The Auto Repair Business: What Trends You Need to Know

As an auto repair professional, you likely have no shortage of work to do.

Whether you work as a freelance mechanic or run your own auto repair shop, you may find it tough to keep up with auto repairs, customer communications and invoicing.

Thankfully, the auto repair industry continues to trend upward each and every year. According to a report by Ibis world, the auto repair industry has grown 2.5% each year over the past five years. If you do not think that sounds like much, do the math: the auto repair industry has grown 12.5%, in total, over the last five years.

Luckily for you, this means a good chance of solid job security. The same Ibis report, however, showed a total of 271,068 auto repair businesses in the industry this year. What does that mean for you? Tough competition.

Keep these auto repair industry trends top of mind as you move your freelance or repair shop business to the next level.

Disposable Income

The amount of disposable income per household – or income remaining after taxes and bills, to spend as one wishes – hit a U.S. record high in August of 2019. This is good news for the auto repair industry.

With more disposable income, consumers can afford to spend more money on auto repairs and maintenance versus feeling the need to complete the work themselves.

Vehicle Lifespans

As engineering practices and vehicle technology improves, the average lifespan of a vehicle is also improving. Consumers are now able to keep vehicles longer, and they expect to. Now more than ever, people want to receive the full value of their vehicle purchase before moving on to another vehicle.

To successfully keep a vehicle in good shape for the long run, routine maintenance and repair is a necessity. Although consumers work hard to extend the lives of their vehicles, do not mistake that behavior for being cheap. Car owners are now 2 times more likely to be content spending $1,000 or more on repairs and are more likely to say ‘yes’ to routine services such as replacing air filters, oil changes, new spark plugs, and the use of premium oil.

Keep in mind: as engineering and manufacturing practices for vehicles improve, the need for frequent, expensive vehicle repairs decreases.

Consider offering specials on routine service changes or maintenance memberships to use this trend to your advantage.

Auto Dealerships

For auto repair professionals, the good news keeps coming. Auto repair services are slowly shifting away from auto dealerships, with most aftermarket auto repair services happening at auto repair shops or by freelance auto repair professionals. According to Spectrio, 75% of aftermarket auto repairs are performed by independent repairs shops, with only 25% at the dealership. Auto repair franchises are gaining more and more of the market, so make sure you understand why consumers are starting to choose one location over another.

Auto dealerships offer benefits such as warranties, clean environments, and the knowledge of your vehicle’s full history. When people visit a third-party auto repair shop, they likely want or need a more complex repair service. Due to this, most consumers choose local repair shops based on customer reviews, recommendations, quality repair offerings, and great customer service – somewhere they and their money feel valued.

This trend speaks volumes on how important it is to focus your time on making sure customers receive the best auto repair service experience possible. Competition is tough, and consumers are using business reviews and personal recommendations now more than ever. Make sure you have the software and ability to provide a great experience from start to finish – including timely responses, accurate quotes, invoices, and payment processes.

Mobile Platforms

Speaking of software, vehicle owners in need of repairs now expect every experience to be automated, efficient, and mobile-friendly. Online shopping has increased 14.2% since 2017, and there is no doubt a large driver of that increase is the convenience and ease of mobile-friendly options.

Mobile options allow customers to find auto repair services, communicate with auto repair professionals, and receive pricing and invoice information in one online application. The automotive industry is also going mobile to improve their own productivity and efficiency. Why sort through paper forms for information when you could use a mobile platform to find all information in seconds? Going mobile is a win-win for auto repair professionals and customers alike.

The future of the automotive repair industry is bright. People want their vehicles to last longer, and they are willing to spend their money to make it happen.

Staying up-to-date with market trends is important for any business, and the current trends in the auto repair industry provide obvious advantages to auto repair professionals. As your first step, market and offer services to meet the needs of your customers. Next, provide that experience digitally to enhance customer satisfaction, efficiency, and productivity. The answer is in the data – look at these trends as opportunities to grow and succeed in the auto repair industry.