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How many Automotive Repair Orders Should a Service Advisor Write?

Coming up on today’s show, we’ll be talking about how many Automotive Repair Orders a service advisor writes. Additionally we’ll ask our editor, Michael, to describe different parts on a car to make a bigger point. 


I’m Chris Collins, this is Christian Lafferty and that’s what’s coming up on Service Drive Revolution.


So Christian brought up a good point the other day and we’re going to prove his point correct. 


Christian was talking about how Service Advisors talk to customers like they know about the car. 


They talk about the part, the labor, whatever it is, the customers are just like, I want the light to go off. That’s exactly what they’re saying. Turn my check engine light off.


We have an amazing crew team here, but for the most part, they don’t come from the automotive industry. We’re going to bring Michael on and we’re going to ask him different things about a car to see if he knows. 


Now he’s just a normal cool guy to hang out with. He’s edited a lot of our videos in the last couple of years. He’s done the leadership training, the Service Advisor training, and he is often around the lingo. 


Also, It’s funny when some of our employees take their cars in for service, they always feel like they need to come back and report to us. 

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I asked Michael to come over so we can do this social experiment. 


We would assume that ​​Michael probably has a better than average understanding of the business when we look at our normal customer base. 


Christian is going to mention a part on a car and then Michael will tell us what that part does and what purpose it serves.


Christian told us that these things that he’s about to mention, he’s heard personally. He said that he’s heard Service Advisors telling customers that they need this thing without further explanation. 


The first thing Christian wanted Michael to describe is a CV Boot. Michael proceeds to tell us what a CV Boot is and says, 


“I’m going to take a guess, I want to say a CV Boot is some sort of cap that goes on at the end of the CV.  The CV Boot being the long tube that’s coming out of the radiator. That’s where the CV Boot does to stop the fumes coming out.” 


The next inquiry Christian asked Michael was for him to explain what a TIPM is, Michael tells us, 


“TIPM is a bolt. It’s like a rubber bolt and it screws on the end of the engine that’s holding all the pistons together. You know, that piece where the pistons go down, it’s holding that entire compartment. The bolt itself is holding it together and this TIPM is at the very end of it; keeping everything tight.”


The last thing we wanted Michael to describe for us, what is the Knuckle? He answered by saying, 


“The knuckle is something to do with the door. It’s a piece of metal that’s in the door. That is when you open the door and pull on the thing. The knuckle opens up the door and opens it up. 


Pull the handle. It activates the knuckle. The knuckle pulls the pin out the door, unlocks it, and opens up the door.”


We have free content on a variety of topics within the automotive industry! Writing automotive repair orders is one of the many topics we cover.


There’s an article on automotive news talking about how last year’s inconvenience of COVID increased service and satisfaction numbers. 


Service Departments had higher customer satisfaction during the pandemic. 


It’s because of lower automotive Repair Orders counts, spending more time on the customer, being more accommodating, and picking up cars. Maybe our industry is stepping up in a time of need. I would say a lot of lessons to be brought out of that brings me to the question of the day.


How many automotive Repair Orders should a Service Advisor write?


I believe that we have the highest hours per automotive Repair Orders. Depending on the car line, I would say it’s anywhere between 10 and 14 for daily R.O. 


If you have a quick lube, you’re a moron and probably have your least talented advisors writing automotive Repair Orders. It’s a chase to the bottom and they don’t make enough in gross to cover their pay. 


You can’t keep them around and you have the turnover and quick lube techs. After two years 60% of it is out of control and the quick lube advisors don’t pay for themselves.


It’s a talk about systems that are broken and being reinforced as industry tribal knowledge. 


The systems and money losing opportunity. It is a money losing opportunity. 


In the current system, we like to spread the automotive Repair Orders out amongst all the Service Advisors and spend more time with each customer. Whether it’s an oil change or not, still pet the dog, get to know them, and build trust. 


Think about it is that opportunity with the oil change is usually where we lose the retention and they never come back. Let’s actually make that an experience that they enjoy when writing automotive Repair Orders. 


They feel like we care. They feel like they can trust us with their friends and not just run them in and out like cattle. It doesn’t have to take any more time, we can still do it in 30, 45 minutes and do it the right way.


 But you can’t do that if you’ve got these poor kids writing, 25 a day just stacked up and thinking that they’re just oil changes. Look at all that opportunity going through your hands, literally these cars go through the quick lube… 


  1. They’re leaking oil. 
  2. They need tires. 
  3. Their brakes are metal to metal. 


And nobody’s saying anything or doing anything on the automotive Repair Orders. 


I then asked Christian, 


“Why do you think people think Service Advisors can write too much? Why are we not focused on the experience and the end results, the average per ticket, or the quality of the experience with the customer?”


Christian responded to my question and told me that, 

“I believe in general, most Service Departments or leaders of Service Departments are thinking the same way. 


They’re equating dollars to cars and that is absolutely not how it should be. But they’re thinking the more cars they get in, the more money they’ll make. 


It’s quite the opposite, but their belief is that they have to get more traffic.”


I totally agree with Christian and told him more about automotive Repair Orders. I told him if you can’t have great satisfaction and a high average per ticket with less cars… 


You’re not going to do it with more cars, it doesn’t even make sense to me. Many people out there are not paying attention to the results that could be generated. 


Christian Lafferty comes in to further explain automotive Repair Orders. He says that the thing that the pandemic brought was the way that we split quickly. Christian says that, 


“The thing that I noticed was whether it was an oil change or an engine repair, those service centers were happy to have that customer there. 


They finally saw both types of automotive Repair Orders as equal. The customers were valued because the alternative is that the store is closed.” 


I added more into Christian’s thought about automotive Repair Orders written by Service Advisors. I talked about how the customers had an appreciation for us that they probably couldn’t have. 


The secret is to slow down your automotive Repair Order count and have a realistic expectation on the Service Drive. Don’t run all your customers through a quick lube with your least talented Technicians and least talented Service Advisors. 


I don’t care who the manufacturer is, that’s lying to you about that, it doesn’t work. You want to slow the process down and spread it out amongst the Service Advisors. 


1.You’re going to have a higher average per automotive Repair Order.

2. You’re going to have less comebacks because we’re actually fixing it while they’re not waiting for two weeks for whatever reason. 


We’re going to avoid comebacks and we’re going to build trust. As a result, customers are going to come back and our retention is going to go up, the point here is to slow it down.


If we learned anything from this pandemic we can slow it down and have a higher average per automotive Repair Order.

The best book that talks about automotive repair orders, being a service advisor, and succeeding in Fixed Ops.

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Related Blogs/Podcasts:

Top 10 List You DON’T Want Your Business to Be On

How to Calculate Hours Per RO | Repair Order (HPRO)

3 Things Service Manager KPI Is Based On




Coming up on today's show, we’ll be talking about how many automotive Repair Orders a service advisor writes. Additionally we’ll ask our editor, Michael, to describe different parts on a car to make a bigger point. 

Got a question? Call us at 1-833-3-ASK-SDR

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