Internal costs – wooden dollars?
With an increase in preparation costs, dealers reviewed these costs and looked at how they could do the work themselves. Internal preparation adds to the cost of internal labour but sometimes the costs of work are increased to cover the overheads – whereas an outsourced repair may be £50 – an internal repair for the same work can be as much as double. While the wooden dollars allow money to be kept within the dealership, is the dealership really making a saving – or even breaking even??
In my experience it is unlikely for a number of reasons:
While some costs can be compared like for like most often management costs and time are ignored and from experience there can be significant time required to get the best out of a professional Smart Repair solution. There are significant differences in running a mobile team to having an efficient bodyshop team. Mobile repairers are often isolated and so can require a nurturing management style – the employees who are most self sufficient are the ones who inevitably end up looking for career development or work for themselves. The key message is that management costs should not be excluded.
The skill of a mobile repairer is always an interesting topic as taking a skilled technician from the bodyshop can seem like having all the prerequisite skills. However while the core painting skills can be apparent there is often a lack of perceived customer service from bodyshop technicians who have not be trained in this area.
With the increase in uptake of the IMI’s Cosmetic Repair ATA there is now a route for technical competence but this needs to be matched with a customer service focus.
There is no doubt that there is a significant difference behind the motivation of a self employed technician versus an employee. While an employee can be directed unless clear roles and responsibilities set out employees can struggle to complete the workload that a self employed Smart Repairer can. Dan Pink in his book Drive talks about key characteristics for employee’s motivation as purpose, autonomy and mastery and these are not often the qualities that I see in in-house technicians.
So what service should be expected and at what cost?
Smart Repairers now understand that the offering needs to be value adding to the dealership creating income streams via the service department and new services to customers beyond the bread and butter of the used car prep service.
The best way to view costs is to plan an effective Smart Repair programme that keeps the sales department content by having a priority professional service with accredited technicians that rolls out to customers across the country.
Revive! provides a national service for minor repair damage – being able to book most national jobs in within 7 days. This saves big headaches when a car is delivered nationally and picks up a scuff on route.
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