How Much Profit Does A Poor-Fitting Universal Part Cost Your Shop?

It’s tempting to buy universal-fit parts for your shop. After all, they cost less. You can charge the customer a little less, and still make more profit on the job. And profit is why you are in business, right?

Lift repair

So is buying and installing universal-fit parts a good idea? Not really. Doing so will actually eat into your profit margin. How much money will using ill-fitting universal parts ultimately cost your shop at the end of the year?

About $2,000 per year. Per technician.

The Math Behind This Estimation

Let’s assume that:

  • An ill-fitting universal part takes a technician an extra 2 minutes to install.
  • A technician deals with those parts twice a day.

That’s 4 minutes a day. It may not seem like much, but it adds up.

An average tech earns a shop about $120 per hour (which is the usual book-time labor rate). When you break it down, it’s $8 every 4 minutes. That means the extra 4 minutes a day costs you $40 a week, or more than $2,000 a year in lost revenue.

Now, what if the poorly fitting part takes an extra 5 minutes to install? Or what if the tech has to deal with universal parts more than twice a day? That $2,000 can easily double or triple… per technician.

Let’s Not Forget About Comebacks

Universal-fit parts aren’t terrible parts, but they often come with challenges that could be avoided if the part was an exact fit or OE part. Take a look at brake pads for example. Shims on universal-fit pads are almost never the exact same design as OE shims. Will they prevent brake squeal? Will the shims wear out faster? If your customer is picky about noise levels, will they come back? Or will they just leave a bad review online?

Comebacks are expensive, and paying for just one will cost you the profit you earned on several jobs. A bad online review will lose you some potential future customers.

Our Suggestion: Just Don’t Do It

U joints

Choose exact fit parts for both the customer’s and your shop’s own good. Using the right part drastically reduces the risk of issues cropping up in the customer’s car. And the slight cost savings isn’t worth the several thousand dollars in lost shop revenue and possibly a smear on your shop’s reputation. Win-win.

Make sure that your shop has the expertise and tools (such as this U-joint lookup tool) to find the correct replacement part for your customer’s car.


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