Key Insights from a Comprehensive Survey of Auto Repair Shop Owners

Insights from a comprehensive survey of auto repair shop owners, brought to you by AutoFix Auto Repair Shop Coaching. Image of a businessperson's hand touching a correct mark on a digital screen, indicating success and accuracy.

On January 30, 2023, an enlightening survey was unveiled, sponsored by AutoLeap, a leader in cloud-based automotive shop management solutions. The survey, which gathered insights from nearly 300 shop owners and managers across North America, delved into several crucial aspects of the auto repair industry:

  • Retirement plans of shop owners
  • Effective marketing practices
  • Labor rates and financial benchmarks
  • Priorities in shop management
  • Among other significant topics

The results offered a wealth of knowledge. Here are the five critical takeaways for anyone involved in the auto repair sector.

1. The Necessity of Shop Management Software

A striking 75% of the surveyed shops expressed a desire for management software that simplifies operations and boosts revenue. The preferred attributes are user-friendliness, affordability, and a comprehensive set of features. AutoLeap customers, for instance, have seen a staggering 1300% ROI within a year, highlighting the indispensable value of such software for modern shops.

2. A Call for Higher Labor Rates

The survey underscored a common underestimation within the industry: labor rates are too low. With the average hovering around $120 per hour and a scant 24% exceeding $125, there’s a clear undervaluation of professional time. Industry voices like Jeremy O’Neal of argue this leads to decreased wages and challenges in attracting skilled technicians. It’s a pressing issue that demands a reevaluation of value.

3. Addressing the Technician Shortage

A concern that 75% of participants echoed is the acute shortage of skilled technicians, with many shops facing hiring difficulties. The survey suggests a multi-faceted approach to remedy this: improving pay and benefits, enhancing the industry’s image to attract the younger generation, and ensuring a positive work environment. 

4. Preparing for an Inevitable Transition

The survey revealed that 64% of shop owners plan to retire within the next decade, with most looking to expand their businesses. This looming shift underscores the importance of succession planning. 

5. Marketing: Tailor Your Budget to Your Goals

Lastly, the survey provided insights into marketing expenditures, which varied widely among shops. While 60% spent over $2,000 annually, 17% invested less than $100. The key takeaway? Your marketing budget should align with your sales objectives. As noted by Chris Cotton from AutoFix Auto Shop Coaching, achieving a $1 million sales target might require investing $30,000 to $50,000 in marketing annually.

These insights from the AutoLeap survey paint a clear picture of the current landscape and the steps needed to thrive in the auto repair industry. Whether adopting new technology, adjusting labor rates, tackling workforce challenges, planning for the future, or strategizing marketing efforts, each aspect holds the key to surviving and flourishing in this competitive field.



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