So you’re thinking about a new repair bench. You’re not alone. In fact, it’s hard not to consider a new bench with all of the design improvements that have been made to collision equipment in recent years. Your work can now take less time and be more precise, which means your shop can be a lot more productive—as long as you make the right choice.
But how do you make that choice?
That’s a good question, because today’s repair benches have as many differences as they do things in common. Generally, though, there are a few places where you should pay close attention.
Dedicated versus universal. Some benches are specifically designed for certain OEMs. The purchase price for these dedicated benches is typically less expensive than the price of a universal bench. But—and this is a big but—you’ll need to either purchase or rent the fixtures for specific models from an OEM. That can get pretty pricey in the long run. Some OEMs—usually those who make more exotic vehicles—require a dedicated bench. If you do a lot of work on higher-end work, you’ll want to research those manufacturers’ requirements.
Universal benches may require a more sizeable investment in the beginning, but as the name implies, you can repair practically any manufacturer or model without spending more money for specific parts. They also allow you to expand your shop’s possibilities by taking work that you may have had to turn down with a dedicated bench.
Return on investment. No matter what kind of repair bench you’re considering, it can be a considerable investment for most shops. That’s why you have to take ROI into consideration. You want to do as many repairs in as little time as possible in order to recoup the cost on your bench. This makes it important to evaluate your shop’s workload when evaluating the right level of investment.
Support, training and warranty. While these are three distinct things, they’re all “extras” in terms of the bench itself. But they’re important extras. Crucial, in fact. Before you make an investment, ask a lot of questions about The Big Three. What kind of support does the manufacturer offer? Do they provide training for your techs, so that your shop is as safe and productive as possible? How long is the warranty and what does it cover? Don’t be shy about grilling sales reps. A “good deal” isn’t a very good deal if any of these areas aren’t covered.
Repair time. This is pretty simple. How long does it take to make a repair? If one of the main reasons behind your purchase is for your shop to become even more productive, you’ll want to make sure that your new repair bench can live up to this task.
Footprint. This is an important consideration in any large equipment purchase, but it’s absolutely crucial when it comes to repair benches. Your techs need room to work. A bench that’s too large could slow them down quite a bit, which defeats the goal of increased productivity. Some companies offer a variety of footprints, so you can get the technology you need in the size your shop will allow.
We’re one of those companies, so be sure to check out our full line of Globaljig presented by Chief benches.