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Repair Shop Advice


Sunday, October 13, 2019

The economy is still strong, but it won’t stay that way forever; some experts are predicting a downturn in as little as a year. Click here to learn how to come out of a rough patch in the economy better off than ever.

 


Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Some repair shop owners start out with big goals.  For many, however, the goal of owning a shop instead of working at someone else’s isn’t a world-changing one.  Some owners don’t enjoy working for someone else or think they could do a better job themselves.  Other people just enjoy building things from scratch instead of following someone else’s directions.

In the early days of any business, the best goal is the one that gives you the motivation to get out of bed every morning and work longer than everyone else.  It’s extremely hard to start a business.  One of the hardest parts of owning a business is having to do a bunch of work you don’t want to do – taxes, financials, and complying with HR laws take up more time than anyone wants.

But once you get to a point where you have a steady flow of customers and keeping the business running doesn’t take every bit of energy you have, it’s a good idea to consider what the big picture goal of your shop is.


Of course, your day-to-day goals will be similar to those of other shops.  You want to provide great vehicle service and customer service.  You want to provide a good living for your employees that allows them to enjoy their jobs and their families.  You want to make a profit, and build a management structure that allows you to step out of the shop (at least) a few times a year for vacation and other obligations.

But beyond auto repair, why does your shop exist?  Do you want to keep it small, and use the company as a vehicle to contribute to your community?  Do you want to continue to grow it, and use that growth to provide growth opportunities for the employees who have been with you since the early days?  Do you want to use your company profits to support a social or religious cause that means a lot to you and your employees?

Most people don’t just go to work to pay their bills.  They want co-workers they like, work they enjoy, and the opportunity to grow.  They want to contribute to their workplaces, but they also want their workplaces to contribute to them, and to causes they care about.  Having a business that supports a purpose beyond its own profitability will motivate you to succeed.  It should also motivate your current staff members and attract the staff who are focused on the needs of others rather than themselves.

It can also attract customers. According to a study by Clutch, 68% of people value businesses that contribute to their local community.  Customers want to know that their money is going to someone who cares about them and their community.  It’s a major reason people support independent businesses, and a core part of “Shop Small” marketing.

Does your business have a stated purpose beyond profitability?  How will its growth lead to better outcomes for your employees, your community, and to the causes you care about most?  If you haven’t stated this explicitly, you might be surprised how much of a positive effect it might have on your business!

To learn how Repair Shop Websites can bring more business to your shop, call us at 855-667-8877 or email us at Team_RSW@RepairShopWebsites.com.


Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Ride-sharing companies have finally hit the peak of the business world, with both Uber and Lyft becoming publicly-traded companies this year.  Granted, that process wasn’t a smooth one for them.  Nonetheless, there are literally millions of people who drive for Uber or Lyft in the US either for extra cash or as a full-time job.

And the pay isn’t good.  While drivers make around $20 to $25 per hour, that number drops to around $8 after you factor in expenses, including gas and vehicle wear and tear.  There’s a lot these drivers can’t control;  they can’t control the price of gas, how much a customer tips them, or how much Uber or Lyft takes from every drive (more than 30% of the ride price, on average).  One thing they can control is vehicle maintenance.


Because Uber and Lyft drivers use their vehicles to make money, it doesn’t make any sense for them to push for a short-term fix; they don’t make any money when their vehicle is in the shop, and they put a lot of miles on the vehicle each week.  It also doesn’t make sense for them to use the cheapest mechanic in town, for the same reasons.

What they need is a good, honest shop that can affordably keep their vehicle running for as long as possible despite the heavy usage.  And if they are a full-time rideshare driver, the odds are good that they will need to visit their auto repair shop often.  If that sounds like a good customer for your shop, then you might consider targeting Uber or Lyft drivers with advertisements or promotions.

Ratchet and Wrench reports that some independent shops offer Uber and Lyft-specific inspections, or even promote driving for the ride-sharing services within the shop.  The chain repair shops are getting into the game, too.  Pep Boys offers free inspections and reduced prices for Lyft drivers, while Uber drivers get discounts at Firestone, Maaco, and many other chain repair shops and parts providers.

Not all shops will be a great fit for Uber and Lyft drivers – specialty import shops and luxury repair, for instance, are most often a bad fit for most rideshare drivers.  But if you’re a general automotive shop and you’re looking for long-term, frequent-flyer customers, ridesharing promotions might just fit the bill.

To learn how Repair Shop Websites can help your auto repair shop gain more business, call us at 855-294-6397 or email us at Team_RSW@RepairShopWebsites.com.


Tuesday, September 10, 2019

When customers see (or hear) something that causes them to doubt the quality of your work, they are less likely to be satisfied with that work – even if it was exceptional. Click here to learn how to maintain the appearance of an experienced, high-caliber shop.
 


Thursday, 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.

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