We often think of the last several years as the real revolution in automotive technology, but the truth is that manufacturers have been embedding complicated modules, miles of wiring and smart technology into vehicles for over a decade. It can be difficult to imagine what the contemporary shop needs now to stay ahead of the technological tide, but the only option is to keep up or watch your revenues be swept away.
“There are times when I’m working on a 2020 A7 or an ‘04 Silverado, so the broad spectrum of repairs necessitated something,” says Nate Yonkers, owner of an ABRA shop in Holland, Mich. “I knew scans were becoming more prevalent and something shops need to jump on.”
After 13 years as a shop owner, Yonkers understood it was time to equip his team with the tools and know-how to scan every vehicle that comes into his shop—not just the new ones. Like many shop owners, however, Yonkers wasn’t prepared to go all-in on a four-figure piece of scanning equipment and software suite specific to just one manufacturer; his shop is too busy, his clientele too varied to rely upon a one-trick pony. He discovered the CarMD PRO SCAN inspection tool is an affordable solution that works on any vehicle and can be used by anyone in the shop with any skill level to uncover hidden problems not easily seen with a visual inspection.
“I wasn’t ready to make the investment into a standalone scan tool that I’d have to keep updated, etc. The CarMD platform works great for us because we don’t worry about the updates or anything; we simply connect to their servers and away we go.”
If it sounds as easy as that, it’s because it is.
Small Investment, Big Returns
Yonkers used to employ a subcontractor for all his pre- and post-repair scanning needs. The timing and cost made sense, he says, but that’s only because he wasn’t aware that the money put in the contractors’ pockets could very well have been turned around and deposited into his own. Yonkers’ operation is a poster shop for many independent operators; at about 5,000 square feet with seven employees and around $1.3 million in average revenue, any strategy or tool that helps increase average repair orders (AROs)—and simply keep the lights on in the new year—is something worth considering.
Yonkers estimates that he uses the CarMD scanner on roughly 80% of his shop’s repairs. “I’m a small enough shop that I want my finger on that pulse,” he says, “and we average about 60 cars per month; if 40 or 45 get scanned at $75 apiece, that’s about $3,000 extra revenue per month I wasn’t billing out prior.”
From there, the math is easy. Three thousand extra bucks a month grosses out to about $36,000 extra bucks per year. “And I didn’t even start charging for scans until I had this tool!” he says. And that doesn’t even factor in all the extra needed work CarMD PRO SCAN can identify. Early adopters found 80% of vehicles needed some type of work done and uncovered on average six hidden problems per vehicle not identifiable with a visual inspection.
“Think about it—a $1,200 investment to net more than $30,000 per year.”
The math—like the car data gleaned from CarMD PRO SCAN—doesn’t lie. Yonkers says the CarMD software integrates well with his CMS, better than he could ever have imagined.
“It’s really simple,” he says, “and I don’t consider myself tech-savvy, but I can work through most technology problems. CarMD is a real simple program and device and easy to learn to use. It gives me enough information so that I feel confident with what it’s doing.”
Yonkers even recommends it to other shops when the topic arises. He says the old adage that a rising tide lifts all ships applies, even if the tide’s currents are measured in ampules.
“I could see this working for any shop—you don’t need any education to actually use the tool. You don’t even need automotive experience. You simply plug it into the car, log into your iPhone or iPad, and it tells you what to do.”
“I have not had a vehicle that it couldn’t scan,” he adds, “and we see late-model Mercedes, BMW, Audi, VW, all the domestics—I’ve never had a vehicle in our shop that it cannot perform on.”
Looking ahead, Yonkers says the next steps for his shop are I-CAR gold certifications and more OE certifications for his team. As far as scanning technology goes, though? He’s got that covered.
To learn more about how CarMD PRO SCAN can help increase your ARO and annual revenue, click here.