While not every auto service station succumbs to the stereotype, sexism still exists in the auto repair industry. Despite standardized pricing, upfront estimates, and other measures designed to ensure equal treatment across the board, much service station sexism persists. Men and women are treated differently as they seek quotes on parts and labor, and women are regularly taken advantage of when it comes to paying for equal service. |
It’s not all just perception either. Studies commissioned by Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management have proven that women are regularly quoted higher prices on the same car than are males. Service station repair techs will recommend more work needs to be done and quote higher than the market price on parts and labor that should come standard. The problem is not one of mere ignorance, either. Even when both male and female customers knew the market rate on various parts, the female customers were consistently quoted higher rates.
To avoid charges of sexism in the management of your own automotive service garage, it’s important to emphasize standardized rates for both parts and labor. Price and profit should be set across the board for your standard offerings, and you should do your best to stick to them. While haggling is a regular practice in service station maintenance, it can open the door to unconscious sexist practices if applied differently between men and women. Likewise, if asked to attend to a particular problem, don’t allow your service techs to make assumptions and address other issues as well without express written permission from your customers. Tacking on additional services, while often helpful in diagnosing unseen problems before they get serious, can upset customers and lead to accusations of sexist treatment.
The key is to treat all customers equally, whether they consider themselves car fanatics or can’t tell the difference between the carburetor and the car’s battery. Do your best to educate new customers to your automotive service station, but keep your prices standard no matter their level of knowledge. As you develop a reputation for fair dealings, you will enjoy an increase in customers of all kinds, men and women alike.
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