Cleanliness should be an integral part of your business plan instead of an afterthought to it.
What's more, tire dealers and service shop operators should make workers responsible for the most-common clean up chores required at an automotive service facility.
Competition for tires, auto repairs and maintenance is downright cutthroat today. Therefore, owners and managers should seize every competitive advantage practically possible. Experience shows that a clean, professional-looking facility yields two basic but vital advantages.
First, it attracts motorists rather than repulses them.
Second, a clean, bright operation helps you meet or exceed consumers' expectations on the first visit. I think it's difficult to put a dollar value on these two factors today. For the upcoming generations of potential customers, the old auto repair image is just that — old, outdated, unwanted.
Yes, the work we do is often dirty. But over the years, I sometimes have had difficulty convincing service personnel that dirty work doesn't translate into dirty people and a dirty shop.
Sooner or later — preferably sooner — dirty automotive technicians clean up their bays and change into clean uniforms.
As sure as the sun will come up tomorrow, both technicians and their work areas will get dirty. But techs must be coached, cajoled and reminded to clean up their bays regularly.
Remember that spilled oil or coolant does more than just look sloppy. Puddles of liquids may cause inattentive coworkers to slip, fall and injure themselves.
What's more, unattended spills often get tracked outside the service department. These "spillage" tracks look slovenly and hurt the department's image.
A customer who sees the footprints may wonder if someone's going to track coolant or oil into his or her vehicle!
Discarded parts are another unsightly hazard. Coach workers to put these things in the appropriate trash barrel or recycle bin as soon as practically possible.
After all, old parts accumulating in a service bay look trashy — period. Like puddles, these things are hazards because workers may trip over them.
Allocate time for technicians to clean up in between jobs. After all, puddles and/or parts debris never get any cleaner or less hazardous as the day progresses. No, the opposite happens.
If 15-20 minutes of necessary clean up time requires you to adjust the day's schedule, then adjust it. After all, professionalism and safety are part of the job. Also, find a way to cover the time the tech spends here — unless gross negligence caused the mess.
Every repair or maintenance job doesn't cause an unsightly and/or unsafe mess. But these things do happen to the best of technicians. Regardless, coach the crew to address these things promptly. (If you happen to employ someone who can clean up a bay while a tech continues working in another bay, for instance, that's fine too.)
Wear clean uniforms
Eventually, techs get dirty at one point or another. I urge owners and managers to make extra uniforms available for all service personnel.
Surely, some techs manage to work cleaner than others do. But eventually they are all likely to need a change of clothing.
I think that the cost of additional uniforms is a solid investment in an overall more-professional image—clean versus dirty appearance.
Changing to a clean uniform ultimately may save money by eliminating the risk of spreading dirt or stains to customers' interiors.
Overall, erring on the side of cleanliness makes better business sense. It's a vital step toward meeting and/or exceeding expectations.