Obviously, the right tools and equipment are essential if a garage is to provide the very best service to its customers. With the introduction of increasingly sophisticated technology on vehicles, the repair and service market has had to keep pace whilst garage owners have also had to ensure their technicians have received the latest training.
The A-Z of running a modern garage
Our A-Z of how to run a garage series has arrived at the letter ‘K’. Our handy guide looks at a variety of aspects of operating a service and repair business and is packed with insights, tips and provides a useful benchmark for your business thereby helping you to take it to the next level.
K is for Kit
It is no longer possible to rely just on a good set of tools to be able to repair a car, the basics include a laptop and a range of software as well as diagnostic equipment. Whilst mechanics amass an extensive tool kit throughout their career, garage owners also need to ensure their premises is home to an array of equipment which needs to be fully maintained. Many garage owners will have an on-going investment programme to ensure their equipment and technology is as up-to-date as possible and some will opt to specialise in certain areas.
Inevitably, there is a wide choice of equipment on the market which in turn can cause confusion and lead to unnecessary expenditure for garage owners. We’ve put together a few basic points for you to consider when purchasing equipment.
Beware of cheap tools
The choice of diagnostic equipment is extensive which has also had an impact on price, but as with anything you buy, you need to weigh up the product and price to ensure it does everything you require. It may prove more cost effective to invest in a more expensive piece of equipment due to its wider applications whilst limited functionality could cost you more in the long run.
Varying functionality for many pieces of equipment means garage owners really need to understand the job required of a particular tool before making an investment. There have been reports in the trade of cheaper products providing a misdiagnosis which could lead to unnecessary work being undertaken and with reputation being everything; garage owners need to be careful that they are not inadvertently carrying out work on customers’ cars which could have been avoided.
In a world where we share our views on just about everything, the trade and its equipment is no exception. Make full use of the internet when considering upgrading or purchasing new tools and equipment, peer reviews are an invaluable source of information as well as product reviews in the trade press.
Do you need it?
Some mechanics are becoming specialists, particularly in the diagnostic field, and may even fulfil this role on a freelance basis to a number of local garages. Before you invest in a particular piece of equipment, it is worth weighing up the cost of calling in a specialist as and when required against the cost of buying the equipment yourself as well as undertaking any necessary training.
By forming relationships with other garages in the local area, it is possible to make use of each other’s equipment or to sub specialist jobs to trusted partners thereby placing garage owners in the position of never having to turn work away, ensuring customers receive the best expertise and boosting business for each other.
Choose your supplier wisely
Whether you are a mechanic or a garage owner looking at investing in more equipment, one of the key issues to understand before you buy is quite simply, who are you buying from and can you be confident in obtaining on-going support? Check a supplier’s track record before you purchase and the access to the manufacturer if any additional support should be required.
Some suppliers and manufacturers offer trade-ins so if you are upgrading a piece of equipment, it is worth checking to see if your old kit can be incorporated in the deal providing you with an easy disposal route as well as potentially saving money.
As an independent garage owner, you will be seeing all makes and models of a variety of ages and with vehicle reliability increasing year on year, growing numbers of older vehicles remain on the road. Keeping technicians up to speed with latest vehicle data is essential. There are several data providers, as with any other tool, do your research and read the reviews before signing up.
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