LEESBURG, Va. — Nearly 40% of U.S. automotive service facilities surveyed recently by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) reported their business held steady or even improved since the start of the pandemic.
At the same time, however, 56% of those surveyed said their business had declined since the start of the pandemic in March, with 34% saying they had reduced their business hours.
The survey shows that 19% of respondents to the ASE survey said their business had improved throughout the pandemic, while another 19% said business was unchanged; 6% replied, "Don't know." .
The ASE is basing its conclusions on 2,959 responses out of over 483,000 surveys sent out by email during August to automotive technicians, business owners and other service personnel. Of those responding, a third were associated with a car dealership, 29% with an independent repair shop, 7% with an aftermarket chain and 31% "other."
The survey found that 34% of service facilities had reduced business hours, resulting in fewer hours for technicians (34%), temporary furloughs (14%) and terminations (8%).
According to the survey, seven out of 10 shops have instituted safety measures for their employees and customers, including the use of protective equipment (70%), social-distancing measures (63%) and supplemental sanitizing measures (62%).
"During these challenging times, we wanted to learn from service professionals about how their businesses have been affected, and what ASE can do to best respond to their needs," ASE President and CEO Tim Zilke said.
The use of social media by professional service providers increased over the past several months, the ASE said, with over 42% of respondents saying they had increased their usage of social media somewhat or significantly, with Facebook and YouTube named as the top platforms utilized.