I have been a part of the automotive industry for 25 years, working across the industry in positions ranging from dealerships and aftermarket to Service Manager and Assistant Parts Director. The change, growth, and evolution of the industry had has been slow and steady for the most part, at least up until now.
These days, the automotive industry is rapidly changing and the processes that were once in place and accepted as standard (with their antiquated practices and outdated technology) are quickly becoming the old way of thinking. The successful shops with forward-thinking owners and managers will adopt these changes and adapt while the rest will fall off the radar and get left behind.
Transparency in the Automotive Industry
Transparency is something that had never existed before in the automotive industry. It used to be nearly impossible for consumers to find pricing for parts and labor, and technical information was difficult for consumers to access. This lack of transparency is a major contributor to the black eye the automotive industry has walked around with for years.
Fortunately, this isn’t the case any longer, as transparency in auto repair relationships has become a greater priority for consumers. As a result, products and sites have emerged providing price transparency for consumers. These changes are scary for an industry that has never had any kind of regulation and oversight. But, consumers have demanded it, and like it or not, it’s here to stay. Your job, as a forward-thinking business professional, is to adapt, learn these tools, and work to deepen your relationships in order to provide a fair and transparent playing field for both shop owners and consumers.
Changes in Market Tools
Fair price estimators, like RepairPal, AutoMD, and Amazon, are entering the market to assist in providing these transparent pricing tools. They are available at the touch of a button and gaining more and more market shares every day.
As a service professional, it is imperative to learn about these products, their services and how they can work with your company. Compare your prices with the consumer fair pricing estimators, and decide which one most comfortably fits your business. If you ignore or dismiss these tools and refuse to talk about pricing with customers, you will eventually alienate consumers. This failure to evolve will eventually hurt your business as price transparency is the new evolutionary trend that is here to stay and likely to become more pervasive.
A Scary Yet Successful New Trend
I understand that talking exact pricing with a customer over the phone is dangerous; you haven’t seen their car, you don’t know what is wrong with it, someone else might have diagnosed the problem — there are a thousand other reasons why this is not the best idea. However, with the increasing popularity of these transparency products, the option of not talking about the potential problem or pricing at all is only going to discourage consumers from patronizing your business.
The RepairPal Fair Price Estimator is a tool for you as much as it is an aid to consumers. Using this tool as a reference point for pricing gives you more opportunities to talk about your business, what you offer, and how you are different from your competitors. The Fair Price Estimator can also be a great point of reference to share with consumers who may be unsure what a fair price really is. Professionals who have utilized this strategy have found it successful and grown their consumer-base. It provides the consumer with the transparency they need to begin building the trust to establish a long-term relationship with your shop.
Learn, Embrace, and Adapt
Industries and technology are ever-changing and require adaptation by businesses, as well as consumers. Change is scary, new technology takes time to learn, and not knowing how these tools will work from the start are reasons owners choose not to embrace them as standard practices. However, these tools and estimators are here to assist your business, gain consumers and grow operations. Take time to contact us, learn how our Fair Price Estimator works, and how it can impact your company and help increase your business. Adapt them to work best for your business, and let RepairPal show consumers that you run a transparent and honest auto repair company. RepairPal can provide you with the tools necessary to ensure you don’t go extinct with the dinosaurs.