By Elvis L. Hoffpauir, MACS president and COO
The factors that contribute to success in business are too many and varied to be listed, but one element that would be fairly high on that list is finding and filling the right niche. Successful automotive service shops have qualities that set them apart from the crowd, that make them come to mind when vehicle owners need service.
We recently asked our members to respond to a short survey designed to help MACS understand exactly who our members are, and what types of service and repair are being offered by MACS member shops. Information gathered in this survey will be used by MACS to tailor its information, education, training and other programs to best support the needs of its members.
We asked what percentage of each member shop’s revenue is derived from A/C service and repair. The average for member shops is 52%. (30% claim almost 100% of their revenue is from A/C service.) When we asked the same question of non-member shops, the average is significantly lower at 14%. No surprise there.
We also wanted to know if members specialize in any other specific service area, in addition to A/C. Cooling systems and radiator repair is most frequently cited, again, no surprise since these specialty services have traditionally been offered together by many shops. Other specialty service areas in which a significant number of member shops are reportedly engaged include driveability and electrical/electronic diagnostics. Less frequently cited but still part of the mix are emergency vehicle repair, HD/off-road service, fleet maintenance and even specialty fabrication.
To the question, “Would you classify your shop as a general automotive repair facility?” about 50% of MACS member shops said “yes.” When we tried the same question with non-member shops, about 65% classified themselves as offering general automotive services.
Are there automotive service and repair jobs that many MACS members choose to avoid? You bet. Transmission overhaul tops that list, closely followed by engine rebuilding, and a significant percentage of MACS member shops would rather see European vehicles in someone else’s service bay. Member shops often also avoid tune-up work, oil changes and tires. As previously noted, 30% of MACS members avoid anything and everything not A/C related.
We also asked, “Do you feel you have the tools, equipment and training to tackle most diagnostic challenges (including electrical/electronic trouble-shooting)?” Three out of four respondents confirm that their tools and expertise equips them to handle most of the work that comes through their doors, but many admit that it’s a constant struggle to keep up with equipment, tools and training.
What’s most in demand for training? Topping the list are in-depth A/C diagnostics, A/C electrical and electronics (making up at least a third of repair jobs, says one respondent), testing and verifying repair of late model A/C systems, scan tool diagnostics, hybrid vehicle training and pattern failures.
So who are you and how do you stand out from other competitors in your area? Clearly, there is no one formula for a successful business. Play to your strengths, work on your weaknesses, and don’t be afraid to change with the times.
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, Visit this link http://bit.ly/10zvMYg for more information.
You can E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org . To locate a Mobile Air Conditioning Society member repair shop in your area. Click here to find out more about your car’s mobile A/C and engine cooling system.
The 34th annual Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Training Conference and Trade Show, Power Up will take place January 16-18 2014 at the Sheraton New Orleans.