Where Does the Small Independent Shop Fit...?
"Is AMRA and its Motorist Assurance Programs relevant to independent shop owners and automotive technicians?"
That's an increasingly common question from those who look over AMRA's member list and see the names of large chains, like Midas, Monro Muffler and Brake, Tire Kingdom, NTB, Pep Boys, Sears, and others among the smaller independent shops. AMRA is an inclusive organization. It seeks the involvement of all firms in the automotive parts and repair industry, regardless of size.
AMRA, like other industry-led organizations of its type, seeks to advance the best interests of its members, and of the entire industry, by educating everyone involved about the steps that can be taken to ensure both customer satisfaction and shop viability.
What does that mean? It means that no matter how big or small an auto repair facility might be consumers deserve to know they can trust your shop and all the people who work there. And it means if the industry works together to maintain certain professional standards, every business in that industry will reap the benefits that come from improved consumer trust, customer loyalty, repeat business and word-of-mouth referrals.
Some people in the business might be offended at the notion that anyone would think they're not trustworthy. "Maybe that other shop down the street, or a couple of the big chains that have had problems. But not me! My customers know me. And more importantly, I know my customers and what's best for them."
This refrain often rings hollow. Perfection eludes even the best companies and organizations - even AMRA! Without uniform guidelines and some basic standards, how will anyone - consumer, shop owner, technician, retail manager, government regulator - know what criteria to use in evaluating levels of performance? If each company makes up its own standards, the consumer gets widely different treatment and advice, not to mention confusing consumers.
AMRA’s Motorist Assurance Program’s Uniform Inspection and Communication Standards do reflect the reality repair shops, both large and small, have to face because they have been developed by large, medium and small maintenance and repair service companies and the industry.
Regulators in many states are expanding their horizons. While publicity and corporate "deep pockets" motivate them to go after the larger firms, the regulations that result (including the trend toward licensing and minimum training standards) affect all shops operating in the area. Add to that the notion that strict adherence to the Motorist Assurance Program's Standards of Service would have saved many of these firms the embarrassment (and a few dollars!), one can see that participation in AMRA’s Motorist Assurance Program benefits everyone - no matter how "big" or "small" they might be.