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Are child safety seat inspections worthwhile?

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I’m considering implementing child safety seat inspections at my shop. Is the effort worthwhile?

Brenda Addison, vice president of Addison Auto Center in Denver

Offering child safety seat inspections is a great way to get people in your shop for something other than collision repairs. It’s another service that you can market to attract more attention to your business. Since I offered it as a free service, it became one strategy to get involved with and give back to the community.

Technicians showed customers how to find installation information in their owner’s manuals, and illustrated how to make proper installations. They also spent time talking to customers about child safety in the vehicle. For example, they discussed how to eliminate projectiles inside the vehicle that could be harmful to children during an accident.

That was a great opportunity to get to know our customers. It allows you to connect with them on a personal level, which helps keep your shop top-of-mind. I never tracked repeat or referral business, but the shop performed 54 inspections in one year. A lot of people called about it.

There are some things to be aware of before jumping into this initiative. First, you have to get certified. That requires 40 hours of classroom and hands-on training followed by a test for each technician. The training costs $300. Technicians also have to get recertified every two years, which requires an additional fee and eight hours of training.

Second, it can take a lot of time. Some new-model car seats are difficult to fit in old-model vehicles, and sometimes you need to call a dealership to find retrofitting kits. There is also a form that must be filled out, which has to be kept on file in case your shop gets audited by the state. It takes roughly 30 to 45 minutes for each inspection.

The inspections are a good offering if you have the time and capacity. It’s very common for people to install car seats improperly, and this is one way to help them out while boosting your image.

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