As we close out 2012, it’s time to take a few minutes and look back at how your shop performed this year.
Did your profitability go up, stay the same or go down this year?
We’re hoping it increased for you, and we are expecting better times ahead as we look into the Do It For Me (DIFM) market in 2013.
As the nation rounds out the year, we’re finding that consumer confidence is up, the unemployment rate is going down and investment markets are returning to pre-2008 levels.
Spending time at the AAPEX show in Las Vegas, the buzz on business was good and comments from manufacturers and suppliers of automotive parts and equipment were generally positive as they look toward the new year.
But how that will translate toward your customers is probably what’s weighing most on your mind.
It may be that drivers are becoming more in tune on the issue of regularly scheduled maintenance.
According to the most recent release of Northcoast Research’s Independent Automotive Repair Garage Survey, demand trends in the DIFM channel increased during August relative to the prior year. A lot of this improvement was the result of vehicle owners seeking routine service and maintenance for their cars and light trucks.
“While the performance in August marked the first time in eight months that the index finished in expansion territory in successive months, demand during the period was clearly not as strong as it was in July,” the research firm wrote in its August report.
“However, in what is starting to sound like a broken record, our contacts noted that the behavior toward routine maintenance remained a headwind to sales and traffic trends during August.”
Each month, Northcoast Research publishes the Northcoast Research Mechanic Index, based on the results of a survey of approximately 50 independent repair shops operating in the top 10 states (based on the light vehicle fleet population), plus Advance Auto Parts’, AutoZone’s and O’Reilly’s aggregate store count.
You can view reports from Northcoast Research and other industry analysis providers by visiting www.aftermarketnews.com/ThePulse/Default.aspx.
Are you, as a shop owner, optimistic on how business will be next year?
Are your customers seeing the benefit of routine maintenance, or are they only visiting your shop when their vehicle is in need of a repair?
We’d like to hear from you. Drop us a note by e-mailing me at [email protected].