call us 1-866-665-1605

Repair Shop Advice

Archive for September, 2017

Do Facebook Ads Make Sense For Your Auto Repair Shop?

September 27th, 2017

We’ve discussed why Google Ads (Search Engine Marketing) are a bad idea for most independent repair shops.  However, we’ve also had several customers asking if Facebook ads make sense for their shop lately.

For big brands with big ad budgets, Facebook is one of the most popular places to put ads.  Brands want to be “a part of the conversation,” and an ever-increasing number of those conversations are happening on social media platforms like Facebook.  By investing in creative ad campaigns, funny videos and employees who can interact with customers throughout the day, large companies can make their brand names more valuable and keep sales high.


 

But do these ad platforms make sense for small businesses?  The good news is that Facebook ads are a bit cheaper than Google ads.  The bad news is that, unless you’re doing large jobs or high-margin jobs, Facebook probably still doesn’t make sense – and it’s definitely far more expensive than a search-engine optimized site.

According to online market resource MarketingProfs, the average Facebook automotive ad costs $2.24 every time someone clicks on it – one of the higher cost categories of advertising.  Unfortunately, only 5% of those ads “convert.”  That means the cost of one customer doing what the advertisement asks them to do (visiting your website, tapping the phone screen to call your shop, etc) is $43.

When you consider that not all of those customers will end up buying services from your shop, the cost for each new customer acquired through Facebook ads can easily exceed $100.  Automotive ads remain one of the worst cost-per-conversion rates of any Facebook advertisement – of 17 categories, they only perform better than Home Improvement and Technology.

So while it might make sense if you’re focused on replacing transmissions, if you’re advertising oil changes you might actually pay three times as much to get a customer in the shop as you would charge them to change their oil!  In rough numbers, you’d be spending $100 to get a $30 customer. For the time being, Facebook advertising doesn’t make sense for most auto repair shops.

To learn more about how Repair Shop Websites provides the most cost-effective way to bring new customers into your automotive repair shop, call us at 866.665.1605 or email us at Team_RSW@RepairShopWebsites.com.

Finding Great Technicians Takes A Lot More Than an Advertisement

September 25th, 2017

A lack of technicians is holding repair shops back – that’s been the case for several years now, and it’s only getting worse.  With independent shops, franchises, dealerships and even fleet managers competing for the same small pool of technicians, it’s more difficult than ever for an independent shop to find a mechanic that’s a good fit for their shop.  If this sounds like you, here are a few tips to improve your candidate pool.


 

Advertise at local technical or community colleges

If there’s a program near you that’s graduating new technicians, it’s probably the best source for recruitment.  Many shops are hesitant to hire new technicians – they figure they’re already underwater for work, so the last thing they need is for their master technician to be training someone new to the field.  But a new technician comes with plenty of advantages, too.

First, they’re more likely to be humble, doing what needs to be done around the shop, whether that’s oil changes or taking out the trash.  They also haven’t had bad habits trained into them by other shops, which can be difficult to break – they’re like clay that your shop can mold to meet your specific processes and needs.  They cost less, which means that there’s a higher margin available if they can be put to work on entry-level jobs.  With diligence and a thorough screening process, the next mechanic for your shop could be one that’s loyal to you because you gave them their first real job.

Make sure you’re reaching technicians who aren’t actively looking

There aren’t many qualified technicians without a job in today’s market.  That doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty who aren’t satisfied with their job, however.  They may not be looking for a new job, but if an opportunity lands in their lap, they’re likely to at least take a look into it.  If you want an experienced mechanic, this is the way you’re most likely to find them.

Reaching these people requires more than taking out an ad on a web hiring site like Monster.com.  You have to reach them where they are – whether that’s Social Media, a business network, little league baseball or even a sign outside of your shop if you’re on a major highway.

For these ‘under-employed’ candidates, it’s important to make it as easy as possible to get information about the position.  That doesn’t mean you have to make the interview process easy – you want to do a diligent and thorough screening to make sure that the reason they don’t like their job isn’t their own bad attitude or poor skills.  But you should always include a call to action on any advertisement – ask them to call a phone number, or send an email – and make sure that you respond to inquiries quickly, and in a way that will make them want to work with the person that’s responding to them.

Don’t forget to sell the benefits of your shop!

Every day, you work at selling the benefits of your shop to your customers.  They have plenty of choices, and if you don’t remind them why they chose your shop, either directly or indirectly through the service you offer, they’re likely to go somewhere else.

It’s important to have this same philosophy when you’re hiring.  There are plenty of places seeking technicians right now – if anything, they’re even harder to come by than customers.  Most independents can’t match dealerships on the numbers – salaries, retirement benefits, healthcare plans.  They can, however, reach them on the things that really matter when you’re working next to someone day in and day out – honesty, respect, and expectations.  Take a look at our infographic on how independent shops can attract great technicians, and make sure that you’re putting your shop in the best possible light when you’re hiring!

To learn how Repair Shop Websites can help you attract more technicians to your shop, call us at 866-665-1605 or email us at Team_RSW@RepairShopWebsites.com.

Five Ways to Attract New Drivers To Your Auto Repair Shop

September 13th, 2017

 
New drivers tend to be young, meaning that they can provide a trusted shop with decades of business. How can your shop attract them to visit and win them as a customer for life? Click on the infographic below to learn how!

Pricing, Ethics and the Reputation of Your Business

September 6th, 2017

The following article is a guest post from Bob Cooper of Elite.  It originally appeared in Elite’s Auto Shop Idea Center.

At Elite we know that once someone comes into your shop, you’ll do everything you can to generate a happy customer, and make a fair profit. Unfortunately, some customers will put you to the test when it comes to the prices you charge. They’ll tell you they can’t afford the recommended services, they’ll tell you they can get the same service done down the street for less, or they’ll just need you to knock a few bucks off the price. This is when you typically tell yourself that you’ve already invested a good amount of time and money to get the customer to this point in the sale, so rather than letting the customer walk, you drop your price a few bucks, and in your mind, you just saved a job. Unfortunately, what you just lost was your integrity, and the integrity of your pricing.


One of the things we teach in our sales courses is that there are a number of reasons a customer will ask you for a discount. They may very well be in a cash crunch, and as we all know, many cultures believe that you’re foolish if you don’t haggle over the price. But there’s yet another reason why people will ask you for a discount, and ironically it’s the one most shop owners, and service advisors, completely overlook. What those customers are doing, is testing your integrity. Look at it like this …You hire a plumber to do a job at your house, and they quote you at $800.00. You then ask them if that’s their best price, and within a few minutes they’re telling you they’ll knock $50.00 off the price. Regardless of whether or not you authorize the job, you’ll more than likely tell yourself that if you wouldn’t have asked, one thing is for certain: you would have paid $50.00 too much. You probably wouldn’t feel too good about that, would you?

And then ask yourself this question: would you call that same plumber again? And if you did, what thought would pass through your mind when he gave you a quote on the next job he did for you? I think it’s safe to say that your confidence in the plumber, and the integrity of his pricing, would be gone. We also know many shop owners will inflate their prices when knowing they are dealing with a negotiator, and then will provide those customers with a supposed “discount.” So do this…rather than playing a shell game with your customers that will put you out of business, apply these powerful tips:

#1. Embrace the fact that it’s perfectly ok to offer legitimate discounts, such as senior discounts, police and fire department discounts, military discounts and promotional discounts.

#2. When a customer asks for a discount, look at their request as a buying signal. They are already sold on you and the recommended services! They are now either simply testing you for price integrity, or they are negotiators looking to get the best deal. Since they’re already sold on you, rather than lowering your price, look at their request as an opportunity for you to build even more interest and value in your recommended service, and to resell yourself at the same time.

#3. Rather than reducing your price, offer your customer something that brings an added value. For example, rather than lowering your price from $800.00 to $750.00, tell the customer that if they authorize the service, you’ll provide them with a voucher they can use for a complimentary oil service during their next visit. This way you don’t cheapen the value of your existing recommendation.

#4. If you feel for whatever reason you have to provide a concession in price, you should always take something off the table in return for the price reduction. Examples would be reducing the warranty on the repair, having your tech work on the vehicle when you are not as busy, etc. In all cases, if the customer pays less, they should get less. It’s called ethics.

Since 1990, Bob Cooper has been the president of Elite (www.EliteWorldwide.com), a company that strives to help shop owners reach their goals and live happier lives, while elevating the industry at the same time. The company offers coaching and training from the industry’s top shop owners, service advisor training, peer groups, along with sales, marketing and shop management courses. You can contact Bob at contact@eliteworldwide.com, or at 800-204-3548.