Within this article we will talk about the doubt that grips many mechanics: Being an authorized workshop or not.
The world of workshops can be divided into those that are authorized (by the various manufacturers) and those that are not authorised.
People who have been in the automotive world for the longest time will certainly know that until 2002 the profits of an authorized workshop were certainly higher. Italian law provided that the warranty coupons had to be carried out in official workshops, under penalty of forfeiture of the warranty itself.
With the entry into force of the Monti decree in 2002, then extended in 2010 by the European Regulation, it became possible for independent workshops to operate while fully safeguarding the official guarantee. The only binding aspect is compliance with the required procedures. Thus increased competition was born which penalized the authorized workshops somewhat in favor of the independent ones.
The authorized workshops
An authorized repair shop is a facility that has received authorization, from a vehicle manufacturer, to carry out repair and maintenance work on their vehicles. Such workshops must meet certain quality standards, and are also obliged to use original spare parts from the manufacturer.
Being an authorized workshop can also mean that the workshop has access to technical information and training specific to the repair of the vehicles of the manufacturer in question. Furthermore, repairs carried out by an authorized workshop are usually covered by a guarantee provided by the manufacturer.
Finally, requiring garages to be licensed can also help protect the manufacturer's brand and ensure that customers are happy with the repair job.
The pros of an authorized workshop are therefore:
- Use of original spare parts: Authorized workshops are obliged to use original spare parts from the manufacturer, which means that repairs will be carried out with high quality components.
- High quality of work: Authorized workshops are required to meet the quality standards set by the manufacturer, which means that the work will be carried out accurately and professionally.
- Customer service: Authorized workshops usually offer a good level of customer service and are willing to answer customers' questions and concerns.
- Repair guarantee: Repairs carried out by an authorized garage are often covered by a guarantee, which means that if something should go wrong, the repair will be carried out free of charge.
The cons of an authorized workshop are:
- Higher prices : Authorized workshops can have higher prices than independent workshops due to licensing costs and the requirement to use original spare parts.
- Longer waiting time: Authorized workshops may be busier and, therefore, there may be longer waiting times to get an appointment.
- Ability to be locked to a specific manufacturer: If you have a vehicle from a certain manufacturer, you may need to take it to an authorized repairer of that manufacturer, although there may be cheaper repair options elsewhere.
As far as the importance of the brand is concerned, we must state that very often people who buy a car of a certain brand usually go to authorized workshops.
People see these workshops as an integral part of the brand. However, each authorized workshop must reflect and respond to certain quality standards of the brand itself.
Anyone who buys a premium car, for example, always expects top service. Therefore, having an authorized workshop allows you to easily reach the owners of that specific brand. If we are an authorized BMW workshop then most likely all BMW owners have a higher incentive to come to our workshop than to go to an independent workshop.
So here's how a single brand can have a serious and broad impact on investments. In the evaluation phase whether to be an authorized or unauthorized workshop, an important aspect is the ROI, i.e. the index that highlights the return on investment.
A brand allows you to have an excellent ROI, which is directly connected not only with immediate data, but also with company solidity in the medium/long term. Automotive brands are not companies that vary much within the market. Roughly speaking, the car manufacturers we see today are the same as they were 10, 20 or 30 years ago. For this reason, choosing to be authorized allows you to have a really important and convenient ROI.
If we want to be an authorized BMW, we must meet a number of requirements, including in terms of space. In other words, we cannot open a BMW workshop in our garage, without safety standards, with limited spaces and rough organization.
This aspect therefore implies a strong link with the brand, which in turn implies less autonomy on the part of the individual entrepreneur. The directives of the parent company, in terms of image and communication, can also be important and bind the autonomy and independence, even creative, of the individual entrepreneur.
There are fewer authorized workshops than independent ones. It is more frequent to find unauthorized workshops. Potentially, in terms of numbers, a customer could be pushed, due to geographical convenience, to turn to an unauthorized neighbour.
For this aspect, therefore, we must carefully evaluate the positioning of our workshop and try to reach as wide a geographic and demographic basin, clearly observing the competitors of other authorized workshops in the area.
An independent workshop is a workshop that is not authorized by a specific manufacturer and therefore is not bound to use original spare parts or to comply with the quality standards imposed by the manufacturer.
Independent garages are often able to offer lower prices than authorized garages, as they do not have the same licensing fees. However, they may not be able to provide the same quality of repair or level of service as authorized repairers.
- Original Replacement Parts: Authorized repair shops are required to use original manufacturer replacement parts, which are usually more expensive than the aftermarket replacement parts used by independent repair shops.
- License fees: Authorized workshops have to pay for a license to be able to carry out repairs on vehicles of certain manufacturers, which can increase their costs.
- Higher quality standards: Authorized workshops are required to meet the quality standards set by the manufacturer, which can lead to additional costs for equipment purchases and staff training
Common aspects for both structures (authorized and unauthorized)
Ultimately there are pros and cons both in being authorized (by a brand) and in belonging to a network of repairers or a spare parts manufacturer (see Magneti Marelli).
In both cases, in fact, the licensing costs, and sometimes the requests for internal and external fitting out of the workshop, can have a significant impact on the annual cost level.
The entrepreneur, who decides to open an authorized workshop or not, must carefully evaluate all the individual management costs and draw up a report, as serious and analytical as possible, of all the factors influencing this choice.
Be careful, however, not to make a hasty choice and decide to open an unauthorized workshop in order to be as free as possible from the automotive houses.
If we are an entrepreneur who has been operating for many years and with an important name in the city, we can choose to be independent. If, on the other hand, we want to start entering the automotive workshop market, the best advice is to be an authorized workshop, provided you have good financial coverage behind you.
In conclusion, we always try to carefully define all costs and evaluate some indices, such as ROI, to estimate which of the two options is more recommended. Let's remember, however, that the real King in the choice is always the economic result!
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