The alignment of the American automotive aftermarket is evolving constantly, creating opportunities for those willing to consider unconventional solutions to the changes this creates.
According to a survey of 36,000 repair shops nationwide conducted by Bolt On Technology, a digital tools and software provider for auto repair shops, and Professional Tools & Equipment News, more than half of independent auto repair shop owners are expected to retire within the next nine years.
More than half of those surveyed said they are planning to sell their business, with nearly one in three shop owners expecting to retire within five years and more than one in five within six to nine years.
More than half said they will sell their business, while a fourth say they intend to pass it on to a family member.
The survey found that 17% expect to close their business.
"If shop owners' retirement plans bear out, there could be a profound impact on how the industry services and repairs cars at a time when car owners are holding onto their vehicles for longer periods of time," Bolt On Technology said.
With that kind of turnover possible, one option might be for an independent tire dealer to consider aligning him or herself with an auto service franchise or a marketing group.
At the same time companies with auto service franchises or support programs continue to grow and evolve, as evidenced by our report in this issue.
Stories on Take 5 Oil Change's recent acquisitions; Florida-based Jiffy Lube franchisee's opening locations in the Tampa Bay and Orlando metro areas; and Valvoline Instant Oil Change's adding growth 42 locations in the first half of 2019 illustrate the point, as did our special section on retail tire support programs in our July 22 issue.
The trend is expected to continue.
Auto service franchises vary greatly. Some require a significant investment. Others require none. Most have sign-up fees.
And if you're a tire dealer who wants to capitalize on that expertise, keep in mind that more and more franchises offer tires.
Business today may be too good to think about a significant change such as this.
But with some economists predicting a recession, the time might be now for independent owners to consider the franchise route.