• August 26, 2014 at 10:40 am #64464
    August 26, 2014 at 2:33 pm #73688
    Tom Ham

    It sounds great on the surface. And it may work great long term – in San Diego – when it’s not raining – and not too windy – and you can secure a spot in the shade. 

    But, in the rust belt you might have 100 days where the weather is reasonably decent for working on cars outside, probably less. Then there is Dallas or Miami or NOLA when it’s triple digits and sunny with no shade available.
    Murphy’s Law says that the tools, parts and other resources needed are not quite as available as one might hope when out on the road, regardless of how big your truck is. A lift is a real handy thing, too. Especially for things like wheel alignments. 
    Can it be done thoroughly? Yes – by a very determined, extremely resourceful individual, those who make up less than 5% of the people in our industry. I’m with the 95% – I like it warm and dry inside when outside it is cold and wet. 
    Overall, if the weather is nice and the services are simple and straightforward, it may be a possible supplement for some service departments. A more likely route for most shops is to create an exceptional customer area where people are very comfortable for hours at a time if need be. Add to that alternate transportation options for those who need to get somewhere and the vast majority of customers are happy.
    Great question worth discussing, Ken!

    Tom - Shop Owner since 1978

    September 2, 2014 at 2:29 pm #73701

    Check out Chicago Lube . They seem to have overcome many of the obstacles of working on-site by having a mobile shop on a trailer: proper lift, full array of tools, stock of fast moving parts, sub-floor to catch dirt and liquid spills, lift up doors provide weather protection which can be easily supplemented with awnings/tents, etc. Solves many of the problems of working outside of fixed location shop and messiness of auto repair work. Not sure how they cope with eastern winter weather? Tenting and space heaters? Having worked as a technician in northern climate (5-10F) I can say that being in a fixed shop does not mean it is a warm place to work in winter…

    Most interesting is their marketing approach where they align themselves with corporate offices in a win-win arrangement. Convenient for office employees and employer cuts down on late and absent employees who must take time from work hours to get auto serviced or repaired.

    Also greatly increases efficiency of service by cutting out huge overhead expense of moving mobile shop from location to location and having an organized workplace for technician.

    In my opinion shops needed to start thinking about innovative ways to make their service truly convenient for the customer…
    Be interesting to hear from Chicago Lube’s owner.

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