New IMR Report Explores Top Repair Shop, Technician Concerns For 2020

Finding time for hands-on training, staying up-to-date with diagnostic advancements and vehicle technology, and finding qualified and motivated technicians are the top challenges for today’s independent repair shops, according to new research from Naperville, IL-based IMR Inc.

The larger the shop, the bigger the concern … Of shop owners in the survey who cited staying up-to-date with vehicle diagnostic technology as a major concern, only 18% of shops with one to three bays agreed, compared to 37.1% of shops with four to seven bays and 38.3% of shops with eight or more bays.

According to IMR’s research, 29.2% of shop owners surveyed noted that finding high-quality techs who are reliable and knowledgeable as a key challenge that they’re likely to face in 2020. Additionally, 17.5% of shop owners stated that they face challenges in finding techs with the in-demand skills needed to service all types of vehicles, from older models to the newest hybrid and electric vehicles.

Overall, 31.1% of shops surveyed expect keeping up with advancements in vehicle technology to be a major challenge in 2020, with 16.6% of those respondents indicating that higher part prices are an additional challenge for their shops.

IMR reports that 27.5% of techs said that — in addition to finding time for training and staying on top of trends in diagnostic and vehicle technology — it’s a challenge to afford the new diagnostic tools and software that the industry demands.

For techs who are entering the work force or considering a career in vehicle maintenance and repair, 35.5% of respondents said the most important thing is to get the best education and training possible, while 19.6% recommended taking advantage of all the training that’s available through an employer.

Shop owners also said that getting hands-on training (10.7%) and becoming proficient in repairing electric vehicles and new technology (9.3%) are important for those considering a job in the automotive repair field.