Report: Independents Top Dealerships and Franchises

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April 8, 2019—According to the Repair Shop Websites’ 2019 Repair Shop Customer Survey, which asked nearly 600 repair shop customers about their most recent shop experience, independent shops beat out dealerships and franchises.  

Compared to customers of franchises or dealerships, independent shop customers were more likely to rate their experience as excellent across every one of the five measured categories: price, service quality, trustworthiness, speed of service, and convenience. Among the five, the widest gap was in price–81% of independent shop customers rated their shop’s pricing as excellent, while only 64% of dealership customers felt the same way.

“Most independent shops don’t have as much invested in their building as dealerships, which also need to attract customers buying vehicles. All of those glass-walled offices and high ceilings you see in showrooms don’t come cheap, and the service center helps to pay for it,” said Jeremy Spivey, market research analyst for Repair Shop Websites.

Among the five categories, convenience and service quality had the least significant differences. Between 80 and 90 percent of customers at independent shops, dealerships and franchises each rated their shop as excellent in these two categories.

“Convenience can be measured in many ways. There are more independent shops than dealerships or franchises, so they’re more likely to be close to a customer’s home or business,” said Spivey. “On the other hand, they’re less likely to have late hours or be open on Sundays, which is an important factor for many customers.”

While independent shops fared best in the survey, the results are good news more generally for an industry that has been plagued with customer skepticism in the past. 

“It’s great to see that most people are happy with their repair shop’s pricing and trustworthiness,” said Spivey. “It’s a sign that service writers are doing a good job helping customers understand the value in both the maintenance services that led the customer to the shop and any additional services they are recommending.”

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