4 Tricks & Treats for Saving Money in the Service Center
You’ve bought your fleet of light duty trucks; they are working great and you’re happy with the purchase decision you’ve made. Perfect! Fast forward 8,000 kms… time to service them. Now what?
You can’t have them all sitting at a “wait while we work” drive-thru oil change shop. It’s too expensive with all the add-ons and worse, if the shop is busy that day, you’re stuck waiting (most operate on a first come, first serve basis). So you go with a dealership, but maybe you have different makes of vehicles… now you’ve got to arrange appointments at several dealerships all across town? No thanks.
Many small businesses neglect to consider the operating costs and details for their fleet.
One could argue the maintenance and ownership costs have a much larger impact on your bottom line than the purchase of the vehicle itself. Researching the dealership you buy from as well as where and how you plan to maintain your vehicles can, and will, keep more money in YOUR pocket. Here are 4 tricks to finding the right service center.
TRICK #1: Pick-up & Delivery Service. Don’t pay for your employees to sit around eating donuts and reading the newspaper while your truck is in for service. This costs you money on the front and back end:
Let’s say you charge out that employee for $60/hour, that hour they are reading the weekly comics isn’t very funny (pardon the pun) to you or potential clients waiting on your services.
In many cases, staff is paid for their time regardless of how they spend it. When they aren’t contributing to your revenue it’s costly. In our business we call that unapplied time. The only people you should be paying while your vehicle is in the shop are the service people working on it!
At all LAND Automotive Group’s stores, pick-up and delivery services are available to all clients. Our team will pick up trucks from the local hotel, your shop or from the site they are working. Wherever the truck is we will get it, complete the service and get it back to you. You’ll barely know anything happened. You’ll think to yourself “wow, money well spent” (psst, no charge within distance limits, just ask!)
TREAT #2: Service Priority. This secret hero isn’t as flashy as pick-up and delivery services, but just as cost effective and beneficial. Choose a service centre that has 1 or 2 dedicated employees for fleet or commercial clients. You are a different kind of client and as such there are many reasons why it’s important.
Well trained fleet coordinators understand billing and P.O. processing for fleet companies. No run-arounds.
Communication with one, well informed person, throughout the booking, appointment and afterwards guarantees smooth and streamlined experiences.
If several vehicles are requiring work, they will do the coordinating for you. They will ensure your vehicles are coming in at the right time and in an organized way that keeps your business running with as little delay as possible.
Although this particular tip isn’t necessarily bottom-line, dollar savings… let’s consider this, how much value to you place on your time? Calling around departments, bouncing around from service advisor to service advisor and then you have to coordinate the who, how and when to drop vehicles off? The time spent adds up. It can become a nightmare in logistics and time wasted.
TRICK #3: Flexibility with all makes and models. A lot of businesses have a variety of auto brands in their fleet. Maybe a Dodge, couple of Chevs and 3 Fords. Now you have to work with three different service centers? This can be difficult and again, we come back to time consuming. There is value in finding a service partner who can help you with them all. Here’s the benefits to you:
All of your maintenance records are filed and saved at one location. The database can hold an account that lists all vehicles under that company to help for easy appointments and easy billing.
Access to OEM and Aftermarket parts for all makes of models helps keeps costs down and options open.
Also, ask about Maintenance Protection Plans. The overall cost of maintenance when purchased up front is reduced by hundreds, you can pick how long the plan is to cover the larger interval maintenances and keep your monthly vehicle costs fixed. All maintenance required for warranty and to avoid costly repairs is complete. The plan is with the vehicle VIN so any employee can take the vehicle in for servicing.
The LAND Automotive Group, Drayton Valley Ford and Lacombe Ford, offer professional service and repairs for all makes and models. Established networks and partnerships for all parts, and both stores are classified as Certified Wholesale Parts Distributors. They are also both official distributors of the new Omnicraft line of aftermarket parts. Classified the best aftermarket parts for all makes and models; backed by a 2-year unlimited warranty and the quality assurance of Ford Motor Company. These parts are OEM quality but the price is significantly lower. A great option for maintaining your fleet affordably or even stocking some supplies at your shops for DIY maintenance.
TREAT #4: Relationships matter in the long run. Answer this honestly, if you have an issue arise with a customer, do you tend to take a look at the history you have with that person? If that person shows loyalty to your team, are you more likely to go above and beyond to resolve the concern? You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours… it’s one of the foundations of business relationships, even now. When we build relationships with our clients and the unexpected happens, the process for reaching a resolution is much smoother. Establishing a true partnership and long-term relationship has benefits for both parties. Same goes for working with a dealership, when you buy, service and maintain your vehicles with the right dealer you will have people you can trust and who will be there when you need them.
Alright, let’s summarize why choosing the right service center with qualified staff and the right programs and services will SAVE YOU MONEY.
- Reduced Vehicle Down Time $$$$
- Reduced Unapplied Time for Employees $$$
- Assistance with Coordinating & Managing Service Appointments $$
- One Stop Shop for all Makes $$
- Less Hassle and Just Easier $$$$$$$
In the end, hundreds if not thousands of dollars of your operating costs can be optimized or reduced over the 4-5 years you work your vehicles. Then add on the countless hours of time saved when you have the right person, at the right dealership, taking care of managing it for you. You do what YOU DO… let our team do what WE DO and take care of your vehicles.