A survey of shops has put being able to obtain parts at an affordable price as the top concern in the year ahead.
The survey of 500 U.S. shops conducted by IMR Automotive Research Inc. is one of a regular series of surveys and research reports by the organization.
This latest set of finding, based on the survey of 500 U.S. shops, was conducted in January 2023.
Perhaps not surprising, finding qualified technicians also ranked highly.
However, report the researchers, the ranking of challenges is not the same across the board, with smaller shops ranking recruitment of technicians as the number-one concern, several percentage points ahead of the parts affordability challenge.
“While in total, the challenges automotive repair shops expect to face mention finding affordable parts, finding qualified/responsible technicians, staying current with diagnostic/software updates and getting parts on time, when we look at the results by bay size it shows that the different size shops consider some challenges to be more pressing than others.
“For example, the number one ranked issue for shops with 1 to 3 bays is finding qualified/responsible technicians with finding affordable parts ranked second while shops with 4+ bays consider finding affordable parts their number one challenge.”
It is also important to note that shops weren’t listing off a dozen or more challenges when surveyed.
On average, shops with 1 to 3 bays mentioned 2.1 challenges, shops with 4 to 7 bays mentioned 2.3 challenges and shops with 8+ bays mentioned 3.3 challenges.
Insights also in what shops did not consider a challenge
It is notable in the reading too that none of the larger the larger shops, with 8+ bays did not list among the challenges:
- Ability to compete with dealerships/larger shops
- Finding parts/Parts shortages
- Keeping up with industry changes/standards
- Transition to be able to service HEVs/EVs
- Providing affordable repairs/service to customers
While all of the challenges were noted by at least some smaller shops, there is a significant gulf in some areas versus larger shops for shops:
- Keeping up with technology: 9.5% of 1-3 bay shops vs 30.4% of 8+ bay shops.
- Keeping overhead costs low/impact of the economy: 9.5% vs. 39.1%
- Retaining qualified technicians: 3% vs 39.1%
HEV/EV transition not a major concern
Notably, across all sizes of shops, managing the transition to HEV/EV service was not a significantly noted challenge, at least not for 2023. This meshes well with low level of concern over keeping up with industry changes and technology and it would seem also that there is little concern over obtaining necessary training