Auto shop owners, auto technicians, and anyone else involved in the auto repair industry can allow some optimism to shine.
Many car owners let nonessential preventative repairs slip into the rearview, but the good news is that demand for these services should increase in 2021 and beyond. Spring is here, vaccinations are being rapidly distributed, and people are getting back on the road.
With in-person work returning at offices across the country, people will need reliable transportation to make their commute. On top of that, leisure is returning, road trips are gaining massive popularity, and more cars are out and about. That means they’ll also be on their way back in to see you, their favorite auto repair shop, to take care of those services they neglected.
But that doesn’t mean things are going back to the way things were. They’re going to be different, and auto repair shops need to adapt or be left behind. Here are six trends we’ve noticed that are changing the auto repair game.
1. The Rise Of Rideshares
When was the last time you heard of a person calling a cab? Nowadays, we just use an app on our smartphones. And that isn’t going to change anytime soon.
The utilization of e-hailing and car-sharing services will only continue to grow, especially in cities, suburbs, and other highly-populated areas. While this might seem like bad news for auto repair shops, it actually isn’t.
The growth of these services means more cars are out logging lots of miles and encountering wear and tear on the road. Of course, the trickle-down effect is that these vehicles will need more frequent service to stay running smoothly.
*Side note here: Shop Boss actually has a partnership with Lyft that allows you to secure rides for your customers or even pick up and deliver vehicles to and from your customers. It’s another way you can add convenience and keep them home and safe while you service their vehicles.
2. Less DIY
Industry trends show that car owners are making fewer repairs on their own. Auto parts stores like O’Reilly Auto Parts and AutoZone have seen their shares fall in recent years.
This is partly due to cars being more reliable, utilizing higher-quality components that are often covered by manufacturer warranty. As long as the parts fail within their warranty period, owners will return to their dealer for repairs.
While that’s less than encouraging for auto repair shops, it’s not all bad. Advancing automotive technology also makes it more difficult for owners to repair their cars themselves. Those owners with vehicles outside of their warranties will be more likely to come into your shop for repairs than they are to try and make the fix on their own.
3. Digitization & Advancing Technology
The auto repair industry has struggled to keep up with the advancing technology of modern automobiles. Auto shops must upgrade their technology in order to provide service and maintenance for automated, digitized, and electric automobiles.
So what can you do? Make sure your auto techs are trained in telematics. If your customers know you can handle their technologically advanced car and have the right parts available to do the repairs, they’ll keep coming to you. This includes not only telematics, but also the car’s connectivity, sophisticated computer, electrical, and mechanical systems.
You need your customers to be confident that your repair shop has trained technicians who know how to use the technology required to properly repair today’s advanced vehicles. If not, they’ll go somewhere else. Plain and simple.
4. New Vehicles/Leases Are Becoming More Popular
Vehicle leasing rates continue to go up. Between 2009 and 2016, vehicle leases went from just over one million to almost 4.5 million. This trend is expected to continue, meaning less maintenance and repair work for your auto repair shop unless you can form partnerships with leasing companies.
5. Green Techs Needed
Aging automotive techs are retiring, leaving a void in the auto repair industry. A new injection of auto techs is needed. Millions of auto techs are expected to retire in the coming years, and there is concern that there are not enough properly trained auto techs ready to fill these roles.
If your auto shop has techs who are set to retire, it’s a good idea to proactively begin the search for a replacement and ensure they are getting the training required to service today’s technologically advanced cars.
6. Expected Industry Growth/Rebound
To be sure, the automotive industry is set for some disruption over the next 10 years, but no one seems to be sure what exactly that looks like. The auto repair industry, in particular, needs to prepare for a changing landscape that will change everything they know about working on cars.
But it’s not doom and gloom, here are a couple of quick stats that show the auto repair industry is indeed in good shape going into 2021:
- Research shows that in 2021, there will be an estimated 76 million vehicles aged 16 years or older in the United States. Those old cars need fixing!
- The number of vehicles five years old or less is predicted to increase by almost 25 percent, showing the growing trend in leased and/or newer vehicles.
See? There’s reason for optimism after all!
And don’t forget — One of the best ways to position your auto repair shop for the changing times is to make sure you have automotive shop management software like Shop Boss. These essential tools will improve the efficiency of your auto shop and keep those cars coming into the bays so you can run a profitable business this year and beyond. Ask about a free trial today!