How Do I Get More Customers Into My Auto Repair Shop?

Nov 21, 2019

When it comes to marketing services, everyone wants to sell you something.  Get your company in front of thousands of eyes!  A picture is worth a thousand words!  Guaranteed results!  Surely if these companies stay in business, they’ve got to work for somebody.  Right?

Not necessarily.  Over 90% of those postcard mailers will get thrown away before anyone looks at them.  A big visual ad is useless if someone isn’t actively thinking about auto repair or maintenance when they see it.  And about those guaranteed results – if a marketing company could really get 100% of all repair shops a giant return on their marketing investment, don’t you think you would have heard of them by now?  They’d be the only auto repair marketing company on the planet.

In fact, many of the most effective marketing techniques don’t cost as much as you’d expect.  Some of them are free!  Here are the most important things to do if you need more auto repair business.

Get your name where it matters online

If you’re trying to get your business in front of customers right when they’re thinking about auto repair, these are the three most important facts to consider.

To get new customers from the internet, you don’t need a beautiful, custom website.  You need a site with the content that gets you on the first page of Google.  And if you want to earn all of those customers who are trying to learn more about you, you want to have a Google Review rating above 4.0.  That means you need to ask your happy customers for reviews, even if it’s awkward or unpleasant.

Ask for referrals (and explain why)

So many companies build marketing campaigns asking for referrals that it’s easy for consumers to get immune to them.  That’s a shame, because referrals are the lifeblood of a small business.  A great referral source is the easiest way for one customer to turn into a hundred customers.

When you ask for a referral, don’t do it like big business does it – an off-hand, scripted remark that’s said as quickly as possible because it’s awkward and unsure.  Do it in a way that will make it have an impact.

After a customer tells you they’re happy with your work, thank them for the feedback.  Then tell them you’re a small business, and you’d really appreciate the opportunity to be a home for any family or friends who are looking for a trustworthy mechanic.  Tell them referrals are one of the most important ways that you get business.  Give them a couple of cards and tell them to hand them to anyone who needs work done.

The reality is that most people won’t make the effort of referring you even if you ask.  But if you can double your referral rate, you can have a dramatic effect on the amount of business coming your way.

Shock your customers

Every industry works to set customer expectations.  The bill at a nice restaurant comes with a dinner mint. If a restaurant puts a York peppermint patty in there instead, it might surprise you, but it wouldn’t be shocking.

When you break through customer expectations with a truly unique way of showing your appreciation, however, you can earn loyal customers for life.  How can you do this?  There are plenty of options – you just need to get creative.

One shop partnered with a local bakery, and every customer car is returned with a bag of freshly baked cookies.  Another shop keeps a stock of new Matchbox cars on hand, and customers’ kids can pick out a vehicle each time they visit.

If you’re vacuuming the car before returning it, or offering a free car wash, you’re doing the equivalent of offering a York patty instead of a dinner mint.  The cookies and Matchbox cars, however, are more than that. They’re creative ways for shops to show that they’re looking for every opportunity to improve customer lives.  That’s why these inexpensive gestures can turn first-time customers into lifetime customers.

Why do lifetime customers matter so much?  Most companies would go bankrupt if they had to attract a new customer for each transaction.  New customers become profitable when they turn into repeat customers.  If you want repeat customers, you’ve got to give them a reason to always choose your shop.  For many customers, showing them that you really care about them is enough to do just that.

If you’re looking for more business for your shop, call Repair Shop Websites at 855-294-6397 or email us at