Making an Honest Profit from New Equipment
August 29, 2019
New equipment can open up new opportunities for business. It can make repairs easier or less frustrating. Also, it’s just fun to have nice, new equipment in the shop.
Unfortunately, new equipment can also be a giant waste of money. If you financed some portion of it, it can also be a drag on shop profits for years. Here’s how to avoid that scenario, and to make sure that any equipment you buy is helping you sell services that are in the best interest of the customer.
Build a Realistic Forecast
Unsurprisingly, the marketing materials explaining the benefits of a new piece of equipment are often based on optimistic scenarios. If possible, it’s best to use data from your own shop to build a more realistic one.
If you’re evaluating a piece of equipment that will allow you to sell a new service, collect data on the number of vehicles that could benefit significantly from that service. Crucially, once you have that number, make sure to ask how many of those customers would have purchased the service if given a solid explanation of how they would benefit.
If you’re evaluating a piece of equipment that will reduce the amount of time required to complete a job, make sure to document the number of times that specific repair delayed your ability to fix other cars. A faster turnaround time can lead to higher customer retention – but the easiest way to justify a time-saving repair is by being able to handle more vehicles each day.
Build a Solid Sales Pitch
For good reason, many shop owners cringe when they hear “sales pitch.” That’s because the goal of an honest shop isn’t to upsell the customer, it’s to help them make the best decision for them and their vehicle. Ironically this “customer first” mentality is precisely why you need to build a solid sales pitch before you can justify purchasing any equipment that will help you add a new service.
Forget all of the features that come with that new A/C machine, alignment machine or wheel balancer. What’s the benefit for the customer? Will it make their tires last twice as long? Will it improve their fuel efficiency, or make their vehicle safer? If you can’t explain the benefits of the product in a sentence or two that will resonate with most of your customers, you’re going to find yourself with a very expensive piece of equipment that doesn’t get used very much. And that’s exactly how some shops get squeezed into making the ‘hard sell’ pitch that makes honest shop owners cringe.
Earn the Business
Some equipment can provide a new customer base for your shop, or increase the services you can provide to existing customers. Other equipment will allow you to see more vehicles. In either case, you’ll likely need to adjust your shop’s marketing messaging.
If the new equipment mostly helps existing customers, you’ll need to incorporate it into your diagnostic processes. Make sure that each shop technician is aware of why you purchased the machine (how it can help the customer) and what specific scenarios to look for. Make sure the service writer knows how to describe the benefit to the customer.
If the new equipment allows you to perform new services, make sure that service is on your website. It will take several months to climb the rankings of Google and search well for the service, so you want the website content up as early as you can get it up. You may also want to put coupons on your website to encourage people to try out the new service.
If the equipment allows you to service more vehicles, you may need to boost your marketing budget temporarily, to provide the increased number of vehicles you can now handle. Make sure to tell your best customers that you’re looking for new customers, and to find creative ways to thank customers that refer you to their friends, family and neighbors. While this is always important, it’s especially important when you’re trying to grow your business.
To learn how Repair Shop Websites can help your business grow, call us at 855-294-6397 or email us at Team_RSW@RepairShopWebsites.com.