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the pros and cons of working as a service advisor at dealerships vs independents

Have you ever wondered the pros and cons to working as a service advisor at a dealership vs an independent? Maybe you are just embarking on your service advisor career and wondering which one to choose OR perhaps you work at one and thinking about switching to the other. Today we will discuss some major differences between the two.

Let’s jump into the major differences between Independents and Dealerships from a service advisors perspective.

PAY STRUCTURE Independents pay a higher wage or salary with smaller or no bonus structure Dealerships pay a smaller base salary or wage but a lot of bonus’ build in like selling certain services and high CIS or customer surveys. Advisors have the potential to make more money at dealerships but sometimes the pay structure can be unrealistic to earn the bonus.


Dealerships more often have perks for customers like coffee and snack bars, free car washes and alternative transportation like a loaner car, taxi vouchers and shuttle service. There are independents that have these services as well but they are way more common at the dealership.


Advisors at dealerships are just service advisors, nothing else.

There is often a parts department to handle looking up and ordering parts.

Appointments are booked by an appointment coordinator.

There are valets to meet customers and help arrange alternative transportation.

Sometimes they do not even collect payment from the customer, there is a cashier for that. The advisor at an independent often wears many hats.

On top of the regular responsibilities of greeting customers, creating work orders and selling work, they have many more responsibilities.

They book appointments, look up and order parts.

Sometimes they help the customers with transportation and lend a hand to the technicians in the shop. It may seem like the advisors at the independents have a lot of work but there they usually have a lot less customers per day then a dealership.

By taking care of the parts, there is less chance of getting an incorrect part, they know the quality of the part and where it’s located on the vehicle.

By being involved with the transportation, the advisor can have a higher level of customer service.

I have worked in both dealerships and independent shops.

Rather than say one is better than the other I have taken my experience from both and combined the best of both to create the Five Star Service Advisor Training Program.

I have just opened up some time in my schedule for a few free consultation calls to discuss your current opportunities and skillset, AND what your goals are.

We will discuss if the Five Star Service Advisor program will be a good fit.

If not I will help point you in the right direction.

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