Pros and Cons of Keeping Your Service Department Open 7 Days a Week

Much of what we accomplish in life is determined by what we think is possible. If we think something is possible then we feel we have a fighting chance to make it happen. Nobody is surprised when success finally overtakes them, because it didn’t happen by accident.

Two Views on What is Possible with a Service Operation

Ask any group of service managers what they think about staying open seven days a week and half of them will say it is a terrible idea. They will list all the problems it would cause and all the reasons it won’t work.

The other half of them would say it’s a great idea. They would tell you about all its benefits and the great competitive advantage it would give their dealership.

The Cons – The Problems

Those opposed to the idea would say employee scheduling would be a problem. Instead of getting people to show up for work 5 and ½ days every week, you’d have to get people to show up seven days. That means more personnel problems, right?

Plus, you would need parts support seven days, and extra general service people. The GS people, drivers and attendants are hourly, not commissioned, so your payroll expense would grow.

Don’t forget billable hours. Why spend seven days to do the work you now handle in 5 and ½ days. Any extra increase in billable hours would be eaten up by the extra personnel expense. And I would agree – all those are valid problems that would have to be solved.

But what is good for managers is not good for their employees and customers. Market conditions have changed. Consumers no longer are willing to tolerate doing business on restrictive terms, like a 5 and ½ day week. They will find a progressive business that is more flexible and easier to deal with.

Do You Remember the Term ‘Bankers Hours?’

Bank lobbies used to be open only from 10 am to 2 pm, Monday through Friday. It was that way for decades. That’s where the term ‘bankers’ hours’ comes from. Banks forced consumers to do business on the banks’ terms, which were very restrictive, to say the least.

Then somebody realized they could take business away from competitor banks by staying open later, and by opening on Saturdays. They were right. They gained a competitive advantage by becoming more consumer-friendly. Those banks found solutions to their personnel and security problems, attracted more customers, and the extra profits outweighed the extra costs.

The Pros – The Benefits to Gain

With a seven-day week, employee problems could actually lessen. Some people would rather work on weekends and have time off during the week to accommodate their family obligations. How much happier your people would be to show up for work if they had some control over their days and hours.

Billable hours should definitely rise over time. That’s the biggest benefit. As you advertise your new hours you would expect to attract more customers away from other dealers, independents and chains.

Just think how nice it would be for your service advisors too. With the workload spread out, they might have time to do a walk-around car inspection with each customer. Average ticket size should grow from that.


Just as banks gained significant market share by staying open for extended hours, your service department also has a lot to gain by following suit. The obstacles are not unsolvable or impossible.

Bud Scannavino
Bud Scannavino
Bud learned the trade of automotive mechanics after high school, earned the A.S.E. credentials CMAT with L-1, and owned a repair shop. Bud eventually changed careers, earning an MBA from Yale. For a day job, Bud’s career is in financial services. As a freelance writer and advertising consultant, he writes automotive articles, blogs and advertisements. His clients enjoy his explanations of complex technical, management and marketing issues in easy to understand language, along with a touch of wit and humor.

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