Study: Women Quoted Higher Prices On Repairs
When it comes to auto repairs, women who don’t appear knowledgeable about cost may end up paying more than men, according to a new study by the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. However, gender differences disappear when customers mention an expected price for the repair.
The study, “Repairing the Damage: The Effect of Price Expectations on Auto Repair Price Quotes,” was conducted by Kellogg professors Meghan Busse and Florian Zettelmeyer and Northwestern University Ph.D. student Ayelet Israeli in collaboration with AutoMD.com, an online auto repair information site.
The researchers set up field experiments to test the effects of men and women calling shops to ask for quotes on a 2003 Toyota Camry radiator replacement. The callers either appeared well informed of the market price ($365, according to researchers); misinformed with expectations of a higher-than-average price ($510); or completely uninformed, with no price expectation.
Among those who appeared uninformed, women fared worse and were consistently quoted higher prices. Women who called and expressed knowledge of the market price received quotes in line with that expectation. Men, on the other hand, were quoted the same price whether they said, “I have no idea what this costs” or “I know the average cost is $365.”
Both men and women were quoted significantly higher-than-average prices when they said their expected price was $510.
“This comes down to stereotypes and assumptions,” said Busse, associate professor of management and strategy at the Kellogg School. “Our findings suggest that auto shops may assume men know the market price for a given repair, so they automatically grant it. However, they may not expect women to be knowledgeable in this area, so the perception is they can charge them more.”
When it came to negotiating for a lower price, many shops were unwilling to budge. However, when they did, it was more likely to happen for women than men. In fact, 35 percent of women were able to get their requested price met, compared to 25 percent of men.
“It’s kind of an ironic twist,” Zettelmeyer said. “The same kind of cultural expectations that cause repair shops to overcharge women are probably also responsible for showing preference toward women in negotiations.”
Identifix Tech Support For Autoland Subscribers
Identifix has partnered with Autoland Scientech USA to offer Autoland subscribers technical support through the Identifix Repair Hotline. This service is available to any dealership or aftermarket customer who purchases an Autoland scan tool and maintains their subscription. Autoland subscribers have a dedicated phone number for the Identifix Repair Hotline.
Automotix Adds eBay Sales With Local Pickup
Automotix, an online company that sells auto parts for a network of salvage yards, has added eBay sales with local pickup. So far, sales are limited to engines and transmissions. “The niche is, save money and get it quickly,” said Gavin Heathcock, director of business development and sales.
“Shipping such a large part could cost $250. That’s a lot of money,” Heathcock said. “With this, you get a buddy, drive over at lunch and just get it.”
The target customers are DIYers and those who want to buy an engine or transmission for a mechanic to install.
Automotix works with a network of more than 150 salvage yards that covers most regions, Heathcock said. Inventory is updated daily. All Ebay sales are “buy now,” with no bidding, and are covered by a one-year return policy. — Sarah Hollander
Point of View: Don’t Let Numbers Get In Way Of A Good Story
As journalists, we often use certain government studies and statistics to document points in a story. Over my time in the industry, I have written many an article concerning the need for a strong recruitment effort for technicians in this industry – a nearly disastrous shortage of trained techs to fill the service bays in this country. And, with most of those stories, I have relied upon the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to define the metrics regarding automotive technicians — how many are employed, the extent of current and future shortages in the number of trained techs available, and how much today’s technicians are paid doing a challenging job.
That’s why I took particular note of a recent press release from the International Automotive Technicians Network (iATN), which found that “the average 2012 salary for iATN member technicians working in the United States was $51,000, comparing very favorably to the $39,000 average salary reported by the BLS in May 2012, for all technicians and mechanics in the country.”
First of all, let’s not be too quick to discredit the BLS numbers or the overall credibility of its gathered statistics. I certainly know that is not the intent of the iATN study, nor does it make the BLS findings totally inaccurate.
According to the BLS website, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor is the principal federal agency responsible for measuring labor market activity, working conditions and price changes in the economy. Its mission is to collect, analyze, and disseminate essential economic information to support public and private decision-making. As an independent statistical agency, the BLS has provided essential economic information to support public and private decision-making since 1884. In brief, the data is what is reported by employers.
The iATN poll asked for responses from those working full-time as a technician, though responses from all members were permitted. From the 6,338 total responses received, 1,617 chose to abstain, and the average salary for the remaining 4,721 responses was $54,000. iATN further clarified the numbers by eliminating those not working in the United States and those with a title other than exclusively “technician,” leaving 1,420 responses. Accounting for differences in per-capita income by state using data from the 2010 U. S. Census yielded an adjusted average salary of $51,000.
“The results of this poll are not surprising to me, nor likely to any of our members,” said iATN president Scott Brown. “Although it’s difficult to make a direct comparison between our results and the data reported by BLS, due to differences in how the data was collected, it would make sense that there is a strong correlation between iATN membership and higher salaries.
“By virtue of their activity on iATN, our members have shown that they have a strong interest in staying at the leading edge of their field and learning the latest diagnostic techniques and trends in shop management. At every level, our members have a strong desire to improve our industry.”
And that’s the key difference in these stats. The BLS numbers are totally general, while the iATN results are reflective of its membership – quality techs who take pride in what they do and who are paid commensurate to their skills, experience and training. The take-away, however, is the same regardless of which set of numbers we utilize.
This industry presents real opportunities for those who are seeking a career that offers opportunities to earn a real living wage, with an abundance of positions available to those who will take the time to get the proper training. These numbers certainly give our industry a positive starting point in opening the career discussion with high school graduates, armed forces veterans or those looking to move beyond a job and into a lifelong and successful career path.
Editor’s Note: iATN was founded in 1995 and is the largest online community of automotive technicians, repair shop owners and other allied service professionals in the world with more than 76,000 active members from 160 countries. iATN members exchange technical knowledge with their peers around the globe, collectively sharing more than 1.8 million years of experience.
Gary A. Molinaro
Motor Debuts Battery Replacement Procedures
Motor Information Systems (Troy, MI) has introduced a battery replacement procedures database. The XML database includes precautions and warnings, procedures and graphics for battery removal and installation, as well as vehicle data supporting the procedures. This product includes coverage for more than 350 vehicle models from 1993-2011.
In addition to the database, Motor also provides installation sheets that can be used by the servicing technician or passed along to DIYers.
ALI Schedules Additional Lift Inspector Certification Program Orientation
The Automotive Lift Institute (ALI) has scheduled an additional participant’s orientation for Lift Inspector Certification Program candidates. The workshop will be held Sept. 10 in Cortland, NY. Interested participants must register by July 19. Attendance at an orientation session is mandatory for all Certified Lift Inspector candidates.
Orientations are open exclusively to inspector candidates and employees responsible for program quality and implementation within their organizations. Registration is included in the Lift Inspector Certification Program fee, which is discounted to $1,000 through Sept. 30.
To reserve a seat at the Cortland session on Sept. 10, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (607) 756-7775.
Online Registration Now Open For ASRW
Automotive Service & Repair Week (ASRW) online attendee registration and housing reservations are now open at ASRWevents.com. The first 250 attendees who register using the promo code “vegas13” will receive a free Expo Pass.
Expo Passes to access the show floor only can be purchased for $15 each; individual 90-minute conference sessions are available for $70 session; a Wednesday day pass is $240; and a full-access super pass is $335. All prices noted reflect early-bird pricing, which is in effect through Aug. 22.
Add-On Education from I-CAR and PCI is available at an additional charge.
New this year, all registration options include one ticket to the ASRW Welcome Party and the Opening General Session/Industry Forum. ASRW will take place Thursday and Friday, Oct. 17-18 — with education beginning Wednesday, Oct. 16 — at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.
Special discount pricing is available for ASA members. All ASRW exhibitors also will offer a complimentary expo pass and $50 off any conference purchase (excluding Add-On Education). Contact an exhibitor to redeem this discount.
ASRW To Feature Speakers At Main Stage Venue
Automotive Service & Repair Week (ASRW) event planners are adding a new area on the show floor called the ASRW Main Stage. This feature will showcase a different industry speaker every hour during show hours. A total of 12 speakers will comprise the ASRW Main Stage, with six speakers on Thursday and six speakers on Friday.
All Main Stage presentations are available at no charge to attendees. Seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis as tickets and registration will not be required. A partial list of Main Stage speakers includes:
• George Avery of State Farm on “Industry Headwinds”
• Jeff Peevy of I-CAR on “Training, Knowledge & Operational KPIs”
• Donny Seyfer of Seyfer Automotive and Pete Rudloff of Pete’s Garage on “Factory Scan Tools: Keys to Improved Productivity & Profits”
• Kim Hazelbaker of the Highway Loss Data Institute on “Crash Testing & Crash Avoidance: Are We There Yet?”
• Kevin McCartney of Automotive Support Services on “The New Reality of Modern Vehicle Maintenance”
Additional details, including a full schedule of ASRW Main Stage speakers and topics, will be announced in the coming weeks.
ASRW will take place Thursday and Friday, Oct. 17-18 — with education beginning Wednesday, Oct. 16 — at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas. For more information, visit www.ASRWevents.com.
NARSA Annual Convention Returning To AAPEX
The International Heat Transfer Association (NARSA) will again hold its annual convention in Las Vegas during AAPEX. This will include the NARSA Heat Transfer & Mobile AC Pavilion at AAPEX, which is expected to feature 60 exhibitors with 14,000 square feet of products and services for automotive and truck heating, cooling, and air conditioning service and replacement.
AAPEX will be held Nov. 5-7 at the Sands Expo Center.
The NARSA annual convention will include a board of directors meeting on Nov. 3, as well as an awards breakfast, a cooling system roundtable, one-on-one supplier meetings, committee workshops, business sessions and more.
ASA-Illinois CAN Conference Scheduled For Sept. 20-22
The 5th annual ASA-Illinois Chicago Automotive Networking (CAN) Conference will be held Sept. 20-22 at the Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare in Rosemont, IL. The event features education sessions on such topics as increasing shop profits, Internet marketing and waveform analysis. The CAN Conference also includes a vendor trade show and hands-on demonstrations. Click here for more information.
Nearly 2/3 Of Problems Owners Experience With New Vehicles Are Design-Related
The majority of problems owners experience with their new vehicle in the first 90 days of ownership are design-related rather than manufacturing defects. For example, a component may be working as designed, but owners deem it a problem because it may be difficult to understand or operate. These design problems are far less likely to be successfully resolved at the dealership than are defects, according to the J.D. Power 2013 U.S. Initial Quality Study (IQS).
Because design problems are not the result of a breakdown or malfunction, just 9 percent of these problems are taken to a dealership within the first 90 days of ownership. When owners take their vehicle to a dealership for a design-related issue, the problem is fixed only 13 percent of the time.
By contrast, 28 percent of owners who experience a defect or malfunction with their vehicle within the first 90 days of ownership take it to a dealership, and 42 percent of the time the dealership is able to fix the problem.
The overall initial quality for the industry averaged 113 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100). The study found that many of the problems owners have with their vehicle relate to the driver interface, which includes voice recognition or hands-free technology, Bluetooth pairing for mobile phones, and the navigation system, among others.
Porsche ranked highest among nameplates included in the study, averaging 80 PP100. GMC ranked second with 90 PP100, and Lexus third with 94 PP100. Infiniti (95 PP100) and Chevrolet (97 PP100) round out the five highest-ranked positions.
The 2013 U.S. Initial Quality Study is based on responses from more than 83,000 purchasers and lessees of new 2013 model-year cars, trucks and multi-activity vehicles surveyed after 90 days of ownership. The study is based on a 233-question battery designed to provide manufacturers with information to facilitate identification of problems and drive product improvement. The study was fielded between February and May 2013.
CFO Change At Speedemissions
Dannie Daugherty Jr. has been appointed CFO of Speedemissions Inc., following the July 1 resignation of Larry Cobb. A contract CFO to multiple organizations, Cobb was engaged as acting finance chief of Speedemissions back in April. It’s worth noting that Cobb also served as the company’s acting CFO from Speedemissions’ initial public filing in 2003 through 2005.
As part of his resignation, Cobb has indicated that his decision to leave is not a result of any disagreements with Speedemissions over matters relating to its operations, policies or practices. He will continue to perform services for the company, on a consulting basis, concentrating in the areas of business planning and SEC compliance.
Daugherty has been employed by Speedemissions since July 2012, when he was hired as its controller. Prior to his employment with Speedemissions, Daugherty worked for BB&T as controller of its Lendmark Financial Services subsidiary.
People Watching 7/17/13
• Power Stop LLC (Bedford Park, IL), a supplier of performance braking systems, has appointed 30-year industry veteran Gary Roos to the newly-created position of professional tech relations director. As such, Roos works to improve communications between the professional tech and the Power Stop engineering team.
• Steve Schaeber has joined MACS Worldwide as a service training specialist. Schaeber has been working in the automotive industry for more than 20 years as a working technician at independent repair shops and as a post-secondary school and community college instructor.
• GM Canada has appointed John Roth as its vice president of sales, service and marketing, effective Aug. 1. Most recently, Roth was the regional director responsible for the Cadillac south central region within U.S. Sales & Service. He succeeds Marc Comeau, who is moving to GM Korea as vice president of sales, service and marketing.
• Carstar Auto Body Repair Experts has hired Damien Reyna as its area director of operations for franchisees in Colorado, Arizona, Las Vegas and New Mexico. He recently worked for Platinum Autobody in Illinois as a business development manager.
• Carstar has hired Phillip Vick as the director of network development covering the Charlotte, NC and St. Louis markets. Vick is a former territory manager with Mitchell.
Event & Trade Show Briefs 7/17/13
• The Equipment & Tool Institute (ETI) reports that 90-plus ETI members and OEM personnel from more than 35 companies attended Summer Tech Week.
• The Automatic Transmission Rebuilders Association (ATRA) reports that show floor exhibit space for its Powertrain Expo is sold out and that there is no additional space available. The event is slated for Sept. 19-22 in Washington, DC.
• Registration is now open for the AVI Training Conference, which will be held Nov. 4-5 during Industry Week in Las Vegas. Click here for more information.