Parts, Parts, Parts: 5 Tips to Get Better Prices

Call us today (385) 399-0922

Any heavy-duty repair shop faces its fair share of expenses. You’re running a business; you need to spend money to make money, as the saying goes. If you’re following the general benchmarks we laid out in this article, you’re hopefully spending no more than 25% of your sales on parts.

But Fullbay, you may be saying, I’m spending way more than that on parts! What do I do?

Don’t worry – we’ve got you. We’re all about helping you keep costs down, and there are a few tricks you can use to minimize the amount of money you spend on parts. Sure, buying in bulk is one of them, but there’s a lot more you can do. Read on to find out more!

Do Your Research

Knowledge is power, and it can help you negotiate better parts prices. HDT points out that the internet puts a wealth of information at your fingertips. Use it to learn all you can about the newest products and to compare vendors and prices.

This is particularly handy when you want to ask for a discount. Occasionally, manufacturers or retailers offer rebates or discounts. Your vendors may make you aware of them, but you can also search for them online. Let’s say your research reveals a vendor not on your list has better prices on parts you need. Take that information to your vendors and ask them to meet or beat the lower price.

Trim Your Vendors

Look over what you already spend with your vendors. What parts do you purchase, and how much are you forking out a month?

If you’re using 10 vendors for batteries, then you’re only spending – for example – $10,000 at each vendor. If you’re using two vendors, you might be putting $50,000 into each. You were a small fry before; now you’re a heavy hitter.

Being a heavy hitter makes it much, much easier to negotiate new rates and ask for deals. You’re a bigger fish in the pond, so to speak; your vendors know you spend a lot of money with them and will be willing to work with you to ensure you keep spending money with them.

Once a year or so, look at your vendors and what you’re getting from them. How is the service? How is the delivery and parts availability? If they have the best prices in the world and nothing in stock when you need it, they aren’t going to be very useful to you.

Develop Relationships

It’s easier to nurture a good relationship with a handful of vendors than with a bunch.

If you’re working directly with one or two vendors, you’re likely talking to and interacting with the same people over and over again. You want a good relationship with these folks, and not just because they’re the ones likeliest to come through if you’re ever in a bind for parts. When you maintain a good working relationship with a vendor, you generally know a few things:

  1. They’ll get you high-quality parts
  2. They’ll get you those parts quickly
  3. They’ll get you those high-quality parts quickly so you don’t have to go searching for them.

If your parts manager has to shop at five different places to find the right part, that’s very likely several hours they’ve wasted – hours they could spend doing their actual job. A trusted vendor or two can save that time – and time is money.

Look for Quality

The best deal isn’t always the best deal, if you get our drift.

You want high-quality parts. Let’s say you have a truck in the bay that needs a bearing. You can get a bearing for six bucks, and you can get it today. That means the truck is out of the bay faster…but if the bearing is junk, odds are that truck will be back in the shop before you know it. You could go to a different parts house and pick up a better-quality bearing for $12, and you can get it tomorrow. Yeah, it’s more expensive, but it will last twice as long.

Buying cheap can have a negative long-term impact on your shop. If you buy cheap parts and install them and the parts break down, well, that’s a primary contributor to comeback repairs. And that’s if the fleet manager sends the truck back to you at all. Think about it: would you send your vehicle back to a shop that used cheap parts?

Review Your Reports

Getting the best rates on heavy-duty parts involves knowing what you’re spending and who you’re spending it with. Keeping track of your parts inventory can mean turning to spreadsheets or Post-Its, depending on how you run your shop. This…well, it can be time-consuming.

If your shop runs on Fullbay, then you have access to several reports that will show you exactly what parts you’re selling, who you’re getting them from, and how you’re marking them up.

We recommend checking your Vendor Report (which tells you what you spend with a vendor during a set period) and Sold Parts (which tells you what parts you’ve sold). You can also review your Inventory Velocity Report, which will tell you how fast your parts are selling and whether you’re stocking too many, too few, or just enough.

If you don’t know exactly what you’re selling, how can you know if you should keep it in stock? Maybe you don’t realize how often you’re ordering a particular battery; assume it takes a day or so to arrive, which still leaves you with at least one bay out of commission because it’s got a truck sitting in it. If you start keeping that battery in stock, you’ll keep the bay rolling instead of tied up for hours.

Fullbay Can Help

Selling parts is likely a critical part of your revenue. We can’t stress enough how much Fullbay can help with this; we’ve even had clients who completely redid their parts room after adopting Fullbay and realizing how much money they were wasting on parts they simply didn’t use.

If you use Fullbay and you’d like to learn more about its reports and how they can save you money, get in touch with support! They’re here to help and would love to set you up with a training rep. If you don’t use Fullbay yet, but want to see these reports and how the app can make your life easier, hit us up for a free demo. We can’t wait to show you what we can do!

Suz Baldwin

About Suz Baldwin

Suz Baldwin got her start in the automotive industry, writing and editing for several motorcycle and classic car magazines straight out of college. In the years that followed, she’s written all sorts of copy for brands big and small while consuming enough coffee to paralyze a dinosaur.

Subscribe for heavy-duty best practices