Repair Shop Advice

Archive for the ‘Auto Repair Marketing’ Category

How Does a Recession Affect Independent Auto Repair Shops?

February 1st, 2023

Most industries consider a recession as bad news. During a recession, people earn and spend less, resulting in fewer jobs and lower pay, contributing to a negative cycle. While very few industries are recession-proof, the Auto Repair Industry stands as recession-resistant. Is auto repair one of those industries? The answer is yes – but that doesn’t mean that the industry isn’t affected. How you respond to economic pressures on your customers can greatly impact your auto shop marketing in a recession.

One person holding onto their vehicle boosts revenue for maintaining shops, while another person postpones a needed repair due to financial constraints. Economic experts cannot accurately predict the outcomes under the current circumstances, leaving uncertainty about the pending recession’s actual impact. Additionally, regional or local impacts could potentially outweigh the overall national impact.

In short, thriving auto repair shops understand how customers and the community are affected, adjusting services to address current challenges. This does not mean merely lowering prices; it is just one component of an effective response.

Consumers are less able to handle large purchases

When recessions hit, consumers must dip into savings to handle large expenses, if they have any savings at all.  This is due to job losses and a reduction in hours worked for hourly workers.  Additionally, consumers are less likely to have access to large lines of credit due to tightened credit standards during recessions. To instill confidence and help them avoid unaffordable expenses, selling maintenance plans and emphasizing warranties becomes crucial, ensuring they do not end up without a means of transportation

People hold on to cars longer

People don’t want to make large purchases during a recession, so they hold on to cars instead of upgrading.  Remember “cash for clunkers”, the vehicle trade-in program funded by the government during the late 2000s recession. The program intended to boost the economy by encouraging people to trade in their old vehicles, in part because dealer sales continuously decreased.

Independent shops greatly benefit from people holding on to older vehicles since those vehicles require maintenance to remain operational. However, to truly capitalize on this opportunity, you must invest time in customer education. Customers must not delay short-term maintenance for long-term reliability.

If there’s wear on a part, make sure to show the customer what a worn part looks like and what a new part looks like. Provide customers with an honest explanation of what might reasonably happen if they don’t take a preventative step, and leave the choice to them. Once they understand the consequences, they might reconsider their decision to wait.

Consumers start to cut costs

It’s often during recessions that new business models overtake old ones.  Some shops may be tempted to engage in a race to the bottom by cutting prices to attract customers. However, customers might not value the lower-quality parts and service they receive. Despite this, such a strategy can gain popularity since people seek cost-cutting options during economic downturns.

Will your shop stand out as a cost-cutting opportunity when customers review their bank statements? That may depend on whether they view the service your shop provides as a cost or an investment. Do your customers understand and appreciate all the value they get from having a home for their car that’s staffed by technicians they trust?  Every time you present customers with information about their car that will help them make good decisions in the future, you’re reminding them of what they’re going to lose if they move to the cheapest alternative in town.

Take advantage of the opportunities you get to influence and connect with customers, because you’re not likely to be a part of the conversation when they decide whether price-shopping for cheaper shops is worth it when they’re in a financial pinch!

Are you ready to thrive during a recession?

Marketing with Integrity

January 27th, 2021

Some business owners really love running a business.  They love making customers happy and having a great place to work, but they also enjoy everything that comes with it – financial management, sales, competitive strategy, mentoring employees and putting out fires every day. Other business owners started their business because they wanted to do things right and give their customers what they deserve.  They accepted the logistics and paperwork that comes along with the job, but they really took the plunge because they just couldn’t continue to work for someone else who treated their employees badly and told them to do things that weren’t in the customer’s best interest.

Owners in either of these categories can find marketing distasteful.  But if you’re in the second category, the odds are especially high that you don’t enjoy advertising.  Sure, you have a website. And you especially love seeing great reviews come in for your shop online.  But does the thought of putting together a marketing slick about how great you are and sending it to every mailbox in town make you a little nauseous?

There’s a Reason Marketing Gets a Bad Rap

If it does make you nauseous, you aren’t alone.  There are plenty of people who associate marketing with vanity and hype.  In a study commissioned by the advertising industry’s own trade association in 2015, 4% of people believed that marketers behaved with integrity.  Whoever those 4% were, if they’re still around after this past year’s onslaught of political ads, they’ve probably changed their minds.

One reason people hate marketing is that many companies don’t use it to tell their customers who they are and what they represent.  Instead, they use it to convince customers that they’re something that they really aren’t.  These companies don’t use marketing to emphasize facts – they use it to sell lies.

USA Today compiled a list of the worst product claims of all time.  Did you know that 5 Hour Energy is recommended by doctors?  It isn’t – but they didn’t let that stop them from saying it was.  A TV ad showed a Nissan Frontier pushing a dune buggy up a sand dune, which it can’t even do.  The Cheerios box used to say they lowered cholesterol, which they don’t. Now the box says they “can help” lower cholesterol.  And the list is full of cigarette and weight loss product claims that were all bogus.

It only got worse when things moved online.  Now, advertising doesn’t just lie to you, it tracks your every move to figure out which lies you’ll believe.  Companies can (and do) show you completely different ads based on your demographics, beliefs or location.

Take It Back to Basics

Consumers have been sick of false claims for some time now. And marketing has already started to change as a result.  But it’s not going to disappear.

Sure, if your company gets as much press as Tesla, you can fire your entire PR department and still be the richest man in the world.  But small businesses still need to get the message out about who they are and what they do.

That’s what marketing should be – telling customers who you are and what you do.  Not trying to tell every possible customer what they want to hear.  Not trying to be everything to everybody.  Marketing should be about making a few big commitments that you intend to keep.

So if your repair shop could handle more business, don’t let your stomach turn over the thought of marketing.  Effective marketing doesn’t require anything that shouldn’t make you proud of why you started your business in the first place.  Tell customers about your shop.  Tell them about the type of people you hire.  Tell them about the types of problems you fix.

And then make one to three commitments that you intend to keep.  Most importantly, whatever it is that you come in to work every day and try to do better than any other shop in town, tell people about that.  It could be personalized service, or fixing the problem the first time, or never making a recommendation you wouldn’t follow yourself.  Tell them what you want to be held accountable for.

Since your principles aren’t likely to change, you won’t have to come up with a new marketing message every quarter.  Since your customers will see the same message over and over again, they should have a pretty good idea of what to expect when they visit your shop.  And if you and your staff stay focused on those few commitments, you’re probably going to do a good job of delivering them.

When you deliver on your commitments, you’re going to get referrals and great reviews.  And when you read reviews that state “They do exactly what they say they’re going to do,” you’ll know that your marketing worked.

Marketing like this is marketing to be proud of.  Making commitments and following through on them is a key element of integrity. And when potential customers see or hear the word integrity truthfully attached to your shop’s name, you’ll have a major advantage on all the other businesses making false claims.

To learn how Repair Shop Websites can help your auto repair shop get its message out with integrity, call us at 855-294-6397 or email us at

Why Community Involvement is Important for Your Automotive Repair Shop

October 18th, 2019

In the world of automotive repair, customers have a multitude of options. On one side, dealership service centers boast an advantage through their close relationship with customers during the warranty period. On the other hand, national franchises allocate significant resources to paid advertising, but there is much more involved in auto repair marketing in the community. Despite these factors, an intriguing trend emerges – a surprising majority of people in the US favor locally-owned independent automotive repair shops, even beyond the warranty period. But what drives this preference?

One of the primary factors is the genuine care shown by employees at independent shops towards their customers. These customers feel valued, treated fairly, and appreciated. Exceptional customer service alone isn’t enough; customers also seek a sense of community care from their chosen repair shops.

This brings us to an essential aspect of effective auto shop marketing – community involvement. Not only does it demonstrate giving back to the supportive community, but it also forges a stronger bond with customers. While charitable donations to local non-profits are commendable, thinking outside the box with creative approaches can further solidify community ties and strengthen the relationship between the repair shop and its customers.

If your business isn’t already engaged in community involvement, embracing this strategy can significantly impact your marketing success. By actively supporting causes that matter to your customers, you foster lasting loyalty and create a positive reputation in your community. Harness the power of community involvement in your auto repair shop marketing efforts in order to stand out from the competition and drive business.

We always encourage our customers to highlight their community involvement on their website. If you’d like to demonstrate your community commitment on your website, we would love to help you get started.

Call us at 855-294-6397 or schedule a meeting with us at a time that’s convenient for you!