Golden Rule Auto Care

The Future of the Automotive Repair Industry

January 14, 2020

The Future of the Automotive Repair Industry

by Jan 14, 2020

First, let me state that my crystal ball is broken. But, I do know things are changing in the automotive repair industry, and the future will look very different than it does now. Cars are only getting more complex, as well as our customers, and technology is one of the main driving forces. I created an infographic a few years ago called the Shop Technology Timeline. It basically shows a progression of how a shop can and should adopt technology and leverage it in their operations. We must bite the bullet and change with the times. Our customers want to see our shops using technology to help them feel better about fixing their very complicated vehicles.

Here are things that will be a must in the future:

  • Real-time customer communication. No more keeping customers in the dark. And, NO, most don’t want phone calls and instead prefer text or email communication updates sent straight to their phones. Much like yourself, customers won’t pick up the phone even if you do call.
  • Digital Vehicle Inspections. Yes, they want pictures and videos (short videos) of what is wrong with their vehicles. Utilizing the DVI facilitates communication and builds trust and transparency.
  • Cloud-based Shop Management System (SMS) – Love them or hate them, Google has now proven you can get rid of Microsoft Office on your PC and just use Google Drive as your virtual office. Quickbooks’ online version has grown leaps and bounds and soon will be better then the desktop version. Your email is now virtually all hosted online. There isn’t a whole lot that your local computer needs to do anymore other than connect to the internet. All SMS’s will have to move to the cloud.
  • All technicians will have tablets as part of their tool boxes. The internet is a powerful place and giving a technician easy access to this information helps to reduce steps and frustration.

And, yes, cars will eventually drive themselves. There will be huge fleets of these vehicles, and people in major cities will subscribe to a TaaS (Travel as a Service) application and will not own vehicles (this is already happening).

Will the independent shop die? Maybe, to some degree, or perhaps we’ll consolidate under different flags. Maybe, we’ll become more of a franchise-type model.

So, buckle up and commence to change your shop for the better! And, check out to help guide you along the way.

Where is your shop on the technology timeline?

Shop Technology Timeline
Chris Cloutier

Chris Cloutier

Architect/President at Autoflow

The Desire for Continuous Improvement

As an auto repair shop owner of Golden Rule Auto Care, Chris Cloutier realized the need for a better way to communicate with his customers as he observed how communication gaps created bottleneck situations and wasted valuable rack time.

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Chris Cloutier