NEW ORLEANS — There are new opportunities for repair shop owners to build their business. And while Mark Quarto with Automotive Research and Design reiterates he’s more versed in the technology than the business side of things, using the technology can bring in more business.
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In his afternoon presentation in Chris “Chubby” Fredericks’ Mechanical Management Symposium at ASRW, Quarto focused on ways to utilize the growing number of hybrids on today’s roads.
“I think there are all kinds (of opportunities) for you,” he told shop owners in attendance. One opportunity is on the heavy-duty side, as trucks and buses are heading in the hybrid direction.
There are several new systems to “reinvent” revenue streams, he notes, including out of warranty owners, in-warranty owners, fleet customers, used car sales organizations (i.e. telling them if a trade-in is functional), salvage operations/secondary parts market, sub-contracting from OEM dealers, providing “second opinion” analysis/diagnosis service and co-op agreements with other non-dealer service companies.
The growing number of hybrid vehicles backs that reinvention of revenue. Quarto notes that HEV models have increased from two to 57 in the past 10 years, and that will at least double again in the next five years.
“There are tremendous opportunities for you. You’re going to have to get yourself up to speed, you’re going to have to do it anyway,” he states.
The time is now to learn how to service these vehicles. He compared hybrid training to the well-known stages of grief, and adds that it takes between three and five years to really learn how to service these vehicles.
Traditional automotive skills won’t cut it, and there is a long learning curve, he summarizes. But he cautions that while you must get training, be careful where you get the training, as trainers in this area have not yet gone through any scrutiny as the traditional training has.
“This is good news for you, because the dealers aren’t doing it,” Quarto says, addng they often will wholesale replace batteries, while you can work on them. “If you can’t cycle a battery for a customer and after labor make at least $1,000 on it, there’s a problem”
He added on a follow-up question that it takes about 11 hours to cycle a typical battery pack, of which the technician is on it for about an hour and a half.
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