During the triage process and for most outdoor power equipment, a technician allows himself 10-15 minutes to look over a piece of equipment to see if he can figure out why it is not working properly. He will also determine what parts he will need to complete the job.

In our dealership process, the Service Coordinator does a “pre-triage” before passing the piece of equipment on to the technician. The Service Coordinator looks over and evaluates areas that do not require a technical background, such as checking the oil, air filter, tire pressure, and load testing the battery. Doing this helps speed up the process for the technician.

Once the technician receives the piece of equipment, he follows a detailed triage sheet, and rates each item on a numbered scale as follows:

  • 1 – New or like new
  • 2 – Used but not abused
  • 3 – Needs to be replaced

The technician makes notes on all items he rates 2 or 3, and questions why the equipment is in that condition. It is then the Service Coordinator’s job to list the parts that are needed, and determine how much time he thinks it will take to complete the repair. The Service Manager then prepares an estimate of time and expense for the customer, giving the customer a choice on how, or if, he wishes to proceed with the repair.

It must be mentioned that the triage process does not take the place of a certified technician evaluating the machine while taking it apart, but it does allow the parts department 3-5 days to order and receive the parts required to do the job. Approximately 85% of issues can be diagnosed by using the triage process.

The key to the whole triage process is to make sure the process keeps moving. Remember, you only take 10-15 minutes to triage. If the problem cannot be determined in that amount of time, stop and let the customer know that he will have to bring the equipment into the shop, and that they will need to pay for a diagnostic fee (which should equal the cost of one hour of labor).

Brian Clements

Thank you!