Are you aware that only 50% of small businesses are still up and running after 5 years? If you’re hoping to continue thriving, you’ll need to get the most out of the services you hire. And if you operate a fleet of diesel trucks, you’ll want to choose a service that can keep your vehicles in good shape.
Don’t assume that all maintenance services are equally effective. Use some scrutiny before taking your best diesel truck in for a modification or routine tune-up. Read on to learn about 12 tips for hiring a diesel truck service for your business!
1. Look for a Wide Range of Services
Truck maintenance covers a range of needs, so you want to choose a shop that can tackle lots of issues. These can include common maintenance tasks, such as replacing air and fuel filters. Oil changes, fuel system maintenance, and timing belt assessment are all typical parts of maintenance, as well.
Solid mechanics can replace faulty fuel injectors or glow plugs. And they can work with you to do recommended checks at mileage milestones, too.
But make sure the shop can handle more significant diesel truck repair needs. For instance, you want a skilled mechanic to complete expensive repairs. This could include doing a transmission replacement.
And you’ll want a shop with modern diagnostic equipment. This equipment can help mechanics figure out what’s wrong when black smoke starts emerging from your engine, for example.
2. Prioritize Experience and Certifications
When you’re working with slim margins and a tight budget, you don’t want amateurs servicing your vehicles. This means you need to make sure the technicians you hire have the right experience. Technicians should go through a rigorous training and certification process to ensure they are qualified.
You can look for mechanics with an Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification. This designation means that they have undergone intense training and taken an exam.
The ASE certificate is administered by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. And those who earn the certificate must take the test to re-certify it every 5 years.
ASE certificate holders go through on-the-job training. Or they study automotive repair through a degree-granting program.
They can tackle anything from engine repairs to transmission issues. And you’ll be able to trust that they’re up-to-date with the latest industry changes.
3. Visit the Shop First
Even though diesel truck care is a messy business, that doesn’t mean a shop should look like it’s been neglected. You want to see evidence that shows they value their equipment, tools, and facility. A messy shop could suggest they don’t run their operation with a strong sense of organization and they might be careless with your vehicles.
Employees should sweep the floors and keep parts organized. Look for clean tools that have been placed in designated containers or racks.
And size up the staff while you’re there. Diesel truck maintenance requires analytic thinking and problem-solving. You want to get a sense that the staff members are collaborative and critical thinkers.
Look for a shop that’s established, too. If a repair shop has been around for a decade, that suggests that they’re getting return business. And that translates to happy customers!
4. Select a Shop with Modern Tools and Software
A good diesel service shop should have typical tools, such as wrenches, socket sets, and compression gauges. But they also should have tool kits that are specific to certain types of engines that need maintenance.
They should be investing in newer tools, too, such as performance programmer tools and fuel injector tools. Injection pump tools and an infrared pyrometer represent some of the other specialized tools that can help a mechanic do the job well.
Look for a shop that is equipped with the latest software, as well. After all, if you bring in a newer diesel truck, you want mechanics who are familiar with sensors and other electronic updates. The last thing you want is for your mechanic to be unfamiliar with new technology.
A complete shop should have diagnostic code readers and scanners. Plus they should have other tools to help determine what’s happening under the hood.
In addition, a shop should be running software to help with diagnostics and track your vehicle’s history of repairs. Especially if you return to the same shop for all of your maintenance needs, you want to know they’re tracking your vehicle’s repair history.
Technicians should be willing to share updates about a vehicle’s status, too. This can help give you peace of mind. Asking for information also helps you confirm that the mechanics are skilled and knowledgeable.
When you choose a shop with certified technicians, there’s a better chance that they’ll know about the latest technological advances. And they may have better equipment. That’s because these technicians have to update their certifications, so they’ll always be current with industry developments.
5. Comparison Shop for the Best Prices
While it might be easier to go with the first diesel truck care center you visit, it can pay to comparison shop. Make a point of checking out at least a few places before committing to one. You may even be able to leverage an offer from one place to score a better deal somewhere else.
Ask about rates for common diesel truck maintenance needs, like oil changes and water separator maintenance. You can even ask about potential discounts if you agree to give all of your business to a particular shop. Some places may be willing to enter into a contractual agreement.
Plan to pay more as a general rule for diesel repairs. That’s because there are fewer skilled mechanics able to complete them. Even so, there’s no reason you should be getting gouged for standard services.
6. Size Up Warranties
Does a mechanic offer warranties on parts or labor? If your diesel truck starts acting up a few days after you’ve taken it to the shop, you deserve additional servicing to fix the problem. You want to avoid needing to shell out additional dollars to fix a mechanic’s error.
Look at the length of time for warranties. Some may cap coverage at a certain mileage count or a year. Some shops, however, go with a 6-month warranty. But what if your truck hits a problem after that timeframe?
A good shop will do its best to retain you as a customer. They should be willing to complete repairs at discounted rates, for instance. This shows good customer service and it shows you that the shop stands by its level of service.
7. Weigh the Payment Plans
When you created your initial business plan, your budget probably was a central component. Without keeping tabs on expenses, it’s easy for your finances to move in the wrong direction. Since repairs are an essential part of your business, you need to find a repair shop willing to help your budget stay on track.
A good shop should be willing to do what it takes to keep your business. This can involve creating a repayment plan. For instance, you might be able to make monthly payments with a small amount of interest.
You may also want to ask for a list of typical rates for certain services. That way, you can map out how future expenses, such as a timing belt replacement, will impact your cash flow.
8. Consider the Communication Style
When you call or visit a diesel truck service shop, do they communicate effectively? You don’t want to give your business to a place that fails to return your phone calls. And you don’t want to give your business to a place that offers incomplete explanations for significant repairs.
Choose a repair shop that communicates promptly and in a friendly manner. If you have follow-up questions, a mechanic should be willing to provide answers and clarification. If you’re giving your money to the shop, you deserve to know what it covers.
During any communication, those speaking with you should be courteous, too. Shops that don’t treat you with respect should be avoided at all costs.
9. Choose a Convenient Option
For diesel truck maintenance, convenience matters. You don’t want to be stuck driving across town to visit a servicing shop. Idling in traffic or racking up miles will only hurt your bottom line.
If your fleet is larger, you may be making routine trips to a servicing facility, too. Factor in how much time you want to devote to driving to and from the facility. Determine a mileage radius that you’re willing to drive.
You can ask a diesel truck maintenance shop if they are able to come to you for certain types of repairs. This may be an easier option when you can’t afford to have team members tied up with maintenance appointments all day.
10. Ask About 24-Hour Services
Any business owner knows that sometimes urgent maintenance needs show up outside of normal working hours. For trucks that are constantly on the road doing deliveries or pick-ups, a busted cylinder head or block can happen. Or if you’re in the middle of a hot summer, you may encounter overheated engines.
When a repair issue sidelines your fleet, that sidelines your revenue. Your best solution is to find a maintenance shop that can accommodate you in emergency situations. As you investigate diesel truck maintenance options, check the hours of a given shop.
Are they open on weekends? Will they respond to emergencies after hours? If they want to win your business, they should be willing to help beyond traditional hours in extenuating situations.
11. Check Online Reviews
Do some online research before going with a particular shop for your diesel trucks. Visit a shop’s website first. A shop with a professional site that lists its services, hours, and credentials makes a good first impression.
Look for testimonials that share customers’ experiences with the shop. Many professional websites will devote a page to these snippets of positive feedback from customers.
Also, be sure to look for customer reviews listed on search engines. Testimonials tend to be positive since they’re on a shop’s website, so search engines can offer more direct feedback. When you find reviews, you want to see positive customer reviews and high ratings.
In addition, you want to see a healthy number of reviews. Seeing 100 or more reviews can be a sign that a business is successful and reputable. If you only see a handful of reviews, the business might not be established and they could be a riskier choice.
12. Get Referrals
While online reviews and testimonials are important, hearing about a diesel truck repair shop from the mouth of a customer is even better. You’ll get an unbiased perspective that can help you make the right decision.
It’s perfectly fair to ask a shop if you can talk with a few recent or current customers. These could be similar types of businesses or regular individuals. They can provide feedback and answer more specific questions about the shop’s level of service.
A shop that is unwilling to give you the names of customers might have something to hide. In those instances, proceed with caution. Instead, select a repair shop that is happy to share its best customers with you!
Hire the Best Diesel Truck Service
The best diesel truck service options are the ones with ample experience and the right certifications. Good diesel truck care requires technicians to be current on the latest technology and ready to pursue the best solution for a given issue. Check reviews and referrals, and choose a diesel truck service that will be attentive to your needs.
When you need help with diesel truck maintenance, contact us!