Think about your hometown, how many businesses are related to automotive? Most areas, even rural communities, have multiple mechanical repair shops. Now think about how many body shops there are; that number probably dropped significantly. Take it one step further, how many of those repair facilities are equipped to handle heavy duty vehicles. That number is pretty small, almost microscopic in the industry. However, think about how many heavy duty vehicles you see each day. School/transit buses, semi’s and dump trucks, more than likely you are passing several on your daily commute. Those type of vehicles are on the road, and there is a high demand for repair.
Getting your shop prepared for HD repairs might be easier than you think. Here is a short list of things you will need in order to say “Yes, we can handle that!”
- Space: The physical space needed to handle HD repairs is larger, and there is no way around it. You either have room in your existing bays to accommodate a 30+ foot vehicles or you don’t. Overhead door size is a factor often overlooked as well. Many times a 15’ door is required for ample overhead clearance. If you don’t have the space now, consider expanding. Being able to handle larger repairs can generate more business, and these repairs tend to be lucrative, so your return on investment can be fast and profits higher.
- Diagnostic Equipment: Unlike passenger cars and trucks, heavy duty vehicles do not have factory specifications that body shops can use during repairs. Most HD vehicles are built on ladder frames and have varying allowable tolerances; this changes both the diagnoses and repair processes. Verifying out-of-square is the norm for identifying damage. The traditional string and tape method is suitable but time consuming and provides no documentation. Digital measuring tools like Chief’s Cam Scan HD™ provides fast setup and execution, along with easy to understand documentation complete with photographs, perfect for customers and insurance companies.
- Heavy Duty Racks: A majority of HD vehicles are designed for long haul and high mileage. Considering fuel cost and tire wear are top of mind for fleet owners, having vehicles that are not streamlined or causing undo tire fatigue can be a big issue. Getting vehicles back to original condition can require frame pulling and having a frame rack that can handle a large vehicle is a must. Chief’s Centurion™ rack not only gives you the needed runway length and width, but also the pulling power needed for HD frames.
Heavy Duty capability is one way your shop can really stand out in the industry. Think about making the necessary changes to accommodate the larger jobs and you could quickly find yourself with more business than your shop can handle. If you are interested in Chief’s lineup of heavy duty tools, please contact your local distributor for information or demonstrations.