Maintenance – It’s Not Just for Vehicles

In the latest of our series, thanks to legendary service adviser trainer, Lloyd Schiller, of and Brooke Samples of Profit Blueprints, Brooke stresses the importance of maintaining all aspects of your dealership.

As I was weeding my garden for the fourth time this year it occurred to me that there had to be a better way: once done, the garden should STAY in pristine shape! After all, just two weeks prior, I had done my best work and it had looked spectacular. But now, I was back weeding again. Not only that, but new gaps had appeared indicating I needed to add more plants, and there was one plant that just wasn’t growing as it should.

That got me to thinking…everything needs maintenance. Even the most beautiful gem looks better with a little polish. Bottom line: you can’t just devote a little, or a lot, of time to something once in a while, leave it alone, and hope it will stay that way forever.

Dealerships are just like my garden: you have to take care of the building, the equipment and the people—if you want your dealership to look and perform at its best. You have to continually add better processes, new equipment, more people when appropriate, and eliminate what doesn’t add value.

I have found checklists to be valuable tools for a smooth running dealership; and keeping on top of the maintenance of a dealership is the perfect scenario for the use of checklists.

The benefits of a clean facility will not only be appealing to potential customers, but clean, pleasant surroundings reduce stress, help create higher levels of job satisfaction and boost productivity of your staff. Plus you can reduce the likelihood of customer and employee accidents.

Once you’ve got your dealership in shape (and are able to host gatherings), how about an open house for your best customers? A luncheon is a great way to renew relationships with commercial or fleet customers or strengthen body shop relationships with insurance companies.

Checklist for outside of the building

  • Parking lot clearly marked and free of potholes (pay close attention to the customer parking)
  • Building exterior free of clutter (especially around the exits)
  • Exterior lights all working
  • Landscaping in tip-top shape
  • Rubbish bins and cigarette disposal bins clean and convenient
  • Safety markings & speed limit signs all look fresh
  • Signs and posters current and clean
  • Windows cleaned (set up a schedule)
  • Stickers & invoices on vehicles (checked weekly)
  • There should be no peeling paint, fading or scuff marks

Checklist for inside of the building

  • Signs and posters current, clean & with positive messages
  • Employees’ lunch room clean, including refrigerator
  • Customer lounge furniture cleaned
  • Any carpeted area cleaned
  • Supply & forms cabinets organised, outdated forms destroyed
  • Account for all equipment—compare to fixed asset schedule
  • Equipment maintenance (on a schedule)
  • Parts shelves free of empty packaging
  • Walls and doors free of scuff marks and hand prints.

1 comment

  1. It can start by hitting a speed bump just a little faster than you intended. Then, the next time you drive the vehicle, you notice it’s pulling a little to the right. You’d never put off the alignment check of a fleet vehicle, but somehow you keep putting it off in your own car in favor of more pressing duties. After a few months, you find that two of your four tires are wearing unevenly. Sure enough, they need to be replaced and the alignment must be repaired. Little problems can become big problems if they are not addressed right away. Ignoring those rattles or squeaks doesn’t work when it comes to vehicle maintenance, and certainly isn’t wise when it comes to poor performance by your employees. Having a plan to address staff performance issues protects your business. In your employee handbook, you probably include a description of your progressive discipline process or performance improvement plans. Although these terms are used interchangeably, they actually have two very different meanings. “Progressive discipline” communicates consequences for poor behaviors, while “performance improvement” helps instill confidence in an employee to improve behavior. Both options can be used effectively with your employees, but performance improvement has some unique benefits. Ignoring those rattles or squeaks doesn’t work when it comes to vehicle maintenance, and it certainly doesn’t work when it comes to poor performance by your employees .”

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