By Bob Atwood
Success in any business often comes down to nuts and bolts—the basics. That’s literally true for dealerships.
I’ve been in dealerships where the parts department keeps nuts and bolts out in the shop for ease of access for the technicians, but convenience can be costly. Inventory can be lost or stolen.
So keep nuts and bolts behind the parts counter so techs have to ask for what they need.
Nuts and bolts don’t seem like a big-ticket item until you have to replace them. You can’t buy just one or two. Nuts and bolts come in boxes of 25 and 50. That’s when the costs mount up.
Every little item adds up. Take wheel weights. Are you giving them away?
Wheel weights are kept in the shop at the wheel balancer. I suggest creating service op codes so that every time we balance tires, we automatically charge out so many ounces of wheel weights on that repair order. That way, we’re passing the cost on, appropriately, to the customer.
It’s the same for Freon, which is often in a 30-pound cylinder in a charging station. If the technician doesn’t tell the advisor how much Freon and PAG oil he used, that cost doesn’t get charged on the ticket. So again, create service op codes so that any time we do AC work, we automatically charge out so many pounds of Freon and so many ounces of PAG oil.
Here’s another “little” issue: cleaning costs for uniforms of service techs who are on vacation. How about demanding a discount for techs on vacation? Just tell the uniform company it’s simple arithmetic: My 20 technicians get two weeks’ vacation each. That’s 40 weeks total, 40 times your charge per week. Take that dollar total, divide it by 12, and subtract that amount from my statement every month.
Instructor Bob Atwood teaches Fixed Operations Service in week 3 of 6 in the program. Reach him at [email protected] Atwood will lead a week-long Advanced Service Management Seminar at NADA headquarters in McLean, VA Aug. 13–17. Call 800.557.6232 for information or to register for this comprehensive, action-packed program, or sign in to and register through the NADA U Store! Visit us soon to download the schedule and applications for all Academy programs.