By Allen Markowitz and Allan Gerber
In our roles as trainers and consultants we are constantly speaking to parts store counter professionals, repair shop owners, service writers and managers. One topic that seems to be a constant with shop owners is that of pricing parts to the vehicle owner. Very often, we are asked what the selling price of the parts should be on the final repair order.
Sounds simple doesn’t it? Use an approved labor guide, add the list price of the parts and presto, we have the customer’s price of the repair. Unfortunately, this could not be further from how things actually work. Most retail customers today are looking for a bargain or a discount. Yes, there are a good deal of shops that give a price and that’s it; but there is also a good deal of discounting going on to the end-user.
Discount parts to the owner of the vehicle, what a crazy idea. Believe it or not, we see this done all the time. This is where we, the counter professional come in!
It all starts with us, the counter professional and our product knowledge. This is why it is important to actually let the manufacturer’s reps explain and review the features of their products. Tell them to take out the marketing and sales aspects of their presentations and get to the nuts and bolts of the parts. Many of us are unaware that a hub bearing may have a plastic cage versus a metal cage to protect the ball bearings. How long do you think a piece of plastic will hold up under the heat generated by the wheel?
If we can convey knowledge of this nature to our technician customer,perhaps they will stop using the cheapest hub bearing they can find, lower their repair comeback rate and cut down the amount of unnecessary warranties at the parts store end.
Too many times we blow off the reps when they have important data and specs that we need to become familiar with. We also must read the literature left behind and learn the functional differences between the name brand, house brand and white box products. There are quality differences, even if they are made in China.
The end result of which part the repair shop sells and how they price the repair order to the owner of the vehicle starts with us, the parts professional and our product knowledge. It is our job to assist the repair shop (our customer).
How do we do this? A part is a part, or is it? Most cars today require and should use higher-quality parts. These parts last longer and will give the vehicle owner a better value for their repair dollar. Most shops we speak with actually prefer to use higher-quality parts and we, the parts professional, have to be prepared with our product knowledge to assist them in making the sale.
How does this help us, you ask? When we are able to offer, rationalize and sell greater numbers of high-quality parts (usually at a premium price) our sales numbers go up and along with them so do our gross profits.
Once your technician customer becomes comfortable with selling premium parts, sees that his customers accept their value, long life (and higher price), they will always ask for them and also trust your judgment and look for your product knowledge in the future.
This certainly should be the goal of every parts professional.
Allen Markowitz and Allan Gerber operate Auto Biz Solutions, which provides training, marketing, management and business consulting services to both the automotive jobber and independent repair shop.
For more information, go to: www.autobizsolutionsllc.com or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.