Why implementing a Preventative Maintenance Program is the right choice for your dealership
Keeping their trucks on the road is your customers’ livelihood and their number one priority. If a truck isn’t working due to a mechanical breakdown, the downtime is costing your customer in both lost productivity and unexpected repair costs, or worse – vehicle replacement. In fact, out-of-service vehicles cost fleets $850-$1,000 per day, according to industry estimates¹. That does not include the cost of the repair itself.
As an OEM dealer, offering a preventative maintenance program as a value-added service can be a profitable way to partner with your customers to help keep their vehicles operating at peak performance, while enabling your business to:
- increase foot traffic,
- increase service revenue and repeat sales,
- improve customer satisfaction, and
- build brand and customer loyalty
Preventative Maintenance Program Basics
Preventative maintenance is the key to keeping heavy duty vehicles up and running with as little downtime as possible. Through a preventative maintenance program, vehicles are inspected, repaired, and maintained at specific intervals.
Typically, preventative maintenance includes inspecting and replacing fluids and parts that are designed to wear out, such as engine oil and filter. It also includes performing safety inspections and maintenance of key components, such as brakes, lights, trailer, tires, transmission, and drivetrain.
Different services may be performed depending on the service interval. Heavy duty trucks typically have a preventative maintenance inspection every 10,000 miles.
Without routine preventative maintenance, trucks can break down without warning, leaving the company or individual with no way to get their product to market in time.
How can your dealership successfully implement a preventative maintenance program?
Maybe you have considered implementing a preventative maintenance program but thought that it would be too expensive or time-consuming or just didn’t know where to begin. Shell is here to help with some guidance on how to successfully implement a preventative maintenance program.
Be Proactive Not Reactive
Preventative maintenance not only ensures that vehicles are properly maintained with routine services but also allows for potential problems to be identified and addressed early – before they result in breakdown. Using this time to inspect and identify other potential problems or needed higher-cost repairs is good for your customers and your business.
For example, perhaps your service department discovers during a routine oil change that a vehicle’s brakes need to be replaced. Making the needed repair during the routine service appointment – or scheduling it for a later date – generates additional revenue for your dealership, saves your customer time, and prevents a potentially devastating and costly breakdown, tow, and downtime in the future.
The ROI of Building a Preventative Maintenance Program
Your dealership likely employs highly skilled, certified, and well-paid technicians. While you could use them to perform maintenance services in addition to higher-dollar repairs, you may not achieve your desired ROI results because higher labor costs for preventative maintenance services may be passed on to customers, which could drive them to third-party providers for those services.
Instead, better ROI results could be gained by hiring lower-level or less experienced technicians to perform preventative maintenance tasks. Using lower-level technicians can increase your preventative maintenance ROI, provide an opportunity to recruit and train new technicians from local technical and trade schools, and provide them with a career path opportunity.
Though not required, having a dedicated work bay for preventative maintenance would help speed the process for customers receiving a preventative maintenance service. Hiring lower-level technicians and designating a bay as the primary area for preventative maintenance will give an ROI advantage of improving customer satisfaction and building customer loyalty.
As the adage says, it is cheaper to retain an existing customer than to acquire a new one. In fact, according to Forbes, increasing customer retention rates by just 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%.²
Your customers’ trucks represent a significant capital investment and serve as their livelihood. Therefore, when your customers know they can count on your business to keep their trucks maintained and running at peak performance, they are more likely to come to you when the inevitable occurs and a larger repair is needed – instead of another repair shop.
Customize and Optimize a Complimentary Maintenance Program
While common for automobile OEMs, complimentary maintenance programs are less common for heavy duty OEMs. However, you shouldn’t let that stop you from maximizing this revenue-generating potential. By developing a bespoke program that is owned and branded by your dealership, you can have better control over increasing your customer retention and service revenue.
You should work with your sales teams to develop preventative maintenance programs at the time of sale or lease. This will help support your efforts to increase traffic, revenue, customer satisfaction, and sales.
A dealer-owned complimentary maintenance program gives your dealership the opportunity to customize your service offerings, set maintenance intervals, and dictate terms of service.
Moreover, complimentary maintenance means your customers are more likely to bring their vehicles in for regular service, affording you the opportunity to build trust, thus leading to the opportunity to upsell other needed repairs.
Capitalize on Warranty Work
Performing warranty work is a trusted revenue-generating path for OEM dealers. However, dealerships often experience difficulties with maximizing this revenue stream. Customers often let their warranties expire without using them and then turn to third-party servicers for their service and maintenance needs.
When you implement a preventative maintenance program, you will have regular opportunities to check your customers’ vehicles for factory recalls and inspect them for needed repairs that are covered by the manufacturer’s warranty.
Additionally, your customers will know that they can count on you to perform any warranty-covered repairs that are discovered.
Be a True Partner to your Customers
Implementing a preventative maintenance program gives your business the opportunity to partner with your customers beyond the sale to help ensure that their vehicle operates at peak performance for the life of the vehicle.
As your full-service lubricant partner, Shell offers a full range of superior quality products, services, technical expertise, and training to help you be a partner to your customers.
HAVE MORE QUESTIONS ABOUT HOW TO IMPLEMENT A PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE PROGRAM TO HELP GROW YOUR BUSINESS? LET’S CHAT.
Reduce downtime and achieve more go-time, with detailed equipment-based insights from Shell industry experts.