How Independent Auto Repair Shops Win
February 12, 2018
Big dealerships and auto repair chains have some advantages over independent auto repair shops. Many big businesses are sitting on a mountain of cash. They can negotiate the best prices from their parts suppliers because they buy so many products. They have internal lawyers, accountants, and experienced executives to help them manage risk and maximize profits with every single decision.
Despite all of these advantages big businesses have, half of all employees in the US work for small and mid-sized businesses, and those businesses are hiring more employees every year. Small business owners have increased their profits every year for the last seven years, according to the Small Business Association. How are small businesses thriving despite all the advantages big businesses have? Small businesses, like independent auto repair shops, have advantages too; here are three of them.
Much Less Process Waste
The bigger a company gets, the harder it is for the people at the top to feel in control. To “create” control, they build processes. Everyone uses the same software in the same ways, follows the same processes in their shops, and even talks to customers using the same scripted sentences. All this process takes time and money to develop and train to every employee. More process is added every year, but rarely is any removed. In a large business, the amount of time employees spend actually working on vehicles (think billable hours), as opposed to implementing processes, goes down every day.
To independent auto repair shops, customer service is the currency of survival. Exceptional customer service is how to get free marketing through word of mouth. It’s how you build brand value – the ability to charge more because people know you’ll fix vehicles correctly the first time, and make it right if you don’t. Without a multi-million dollar marketing budget, it’s the most effective way to stand out from all of the other repair shops town.
To many large chain businesses, customer service is a “cost center.” A minute on the phone answering current customers’ questions is a minute not selling services to new customers, so companies work to reduce interaction with customers unless there’s a potential sale at the end of the conversation. Automated phone systems, hold times, and helpless customer service representatives all reduce the amount of “wasted time” on the phone with customers. These things also chase customers away faster than a business can even attract new ones to replace them.
For a single-location auto repair shop, their reputation within the community often determines whether the company will survive. A business owner lives in their community, and so do their employees and customers. It’s in the owner’s best interest to make their community better, because everyone will benefit from the improvement. They’re attuned to the needs of their communities, and their customers respect that.
To a giant business, a town is nothing more than what appears next to the store number in a spreadsheet. Money contributed to the community is money not passed back to headquarters as profit. And while headquarters might approve a community contribution if they feel it’s the minimum amount needed to not earn a bad reputation, they’re not going to go out of their way to help save a community. If Store 1260 must close, they’ll open 35 more locations nationwide in Fiscal Year 2018 to replace it.
To learn how our small business can help your small business, give Repair Shop Websites a call at 866-665-1605 or email us at Team_RSW@RepairShopWebsites.com.