted quick polls of attendees to gauge their positions on price-related topics.

One of the quick polls revealed that 48% of attendees felt they could charge as much or more than dealerships. Some 23% did not agree they could charge that much, while another 23% were uncertain.

The webinar was recorded and is expected to be posted at the Kukui website.


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3 Comments » for Kukui webinar examines how you charge for your services
  1. George Kean says:

    The major problem with charging dealer prices is with our selves. There is always someone on the next street over willing to do the job for less, and tell the customer that you are ripping him off. We need to behave like professionals .

  2. Bob Ward says:

    As a rule dealerships are rather unorganized. You can never talk with someone at a dealership. Most calls go to voice mail. Most people that come from a dealership comment on how much better they are treated and brought into the process of vehicle service. Generally it seems to people that service is “top secret” at the dealerships. The customers like to be treated like human beings. Addressing their concerns directly solidifies the new relationship they have with an aftermarket shop. Very few customers are price focused. If they were they would not be going to a dealership for service. My shop labour rates have been more than the local dealerships for several years now and I rarely get push back as long as the customer is being treated fairly.

  3. kirby says:

    When we have customers price shopping between our shop and the dealers we come in very close to the same price, we then inform the customer we offer all quotes all in with all parts fees and taxes, we always use quality parts with premium warranty, we let the customers know that we have used the best methods and products to preserve the value of their vehicle.
    we are so busy we can barely keep up!!!

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