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Repair Shop Advice

Promote Specialized Services to Stand Out from Competitors

September 25, 2020

If you’re a general automotive shop, the odds are pretty good that you’re happy to see customers who need new brake pads and rotors.  When we ran an informal survey of our customers asking them which five services they most prefer to do, brakes were in the list for more than 90% of respondents.  Around half of surveyed shops also listed A/C services and diagnostics in their top five as well.

These might be great profit engines for many shops.  Should they be prioritized in your marketing?  That depends on your situation.

If you live in a rural area, and competition for auto repair customers isn’t particularly strong, these are great services to lead your marketing efforts.  Vehicles aren’t going to make it far with bad brakes, and depending on your climate and the time of year, they aren’t going to go far without A/C either.

But what if your town or city is full of other shops fighting for that business?  It might not make sense to join them.  At some point, fighting to be the shop people think of for a specific type of job only to have to participate in a price war might not end up being all that profitable after all.

That doesn’t mean you should avoid providing brake services – you’ll probably get plenty of brake business even if that’s not what you’re pushing in your advertising.  It especially makes sense to market these services to existing customers, who already trust your shop and are less likely to price shop or start their repair shop search from scratch.  It just means you might want to try a different angle when it comes to prioritizing services on your website or in any print marketing services you’re using. Here are two other ways to go:

Emphasize Ride Quality and Safety – Some shops we surveyed chose to promote suspension and alignment services, and many of these offered tire services as well.  Alignment machines aren’t cheap, so not every shop has them – and it makes sense to capitalize on them if you do!  And while tires are far from a profit center for most repair shops, they can bring in new customers, offering the potential to build a relationship and provide more profitable services down the road.

Niche Services – If you or another technician in your shop has a particularly strong knowledge of specific vehicle models, such as German or Japanese cars, promoting that expertise can bring in many new customers if your area is big enough to have a large volume of those vehicles.  Promoting yourself as an expert may require you to purchase enhanced (OEM) diagnostic tools and build relationships with parts providers, but the customers you earn are more likely to be loyal because they know you are simply a better resource for their vehicles than other shops.

You can also specialize in less common problems such as electrical, engine or transmission services if you have someone with the expertise to perform those services at a higher level.  This can even lead to referrals from competitors who lack those skills.  Just be careful not to get more specific than your market can support.  Finally, don’t feel like you have to discontinue your general automotive services to promote expertise in a specific vehicle model or automotive system!

To learn how Repair Shop Websites can help your repair shop earn more business, call us at 855-294-6397 or email us at