The outlook for independent workshops

ACA Research recently completed a survey of independent automotive workshops for the AAAA, exploring their outlook on the sector, the challenges they face within their business, and their plans for the future.
Within the survey, the following two questions were asked to gauge business performance:
1. Would you say that the average number of vehicles you service per month has increased, decreased or stayed the same, compared to the previous 12 months?
2. Looking ahead 12 months, would you say that the average number of vehicles you service per month will increase, decrease or stay the same?
As you’d have heard if you attended Steve Nuttall and Ben Selwyn’s session in the Supply Chain stream at Autocare 2018, these questions are important, because when we compare previous growth and expected growth, three types of workshop emerge:

Making up one in three independent workshops, leaders do tend to be larger (more service bays, more staff, higher turnover), but they are also more actively promoting their business, attributing their growth to their marketing efforts, and the power of positive customer word of mouth.
Three key points about leaders:
1. Over the last five years, leaders have seen a trend towards servicing younger vehicles.

2. Looking ahead, leaders expect to be servicing more vehicles under a manufacturer’s warranty.

3. Leaders are specialists in a wider range of vehicles, and are more confident than other segments when dealing with Euro brands and Hybrid/Electric vehicles.

AAAA members will see more of these results shared in the quarterly dashboard, but for now we’d like to leave you with these questions:
1. If you’re honest about your historic and expected business results, which of these groups does your business fall into?
2. If that’s Business As Usual, or At Risk, what are you doing to secure the future of your business?
3. How are you using data to support that process, and help you make better decisions?

This column was prepared for AAA Magazine by ACA Research, our partners in the AAAA Aftermarket Dashboard, which is delivered to your inbox each quarter.

For more information, visit www.acaresearch.com.au or contact Ben Selwyn on bselwyn@acaresearch.com.au