When Covid-19 restrictions began lifting earlier this year automotive shops around the country began seeing surges in revenue unlike anything they had experienced in years. Shops moved from the "it's an emergency to get people in the door" mode to "we can't get enough time in the day to get all of this work in" mode. At Lube and Latte we are getting double-digit requests daily to accept oil changes and we just can't seem to keep up. In speaking with other shop owners, we are all in the same boat. As with everything Covid, we just don't know what lies around this next corner in business.
The reason for the surge in customers is a result of a number of factors effecting the industry: cars that have sat and now need service, people that have sat who now need to get the hell away from everyone else, and factories that have ceased mainline production of new cars driving consumers to used cars that need repairs. All of these things are clogging up the tubes for shops like ours. It is tough to tell people we are three weeks out to get them in, which only serves to motivate them to see our competitors. This is not ideal for them or for us.
The best way to alleviate this frustration (because we can't add any more bays to our shop) is to be a diligent planner. Whereas before, you would wait until you had hit the mileage on your window sticker to schedule and oil change, do it a couple of hundred miles before you reach that sticker indicator. If you can plan your oil change 3 weeks in advance, you are the master of your own destiny. No more battling the masses for that coveted 8 a.m. oil change spot - it's yours! This isn't any different then getting new tires well before the first snow or getting a road-trip inspection well before you hit the highway. The planners are the winners every time!