WESTMONT, Ill. — When it comes to investing in their shops, most general auto repair business owners put tools and equipment at the top the list of capital expenditures, according to IMR Inc. research.
Ironically, it is the cost of tools and equipment, especially those needed to service newer vehicles, that tops the list of perceived threats to those businesses.
"In June, we asked general automotive repair shops about current and future threats to their business," IMR said.
"Of the six current/future threats asked about, the cost of tools and equipment required to service late-model vehicles and advanced technology on newer vehicles nearly tied for the highest threats to general repair shops overall.
"However, as the size of the shop increases, the threat of the cost of tools/equipment decreases. For shops with four to six bays and 11-plus bays, advanced technology on newer vehicles is actually the No. 1 threat."
Each month, IMR surveys about 500 general repair shops on various topics.
In a recent survey about business investment, about 88 percent said they are making investments to be competitive, including 81 percent of one- to three-bay shops, 90 percent of four- to seven-bay shops and 92 percent of shops with eight or more bays.
While tools and equipment topped the list of what the shops were investing in, diagnostic equipment was a close second. A distance third was training, followed by customer retention and shop management systems.
The investment in tools and equipment may be a way to address concerns about servicing the new technology incorporated in newer vehicles, especially hybrids and electric vehicles.
"They don't have the equipment to be able to service some of the newer technology that is coming out in these types of vehicles, and they are starting to see them more and more," noted Bill Thompson, IMR owner and president.