32 tips to improve your service department

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1. There are two kinds of service philosophies: break and fix, and preventative maintenance. Preventative maintenance takes care of things before there are problems.

2. Seek to balance your workload to 80 percent "gravy work" and no more than 20 percent "grief work," such as rebuilding engines. Following a preventative maintenance philosophy will trend you to this result.

3. Prerig new boats in the winter as they come in.

4. Do warranty work during prerig in the winter.

5. Adopt a "get-it-done-now" mentality.

6. Do the job right the first time.

7. Deliver the boat clean.

8. Develop a work priority philosophy. For example, sales units first, warranty work, retail gravy work, retail grief work, and non-customer warranty or grief work.

9. What you know in advance, do in advance.

10. Have an effective scheduling system.

11. Schedule no more than five to six hours of work in an eight-hour day per tech.

12. Use menu pricing/flat-rate billing.

13. With all service quotes, overestimate the job to cover yourself when quoting time and dollars.

14. Stage boats in service bays the night before for the next morning's work.

15. Pick parts for techs ahead of time.

16. Use the first two hours of each day for the most recent service write-ups.

17. Monitor billable efficiency.

18. Develop an incentive pay program for techs.

19. Have apprentice techs work with the most productive technicians.

20. Communicate constantly.

21. Have an on-site test tank.

22. Process-map your service flow.

23. Post your service CSI scores in the shop.

24. Use an effective retail labor rate.

25. Market with e-mail and postcards, Twitter and e-blasts.

26. Sell winter work.

27. Lay out the dealership in a hub system, with the service-writing area in the center of the "wheel."

28. Two bays per tech, one bay per rigger.

29. Service-bay doors should be 20 to 24 feet wide, depending on the size of the boats handled.

30. Implement a parts freight charge - 7 percent of parts on retail repair orders.

31. Implement a shop supplies charge - 10 percent of labor up to $75.

32. Do a budget so you and your employees will know what is expected.

- Presented by David Parker of Parker Business Planning during a session on strengthening your service department at the Marine Dealer Conference  and Expo in November.

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