After speaking to several dealers in recent weeks, I have come to the conclusion that if your service department is not profitable, then you are doing something wrong.
Little changes in the way you schedule your service work or how you have your shop organized can save you hundreds a week and thousands a month.Â How much are you paying for your credit card machine?Â Now is a better time than ever to negotiate your swipe and keyed rates.
Every technician should be having a shop efficiency rate of 70+% for billable hours.Â If they do not, then you need to look at what they are working on.Â Do they need training to better understand todayâ€™s motors?Â Are they spending too much time waiting for product to be brought to them or spending too much time in the yard trying to find it and gaining access to it?Â If you know a technician is going to be on the docks, have a yard guy uncover the boat and get it ready for the technician to work on.
Out of date parts inventory is not doing you any good sitting on the shelves and tying up possible investment funds. Let it go and create revenue.Â Even at a loss it is better than costing you money each month while it sits on the shelves.Â Ebay can be your best friend when it comes to eliminating parts room clutter. The revenue made from selling your non-current inventory can then be re-directed into training your technicians or service personnel.
Schedule training with your engine suppliers and other vendors.Â If you do not have enough personnel at your facility, coordinate with another marina and hold the training at a neutral site.Â Now is the time to utilize their time and yours.
Take your training schedule to a new level by holding training seminars for your customers.Â This is another great way to sell products, get customers in your facility during the off season and stay in front of them and communicate with them on a regular basis.
How are you marketing and advertising your service department?Â Social media allows you to do this in an effective and relatively cheap manner.Â I am sure that your dealership has a Facebook and Twitter account, but do you have separate accounts for your parts and service departments?Â If the answer is â€œnoâ€, then you are missing out on opportunities to effectively communicate with your customers and increase your revenue.
Tell your customers about overstocked items, a new product that came in or service specials that you are having.Â Furthermore, control your weekly work flow.Â If you see that you may not have enough billable hours for the following week, communicate with your customers and tell them that there is immediate availability for service.
Finally, make sure you are able to measure everything you do.Â You want to establish a bench mark and regularly check against it.Â If you can not track it, then you need to think twice before you implement it.
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Captain Christopher Kourtakis