Charlie Colston does a nice job of laying out the big picture trends facing service centers for the next five years. Read the full piece here.
Colston makes four basic points:
1) Consolidation and dealer closures have reduced the total number of service bays in the United States.
2) There are more vehicles on the road.
3) Putting #1 and #2 together: demand for repairs has gone up; supply of repair facilities has gone down. This is a good time to be a service center owner.
4) Even with these positive macro trends, the optimal utilization of existing repair space is for customer pay maintenance work, not warranty or pure repair jobs.
As Colston notes, the difficulty in executing #4 (sell more maintenance work) is that maintenance procedures are prudent but not, strictly speaking, necessary. As a result, selling maintenance work in a down economy is not easy. It requires excellent communication and education by service advisors to consumers. One point that Colston leaves out is that selling discretionary maintenance work also depends on the extent to which the car owner trusts the service advisor.