How Much Warranty Work Is OK in an Auto Repair Shop?


Warranty work – No one likes it but it is part of every shops life. The question we get asked is “How much warranty work is ok?”

The obvious answer is none, but that is not realistic. Lets start by reiterating that NO ONE likes warranty work, your customer's don’t like it because it means there is yet another problem with their car, repair shop owners don’t like it because it means something went wrong with the original repair and that means time and money.

For one thing, warranty work means the shop has to use new parts, which means more cost, and tech time which costs more than the parts. If the parts failed then they should be under warranty from the supplier but getting them changed out is a time suck. For another, it means a customer who needs warranty work because a part or the work itself failed could be a source of bad word-of-mouth publicity.

You are going to have come backs, how you deal with them will be the deciding factor on whether you have a happy customer or not at the end of it all.

Customer First
When a client calls with an issue on work that was recently carried out at your shop it is easy to get annoyed and deny it has anything to do with you (and maybe it doesn’t). Stay calm and hear them out, if they had a transmission worked on and the transmission has now stopped working then it seems like you do have some responsibility to make it right. Get the car back to your shop, get the client into another car and tell them you will be in touch.

Make sure you keep the car owner appraised of what is going on, if you say you will call them by 5 make sure you do.

When it comes to warranty work you are fixing the clients perception if your shop as much as you are fixing the car. Do not push the work to the back of the line and hope the client never notices the extended time.

Who did the job?
The key to effective work, warranty or otherwise, is the tech who performs it. It's that person who delivers the service that your automotive repair shop depends on. Assuming you use Auto repair shop software you will know who did the work as each job is given to a tech and records are kept of who did what.

When you see the techs name, were you surprised, or did you curse quietly under your breath? Is the technician a repeat offender in making the same mistake with the same fix? Or maybe they make mistakes no matter what job you give them.

Now you know who did the original job, do you trust them to fix it? Maybe having a more experienced tech look at what went wrong is a good idea.

Auto shop software by Profitboost can also help with the problem of the technician who's a repeat offender. By tracking repair orders and jobs by each tech, you can see (and show them) who needs to take more care, who needs some training and who needs to be let go.

Was the Car Checked Over Before Delivery?
Could you have a fault somewhere else along the line from your service writer through to delivering the repaired vehicle to the customer. Do you as the business owner personally check every vehicle before it goes out to a client, does your Service Writer follow a set procedure to check repairs have been done and that the issue has been fixed.

The final test drive before calling the car owner to say it is repaired is vital. If there was a vibration, did you fix it? If the dashboard lights were on, are they now all off? Is the car as clean (or cleaner) as it was when you received it?

Do you have someone test drive them and sign off saying “Yes this is fixed”, having a service writer or senior technician put their name to a repair saying it is fixed and its all good to go makes everyone take some responsibility.

Warranty Work Happens
It just does, any repair shop owner who says they NEVER get come backs is not telling the truth to you or themselves. How often it happens is the discussion point.

If you're having difficulties with work coming back, have you looked at the whole process your auto shop follows, from when the customer walks in the door to the very end? Would that be easy for you to do, if you're not already doing it?

The best way to do that is using PIF Pro Repair Order Writing Software. Using software allows you to:-

  • Track Clients and their Vehicles
  • Track jobs – Which tech is doing them, how many hours are assigned (and how many it really takes)
  • Technician Efficiency tracking
  • Track Warranty Work
  • Profit per hour – See how much profit you are making on each job
  • Canned Jobs

Not only can you track jobs, employee performance, profitability, and take advantage of parts integration with suppliers, but the whole thing is cloud-based, which means you don't have to worry about a computer failure on your side.

Auto repair software that's available 24/7 via the Internet to your computer, tablet, smartphone and laptop means you can finally measure and manage your entire repair process with ease.

Review and Improve
As we often say, what can’t be measured can’t be managed. This is exactly why you mark jobs as warranty work and you can run a report to see how much warranty work is being done in your shop and who is the original tech who is causing the come backs.

Being able to manage the entire flow of work can do more than just fix problems. Do you talk with your team about reducing or eliminating unnecessary 'fixes' for the same issues? If you do, your overview of the repair process will give you better insight into managing those problems effectively.

Warranties Cost The Shop

Many technicians think that the repair shop owner is raking in money hand over fist, they never see all the bills that come in day in and day out. The bottom line is that you need to do all you can to mitigate that loss.

One mistake we have seen is shops that try and save money by having used parts, it may allow you to quote a bit lower than a shop who uses new parts but most used parts come with no warranty and this means you are on the hook 100% if and when the part fails.

By using our integrated parts system you can get the best prices for new parts. If you don't have access to the latest prices and fees for shipping those parts, you may be paying too much! PIF Pro has parts integration software that allows you to connect with all the major suppliers, in real time, and shop for the best price possible for your particular needs.

Stop Guessing
If you have a clear picture of your entire repair process, employee performance, parts costs and overhead, profit per hour requirements, you'll have a much better idea of how much warranty work is OK for your business (I can hear you saying that No amount or warranty work is ever OK, but how much is acceptable vs how much will put you out of business).  In fact, you'll have a roadmap to higher profitability that will include every aspect of what you do, who does it, and how much you get paid for it.

Take the time now to think about how much you could benefit from a complete view of your business, and take advantage of the shop management software that will give you that view: PIF Pro. More than just Repair Order Writing Software, it's your key to maximizing profits. 

Posted on May 28, 2018 in Auto Repair Shop Management

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