Mining the Data

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As times change, we must change with them or be left behind. This is as true in the automotive services industry as in life. One of the best ways to stay abreast of the changes in the fast lube industry is presented annually in the National Oil & Lube News Fast Lube Survey. With average ticket totals flat lining ($71 in 2014, $69 in 2015), the need for additional sources of revenue becomes clear. Historically, we have focused on increasing car counts, but don’t forget the opportunities you have to increase additional service sales to care for your customers and your bottom line.

NOLN offers many ideas for additional customer care throughout the year. For example, when the service technician moves a vehicle into the service bay to begin service, it is simple to turn on the heater or A/C and evaluate the smell of the air that comes from the vents. If it is foul smelling, the technician can offer an on-the-spot fix for the problem. Most customers (especially women with children, elderly and smokers) will be relieved to find there is a safe, economic and quick solution. The survey tells us 99 percent of shops are already providing cabin air filter replacements, collecting an average charge of $29, with one of five customers opting for this service. It takes very little additional time to perform another service like the A/C odor removal service while the car is in the bay. This service typically sells for $50, according to NOLN. It can be used to increase total ticket sales. Even more importantly for your customers, it will remove all the mold, mildew and bacteria growing in the condenser. The A/C odor removal service can be accomplished using products designed specifically for this purpose with no additional equipment purchase, the second biggest cost of operations according to the NOLN survey, making it even more attractive.

The air quality inside of a vehicle is determined by the presence of unwanted contaminates that live in the ducting of air conditioning and heater systems. These concentrated contaminants can degrade the air quality in a vehicle causing foul-smelling, health-threatening mold and mildew deposits. Hearing the technician offer a quality solution for this problem (88 percent of customers follow technician recommendations when they choose products) at a fair or discounted price (75 percent of customers are repeat customers) will have a positive outcome for the customer and the bottom line.

By taking control of the situation and using your nose as a diagnostic tool, it becomes very easy to market interior services as a value-added service that provides customers with a safer environment and provides you with an easily marketed add-on service that can make a positive contribution to shrinking profits. Another incentive: the problem will come back in time (hot, humid climates will need the service more often), and it creates the opportunity to perform the same service at a future date (can even be a seasonal promotion) because they now know where to go to get it fixed!

PAT BURROW is the Technical Director for International Lubricants, Inc., the parent company of Lubegard branded products. He can be reached at To learn more about Lubegard products, call 800.333.LUBE or visit:

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