Lousy Terms of Endearment

Today I propose to forever ban the use of two terms you hear way too often in our industry. Our industry is confusing enough to outsiders. We don’t need to be making things worse. Via today’s blog, I’m declaring war on the word “installer” when referring to a professional automotive technician, and the words “service dealer” when referring to an independent service and repair business. These are archaic terms that should be stricken from our vocabulary.

“Installer” is at the very least demeaning to the trained and skilled professionals who perform sophisticated vehicle diagnostics and repair. Their job is much more than just installing a part.

And what the hell does “service dealer” mean? Why in the world would we want to associate the independent market with dealers – new or used? We need to work harder to distinguish between the two providers of vehicle service and repair.

And, while we’re at it, I promise to stop referring to repair professionals as the folks who “throw away the box.” From now on it’s more current, professional and environmentally appropriate to talk about the folks who “recycle the box.”


3 Responses to Lousy Terms of Endearment

  1. Tony Molla says:

    Well said, Kathleen! We should refer to automotive technicians as what they are–professionals. How we refer to repair shops is a bit more problematic depending on how specific we want to be. For example, are the terms “automotive service facility” or “automotive service center” adequate, or do we need to specifically say “independent repair shop” or something similar? Given the variety of non-dealer service facility choices available to consumers, do we want to differentiate between shops that have an affiliation with some of the national brands like NAPA or CARQUEST vs something like a chain store operation like Sears or Pep Boys? What about those who have achieved qualifications such as a AAA shop, Bosch Service Center or ASE Blue Seal Recognition? I think it’s a conversation worth having and I salute you for beginning the dialog!

  2. Scott Brown says:

    It was during one of the early Aftermarket eForum events in Chicago where I was asked to host a panel discussion and during my initial comments, I asked the audience of industry professionals to consider stop referring to us “Automotive Service Technicians” as ‘Installers”. I personally know many highly respected automotive technicians and they will likely agree with me that when companies refer to “us” as “installers”, we begin to suspect their credibility.

    Thank you Kathleen for finally bringing more attention to this ridiculous term.


    Scott Brown

  3. kschmatz says:

    I am delighted to read the comments posted in response to my declaration of war against using the negative and confusing terms “installer” and “service dealer.” Let’s start making some noise and get the 4 million people who work in our industry to start practicing more positive and easy-to-grasp terms about who we are and what we do.

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