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Repair Shop Advice

Archive for June, 2021

3 Things To Focus On When Developing Business Strategy

June 23rd, 2021

We’re halfway through the year, which is a great time to measure progress toward your shop’s annual goals.  This year might be an outlier, however; many business owners didn’t set annual goals for 2021 because it was too uncertain of a time to be putting together year-long business plans.

Fortunately, the United States is in a much better place than it was six months ago.  Coronavirus cases are down nearly 95% from their peak, masks are off, and people are anxious to get out of the house.

Those things are great for our health (and our sanity), but they aren’t filling up every auto repair shop’s bays. A shop’s car count still depends heavily on the local economic environment.

Different Realities Drive Different Strategies

Most urban areas are doing well.  People are moving around even more than they were in 2019 – and they’re using their vehicles to do it.  Offices, restaurants and retail establishments aren’t quite as busy as they were in 2019, but parking lots are far busier than they were in 2020.  Those things are enough to keep many auto repair shops busy – but a vehicle shortage and a year’s worth of delayed vacations are also bringing people to repair shops, flooding short-staffed garages with more vehicles than they can handle.

In areas with fewer resources, however, economic activity remains depressed.   Many towns in rural America were already suffering from outflows of money and people before 2020, resorting to measures like selling water systems to make ends meet.  People in these areas are keeping vehicles parked at home to keep costs down.  That’s hurting shop revenue, keeping them from hiring or making new investments.

So what’s the best strategy for your shop for the rest of 2021?  That will obviously depend many things – one of these is your area’s economic climate.  If your area faces a tough economic climate, you may need to shift strategies more aggressively to stay profitable.  Meanwhile, a bustling shop comes with its own set of challenges.  It’s difficult to keep employee morale high and meet customer expectations when a long line of work starts taking over the calendar.


The strategy will be different depending on how busy you are.  But the focus is the same.

Busy or Not, the Same Things Matter

Whether you’re trying to figure out how to get customers into your shop or how to get them to leave you alone until you’re up a few technicians, positioning yourself for success requires understanding these three groups.

Know Your Customers

Why do customers come to your shop? It’s easy to assume they come in because they need a vehicle repaired – but unless you’re the only shop in the area, that’s not the full story.

Different customers probably choose your shop for different reasons.  For some, your shop is the closest or easiest option.  Others may say it’s the most affordable.  Still others may trust your shop (or an employee in your shop) to give them an honest opinion of what needs to be done.

When you understand why customers come to your shop, you can make sure they’re getting whatever it is they value most out of the relationship.  It’s hard to provide great service (the key to continued long-term success) without understanding that most-valued trait.

Even if you’re flooded with customers, you need to know what customers value – because, if you can’t provide them with anything else, you want to make sure they always get that one thing.  If you really disappoint a customer, they might not care how busy you were. And if you disappoint enough of them, you’ll soon find yourself with far more spare time than you ever wanted.

Know Your Employees

Workplace cultures have a feedback loop. Ideally, it’s a positive one, where employees have learned to trust and respect one another over time.  During a bad week, employees can lean on those relationships to motivate them towards success.

But when things go south, it can seem like every interaction makes things worse.  Small disagreements can turn into petty and aggressive behavior, killing productivity and morale.  That’s when employees start assuming the worst possible reason for every uncertainty.

Negative feedback loops are especially dangerous when the shop is “unsteady” – when things are too quiet or too busy.  When things are quieter than they should be, employees want to know what changes you’re planning to get business back.  When you’re too busy, employees want to know when things are going to calm down so they can get back to their lives.

In either case, it helps to project a sense of calm and to provide some insight on how you plan to smooth out the workload going forward.  If employees don’t like what they’re hearing (or if they don’t hear anything), they may assume the worst and try to find employment elsewhere.  And whenever you can, contribute to a positive feedback loop by making the shop a great place to be.

Know Your Community

The word “community” casts an intentionally wide net. It includes other businesses, schools, churches, local governments and even competitors in your area.  It’s also the source of your customers and employees.  Each positive interaction you have with community members will have a small impact on your shop’s reputation – and over time, the support you earn from your community can be a vital element of surviving tough weeks, months and years. 

If you’re trying to get customers in the door, sponsoring or participating in events with opportunities for face-to-face interaction (like festivals or sports tournaments) can help!  Sponsoring free events at your own shop, such as training new drivers to ensure vehicle safety, can also build goodwill.

To learn how Repair Shop Websites can help you attract the best customers to your shop, call us at 855-294-6397 or email us at Team_RSW@RepairShopWebsites.com.

3 Opportunities for Auto Repair Shop Specialization in the Near Future

June 22nd, 2021

The biggest automotive story this week is the combined $65 billion GM and Ford have promised to invest in electric vehicles (EVs) by 2025.  Tightening emissions laws and changing consumer preferences are forcing manufacturers to make huge investments in EVs if they want to survive the next decade.

But that doesn’t mean EVs are important to most independent repair shops. Even with the recent rapid growth in sales, plug-in electric vehicles still represent only 2% of vehicles sold each year.

What is important to independent shops is the increasing complexity of vehicles.  It’s been a challenge for years.


Each year, a larger investment is required to fully serve new vehicle models.  And each year, the differences between vehicle brands increase.  New microprocessors are introduced.  Diagnostics become more expensive.  Training becomes more comprehensive – and more important.  And massive manufacturer investments in electrification put shop owners on notice that these trends are only going to accelerate.

All of this complexity makes the “general repair” business more difficult and less profitable, and it’s leading some shops to move away from it.  Some general repair shops may choose to focus exclusively on certain makes in the future, especially if many of their technicians are already familiar with them.  Other shops (especially those in rural areas) may continue as general automotive shops but stop servicing lower-volume makes and models.

Specialization isn’t just about makes and models, however. Shops specializing in engines, transmissions, air conditioning and other automotive systems have been operating profitably for decades.  Here are three categories of specialization that may become more attractive for some shops in the near future.

Electronics and Diagnostics

When an Auto Care Association executive testified to Congress about vehicle technology late last year, he pointed out that a 2001 Chevy Suburban had nine electronic control modules, and a 2021 Suburban had 103 modules.  That’s 11 times the complexity – and 11 times as many points of failure.

Newer vehicles’ engines and transmissions are more reliable than ever.  But when control modules fail, and dashboard warnings arise, drivers will need someone to diagnose the problem and fix it.  And with so many cameras and sensors supporting safety features in newer vehicles, fixing a problem requires more than simply replacing broken components.  They also need to be calibrated.

Fleet Service Vehicles

Providing specialized services for corporate fleets isn’t a new idea.  But the rise of ride-sharing services gave rise to a new type of “fleet” – one with many owners and a wide (but not too wide) variety of vehicles.  While the pandemic demolished the ride-sharing industry, it lifted the food-delivery industry to new heights – and in 2021, both services are doing well.

The long-term business models of the Transportation-as-a-Service and Delivery-as-a-Service industries are yet to be determined.  That means we don’t know whether drivers will be employees, whether they’ll be using their own vehicles, or even whether they’ll select their own auto repair shop.  But these two industries will be putting billions of miles on vehicles well beyond 2021 – and someone is going to be keeping all those vehicles on the road.

Hybrid Vehicle Service

Electric and hybrid vehicles aren’t big players in the US auto market.  But unlike plug-in vehicles, manufacturers have sold hundreds of thousands of hybrids yearly since 2007, representing 2-3% of annual light-duty vehicles sales.  In cities and states where hybrid vehicles are most prevalent, specializing in hybrid vehicles can allow your shop to offer high-margin services that others can’t.

To learn how Repair Shop Websites can help you attract your ideal customers (whether you specialize or not!) call us at 855-294-6397 or email us at Team_RSW@RepairShopWebsites.com.

Acworth Transmission & Repair are your hometown transmission specialists!

June 10th, 2021

At Acworth Transmission & Repair in Acworth, Georgia, they have the expertise to get your car back on the road and running like never before. In addition to being Metro Atlanta’s transmission repair specialists, they also offer all sorts of repair services including maintenance, brakes, alignments, a/c services and more! Stop by the shop at 4484 S Main St. or call 770-974-2355 today to schedule an appointment.

Tuscon’s Garrigan’s Auto Repair is your one-stop shop for all things car repair

June 9th, 2021

With over 20 years of experience, the techs of Garrigan’s Auto Repair Shop in Tuscon Arizona have the ability to handle anything the road can throw at you. Their certified mechanics offer comprehensive service and repairs that include brakes, heating and cooling, oil changes, engine repair and much more. Stop by the shop at 6465 E. Gold Links Road in Tucson or call 520-572-7505 today to make an appointment!

Bo’s Auto and Truck Repair is Holbrook’s One-Stop Repair Shop

June 8th, 2021

Bo’s Auto and Truck Repair is proud to be a new auto repair shop in Holbrook, NY. Located at 1400 Lincoln Ave Holbrook they’ve built a team of skilled and experienced team of technicians and are excited to be Holbrook’s new one-stop shop for auto maintenance and repair. Bo’s Auto and Truck Repair offers a wide variety of services including oil changes and maintenance services, engine repairs, brakes, auto and ac/ services, electrical, diagnostics. Give them a call at (631) 358-5756 if you have questions or to schedule an appointment.