Extend Your Warranty
Those who visit Friendly Auto Centers’ website may have to do a double-take when they see the section that reads “most repairs are guaranteed for life in-house.” It’s not a typo. Steve Rozansky offers a lifetime warranty (with a few caveats) at his shop in Mesa, Arizona. There are some out there who may think he’s nuts, after all, he’s giving up revenue in the years to come. Rozansky, however, doesn’t see it that way. He sees it as gaining a customer for life, with an opportunity to see that vehicle again and again, each time getting to do a full vehicle inspection on it. And, if you’re charging what you should be in the first place, you’re really not losing out much if you have to replace an alternator down the line, Rozansky explains.
David Johnson, owner of DJ Auto in Provo, Utah, also offers an extended warranty at his shop of 5 years/50,000 miles. With the price of new vehicles skyrocketing and the average age of vehicles on the road rising, Johnson explains that the market for a quality warranty is growing and that customers will see the value in it. So, if you’re a shop owner that offers a standard warranty, you may want to revisit it—and here’s why.
It exudes confidence.
What could look better to customers than saying that you will stand behind your work for years to come? Or even for the rest of that vehicle’s lifetime, in Rozansky’s case. A lot of people say that they stand behind their work, Rozansky explains, but their actions don’t back it up. An extended warranty shows customers that your word is good and that you’re willing to back it up.
Sets you apart from your competition.
The way Johnson sees it, the freedom to set his own warranty is a way to set him apart from dealerships. The dealers in his area are roughly $130 per hour and his shop is at $165.
“We’re more expensive, but we have quality parts and a five year warranty. The dealership only gives you one year—that’s how we’re pulling customers from dealerships.”
Customers are asking for it.
There’s a huge industry for additional warranty, Johnson says.
“People are buying them because they see the value for them,” Johnson says.
People are keeping cars longer and the majority of customers are interested in long term value, meaning they want repairs to last longer. So, when the warranty comes up, Johnson says, people find a five year warranty very attractive.
Vendors will help offset the cost.
Both Johnson and Rozansky say that if you’re using quality parts, the chances of those failing within an extended warranty period is not likely.
“If they don’t fail right away they’re going to last—risk is low,” Johnson says.
Many parts vendors also offer warranties on their parts, which covers part of the cost for you. AutoZone, for example, will give you a lifetime warranty on its parts, Johnson says.
“There you go, that’s half your cost. Your vendors will help,” Johnson says.
Charge correctly and you won’t lose money.
Rozansky does charge a little more at his shop in order to cover being able to provide a lifetime warranty.
“You can charge more with a premium warranty.”
Doing this has allowed him to get the type of customer that he wants—one that sees value—and helped him make up for the fact that if he does have to do a job again, he’s not getting paid for labor.
“If you’re charging full price and you’re making a good profit margin, you should have no problem doing that job five years from now,” Rozansky says.
Rozansky says that when people complain about not getting paid for the labor, he claps back that many throw money at advertising and never see a return.
It’s just good business.
One of the biggest hang-ups that many shop owners may have is that it doesn’t make business sense to offer services for free. Both Johnson and Rosansky would argue that it actually does.
Johnson offers a lifetime warranty for batteries at his shop. In order to do this, he charges $40 more, but when he explains to the customers that the battery is the heart of the system and, if you purchase the warranty your car’s battery will always start, many jump at the chance. Those that jump at the chance will continue to come back every time they need a new battery, and most likely for any other repair needs.
With a lifetime warranty for in-house repairs, that pretty much guarantees that Rozansky’s customers will come back to his shop. That’s retaining a customer for life and when and if they do come back for a job that’s under warranty, it’s a chance to do a full vehicle inspection. So, sure, maybe you lose out on labor for one job, but you may find other work that needs to be done.