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Vendors you should have in place to support the service department

With the right people on speed dial, problems can be solved swiftly.

A service department can run like a well-oiled machine. Technicians diagnose concerns, order parts, install them, and send the customer on their way with a repaired vehicle. However, a few situations come up in every shop that can grind a repair order to a halt.  It can be parts shortages, a staff error, or an infrastructure issue, and it takes hours of frustratingly tedious attention that not only takes away from satisfying customers, but it costs your department potential revenue. It can even hit the bottom line. 

With the right people on speed dial, problems can be solved swiftly. Outside vendors can be a lifesaver and they’re just a phone call away. These four vendors should be programmed into the service manager’s and service advisors’ cell phones to deal with issues fast.

More: The simple idea for more service appointments

1. Upholstery repair

A mechanic just sat in a customer’s car but forgot to take their mini screwdriver out of their back pocket. Now there’s a small puncture in the side bolster on the seat and it could cost several hundred to replace and weeks to receive. Or, it could be a warrantable issue and the customer doesn’t want to chance having wrinkles on the seat surface. 

An upholstery repair can sometimes be done same-day, and often with next to no notice. Vendors like Fibrenew are nationwide and can make cuts and scrapes disappear. In some situations, the sublet repair can be claimed for warranty, assuming it was a warrantable concern initially. 

2. Overhead door repairs

Every shop seems to have one overhead door that breaks constantly. A tech runs into it or the opener quits, or it comes off the track. And usually, it’s in a key location like the shop entrance or the service drive. 

Establishing a relationship with one overhead door repair and installation company can be a time-saver. When the company can count on your continued loyalty, you’ll find they move mountains to attend your calls. Make sure you let them know you’re looking to them first for all your overhead door needs.

collision center3. Paintless dent repair

Shops that have a collision repair center may also have a paintless dent repair tech on hand, but a vendor is often even faster. That’s important since it’s usually a time crunch when you need their help. A valet let the wind take a door and it dinged a customer’s Cadillac or the tech lost his grip on a ratchet and marked a fender. 

A quick PDR repair can convert what would’ve been a heated customer to a non-issue for a small cost. Like the overhead door guy, have a certain PDR tech that you lean on every time. If they drive by after a hailstorm and see some other PDR guy on the lot, you’ll have a different type of storm to deal with the next time you need a fast fix.

4. Rim repair

Again, curb rash happens at the worst of times and to the best people. Unless there are chunks missing, a local wheel shop can usually perform a rim repair to make it good as new. It will take a day or two to complete, though. Even some of the most common rims today can be a dealer cost of around $1,000, so replacement isn’t a feasible option unless the damage isn’t repairable. 

Keep in mind that rim repairs aren’t just for big oops in the service department. They’re a great solution for damaged rims on cars coming through for reconditioning, saving the used car department big money, or turning an otherwise wholesaled unit into one that turns a profit. 

What other vendors should be on a service department’s speed dial? Let us know what you think.

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