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Why Are You Still Charging Diagnostic Fees?

Why Are You Still Charging Diagnostic Fees?

Staying Competitive in the Service Drive

By David Lewis

With the growing number of secondary repair shops competing for dealership customers these days it is hard to understand why so many service departments are still charging diagnostic fees.  Today’s informed and Internet savvy customers have learned the art of ‘shopping around’ and, though they have every right to do so, it makes little sense to equip them with the information that could ultimately cause many of them to go elsewhere.  Sometimes all it takes to do that is to charge diagnostic fees.

If You Don’t Know the Problem, Why Quote the Cost?

Here is the problem with this.  When people call in looking for estimates on fixing their vehicle it is not uncommon to get a price quote or a response like: “We charge $99 per hour for a diagnostic”.  What the person starts doing at that point is adding up how long they think it might take by the amount of the hourly charge. They could then deduce that if the diagnostic took three hours and the repair ended up being $700 they would have spent $1,000 on getting the repair done.  Armed with that information they can start shopping around and calling other shops asking how much they would charge for a diagnostic or how much for this or that service.  They would almost certainly find someone else who would offer a free diagnostic and/or a lower repair price in the process.

Consider this analogy:  If I were to come to your dealership and, for a cost of $2,000 offer to send you 100 customers who would come to your Service Department with known mechanical failures or repair needs and all you have to do is sell them a repair service, would you give me the $2,000?  I am certain your answer to this would be a definite Yes, as you would welcome all of those opportunities.

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