There are a lot of potential benefits to bringing wheel alignment in-house at your collision repair shop. You could significantly reduce cycle times, because you won't have to transport the vehicle to a specialty alignment shop and wait for the work to be completed on their schedule. You could bring in more profit, because you'd be able to accurately estimate more alignments and keep all the revenue instead of sharing it with a second shop. And, you could protect your reputation because your team is charge of the repair from start to finish.
So, why haven't you brought alignment in-house yet?
We've found that there are quite a few misconceptions when it comes to adding alignment services. We're going to debunk them one-by-one to show you that you're closer than you think.
Misconception #1: I can't perform alignments because I don't have a dedicated alignment bay.
Here's the good news: you don't necessarily need a dedicated alignment bay. With the right equipment, alignments can be performed right there on the frame rack or 2-post lift you already have. No need to add square footage, or make adjustments to the layout and flow of your shop. Just set up your tower-free alignment console and get to work as usual.
Misconception #2: I'll have to hire a specialized alignment technician.
Performing an alignment incorrectly can have a huge impact on the handling and safety of your customer's vehicle, so it's important to do things right. However, that doesn't mean that you have to hire a dedicated alignment tech. Today's alignment systems, while technologically sophisticated, are very user-friendly and easy to understand. With a little bit of training, any of your technicians will be equipped to do a job you'll be proud to put your name on.
Misconception #3: There's not enough space in my existing shop layout.
Once again, there's no need to add square footage or make extra room to accommodate alignment equipment. Consider a minimal, tower-free design that can work within any existing bay with no height restrictions. Alignment machines with a tower have to stay in a fixed location and are prone to transmitter interruptions - slowing down your work. With a tower-free style of alignment console, you can do alignments anywhere in the shop without signal issues.
Misconception #4: There's not enough demand to warrant adding the service.
The average customer doesn't know what repairs they need unless you tell them. Adding alignment equipment gives you the ability to test every vehicle that rolls into your shop and determine whether or not they require an alignment within a few minutes. Plus, most vehicles suffer some suspension damage in a wreck, so it's in you and your customer's best interest to double check. It doesn't just give you an opportunity to upsell, it helps keep them safe.
Misconception #5: I don't have the budget to invest in a new service.
You're not wrong. Adding alignment services is an investment, but it's one that will allow you to upsell services and bring in new revenue almost immediately. Since you don't need to make space or create a dedicated bay for alignment, the primary cost is training hours and purchasing the equipment itself. Then, you'll have the necessary tools to be more productive, generate more revenue and equip your techs with a new skill. Seems like a pretty valuable way to invest in the future of your business.
If you're currently outsourcing alignment services, consider how much time and energy it's costing your team. Is it still a worthy shortcut when you could do the same work yourselves and keep all the profit? Something to think about.