According to research, shops key concerns have shifted from the perennial repair and technician staffing issues to supply chain concerns and attracting customers back. But the survey also revealed a significant divergence in concerns by shop size.
A survey of 500 U.S. independent automotive service shops by IMR Inc. Automotive Research reveals a significant shift in the top concerns of shops since 2019, before the pandemic.
And while the survey is of U.S. shops, the concerns echo those of automotive service providers in Canada.
In 2019, the key challenges shops said they faced generally fell into those related to actually repairing vehicles:
- Finding time for hands-on technician training (42.6%),
- Staying up to date with advances in diagnostics (31.6%),
- Keeping up with advances in vehicle technology (31.1%)
- Finding good, knowledgeable and motivated technicians (29.2%).
For 2022 there has been a significant shift, with supply chain issues dominating concerns, but with getting customers back also noted as a major concern.
- Finding parts I need/Parts shortages (35.8%),
- Bringing customers back/Providing incentives (31.8%),
- Finding affordable parts (29.4%),
- Getting parts on time (27.0%).
It should be noted that concerns such as Proving Technicians Hands-on Training still showed up in results, but only noted as a key challenged by 5.4% of the shops surveyed.
Clearly their minds are focused on other issues.
Interestingly, IMR reports that there is some divergence in the concerns over bringing customers back.
Large and medium shops were more concerned about this than smaller shops, and those medium shops were most concerned of all.
Of the shops interviewed, those with 3-7 bays were more likely to respond that bringing customers back into their business is an expected issue they’ll face this year, at 38.3%.
Only 13.7% of shops with 1-3 bays and 20% of shops with 8+ bays reported this as an expected concern for 2022.
In total, the challenges auto repair shops expect to face mention finding needed parts, bringing customers back, parts affordability and getting parts on time. However, results by bay size it shows that different size shops expect to grapple with the same issues but in a different ranking.
For example, the number one ranked issue for shops with 1 to 3 bays is finding qualified/responsible techs which happens to be the number two ranked issue for shops with 8+ bays.
Additionally, while Finding parts I need/Parts shortages is the largest concern, only 8.8% of shops with 1 to 3 bays note the concern, compared to 41.9% of shops with 4 to 7 bays and 50.0% of shops with 8+ bays. Bringing customers back/Providing incentives was less of a concern amongst shops with 1 to 3 bays (13.7%), shops with 4 to 7 bays (38.3%) and shops with 8+ bays (20.0%) expect it to be more of a challenge in 2022.
On average, shops with 1 to 3 bays mentioned 2.3 challenges, shops with 4 to 7 bays mentioned 2.6 challenges and shops with 8+ bays mentioned 3.0 challenges.
For more information, visit IMR Inc. AutomotiveResearch.com