Us, by the numbers

By Jim Taylor, Editor MACS ACtion Magazine

You may never have heard of ETI, the Equipment and Tool Institute. The organization is an umbrella trade group for all the companies that make the shop tools you buy. Pick up almost any bit of equipment in your shop and the chances are good that its manufacturer is a member of ETI. They work closely with the vehicle makers to insure that necessary tools are available for all the new technology that hits the street.

The group recently surveyed nearly 300 repair shops, seeking information on how shop owners and technicians evaluate, purchase and use equipment related to air conditioning repair. They asked some detailed questions about favorite gear, how it was chosen, how its used and how it could be improved. The data is available in the “ETI Market Research Study on A/C Service, Equipment and Trends”.  It’s for sale through  ETI.

Much of the collected use and opinion data is proprietary and only available with the purchase, but we received ETI’s kind permission to abstract some of their general demographic data. The numbers paint an industry picture, and we’re an interesting bunch; see where you fit in.

The survey sample size was very close to 300 shops, repair facilities and schools, fairly evenly distributed throughout the U.S. Not everybody answered every question so we’ll use percentages here to keep a level playing field.

Of those responding, 61% termed their shop either “General Repair” or “other” with only 15% saying they were a specialty shop. (Note that the specialty could be anything – brakes, A/C, trans, etc.) The category also revealed military vehicle maintenance (2%), mobile repair shops (4%), and fleet maintenance operations (16%).

More that two-thirds (67%) of the shops employ 1 -5 technicians, but 19% said they had more than ten techs working. One question asked about technician certification under Section 609, and it was refreshing to see well over 90 percent compliance. However, 8% of respondents said no one in their shop had the ticket.

“Does your shop provide on-site recovery/ recycle/ recharge (RRR) service?” Of almost 300 answers, 99% said yes. One “no” responder noted he did not have the equipment and another described himself as primarily a diagnostic shop rather than one doing the repair.

Only six shops (2%) said they make 100 percent of their money from A/C repairs but more than two thirds (67%) reported A/C work as producing 5 to 25% of their revenue. Just over half reported using a J2788 RRR machine, and almost all the others said they use the older J2210 units. Exactly 50% have one machine for the shop, and another 42% have two to five machines. A very few shops still use a scale and vacuum pump, but only one shop said they have no RRR machine or scale, making us wonder how they do the job.

More data diving in the next post.

The Mobile Air Conditioning Society’s blog has been honored as the best business to business blog in the Automotive Aftermarket by the Automotive Communications Awards and the Car Care Council Women’s Board!

When having your mobile A/C system professionally serviced, insist on proper repair procedures and quality replacement parts. Insist on recovery and recycling so that refrigerant can be reused and not released into the atmosphere.

If you’re a service professional and not a MACS member yet, you should be, click here for more information.

You can E-mail us at or visit to find a Mobile Air Conditioning Society member repair shop in your area. Visit to find out more about your car’s mobile A/C and engine cooling system.

The 33rd annual Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Training Conference and Trade Show, Be the Best of the Best will take place February 7-9, 2013 at the Caribe Royale, Orlando, FL.


About macsworldwide

Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Founded in 1981, MACS is the leading non-profit trade association for the mobile air conditioning, heating and engine cooling system segment of the automotive aftermarket. Since 1991, MACS has assisted more than 600,000 technicians to comply with the 1990 U.S. EPA Clean Air Act requirements for certification in refrigerant recovery and recycling to protect the environment. The Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide’s mission is clear and focused--as the recognized global authority on mobile air conditioning and heat transfer industry issues.
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One Response to Us, by the numbers

  1. Gerald Eagy says:

    Very good information to know. I was surprise that more didn’t have A/C as a specialty shop. Our area has many who only work on A/C.

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