FRANKLIN, Tenn. – April 7, 2022 – IMR Inc., the industry’s leading full-service automotive market research firm, has released its 2022 insights on the current and future challenges facing independent repair shops.
In February 2022, IMR interviewed 500 independent automotive repair shops, nationally representative by location in the U.S., to gain insights on what they believe their biggest challenges will be this year, as well as what challenges they expect to face in the future.
Biggest challenges in 2022 vs. previous years
The shops responded that the biggest challenge they expect to face this year is getting the parts they need or dealing with parts shortages (35.8%), followed by bringing customers back to the shop or providing incentives (31.8%), finding affordable parts (29.4%) and getting parts on time (27%).
When it comes to shops being concerned with finding the parts they need or dealing with parts shortages, only 8.8% of shops with one to three bays noted it as a potential issue, compared with shops that have four to seven bays (38.3%) and shops with eight or more bays (20%).
For comparison, in 2019 prior to the pandemic, independent repair shops listed their biggest challenges as finding time for hands-on technician training (42.6%), staying up-to-date with advances in diagnostics (31.6%), keeping up with advances in vehicle technology (31.1%) and finding good, knowledgeable and motivated technicians (29.2%).
In 2020, during the height of the pandemic, independent repair shops noted their biggest challenges as keeping staff and customers safe and social distancing (55%), getting customers, keeping the shop running or returning to normal hours (44%), getting parts on time (34%) and getting parts or finding suppliers with parts in stock (29.2%).
Anticipated future challenges and trends of concern
The independent repair shops surveyed this year also reported what challenges they believe will be most impactful to their business in the future.
The top industry trend of concern is increasing hybrid-electric/electric VIO (48.6%), followed by higher or increasing parts and tool costs (31.8%), finding and retaining qualified and responsible technicians (13.4%), the ability to compete with larger shops and dealerships (12.8%) and OEMs withholding diagnostic information (12.4%).
Smaller shops didn’t note increasing hybrid-electric/electric VIO (18.6%) as a future trend that would impact them as much as the need to keep up with changes in technology and diagnostics (26.5%), as well as needing to keep up with larger shops (24.5%).
Larger shops reported that increasing hybrid-electric/electric VIO was top of mind and the industry trend that would be impacting business the most. Fifty-six point four percent of shops with four to seven bays reported this as a top concern, as did 55% of shops with eight or more bays.
When IMR surveyed independent repair shops in July 2021 on this subject, only 40% of shops reported that an increase in hybrid-electric/electric VIO would affect them in the next two years.
Regardless of shop size, a top concern was higher or increasing parts and tool costs (31.8%). For shops with one to three bays, the top two future concerns were keeping up with changes in technology and diagnostics (26.5%) and the ability to keep up with larger shops and/or dealerships (24.5%).
For more information on IMR Inc., visit automotiveresearch.com. To schedule a research-related interview with IMR Inc. president Bill Thompson, contact the company. The most recent Insights from IMR Inc. can be found here.