Auto Repair Franchises Offer Consistent Demand for Business
Anyone who owns a car knows the need for maintenance and repair on a vehicle doesn’t wait for a convenient time or when the economy is good. As an industry, automotive repair has been considered recession-resistant exactly for this reason. Regardless of the economic climate, auto repair is a necessity and was considered an essential service during the pandemic.
One of the longtime calling cards of the auto repair industry was always having a demand for their services, which is a tremendous benefit for an automotive franchisee. Car repair services have always been and will continue to be in high demand. We have also seen that play out over the past year and a half. While some industries suffered greatly, the need for auto repair continued and may have experienced an increase in business.
In a down economy, there is an even greater need for vehicle maintenance. That is because people are less likely to buy new cars when things get tight. The older a car gets, the more mechanical issues come with it. Right now, the average age of a car is 12.1 years. Older cars on the road, prone to breakdowns, equate to good profit for car repair shops. It also means solid investment for entrepreneurs looking to buy into a high demand industry. Manufacturing shortages at the onset of the pandemic, shutdowns and recent computer chip shortages have slowed the pace on the production of new cars. It is certainly effecting new car sales. According to J.D. Power, new vehicle sales are down 14 percent from this time last year, and down 25 percent from 2019.
The Traits of an Auto Repair Franchisee
It is important to know that an auto repair franchisee doesn’t need to be a mechanic or be able to fix cars themselves to be an owner. Certainly, they will need to have an interest in cars and know the basics behind how a vehicle works and the ways to fix them. Over the past 10-20 years, there has been a shift in which franchisors are now looking for operators with business acumen and management skills. Much of the physical work in repairing vehicles will be done by others, so franchisees need to be able to attract, hire, manage, retain and motivate employees. It is not easy to find the right employees in any economy, but especially right now. A good owner needs to be able to identify those individuals and connect with them to the point they like working for the franchisee. A franchise owner in auto repair will need to excel in customer service. People will come in with car problems and the news relayed them is not always good. Usually, repairs are needed and it will cost them more money than they think. In these situations, being fair and treating customers with respect builds trust and brand loyalty. There can be an unfortunate stigma in the auto repair industry in which many customers are intimidated and feel like they will be taken advantage. The ability to build positive customer relationships and trust is very important. That goes for employees as well and being able to hire the right person and teach them the values of customer service is important as well. Building customer relationships helps create customer retention. There are also several other requirements for a modern-day auto repair franchisee. They need to understand the bookkeeping, expenses and the correct charges for the work being done. They also need to know the right number of employees to hire based on the workload they will face. While the franchisor will typically have marketing and advertising plans available to franchisees, the operators will have to engage customers in their community through traditional marketing and social media to become top of mind as the trusted automotive repair shop in their area.
Changes Coming to the Industry
One major change on the horizon that may signal a massive shift in the auto repair industry within the coming years will come from the burgeoning electric car trend. There is a very real probability that within the next two decades, 50 percent of the cars on American roads will be electric. Right now, there are only a few manufacturers of electric cars. Within several years, every single U.S. manufacturer will have a line of electric vehicles. When the fleet of cars in the U.S. starts to shift to electric, what will that do to the automotive industry? It will potentially require a new type of shop. It may be specifically designed for fixing electric cars. It may mean the need for traditional services like transmission repair will decrease because it doesn’t exist in an electric car. In its place will be other types of service for electric cars that are not currently common. As a result, we will probably see existing brands reinventing themselves. They will expand their scope of services to include traditional work, along with electric car repair. We are going to start seeing a lot of changes coming with the evolution of the auto repair industry. Some people may find that scary while others believe it will be an exciting time. This could create massive opportunity in the future as these new sectors come into play and the existing brands reinvent themselves. Regardless, there will be plenty of excellent franchise opportunities in the auto repair market.
Rick Bisio is one of the countries most respected franchise coaches and author of the Amazon best seller, The Educated Franchise – 3rd Edition. Since becoming a franchise coach in 2002, Bisio has assisted thousands of aspiring entrepreneurs nationwide explore the dream of business ownership. www.afranchisecoach.com