NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, Texas (Jan. 20, 2017) — Auto service shops generally had a good year in 2016, according to a survey of Automotive Service Association (ASA) members.
About 55 percent of mechanical service shops reported increased sales in 2016 vs. 2015, while 24 percent reported no change and 21 percent reported a decrease, according to the ASA's latest "How's Your Business" survey results.
The ASA estimated the number of automotive service shop locations in the U.S. at 84,906, basing its tally on a 3-percent growth rate in 2016, from 80,032 shops in 2014, per U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
About 89 percent of the auto service businesses surveyed are family-owned and nearly half operate facilities with four to six service bays. Nearly 40 percent operate with more than seven bays.
The biggest challenge facing service shops is a shortage of qualified technicians, with a distant second being changes in technology followed closely by profitability concerns.
Other results of the survey included:
- About 20 percent of respondants serviced an average 151 to 200 vehicles per month, while 16 percent handled 101 to 150 vehicles and another 16 percent serviced 201 to 250 vehicles per month.
- About 37 percent reported an increase in repair orders last year vs. 2015, while 35 percent averaged about the same amount of orders and 28 percent saw a decrease in monthly orders.
- About 56 percent of those work orders involved repairs vs. maintenance.
- About 21 percent of the service shops said their average ticket charges exceeded $500; 16 percent average $350 to $400 while 14 percent rung up an average $300 to $350 per ticket.
- About 62 percent of respondents said they provide services for hybrid vehicles.
More than half the shops surveyed said their owners/managers and their technicians receive 17 or more hours of training annually; only 36 percent of front-office employees clocked 17 or more hours of training.