Honda dealer Greg May was desperate to serve more service customers.
"We had no room left, we had to grow," said May, owner of Greg May Honda in Waco, Texas. "We were to the point that we had to turn customers away and tell them it might be two, three days or even a week before we could get to them."
So he decided to follow American Honda Motor Co.'s advice and add service bays and make other improvements to his service department.
American Honda has been asking Honda and Acura dealers since last summer to add service bays, hours or both by 2018 to accommodate the automaker's forecast of rising sales. May listened to the factory's plea. When he saw the sizable amount of revenue he was missing, he took the plunge.
May spent about $500,000 on various improvements, including five quick-service bays and additional parking. He also bought restaurant-style buzzers to alert customers when service on their car was done, purchased tablets for his service advisers and paid for other upgrades.
He completed the improvements around Sept. 1. That month, his gross profit in service was $101,000 compared with $83,000 a year earlier.
May's customer-pay repair orders increased by 9 percent to 2,152 during September through November compared with the same period the previous year. And his customer satisfaction scores jumped 4 percentage points from September through November compared with the year-ago period, he said.
If that success continues through the next six months, May plans to make similar improvements at his Chevrolet store in West, Texas. Greg May Chevrolet was named the top dealership at Automotive News' 2014 Best Dealerships To Work For event in October. Greg May Honda was second in the ranking of 101 dealerships.
"It's a wise investment," May said. "Customers want everything now, quick, quick, quick and convenient, and 'Get me in and get me out.' Everything we've done has been to move us toward that objective."
Greg May Honda sells about 1,800 new and used cars a year.