7 Tips for a More Sustainable Auto Repair Shop

These days, everyone is doing their best to fight climate change and keep the planet healthy. Your shop probably also follows several eco-friendly procedures. In many regions, there are laws governing the disposal of various hazardous materials, such as used oil, solvents, paint slurries, aerosols, lubricants, batteries, and more.

» Want to grow your auto repair business? Click here to schedule a demo.

Poor disposal of these toxic chemicals is why the auto repair industry is often under fire from environmental advocates. These people also criticize emissions from internal combustion engines (ICE) in vehicles in a world where Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEV) are becoming the norm.

How have people reacted to the environmental damage caused by ICE-powered vehicles?

As people become more aware of their carbon footprints, consumer behavior has changed. 48% of US consumers are willing to change their habits to save the environment. Of those, 75% are millennials who are twice as likely as Baby Boomers to do so.

How does this affect your shop?

  • Changes in technology: All these environmental protection laws have led to a trend of electrification, which has caught several auto repair shops off-guard. Shops must keep up with the changing times to stay in business.

  • “Green” consumers: Don’t be surprised if customers start asking about your shop’s environmental policies. Better still, don’t wait! You can start implementing eco-friendly changes to your shop right away.

How to make your auto repair shop sustainable

In this article, we’ll talk about some useful tips that can help you get greener, and quite possibly, more profitable.

1. Start with baby steps

You may already be taking steps to reduce your shop’s carbon footprint and comply with local environmental laws. For example, your shop may already be recycling materials. If you’re looking for things to recycle at your auto repair shop, take a look at the following image.

You can sell recovered R134 gases to an EPA-certified refrigerant reclaimer, or even install an in-house recovery and recycling system. For in-house recycling, you’ll need to get EPA Section 608 technician certification to add or remove refrigerant from HVAC/R equipment that meets EPA certification requirements.

2. Use local resources

You’re not the only business thinking about doubling down on eco-friendly practices. Check with your municipality to find a recycling center for a list of accepted materials. Set up an in-house recycling center for cardboard, paper, metal, plastic, rubber, and packaging materials. Someone at the center might help educate your employees about recycling guidelines.

3. Seal your floor

Once these measures are in place, you may want to take a bigger step like sealing your shop floor. If you use an industrial acrylic floor system, it will prevent any spills from soaking into the concrete and the ground underneath.

The area around your bays may already have sealed floors, but you still need to transfer fluids with drip pans, trays, and funnel drum covers. Should you have a spill, clean it up with a reusable rag, and wring it into a labeled container for proper reuse or recycling. Keep your floors clean by sweeping daily and using a damp mop for general cleanups. The shiny floor also provides a better-lit space for technicians, with light reflecting off the floor.

4. Lighten your load

Another way to go green at your shop is efficient LED lighting. The US Department of Energy estimates that widespread use of LED lights could save US consumers and businesses $30 billion in electricity by 2027.

Ensure that lights are off in rooms or areas that are not being used, maybe by installing timers or motion sensor detectors.  The fluorescent bulbs you may be using now contain hazardous materials like mercury and phosphor, while broken bulbs release small amounts of toxic mercury gas.

5. Educate your customers

While you’re training your employees, also remember to educate your customers. Provide tips on ways to drive green. Some of these are summarized below:

Customers will appreciate you looking out for the environment and helping them save a few bucks on gas!

Use your auto shop management software to communicate with your customers, and provide them with receipts, invoices, estimates and inspections by email or text. Your shop software can help you go paperless, with digital onboarding, conduct digital vehicle inspections, and more.

6. Buy in bulk

You’ll always need certain chemicals in the shop, so buy them in bulk. You’ll reduce packaging and plastic use.

If you can, try using environmentally preferred motor oil that’s been refined or recycled, or is bio-based. Remember to include these greener solutions in the marketing strategy for your auto repair shop—doing so helps your shop stand out from the competition. And wherever you can, switch to less hazardous cleaners, use parts washers with a filtration system or an aqueous-based parts cleaner. Choose spray formulas instead of harmful aerosols.

7. Drive a large-scale change

Once you’ve adopted green practices at your shop, why stop there? Talk to people in other shops and discuss the benefits of being eco-friendly. Here are some high-impact projects that people are likely to learn from:

  • Use the right roofing: You might need heating or cooling in your shop, depending on where it’s located. To prevent heat exchanges from the external environment, consider getting an insulated roof or white shingles. This not only drives down the amount of power required to maintain the building’s temperature but also lowers utility costs the wear on HVAC systems.

  • Drive an eco-friendly car: Investing in an electric vehicle or a hybrid as your company car can be a strong statement. It also showcases that you can work on those vehicles. Some shop owners drive cars that run on alternate energy sources—like vegetable oil. Not only does this work as a great ice-breaker when you meet potential customers, but it builds customer confidence that you’re skilled enough to work on their cars.

Closing thoughts

Helping to keep our planet in good health is everyone’s responsibility. It’s common sense and sound business practice to ensure that your shop is doing everything possible to be environmentally friendly. Studies show that more customers choose businesses that practice eco-friendly processes, so you want to promote what you’re doing to help the environment. It’s an investment that will not only raise your profile as a responsible community member but also boost your bottom line.

Auto Repair Shop Management Software

AutoLeap is a powerful all-in-one auto repair shop software that helps to keep complete track of your business – from scheduling appointments to managing technicians and generating invoices.

Advice delivered to your inbox

    We respect your privacy & won’t send you unwanted spam.

    Share this post on social

    Related Posts