Top 5 challenges for independent repair shops in 2024

Feb. 5, 2024
IMR surveyed 500 independent repair shops to see what challenges they expect to face in 2024.

In December 2023, IMR surveyed independent repair shops to gather insights on what they think their biggest challenges will be in 2024. Represented in this research are 500 independent repair shops across the U.S. Looking at shops of all sizes, five challenges stuck out the most. These were finding qualified/responsible technicians, staying current with diagnostic software updates, finding affordable parts, retaining qualified technicians, and keeping overhead costs low/impact of the economy. 

Overall, from 2023 to the start of 2024, technicians have anticipated most of the same challenges. With the changes in the U.S. economy and workforce, come new or increased threats like the challenge of keeping overhead costs low. Different factors influence the obstacles that repair shops might face. For instance, when looking at the challenge of retaining qualified technicians, larger shops (classified by IMR as having eight or more bays) reported the most concern over this at 43.2 percent. However, for smaller shops (one to three bays) finding affordable parts was more of a concern (43.8 percent) than for shops with four to seven bays (27.3 percent) or shops with more than eight bays (35.1 percent). 

On a more positive note, in 2024 the concern for bringing customers back and providing incentives has dropped significantly from 16.6 percent in 2023 to 5.6 percent in 2024.

Here is a further breakdown of the top five challenges independent repair shops expect to face in 2024.

1. Finding qualified/responsible technicians: 56 percent

Compared to last year, in 2024 finding qualified/responsible technicians as a shop challenge saw a 23 percent increase. 

2. Staying current with diagnostic/software updates: 36.4 percent

In 2023, 22.8 percent of shops surveyed reported that staying current on diagnostic and software updates was something they thought would be a challenge. That number increased by 13.6 percent. 

3. Finding affordable parts: 30.8 percent

In this survey, 43.8 percent of shops with one to three bays said their second-largest concern is finding affordable parts, compared to 27.3 percent of shops with four to seven bays, and 35.1 percent of shops with eight or more bays. 

4. Retaining qualified technicians: 27.2 percent

This was the second-largest challenge cited in 2023 (33 percent). In 2024, 27.2 percent of general repair shops said they anticipated this to be a challenge, down 5.8 percent from last year. For shops with eight or more bays, it is the second largest challenge at 43.2 percent.

5. Keeping overhead costs low/impact of the economy: 23 percent

Shops with one to three bays cited keeping overhead cost low as their third largest concern (39.3 percent) compared to 13.6 percent for shops with four to seven bays and 16.2 percent for shops with eight or more bays. This is an increase from last year at 16.2 percent.


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