• June 3, 2019 at 10:10 am #89880
    Will Burke

    Hi Everyone – 
    Just curious to how many people here provide courtesy shuttles and how many rides you provide in an average day?

    What kind of issues do you run into by providing shuttles? 
    Do you have a dedicated driver or do you just grab an idle employee to shuttle people around?

    My background is in the world of car dealerships, so standalone service centers is kind of a new world for me.
    Just curious to see what the norm is and what roadblocks and challenges everyone faces on a day to day basis. 


    June 3, 2019 at 11:04 am #89885
    Tom Ham

    Yes, however far less than we did at one time. Now less than one a day.  This is a dying service due to Uber, Lyft, etc. The cost of a vehicle, employee, time, effort, etc. can be greatly reduced with ride services. Customer acceptance is far better than we anticipated. For new shops, don’t start. For existing shops, phase it out. Unnecessary expense. 

    Tom - Shop Owner since 1978

    June 3, 2019 at 1:46 pm #89896
    Randy Lucyk


    We provide courtesy shuttles and also have 4 loaner vehicles that we do not charge for. We run 30-40 cars a day thru the store. About 50-60% of those are LOF’s and light services, with customers waiting. We have a staff of 10-12 on any given day, so we use existing staff to shuttle customers. The loaners are invaluable, IMO, as they give us the ability to say Yes much more frequently, as well as get us out of jams, when things don’t go as planned. Our loaner fleet are older customer cars, in good condition that we purchased with some major defect. On average we have $2000-$3000 invested in them plus gas and maintenance. 

    Not much in the way of issues with customer shuttle, as we are in a small town with little traffic and most shuttles a couple blocks to a couple miles. Minimal trouble with loaners. Again, small town, folks seem to respect them and are highly appreciative of having them available. Little doubt in my mind, both shuttles and loaners are a key to our success, and our ability to charge correctly for our services. 

    I know a few 3-5 million dollar a year shops, and those owners feel the same way. 

    June 3, 2019 at 3:56 pm #89902
    J. Larry Bloodworth

    Tom is correct about times are changing.  However, the rideshare companies that went public recently, will have a significant increase in fare prices.  Currently, it’s cheaper to use a rideshare company for most shops.

    Because shops are different, I would sit down and do a comprehensive cost analysis of what would be the total investment in a full-time driver & vehicle whether you go that route or not.

    Once armed with that information, simply keep track of what you’re spending for ridesharing.  If and when the costs of ridesharing goes over the cost of doing it yourself, then I would consider simply using ridesharing like Tom is doing.

    For me, every business decision should involve a cost/benefit analysis.  Even if you don’t own the shop, it will help you plead your case with the owner(s).

    June 3, 2019 at 4:21 pm #89904
    Tom Ham

    To clarify, we have all options including loaners and shuttle. The “system” is:

    1 Does customer have their own transportation? 

    2 Will an Uber work? 

    3 Will a shuttle work (maybe we want to listen to a noise symptom with them or something)? 

    4 Will a loaner work? This is mainly for the customer who needs a vehicle for more than just to and from a location. However, this is by far the minority. Most go somewhere and return when the car is done or can find a ride back easily.

    We intended to get more loaner cars but scrapped that after we started using Uber. I also understand that shops in remote locations – like Randy (I see his shop occasionally on Ice Road Truckers 😉 ) – do not have ridesharing options.

    For anyone with good Uber availability once they have used it for a few weeks they get sold pretty fast. The process of ordering the ride, the low cost and the speed that it occurs are impressive. 


    Tom - Shop Owner since 1978

    June 3, 2019 at 4:46 pm #89907
    J. Larry Bloodworth


    A little off topic, but those the type of jobs you mention didn’t pay enough for us to justify a supplying a customer a ride.

    I eventually came to the conclusion that leaks, noises, and vibration pay so little because the customer sees little value in the actual time needed to just diagnose the problem, let alone fix it.  Unlike many shops, our transmissions-only shop grew to the point to where I was afforded the opportunity of referring that type of work out to other shops willing to do it and let them deal with the hassle of trying to sell it.

    I don’t want anybody to take this as advice because it’s not.  It’s just one of several things we did when our production capabilities became maxed out.  In a nutshell, we started accepting only high-profit jobs. aka “gravy jobs’.  That’s really hard to do for most GR shops.

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