The Difference


Today’s dealerships face a lot of competition from independent repair facilities. Most of us perform price comparisons and have a desire to be in the neighborhood of their price point or less expensive than the independents shops.

If pricing was the only distinction that mattered, McDonald’s would be the only restaurant in business. Anyone who has visited Morton’s steakhouse for a dinner understands there is a distinct difference. It’s time we turn our culture into developing what makes the dealership different a part of our customers knowledge.


The typical quick lube uses the lowest quality oil filters and parts available on the market today. As an individual that studies differences in these parts I can assure you it is vast. If you cut apart the low-cost oil filter and look at the elements inside, all that exists is paper wrapped by a string. There is no bypass structure or metal housing that you find in the original equipment oil filter. These low-cost oil filters cost under a dollar while the original equipment might be 3 to 5 times that amount.

Many years ago, I recall a display by AC Delco that had a low-cost oil filter cut in half alongside an AC Delco showing this difference in quality. Recently, I’ve seen display items making a comeback illustrating differences in quality between low-cost aftermarket brake rotors and factory original equipment. I consider it best practice to have these items available for your advisors when they are presenting to your clients the difference.


The experience your customer has at a quick lube facility such as Walmart might include an interior vacuum while they shop around the store. If your dealership is still providing old magazines and stale coffee while sitting on torn up chairs, you might be outdone by a Walmart.

We must pay attention to the experience that we are providing our customer. Small details such as clean restrooms with hand soap available and towels to dry them are a must. Invest in providing free snacks while they wait with current magazines. Develop a kid’s zone to maximize the experience for young mothers. Consider implementing a free car wash when they visit your service Department as a way to illustrate the difference.


Always invest in your team, this will provide a level of professionalism that your clients will only experience at your dealership. Developing the talent that you already have will formulate a culture that will retain your customers for life. Be creative and open to new ways for your team to become involved in customer care. They can be a great source of ideas and wisdom, if you only listen…

Rob Gehring, President
Fixed Performance Inc.
Fixed Performance complete fixed operations coaching consulting