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The Best Auto Repair Shops Always Test Drive Twice


The Best Auto Repair Shops Always Test Drive Twice

by Rick White, President 180BIZ                                                                (Estimated Read Time 4 minutes)

I’ve been talking about comebacks in the last few episodes. Today I will talk to you about DRIVE. The test drive, that is.  How easy it is to avoid comebacks? One way is communication and documentation. That’s a big deal.

It's unfair to expect perfection.

But the other thing I want you to think about is this expectation of perfection. It's unfair. Is it a goal? Is it something to strive for? Absolutely, it is. We're all human beings. We make mistakes. Things are fallible, parts break, or parts are bad. Communication goes sideways. That stuff happens. All we can do is put things in place that allow us the potential of catching the issues before they leave the shop. But I don't want perfection to be the expectation. You should strive for perfection. I want you to strive for perfection and hit your best. I want you to do your best every single day.

It's all about Quality Control!

But how do you do that? It's all about quality control. So one of the easiest ways to quality control the vehicle is to drive it. Yes, to road test it. But here's the problem I see. Your techs may be test-driving the vehicle, but they're just getting in and driving it. The radio is on and they're thinking about 10 million different things. They're just going through the motions.

Drive the vehicle twice.

What you want them to do is to drive the vehicle twice. Take every vehicle that you can for a ride before you do anything to it. Why? To find any additional needed repairs that are needed so you can talk to your client about them.

The other reason is to get a baseline on how the vehicle's running. You want to know how it is acting. You want to know that right up front. When you're driving the vehicle for the second time, you know the vehicle is running, at least as well as it came in. The reality is, there are so many times when a tech will drive a car after they've fixed it, and all of a sudden they'll come back and say, “Hey, I just noticed this.” But was it doing that before? No one knows because no one drove it. That's wrong. Drive the vehicle twice.

Tech must understand the intention of the test drive.

Now, the second thing I want to talk to you about, and this is a big deal, is your techs must understand the intention of the test drive. I don't want them just to drive a vehicle. Your technicians need to feel the car.  Do you understand what I'm saying? Turn the radio off. Listen for noises and feel any vibrations.  Your techs should have a good connection to the vehicle as they drive it. Do it BEFORE any work on the vehicle. And then do it AFTER the work is done.

And you must have a great quality control process. I have some clients who have advisors and or the owner drive the vehicle afterward, as well. You need to work through this process so that you're catching things before they leave the shop. You might be looking over a new tech’s work just to make sure that everything's put back correctly. If you've had problems with a tech’s quality control, before you let the card down, have someone give it a once over and make sure that everything's right.

Clients sometimes make the final road test.

Sometimes your client will be making the final road test. There will be times when you fix a check engine light and you need to get all the monitors to run. Sometimes shops either don’t road test it for the monitors or they want the client to. That’s great. But make sure you document the fact that the client is making the final road test. Document that you ran it as best you could and the client will make the final road test. Document that if there are any issues, please let us know. Then follow up with them.

Follow-up is part of the quality control process. Follow up to be sure they're happy with the work and they're happy with the way they were treated. That’s a big deal, too.

Accountability is critical to your shop.

The last thing you need is accountability. Who is accountable for quality control? I've seen shops hire quality control officers to monitor quality in the shop.  I'm not a big fan of that because technicians all of a sudden feel like they don't have to worry about quality control since someone else is doing it. And for me, that's a big issue. You want your technicians to be aware of and control of and accountable for the quality of the work that they do.

Share this message!

If this message resonates with you, please share it. Some so many people need to hear this. Help them get it. I also wanted to mention my shop owners’ roundtable. It’s held on the 2nd Thursday of each month at 7:00 PM Eastern Time. It's an amazing time when shop owners can get together, talk about the issues of the day, and work on things. Last month we had 51 shop owners in there. We would love to have you there as well.

God bless. Stay safe, have some fun, and go make some money.

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