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Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

Technicians Answer: What’s the Most Important Aspect of a Job?

May 16th, 2022

To better understand what automotive technicians feel the most important aspects of a job are, we worked with our partner WrenchWay to survey techs on the question. Here is what we found:

What is the most important aspect of a job for auto repair technicians?

Put in order, they were ranked:

  • 38.8% Pay
  • 30.6% Work environment
  • 22.5% Training and development opportunities
  • 6.1% Paid time off
  • 2.0% Benefits
  • 0.0% Perks

Pay is the #1 factor for auto repair techs

As you can see, pay came in at the top as the most important aspect of a job. One of the participants probably summed up what many were thinking when they said, “All of those are extremely important but if the pay isn’t there then what’s the point?”

Pay is important but it’s impact on employee satisfaction isn’t as large as many employers may think. What the polling firm Gallup has found is that when people hate their job, they feel like they aren’t being paid fairly. However, people who love their job consider themselves “satisfied” even if they wish that they made more money.

Work Environment is also very important to technicians

That leads directly to the factor that came in second – work environment. It was a very close second. This is the factor that we find is greatly underestimated by auto repair shops. The shop of 30 or 40 years ago is not likely to have the type of work environment that many younger techs are attracted to.

Pay and work environment go hand in hand here. Maybe you’ve heard somebody say, “They don’t pay me enough to deal with this.” That’s a work environment problem. If you have a hard time attracting and/or keeping employees, you may want to take a hard look at your work environment.

Notably, the other point from Gallup is true too – a great work environment will in most cases prevent your people from leaving you for that one-to-two dollar per hour raise they may be able to get down the street. If you are providing a work environment where your employees feel like they are supported, cared for and appreciated they won’t even be tempted to look elsewhere.

Training and development opportunities should not be overlooked

Training and development opportunities follow in third place, but at 22.5% they should definitely not be overlooked. If you don’t currently have those opportunities built into the jobs at your shop you should consider how you can do so. That is also a good talking point when you are interviewing potential candidates. If you can tell them that you have a training plan for each of the roles at your shop, or at least for the one they are interviewing for, you can increase the likelihood that they will choose you. This is especially true if you are interviewing younger techs.

Paid time off, benefits and perks came in well behind the other three. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t a factor, but that for most techs they are less of a factor than the other three.

It’s important to remember that any one person’s happiness with a job usually factors in many elements. The same is true for a candidate’s evaluation of whether a job offer will be a good fit for them. This survey helps us better understand that in the mind of most techs pay, work environment, and training and development opportunities are the top three factors, by a large margin, in their decision to take a new job. If you haven’t made investments in those three areas, now is the time to do so to make sure you stay competitive in the hot labor market.

We can make your shop look great online to help you attract high quality technician candidates. If you’d like to learn more about our services, please call us at 855-294-6397 or schedule a meeting with us at a time that’s convenient for you!

How Important Is Content for Auto Repair Shop Websites?

April 22nd, 2022

Traditional search engine optimization (SEO) focused on website structure, links and content as the three most important factors for showing up higher in the rankings. At a time when people make quicker decisions than ever and it’s pretty easy to get a one or two page website set up, does content really still matter?

Yes, it matters. A lot. In this blog we’ll cover why it still matters, the elements of content that matter most and how you can leverage those parts to get your auto repair shop’s website to search well.

SEO Experts Weigh In

There are only a handful of people at Google that know exactly what goes into their algorithm to determine the organic search rankings of their search engine. However, there is an annual survey of SEO experts that gets us close. These are people who are doing this every single day for all types of businesses across the world and the survey focuses on what they see as the most important search ranking factors. Here are their top 20 factors from the survey that was released toward the end of 2021:

Top 20 Local SEO Organic Factors in 2021

While this isn’t directly from Google, it’s a pretty darn good substitute based on the optimizing and monitoring that these folks are doing.

So, what does it tell us about content? Content elements make up three of the top five, and five of the top 13 factors highlighted:

  • #2 – volume of quality content on entire website
  • #4 – topical (product/service) keyword relevance across entire website
  • #5 – geographic (city/neighborhood) keyword relevance of domain content
  • #7 – website’s degree of focus on a specific niche
  • #13 – volume of quality content on service pages

Three big content takeaways for auto repair shops from this list:

  1. You can’t just have a one (or even five) page website and expect it to compete in the search results. Google likes websites to prove their credibility and expertise. One way they can do that is to have a large amount of quality content throughout the website.
  2. Topical keywords are important. You need to have a good mix of all the keywords that are related to auto repair, or your specific focus area, throughout your website. This is another way to prove your expertise.
  3. Location keywords are also very important. This makes lots of sense. In almost all cases, people are searching for an auto repair shop in their area. Google wants to be sure it’s returning results that are relevant to the searcher and if I’m searching for auto repair in Raleigh, North Carolina it’s highly likely that I don’t want to see results for Nashville, Tennessee.

Leveraging the 5 Key Content Factors to Help Your Website Search Well

Volume of Quality Content on Entire Website

This is listed as the second most important factor, so clearly it’s extremely important. You want to build out your website to include as much quality content as possible. Create service pages for each of the services that you offer. Get as specific as you can and include detail. Tell the story of your business. Share images and descriptions of the work you’ve done.

Often repair shop owners will say they don’t know what to include on their website, yet they have a vast knowledge of all of the work that happens in their shop. To get started think about all of the questions that people ask about the services you provide and start capturing the answers to those questions. Feel free to design your pages with questions and answers like a Q&A page.

Topical (Product/Service) Keyword Relevance Across Entire Website

This one starts to get more specific to the actual searches that are happening. How relevant is your website to the specific keyword the user searched for and other related keywords?

The hardest thing for most auto repair shop owners to consider here is that you have to think from the standpoint of the potential customer. What do they call the services that you provide? Or what would they search for?

The big ones are the basics like auto repair, car repair, car mechanic (as much as you may hate that term), oil change, etc. However, if you are specialized you’ll want to consider keywords related to your specialization. Once you have your keywords you want to make sure they are sprinkled throughout your website…BUT, you want to make sure you are not overusing them at the risk of a keyword stuffing penalty.

Geographic (City/Neighborhood) Keyword Relevance of Domain Content

This factor is very similar to the one above, just focused on location instead of services. Make sure the cities, towns and areas that you serve are included all over your website. Include them in your service pages, testimonials/reviews and about sections.

You should also include landmarks and other local information, if possible. Highlight the local organizations you support and/or are active in.

Similar to topical keywords, when doing this you want to make the inclusion natural – make sure it doesn’t look like you are keyword stuffing.

Website’s Degree of Focus on a Specific Niche

This should not be an issue for most auto repair shops. If you are building out quality content across your entire website it should all fall in the same category.

There are two instances where you may look at it differently:

  1. If you are offering services that fall outside of the auto repair category. For ease of comparison, let’s say you run an auto repair shop, a self storage business and a powerwashing business. You would want to be sure you had three separate websites for those businesses and didn’t try to tie them into your repair shop website.
  2. If you are specialized. You want to make your website as niche-y as possible. So if you only do Honda repair then you want to highly emphasize Honda repair. This will decrease the likelihood that you search well for the more generic “auto repair” keywords but increase the likelihood that you search well for more specific keywords related to Honda service and repair.

Volume of Quality Content on Service Pages

This goes hand in hand with the first one. It also provides an important clarification opportunity – you should not just create service pages for the sake of having them. If you aren’t building them out with quality content then you are better to not have them at all. A page with 20 words on it will not achieve the desired purpose.

You want to highlight your expertise on the topic. If you are working on a page about brake repair, reference all of the parts of the brake system. What job does each part perform? How do they work together? What types of problems typically occur? What types of services do you offer?

Content Is Still the King

To compete for the 93% of consumers who use the internet to find local businesses, your website has got to have purposeful, informative content. By following the advice above you can build out the content that’s going to help your website perform better in search.

We can help you by building a website that’s optimized to help you get found by consumers searching for your services in your area. If you’d like to learn more about our services, please call us at 855-294-6397 or schedule a meeting with us at a time that’s convenient for you!

How to Make Your Auto Repair Shop’s Reviews Stand Out

March 28th, 2022

If you need further proof that online reviews are important, especially on Google, here’s the latest from the fantastic Local Consumer Review Survey 2022 by brightlocal:

  • 98% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses
  • 77% “always” or “regularly” read them when browsing local businesses
  • 81% of consumers use Google to evaluate local businesses
  • 81% said that reviews play a “Very important” or “Important” role in their decision to choose Automotive Services

We recently conducted a survey of auto repair shops to see how often they are asking for reviews. Here’s what we found out.

How often do you ask happy customers to give your auto repair shop a Google Review face to face right after the service?

How often do you ask happy customers to give your auto repair shop a Google Review face to face right after the service

Only 19% of shops are asking happy customers to provide reviews face to face right after the service. Nearly 5% are doing it about 50% of the time. More than 76% of shops are “Never” or “Not very often” asking for reviews. In short, the vast majority of shops are not asking happy customers for a review immediately after the service is performed.

How often do you call, email or text happy customers after they’ve left your shop to ask for a Google Review?

How often do you call, email or text happy customers after they’ve left your shop to ask for a Google Review?

The good news is that more shops are asking for reviews via phone, email or text after a happy customer has left the shop. More than 33% said they do it “Every time” or “Almost every time.” However, there is still a large number – 62% – who “Never” ask for reviews in this way.

So, here’s the first opportunity. If you are already asking for reviews – great job! You likely already have a nice advantage over your competitors. If you are not, now is the time to start. You can still put your shop in a good position to be chosen by consumers by starting to get a regular flow of reviews now.

The even bigger opportunity is tied to the third question we asked:

When you ask for reviews, how often do you ask the customer to include the services you provided in the review?

When you ask for reviews, how often do you ask the customer to include the services you provided in the review?

Not a single shop we asked this question to chose “Every time,” “Almost every time” or “50/50.” An astounding 97% of the shops said “Never.”

Why is this important? Because consumers like to see their situation represented in the reviews. If they are considering you for a brake job, they want to see evidence that other customers have used you for a brake job and have been happy with the service. They want to better understand what the experience will be like with your shop. In fact, in the brightlocal survey 75% of consumers said they would feel positively about using a business if “The written review describes a positive experience.”

Very few shops are asking for the specific thing that a majority of consumers say they want to see in reviews. You’ve got a huge opportunity here if you are willing to ask your customers to reference the specific service you provided to them and the experience they had. Here’s a good way to do that:

“We really appreciate you choosing [Shop Name]. Our online reviews help us to bring in new customers. If you feel like you received good service, it would mean the world to us if you would review our shop on Google. If you could, please include the service we provided to you and a few details about your experience as we know others find that information especially helpful.”

We encourage to use that as a starting point and personalize it for your shop. If you just take that additional 20 seconds to ask your happy customers for reviews in that way you could propel your shop to be the top choice of the 81% of consumers who are using Google to evaluate auto repair shops in your area.

Our Integrated Reviews platform helps our customers get more online reviews. To learn how we can help do that for your auto repair shop, call us at 855-294-6397 or schedule a meeting with us at a time that’s convenient for you!

Google Changes Local Search – How it Impacts Auto Repair Shops

February 4th, 2022

Google has recently adjusted their Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) in a couple of ways that are likely to significantly impact auto repair shops.

How will this affect your shop?

If you get any business from the web, this change has the potential to greatly decrease that business.

If you’d like to get more business from the web, this change opens up a greater opportunity to help you do so.

What has changed?

We’ll use a search we recently conducted for auto repair to demonstrate the changes.

First, the layout of the SERP on desktop now shows the Local Pack, the listing of 3-4 shops that Google has showcased in the results, to the left of the map.

Before this change took place around December 2021, the Local Pack was displayed below the map.

Auto Repair Local Pack

While this is the change that is most noticeable visually, it has much less of an impact on your shop’s opportunity to attract customers than the other change.

Second, and much more significantly, as you can see from the image below, Google has now defaulted the “Sort by” option for how shops get displayed in the Local Pack to “Best match” instead of “Distance.”

Why is that so important?

If you’ve heard or seen anything we’ve done over the last few years related to the Local Pack, you know we’ve emphasized that proximity to the searcher was the number one factor for what shops were included in the Local Pack. In almost all cases when you conducted a search like this one, the shops would be displayed in order by how close they were to the person conducting the search. In fact, the distance would be displayed, as you can see below in a screenshot taken from a search from a couple years ago:

Auto Repair Local Pack - Louisville

In a system with distance to the searcher being such a significant factor, your ability to impact where you showed up in the Local Pack was very limited. As long as you picked the right category (“Auto Repair Shop” for most) and had included all of the main contact information for the shop, you were mostly good to go.

Now the game has changed. With “Best match” being the default it will likely be much more important that you complete all the fields available to you in your Google Business Profile. In addition, you’ll want to consider utilizing keywords. We’ve seen SERPs that include snippets from services, the description, posts and definitely from reviews.

To further drive home the point – Google has already given us a model for how they determine “Best match” – the organic search results for websites. They’ve been determining the best matches for searches there for many years. It’s highly likely that they will apply a similar approach to the Local Pack and that your Google Business Profile will require the same level of focus on search engine optimization (SEO) that your website requires to search well.

How many people click on the shops in the Local Pack?

Here’s part two of the answer to why this is so important – there’s a lot of potential business at stake. The most recent study available showed that when consumers are searching for local services nearly 33% of all clicks go to the businesses included in the Local Pack. That’s a significant number of potential customers. With “Best match” being the default for the Local Pack results, this greatly opens up opportunities for auto repair shops who have put the time and effort into their Google Business Profile and into getting reviews from happy customers.

What should you do?

Complete your Google Business Profile. Make sure all the information is accurate. Look for fields you haven’t previously filled out and complete them. Make sure your website is linked. Update your photos and create a plan for updating photos consistently in the future.

Consider using posts and creating a plan for posting in the future. A nice thing about posting on your Google Business Profile is that it’s not like Facebook, you don’t have to post as often. Posting every 7-10 days is absolutely fine.

Ask for reviews. Do it consistently. And ask your happy customers to include the services you provided to them in the review. Those snippets are consistently used in the Local Pack listing and can help you win new customers.

If all this sounds like too much to manage, we can help. We can optimize your Google Business Profile and manage it going forward. If you’d like to hear more about what we can do for you, call us at 855-294-6397 or schedule a meeting with us at a time that’s convenient for you!

For Auto Repair Shops Facebook Is a Bad Substitute for a Website

January 14th, 2022

We have heard auto repair shop owners tell us, “We don’t need a website, we are on Facebook.” If you have all the business you’ll ever need from current customers AND have gotten all of your customers to follow you on Facebook, then that statement might be true.

But for the vast majority of auto repair shops a Facebook profile will be a very poor substitute for a website. Here’s why:

Consumers use Google to find auto repair shops

In a 2020 survey from BrightLocal, 93% of consumers said they use the internet to find local businesses. The first place people go when they want to find local service businesses is Google … by a very large margin. A website is going to give you the best chance to be found on Google by those potential customers. That’s because they are used to typing the name of the service they want into the search bar and then looking at the organic search results for options they want to consider.

That’s not how Facebook works. Unless somebody searches for your auto repair shop by name, potential customers are not going to find you on Facebook. The only place you’ll be seen on Facebook is in the news feed of people who already follow you when you make posts. You are significantly limiting your audience by substituting a Facebook profile for a website.

And as you can see in the screen shot of the organic search results above, Facebook profiles very rarely show up in the organic results. In fact, in that search there was not a single Facebook profile that showed up in the first 10 search engine results pages.

Facebook doesn’t like to show business posts in the news feed

Facebook’s algorithm determines what posts a user will see in their news feed. Facebook’s goal is to give the user more of what they want so that they will stay on Facebook as long as possible. People interact more with posts from friends and family so Facebook is more likely to show those posts than they are the posts that are coming from your business. Plus, they would rather make you pay for advertising to be seen in the news feed.

Regardless, you still want to be sure that you are posting consistently. Remember, your only chance to be seen is by posting frequently. Contrast that with a website, which you do want to keep updated but you certainly don’t have to remember to update every day or every other day.

Consumers expect credible auto repair shops to have a website

Right or wrong, perception is reality. While consumers may be willing to buy a t-shirt directly from Instagram, they expect more from a business that they are trusting to maintain or repair their vehicle. Credibility is extremely important for auto repair shops. Your website can provide that credibility.

When consumers can’t find a website for a repair shop they are going to think twice about calling them. They’ll question the credibility or just assume the shop is closed. Then you’ve lost them before you even had a shot to win their business.

You control your website, Facebook has all the control on Facebook

Whether you build and manage your own website, or you work with a service provider like us, you get to make the decisions on the images, content, design, etc. You have a very high level of control over the messages and pictures people see when they go to your website.

You have no such control on Facebook. Facebook is going to do what’s best for Facebook. Just like they control their users’ news feeds, they control what you are able to do with your profile. So, while you may like the “control” you feel you have over your Facebook profile today, that could change pretty quickly tomorrow.

Facebook is a good forum for engaging customers and building your brand but a Facebook profile does not provide the benefits a website does when it comes to attracting new customers and building credibility. If you’ve been relying on Facebook but are now ready to bolster your web presence to help you bring in new customers, call us today at 855-294-6397 or schedule a meeting with us at a time that’s convenient for you.

7 Website Updates Auto Repair Shops Should Make for 2022

December 16th, 2021

December is always a great time to evaluate how you are utilizing your marketing tools and make changes that will set you up for success in the new year.

If your 2021 has been like many auto repair shops, you haven’t had much of a chance to think about your website while you’ve been dealing with trying to fit customers into your busy schedule. Hopefully you can now come up for air, make up for lost time, and make those updates you may have overlooked over the course of the year.

Here are seven updates you should make to your website as soon as possible:

#1 – Showcase new photos

People love to see photos. If it’s been a while since you last posted photos to your website, you should go through any pictures you’ve taken to see what you have to add. You should especially consider photos of:

  • the inside or outside of your shop
  • the team
  • any special jobs you’ve done
  • community events
  • other things that could matter to potential customers

#2 – Remove services you no longer provide

Lots of things have changed over the last two years. If you still have services listed on your website that you no longer provide you want to take those off as soon as you can. Few things are more frustrating to a potential customer than to narrow down the search for service to one shop only to find out they don’t really provide that service.

#3 – Highlight new services

On the other hand, if there are any new services that you are offering or plan to offer in 2022, you want to add those to your website. Don’t miss a potential opportunity by not listing all the services you offer on your website.

#4 – Add new procedures or attributes

Have you changed your procedures recently (or maybe not so recently) but forgotten to make sure that update is on your website? You may have tightened your procedures or loosened them. You may now be doing pick up and drop off for customers. You may have added wi-fi connectivity in your shop. Whatever changes you’ve made, make sure they are included on your website.

#5 – Spotlight new program membership

Have you recently joined a manufacturer’s or distributor’s program group? Include that logo on your website. Highlighting that branding can help you build credibility and attract new customers.

#6 – Feature new specials or coupons

Get those specials or coupons up for the new year now so you can catch those people who have been putting off maintenance or repair until after January 1.

#7 – Emphasize what makes your shop a great place to work

To this point this list has been made up of things that can influence potential customers to choose your shop. But if hiring is a bigger challenge for you right now than attracting new customers, then you want to be sure that your website is a tool that you are using to attract good candidates.

Make sure you are highlighting why your shop is a great place to work on your Careers page. Go beyond just listing open jobs and spell out the details. What is your work environment like? What programs do you have in place for training? What employee-friendly policies do you have? What perks do you offer?

This is definitely another place that you want to include photos. Include pictures of some of the fun things you’ve done as a team.

And importantly, highlight these things on your home page as well. Include one of those team photos as one of your hero images at the top of your home page with the text “Are you looking to join a great team?”.

Kickoff 2022 by making sure that your website is up to date and that you are leveraging it to bring in both good customers and good job candidates.

We can help you look great online and take care of any updates your website needs, making life much easier for you when it comes to marketing. If that sounds good to you, call us at 855-294-6397 or schedule a meeting with us at a time that’s convenient for you!

The 5 Most Important Online Review Factors

November 22nd, 2021

For many auto repair shops Google reviews serve as the modern-day word of mouth. Most repair shop owners acknowledge that point and realize that they need to get more reviews. But there is a difference between knowing something and knowing how to do it well. And that can sometimes hold repair shop owners back from asking for reviews.

We recently highlighted how to ask for Google reviews and what to ask for on The Busy Bays Podcast. In this article we’ll take it further, covering the five most important review factors and how they should impact your efforts to get reviews.

Thankfully, Brightlocal performed an excellent survey toward the end of 2020 – the Local Consumer Review Study 2020 – that provides us with data and insight to serve as guidance when it comes to reviews. In the survey they identified the five most important review factors as #1 star rating, #2 legitimacy, #3 recency, #4 sentiment and #5 quantity.

The 5 Most Important Online Review Factors

Star rating

As you might expect, the most important factor for consumers is your average star rating.

What to do:
Keep asking happy customers for reviews to keep that star rating high. It also provides you with some padding for when you get that bad review that will inevitably come. Unfortunately, many shops don’t think about getting lots of good reviews until the bad one comes in and then it’s too late.

The good news is that most consumers don’t expect any business to be perfect. If they see a couple one or two star reviews among a sea of five and four star reviews, they won’t likely be concerned. But if you only have 10 reviews and two of them are bad, you probably just lost a potential customer.


Consumers like to see proof that reviews are legit.

What to do:
A large number of five star reviews without any comments are likely to make a consumer question if they are valid. So when you ask for a review, ask your customer to mention the services you provided and/or the experience they had with your shop. The references show that the review is legitimate. Reviews that mention specific services can also help you show up higher in the Local Pack ( when consumers in your area search for those services.


73% of consumers only pay attention to reviews written in the last month.

What to do:
Here’s another reason why it’s important to consistently ask happy customers for reviews. If you are doing that, this one should take care of itself.

If you are having trouble figuring out who to ask, ask your most loyal customers, the ones that keep coming back to the shop. Another way to do it is to set a goal to ask one or two customers each day. Once you start listening for queues with that goal in mind it will become easier.


I generally knew what this meant, but I had to look up the official definition of the word sentiment to be sure. Sentiment is a view of, or attitude toward, a situation or event; an opinion.

What to do:
This is where those reviews in which a customer shares their experience really come into play. People want to be comforted. They want to know that they won’t be making a mistake by choosing your shop. If they can read about others’ positive experiences it will set their mind at ease.

When you know you’ve really helped somebody who was in a difficult situation, be sure to tell them that it would really mean a lot to you if they would leave a review on Google. In most instances they will be happy to do so.


The number of reviews your shop has does matter, but please note, this is the fifth most important factor.

What to do:
Did we mention you should consistently ask for reviews? 😊

It can be difficult to ask for reviews during the daily hustle and bustle of an auto repair shop. But, if you make it part of your process and do it consistently it will pay big dividends in helping you keep an excellent online reputation and attract more customers to your shop.

Our Integrated Reviews platform helps our customers get more online reviews. To learn how we can help do that for your auto repair shop, call us at 855-294-6397 or schedule a meeting with us at a time that’s convenient for you!

Setting New Employees Up for Success

October 18th, 2021

As hard as it is to recruit technicians these days, you want to do everything you can to be sure they will have a long, successful tenure at your shop. Unfortunately, the early quit rate (within two years of starting) is painfully high for employers in almost all industries.

The first few weeks and months that somebody is working at your shop has a huge impact on how long they are likely to stay with you. Just like building a house, you are setting a foundation in those early days. Build a strong one and that house will stand for a good, long time. Fail to invest in your materials or take shortcuts and the first strong wind may take that house down.

So how do you avoid the vicious cycle of hire, train, quit, rehire? Or more likely, the much worse recruit, recruit, recruit, hire, train, quit, recruit, recruit, recruit, rehire? Bruce Tulgan and his Rainmaker Thinking workplace research team have decades of research on this topic so we’ll take a good look at what they’ve identified as the top four causes of early departures and how to avoid those issues at your shop.

Top 4 Reasons Employees Quit Within 2 Years

#1 – Buyer’s Remorse or They Feel They Were Oversold the Job

This is where the employee feels like they were presented with a beautiful vision of what the job would be, but they start and the job is actually very different. They were sold on a family-like atmosphere where everybody supports each other, but from day one they can tell that’s really not how the shop operates. And it appears like the other techs don’t like each other at all.

How to Avoid It

You’ve got to be open and honest in the hiring process. Getting a candidate to buy in to a false reality only sets them up for disappointment and failure and puts you on track to live in the vicious cycle of rehiring.

If you have challenges, you should share that with potential hires as you get closer to hiring them. That doesn’t mean you have to share all the dirty laundry but let them know what life is really like in the shop. If you are making efforts to improve things, let them know that they are part of the solution and give them the vision of what you are working toward. In those cases, be sure that you are communicating with them consistently.

#2 – Inadequate Onboarding

It starts on day one and only gets worse from there. A new employee comes in but there is clearly no plan for how to get them up to speed and what they should focus on. Nobody helps them connect to the mission, vision and values, or their colleagues at the shop. Demands start coming at them before they even understand shop procedures.

Four weeks in and it hasn’t gotten any better. They’ve only found out about things when they’ve asked other techs. There is no open line of communication to management. Their biggest influence is the most disgruntled tech in the shop.

How to Avoid It

Create a documented onboarding schedule that will set them up for success. No matter how big or small your shop is, this can have a big impact. You are making a big investment in a person. You want to be sure you are doing everything you can to help them be successful. Think through what they need to know, who do they need to have as a resource, what processes will be critical to their job, what are the expectations for how they communicate to customers, and more.

What do they need to do on day one? What should they know by the end of week one? What do they need to know by the end of the first month? Set up their schedule and give them time for all these things.

I know – you are hiring a tech because you’ve got more work than you can handle and you need them to be productive right away. That’s understandable. But take the time to make this a solid four to eight year investment instead of a four to eight week waste of time.

#3 – Hand-Off to a Disengaged or Unsupportive Manager

You’ve got the new tech fired up to join your team and you’ve presented a picture of what life will be like at your shop. And even on day one you’ve spent most of the day with the new employee and it’s been good. But on day two they get handed off to their actual supervisor, the shop manager, who doesn’t express the same enthusiasm. In fact, they seem to be only focused on getting the work done at all costs – no breaks, no leaving a couple hours early to see a child’s school performance, no “thank-yous” or recognition for a job well done.

How to Avoid It

First, be sure the supervisor/manager is involved in the hiring process. You want to give the potential employee and the manager the chance to connect (or not) and make a good decision based on the result.

This can also fall in the overselling category. Don’t set your manager up for failure by underselling how much work there is to the potential employee.

Finally, make sure you and anybody who will be managing employees at your shop are on the same page. Managing managers is a critically important job. You’ve got to make sure they are aligned with your values and beliefs and are demonstrating those to their direct reports. It’s a well-known truth that people don’t leave organizations they leave managers. If you have a manager that is not managing well, you’ve got to coach them up or coach them out.

#4 – Limited Flexibility

This one can be tough for an auto repair shop, but it is often a significant advantage that independent auto repair shops have over dealerships. Regardless, a tech can’t work from home. But this applies to more than just work location and in a shop could apply to types of jobs, schedules, training, and other things.

How to Avoid It

The key here is to set expectations early on. Let the incoming tech know where the guardrails are on flexibility. Do what you can to be flexible and be open to new ideas. You don’t have to provide the exact same type of flexibility to each and every employee. Understand what matters most to each individual and accommodate and reward them in that way.

Understanding these top four reasons employees quit before they reach their second anniversary can help you put measures in place to avoid it happening in your shop. By conducting a thorough, open and honest hiring process and considering the employee experience when they join your shop, you can set new techs, and your shop, up for long term success.

To learn how Repair Shop Websites can help you bring more vehicles into your shop, and promote your job openings, call us at 855-294-6397 or email us at

How to Get More Maintenance Work

September 24th, 2021

We talk to a lot of auto repair shops across the country every day. One of the more common challenges that we have heard from shop owners in 2021 is that they would like to get more maintenance work.

To provide our customers with strategies and tactics to help them sell more maintenance work, we hosted a Peer Learning Group in early September and had a special expert presenter in Koole Bolina, a Performance Coach with ATI. Koole has been in the automotive industry since 1998 and he loves to positively influence those who want to do better and be better.

Koole provided a plethora of tips and insights for getting more maintenance work. You’ll have to ask him for all the secrets, but we’ll share five of the many here:

1. Walk out to the car with the customer.

Walk around the vehicle to check on its condition and reconfirm with the customer the details they shared when making the appointment. Establish rapport. Make a personal connection if you can. This is an opportunity for you to build trust and credibility. Don’t allow the drop off to just be transactional. If you stay behind the counter, customers will see you as a ticket agent at the airport.

Auto Repair Shop technician talking to customer

2. Perform a courtesy check on fluids.

Use fluid test strips. For a waiting customer, “show and sell.” If it is a drop off, a picture is worth a thousand words. Point out the issues and talk to them about the levels. Help them understand why it is important to address the issue and what could happen if they don’t. Give them an estimate for any maintenance services. If they are not ready for the service today, see if they’d like to schedule an appointment to come back.

3. Tie maintenance sales to core repairs.

When you sell a brake job, sell a brake flush. If you are replacing a water pump, sell a coolant flush. These are natural combinations and good opportunities. In addition, if you don’t sell a coolant flush at the same time, you’ve left 50% of the old coolant in the system. That older fluid can ruin the part.

4. Put the flush bottles on the service advisor’s desk.

Tell them they can only be moved when they are emptied. Give them the challenge of getting rid of each bottle before the end of the day. This approach keeps those services right in front of them. On day two replace any of the bottles that are missing. Tell them that if they can show you that they can make those bottles move that you’ll keep them off their desk after a few weeks. If you remove the bottles and they stop selling the services, start all over again.

5. Show the customer that you care.

You are making maintenance recommendations because they are in their best interest, but you’ve got to establish a trusting relationship before you start throwing a bunch of additional services at them and they just see dollar signs. Listen well. Don’t allow distractions when you are talking to them. Show empathy. Take an extra step to serve them and let them know you did it. Don’t do this in a “pat yourself on the back” type of way, but in a “we are always going to be looking out for your best interests” type of way.

We thank Koole and ATI for providing such valuable guidance to our customers. ATI (The Automotive Training Institute) is the leading coaching and consulting automotive management company in the United States, with more than 1,600 active members. Since 1980, ATI has been helping independent auto repair and collision repair shop owners improve their businesses and their lives, with proven, measurable and field-tested strategies and practices.

If you’d like us to help you build a web presence to attract more maintenance work (and to connect with shop owners from across the country through our customers-only Peer Learning Groups), contact us today at 855-294-6397 or

Keeping Your Shop Running Smoothly in the Midst of Chaos

July 28th, 2021

We recently surveyed our customers to ask them how busy they are compared to 2019:

  • 60% said they are seeing more cars than in 2019
  • 25% said about the same number of cars
  • 15% said they are seeing fewer cars than 2019

When you consider the fact that many shops are down one or more technicians compared to 2019, it’s shocking that 85% of them are handling as many or more vehicles than 2019.  Many shops said they are having their best months ever right now.

It’s a problem that many businesses would love to have.  But when your processes are already running at full speed, small problems can quickly become bigger ones.  Delays can lead to vehicle backups, longer working hours and eventually lower productivity levels and technician burnout. The alternative is to reach out to customers with scheduled repairs and push those repair dates out.  That’s not a great recipe for customer satisfaction, and it can do long-term reputational damage.

Here are three things you can do keep your shop running smoothly and avoid that uncomfortable call.

Organize Your Shop Floor for Efficiency

Things can get messy when your shop is too busy.  Unfortunately, that applies to the shop floor, too.  And while it might seem like there’s “just no time” to organize work areas, the reality is that all of those minutes your technicians are looking for misplaced tools or moving vehicles around the shop can add up to hours of lost time.

That’s why it’s important that each day starts out and ends with an organized workspace.  Ideally, nobody should have to search the shop to find where someone left a tool (or where someone put a previously delivered part) during the day.  Everyone should know where vehicles can and cannot stay parked while they’re awaiting parts or attention.  And if you find that a lack of lifts, laptops or other equipment is slowing you down, there’s no better time to take care of that than when you’re bringing in the extra revenue that comes with a very busy shop.

Have a Backup Plan for Parts

Manufacturers of all types are having trouble acquiring shipping container space, and it’s delaying delivery of critical materials. Auto parts manufacturers are getting hit by these delays.  And because material suppliers often wait until a delivery failure is inevitable before alerting the auto part manufacturer, the delays are unpredictable, with parts suppliers sometimes receiving only a few days of notice that material shipments will be weeks late.

A story published in May showed how a shortage of fishing line slowed down oil filter production, and a shipping delay on a 12-cent part stopped production of a major part assembly.  And the Commercial Carrier Journal is reporting this month that fleet mechanics are spending hours tracking down some parts, and part hoarding is making it even worse.

Of course, it doesn’t make sense for you to buy every part you might need over the coming months.  But there may be cases where it does makes sense to buy several of a frequently used part ahead of time.  It’s also probably a good idea to have a backup plan in case your supplier does end up backordered on a part you need for a major repair.

Invest in Your Culture

Hiring technicians has been a challenge for years.  It’s only gotten harder over time, and it’s not expected to get much better in the near future.  Unless you’ve decided to permanently downsize your workforce (and your car count) going forward, now is as good a time as any to start investing in new talent.

“Investing” doesn’t necessarily mean hiring anyone yet.  Due to the intense competition for technicians, only some opportunities will get filled.  Many shop owners make the mistake of thinking that compensation is all that matters to technicians. But the best and the brightest techs are looking for an opportunity at a shop that has a clean work environment, a positive culture and most or all of the equipment they need to get their job done efficiently.

Working to improve your shop in any of these fronts will help you attract talent.  But you’ll see benefits long before your shop attracts the attention of potential new hires.  These “shop upgrades” will help with employee retention, job efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Want to learn how Repair Shop Websites can bring more of your favorite repairs into your shop?  Call us at 855-294-6397 or email us at