Every year retailers begin preparing for the holiday rush early, hiring temporary workers to get them through the last two months of the year when sales are the highest. If you are new to the auto repair business, you might think that you should hire additional staff as well, but before you put up a job notice or schedule interviews, ask around in your area and get an idea of what kind of traffic you can expect.
The seasonal rush for automotive repairs happens in the summer, and not at Christmas. In fact, the period between Christmas and New Year’s Day is notoriously slow for car repairs. Car dealerships may be swamped with people wanting to spend generously during the holidays, but even given the kinds of winter-related problems auto owners often suffer – like dead batteries and pothole damage – it’s still a slower time of year for auto shops. That’s because people make plans to travel much more extensively during the summer. Mechanics get business both from cautious drivers being prepared and addressing problems before they happen and drivers who overlook routine maintenance and subsequently have breakdowns during vacations.
During the holiday season customers put off repairs that can be postponed for a number of reasons. It’s a very busy time of year, and people tend to be over scheduled already. Often they make plans to be out of town visiting relatives and friends. They also are busy spending money on gifts and merry making, and those expenses soak up any money that could be spent on routine maintenance or any improvements your service writer might suggest.
For these reasons it’s worthwhile to spend some time reviewing the traffic patterns of your business from previous years and, if at all possible, traffic patterns from other auto shops in your geographic area. Not only will a careful determination of staffing needs save you money, but it could also allow you to offer your employees a more flexible schedule or better holiday benefits, which would be a win-win situation for any auto shop owner or manager.
It’s always a trick striking the right balance between servicing customer needs in a way that creates a positive experience and scheduling your staff so that money isn’t wasted. Staff turnover, changing weather, and illness can also add elements of unpredictability to the process as well. Do not make assumptions about what holiday staffing your auto shop business needs from patterns that other retail or other parts of the service sector experience. Do your research, and plan accordingly. When the new year is here and your staff has survived and thrived, you will thank yourself.