Auto Service World
News   July 25, 2023   by Adam Malik

Reasons for low production and how to turn it around

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If production is low in your auto repair shop, you’re losing out on time that could be spent making you money. A shop coach recently offered some advice on tackling the root causes of low productivity.

Take waiting for parts, Bill Haas, president and Owner of Haas Performance Consulting, used as an example. Techs waiting to get to work on a vehicle because they’re waiting for parts is time they’re not making you money, he said during the seminar Shop Production and Payroll Drives Profits at this year’s Midwest Auto Care Alliance Vision Hi-Tech Training and Expo.

“Why haven’t we fixed it? Why are we waiting for parts? Why didn’t we make sure all the parts were there before we started to work on the car? Why didn’t we pre-order parts?” he asked a room full of shop owners, service advisors and technicians.

If a customer calls complaining about a noise every time they hit the brakes, the shop should order everything they may need, from calipers to rotors. That way, when they get the wheels off and find the heart of the issue, the technician has everything that’s needed, Haas explained.

“I’ve got the parts there, I fix it, bang, it’s out the door,” he said.

Did you get the wrong rotors? “Then stop buying from those people,” Haas urged.

Another delay in getting the work done: Waiting on the customer to authorize the work. “Do you ever have customers that seem to be really difficult to connect with? Maybe we need to do a better job of understanding how they communicate,” Haas said.

Ensure you’re asking them how they want to be contacted. They may prefer a text or an email as opposed to a phone call.

“I can sit and call people all day long but if they’re in a meeting, they can’t answer the phone,” Hass explained. But they’ll probably take a look at their phone during their meeting and see a text or email come in from you.

Just ask the best way to reach them, Haas advised. Tell them you’re going to call them around a certain time: How would they like to be contacted? That saves them from sitting around wondering when you’ll call them. And when they sit around waiting to hear back and those hours pile on, they’re only going to think things are really bad with their vehicle because you’re taking so long.

“If somebody’s absolutely unavailable, why don’t you get a pre-authorization that says, ‘If I can fix your car today, for less than $800, will it be okay to just go ahead? Do I have your permission?’” Haas said.

And if it’s a brake job or tires and an alignment, you have a pretty good idea of how much that’s going to cost.

“You also have to think about time for your advisors, for your sales team — how productive are they?” Haas pointed out. “So they’re not very productive if they’re spending all day trying to reach a customer.”

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