Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Auto Repair Shops feel 2013 has started as a “Slump”

Almost 100% of the Auto Repair shops surveyed in central and western Nova Scotia, say business is way down and wonder what’s next, according to research from Scotia Auto Glass

The study also revealed 49% of fleet managers postponed or considered postponing fleet maintenance this year because of uncertainty and last year’s mild winter weather. Only 1 in 5 fleet companies increase their vehicle checks during periods of bad weather.

“First I thought it was something wrong with my business but when the auto parts supplier delivery guy is complaining about being “slow” and might be laid off, I had nervous sigh of relief” and “Customers are clutching their wallets and putting service off until the last minute” says a shop owner who requested to be anonymous  

In 2008 coupled the surge of higher fuel prices auto repair shops experienced some growth sighting that car owner could not afford to buy new and choose to repair their car.  By 2011 just two years ago when the safety inspections came due, this was the beginning of the first two year inspection cycle, consumers were forced to repair or replace.  Auto Repair shops experienced growth during that year and expected the same this year.  Many shops have laid guys off until the spring in hopes of the business returning.  New employment insurance rules has everyone scared on what to do next.  Employees need a stable environment to work and feel secure about the next paycheck, while employers need the skilled labour in the near future.

Garage shop owners search for meaning and economic reasons for the “Slump.” RBC Economics report, although American, talks about U.S. new home sales dip in February while consumer confidence plunged in March!  RBC economics Nova Scotia report says employment is up .06% in 2012 and that major Nova Scotia projects like shipbuilding, are not set to occur during 2013.  Further losses of 2,300 jobs in the public sector will keep employment rates at about the same as 2012.

Automotive Glass Shops are equally influenced by market conditions and fall into the same category.  61% of those asked said that they would have any rock chips inspected and or repaired before the next cold snap, however 76.1% of car owners and fleet managers admit they have been putting it off.  

Of the windshields replaced in the first quarter of 2013, 52% ignore their own safety and wait to have the cracked windshield replaced at the time of inspection.  “As we all know, it is the responsibility of both the driver and fleet managers to make sure all vehicles are ready and safe for Nova Scotia driving.” Said Ron Tibert, manager at Scotia Auto Glass

Auto Repair Shop owners feel the market will return during late spring, but just need to hold on until then.

Scotia Auto Glass tips for preparing for Spring
  1. If you have a windshield chip, always warm up the cold glass slowly.  Ideally, get it repaired.
  2. Replace windshield wipers. We had a harsh winter and the blades get chipped and torn plus they can cause smearing and reduce visibility.
  3. Make sure you check your vehicle regularly. Cleaning headlamps, keeping the battery in good condition, checking tires and their tread.
  4. Consider a windshield coating protection like AquaShield to help visibility
  5. Keep an essential breakdown kit in your trunk, with high-visibility clothing, a flashlight, first-aid etc.
Economic Marketing Report
Scotia Auto Glass


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