In the end, it’s actually very simple, Omar Gomez says.
As a Commercial Category Manager, Gomez knows what makes the best independent shops thrive—and one critical, yet incredibly simple, trait they all have in common.
“Our customers want to install the best part,” Gomez says. “That’s the OE or equivalent part.”
Think of it this way: When consumers take their vehicles into shops, odds are they will be skeptical, or, at the very least, lack confidence in their own automotive knowledge; they have little choice but to go with the word of the professional across the counter from them.
Trust is the foundation for all shop-consumer relationships and meeting the customer’s expectations involves using the correct parts. And that doesn’t mean that shops need to make a choice between quality or profit margins. Brands such as Bosch, MAHLE, KYB, Brembo and Duralast all offer the quality of OE without the high price tag.
“We guarantee that anything that is in the Duralast brand meets or exceeds the OE or equivalent part,” Gomez says.
In order to maintain a good reputation, build trust with customers and still turn a profit, shop owners need to make sure they use quality parts. It’s that simple.
Install Quality Parts Consistently
There are numerous product lines out there that have a specialty, but many shop owners don’t have a go-to source for all parts and products that they know they can trust. It’s important that any line installers use has an OE-quality promise on all of its parts, which will provide the confidence needed to take care of their customers. When choosing a product line, look for one with a reliable warranty and a significant reach. Duralast is one brand that provides that.
“We stand behind the brand and we want our customers to have the confidence and trust in our product that when it’s installed, it’s going to work each and every time,” Rob Bell, Merchandising Director, says.
For an independent shop, comebacks are a killer.
“There’s nothing worse for a shop than having a customer come back a few days or even hours after the repair with an issue,” Gomez says.
That’s why it’s so important that installers put in the best possible part the first time. Not doing so puts the shop’s reputation on the line and worse—the customer at risk.
For a brand like Duralast with millions of vehicles using Duralast parts, that is a vote of confidence for installers that their names and the safety of their customers are not in jeopardy.
Most customers aren’t really sure when it comes to how vehicles work, which is why they rely on shops to deliver on their promise of repairing it to like-new quality. That can only happen by installing the highest-quality parts.
If a customer drives off the lot and experiences problems right away, chances are, that customer will not be coming back to you. Keep customers coming back by delivering on your promises and install high quality parts, either OE or ones that meet, even exceed, OE expectations.
Use Parts that Meet or Exceed OE Standards
The key to ensuring performance is to put parts to the test. Every part that is installed in a vehicle should meet OE standards and should go through testing that ensures like-new performance.
Among others, Duralast parts go through heat treatment, multiple load, torture and end-of-line testing before they are given the OK. Beyond the appropriate real-life testing, the manufacturers of Duralast must also meet quality certifications and factory audits.
“The testing is individualized to each category line,” Alan Eaves, Commercial Merchandising Director. “The testing we put Duralast products through ensures consistent quality that will last a long time … the standards are set extremely high for Duralast products.”
In some cases, aftermarket parts even exceed the OE quality. For example, Eaves says that if the Duralast team encounters an OE part with a defect, they work to improve upon it.
Find the Best Value
Price is one of the biggest obstacles standing in the way of shop owners installing OE parts. The high price tag is often hard to justify, and customers are often unwilling to pay the higher price.
Price is always a tough conversation to have with customers because the installer has to build value in everything that they do to help justify cost. When shops can pass savings to their customers or help grow their bottom line with savings on parts, it’s a big deal for both their business and customer satisfaction.
“We source the best product from the right vendors to get the best price for our customers,” Bell says. “Purchasing at the volume we do, across multiple product categories, we have stronger buying power. We source the best of the best. We’re able to keep costs low and pass savings on to the professional installers.”