Tech as a Tool

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Frank Scandura
Tech-savvy shop owner Frank Scandura prepares to record his podcast, just one of the many digital tools he uses to connect with customers.

Despite the unforeseen nature of 2020 and the economic hit, many auto repair shop owners have reported some of their best sales days ever; when Ratchet+Wrench sent out a survey to gauge reactions to COVID-19 in June, 92 percent had an overall positive outlook for business for the next five years. 

How, in a time of turmoil, are some shop owners thriving? A forward-thinking approach may be the answer, with a focus on technology at the root. 

“In this business, you better stay relevant or you will become irrelevant, and that goes with technology,” Steve Rozansky, owner of Friendly Auto Centers in Mesa, Ariz., says. “You have to stay current with what’s going on or you will be out of business.” 

Technology is a tool and shop owners that invested heavily in it before the pandemic hit found themselves already set up for many of the needed adaptations. Those that were not equipped were forced to either adapt or fall by the wayside. 

“I don’t think that the pandemic is a “game changer.” I hate those words. People have used them as a crutch, an excuse—I’ve used it as an opportunity, ” Steve Mancinelli, owner of Mancinelli’s Auto Repair in Denver says. “We had an opportunity after 9/11, after the financial crash, after Cash for Clunkers—you name it. This is no different than anything else. It’s just about making sure to pay attention to what customers want and need and make constant adjustments.”

It seems many shop owners have followed suit: In Ratchet+Wrench’s COVID-19 follow-up survey, 68 percent reported making changes to the processes at their shops.

From reaching customers to selling jobs to keeping staff up-to-date on training, here’s a look at how technology has helped shop owners get through the year 2020, with data from the 2020 Ratchet+Wrench Industry Survey to showcase the need for change during a time of crisis.

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