The Dealership Life – Part 1: Behind The Scenes

To the average Joe bringing in their vehicle for repairs and/or maintenance, the face of the dealership can look one way, but almost always is a much different story behind the scenes. Something as simple as an oil change takes a lot of logistics to make this service seamless and as quick as possible.


That’s Logistics. A peek behind the scenes.

There’s just way too much to list, so I’ll try to keep this short and sweet.

Scheduling appointments doesn’t always work the way it’s intended, for the sake of CSI surveys (more on surveys later). For our particular store, there are three main types of appointments we take in. Rental, Drop Off and Waiter. About 80% of appointments we take in on a daily basis are Waiters. With about 99% of those Waiters being “Express Service” services, such as oil changes, tire rotations, filters, bulbs and tire repairs. Though we do take walk-in services, it sometimes creates backups in the shop where we took in more than we can chew. If we turn away customers wanting to get their vehicle serviced, it casts a gloomy shadow upon our store, even though they haven’t made an appointment. We are always willing to take in guests on a walk-in basis, though we usually quote a longer wait time than those who had an appointment scheduled.

On average, our store takes in roughly 60 cars a day, with the majority of them being done same-day with the Express Service team. For us, that’s just about 5 cars per hour on average we take in, not including walk-in guests or carry-overs from the previous days. We’re pretty much tapped out, physically including walk-ins everyday. Our shop has 11 lifts, 4 of them dedicated to Express only. We have a small shop.



For example, this is what typically happens when a guest comes in for an oil change and tire rotation service with our Express Team:

  1. Customer arrives on time for their appointment.
  2. Gets checked in, advisor advises of other recommended services.
  3. Guest receives a preliminary estimate of cost and time to completion. Guest then sits down in lounge/waiting area. (1 hour estimated wait time is set at this time)
  4. Vehicle gets washed, dried and parked behind shop while ticket goes on the Express work board.
  5. As soon as an Express technician becomes available, grabs the next ticket in line. (This step usually takes the longest, the rest of the service is actually pretty quick. Remember, other customers already came in before and are currently being worked on.)
  6. Technician grabs key off of the key board and brings vehicle into their stall.
  7. Vehicle is hoisted up in the air and a visual safety inspection is performed, performs tire rotation and inspects brakes.
  8. Technician then starts to drain oil for the oil change.
  9. If any recommended services based off the inspection is needed, ticket goes back to advisor with recommended services to be sold.
  10. Advisor then goes into lounge/waiting room to advise guest of recommended services. Guest then accepts/declines additional work.
  11. Advisor brings ticket back to technician and lets them know wether or not to do the additional recommended services.
  12. Technician either performs recommended services or finishes up the oil change by putting the drain plug back in and replacement oil filter onto engine.
  13. Vehicle then gets lowered to the ground to put oil back into engine and starts engine to build pressure. Then rechecks oil level.
  14. Technician then inputs inspection results into computer and finishes out their side of the ticket.
  15. Vehicle is then backed out of the stall and brought up front. The service is now complete.
  16. Advisor is given ticket and keys from the technician.
  17. Technician then grabs the next ticket and starts over again from step 5, while advisor bills out ticket, types in recommendations, pays the technician, applies any applicable coupons and prints the invoice and inspection report.
  18. Advisor then gets guest from lounge/waiting area (1 hour service expectation ends here) and brought up to the cashier. Services are summarized and a final bill is presented.

All 18 of these steps need to be performed within an hour, if no other additional work is sold. This is all assuming everything is working the way that it should with no surprises. While the technician is working on the vehicle, us advisors are still checking in customers, and getting other customers out whose vehicles are completed, while updating other guests of the status of their vehicles. Also working with customers that are not there by talking on the phone. Calling and answering calls. We’re not some cut-rate place. We represent the manufacturer. We need to do quality work.

Stay tuned for a post about the broken manufacturer survey system. How one thing out of our control may put our jobs in danger.

2 Comments on “The Dealership Life – Part 1: Behind The Scenes

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