The past couple weeks at the shop have seen a sharp decline in business. This week was especially slow and all of us technicians are feeling it in the pocket book! This usually happens around this time of year, before the seasons change to cold. Kids are back to school, people work and go about their regular daily lives. Auto repairs are usually put on the back burner or ignored around this time of year.
Once the colder weather hits, we will surely pick back up in business. Cars and trucks, especially in the northern states, sometimes have a hard time adapting from summer to winter and this is the time of year they will break down. Weaknesses otherwise that will get by, will give way when a cold spell hits. Dead batteries, fuel pumps going out, tire and suspension concerns all seem to act up when the weather turns. This is great for a mechanic, because the added business just means more money for us. It makes these leaner times a little bit easier to deal with, although it’s never fun!
Along with the downturn in business lately, our shop has had some network and other issues. Tools we regularly need to diagnose vehicles and program computer modules with are on the fritz. This has another dramatic affect on business, because if we can’t use these special tools, we have to turn the customer away until we get the problem solved. This just adds to the slowdown in production and frustrates us as well as the customers!
Things like this can be easily solved with some new equipment, but the hassle with management is and has always been money. Trying to get the boss to talk to the owner and get some funds approved for new equipment is just about as bad as getting teeth pulled. So, the waiting game is on. As long as we don’t have the proper tools to do our jobs, such as special programming instruments and diagnosing computers, we will have to keep sending the customer on their way. They will either wait until we can eventually help them again or go someplace else. And trust me, once you lose a customer to another dealership, they are not coming back.
The condition of the current economy is at least partly to blame for this downturn, so this is something we’ll all just have to deal with. We can only hope that better days on the way! One positive note though, at least gas prices are down!!
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