DIVERSIFY SERVICES TO STAY AHEAD IN A CROWDED INDUSTRY
A look into the viable and growing auto detailing business
As long as there have been cars on the road, there have been professional detailers. As a result of the recession, many dealers and shop owners have been forced to trim their detailing technicians and contract services out at a lower cost. Over the past decade, an increasing number of collision and repair shops and auto dealerships have turned to outsourcing to grow their businesses and gain a competitive advantage in the market by becoming true one-stop automotive service and repair entities. As the average age of cars on road now stands at a record high, car owners are keeping their cars for longer periods of time, causing the automotive repair and maintenance industry to skyrocket with an estimated increase of 1.2 percent annually over the next four years, reaching $54.7 billion by 2017.
Advantages and challenges of the complex trade.
For the successful shop owner and auto dealer, offering services such as dyeing, restoration and repair of interiors is a must; however, it is not always the easiest industry to learn. Auto detailing is the least understood and yet one of the most valuable maintenance steps for vehicle upkeep. Some of the most common challenges facing in-house detail departments include the high cost of hiring and managing professional employees, maintaining the quality of work provided by employees, and sustaining a safe environment. Many people are unaware that the quality of work and professionalism put forth by a detailing department can impact a business as much as any other department.
Proper detailing of a vehicle takes well-trained technicians, the right equipment, and a great deal of time. It takes patience and years of experience to turn an amateur detailer into a professional. Vinyl and leather repair services are an easy sale for detailers, because nothing looks worse than a torn or burned seat. While it may not be as time-consuming to learn paint touch-up repairs as other facets of the trade, it still takes extensive training to learn how to dye and repair vinyl, leather and carpet properly and also requires a wide range of product capabilities and strong integration skills from the technician. Outsourcing an interior detailing service allows employees at shops and dealerships to focus on their core business competencies.
How outsourcing impacts bottom-line costs, profit potential, and relationships with insurance companies.
Many collision repair shops and auto dealerships outsource detailing but have the service done in-house to help fill scheduling gaps, add revenue, and create customer loyalty by reducing downtime or waiting time. Additionally, it allows more flexibility with staffing since it’s easier to downsize or expand with a vendor than with employees. Cost-effectiveness can be the main driver of the decision to outsource, as well as added assets, such as human talent. It allows owners to free up their resources, improve efficiency and gain access to new customers. Outsourcing specialized services is a great way to save time and money while adding a convenience factor, which is beneficial for both insurance companies and customers. For collision repair shops, a key to success is gaining the support of the insurance companies. By reducing body shop cycle times, insurance companies are able to save money on rental cars for their customers and save money on repairs as well.
How to know if your business fits the model for outsourcing.
Like any smart business move, adding products and services must be done carefully. As business owners in the auto aftermarket industry contemplate outsourcing interior detailing services, they need to evaluate whether interior restoration and repair is a viable option to add to their existing business model by considering the following questions:
- Is this business compatible with my existing business model?
- Is there a demand for such a service among my existing customers?
- Are new customers asking for this service when they come in?
- What will this require in terms of capital and staffing?
- Will I have enough capital for the initial investment?
- How do you I get started and what are the some of my options?
Options to consider before expanding current services.
The options range from partnering with a local business, investing in a franchise concept, or going on your own. When selecting a company to provide add-on services, business owners should find out if the service is reliable and qualified to do the work, check their insurance requirements, and ask for several demonstrations to ensure the technicians will provide a fast turnaround while delivering exceptional customer experience on behalf of the company. Outsourcing services from an independent operator or franchise can benefit a business by offering on-site interior repair services without having to turn potential customers away. By partnering with another business, owners won’t have to deal with the hassle of researching the industry and hiring employees.
Investing in a strong franchise concept focused on interior restoration allows owners to reap the benefits of a well-established business with advantages such as bookkeeping, grand opening tools and ongoing support to help collision repair shops and dealerships generate new accounts and build their new profit center. On the other hand, going on your own requires doing extensive research to ensure that the repair services offered meet industry standards, making an initial investment towards training facilities and high-quality products, and hiring the right technicians for the job.
For collision repair shop owners and auto dealers looking to get ahead in today’s competitive industry, incorporating interior restoration services allows the ability to tap into different industries while lowering operating costs, enhancing productivity and increasing revenue. By diversifying the current product offering through outsourcing, customers are provided with high-quality results, added value and convenience.